Spring Market has arrived!
24 Appleton Street, Somerville ~ $1,375,000
Beautifully renovated single family on a Davis Square side street with 4 bedrooms and a study; 2.5 baths; large designer kitchen; living room with gas fireplace; fenced backyard with 2-level deck, patio, lawn, shed; and driveway for 2+ cars. Large unfinished basement makes a great workshop/studio. Walk to Davis and Porter T stations, shops, nightlife.
9 Cedar Street #2, Somerville ~ $645,000
Second floor Porter Square condo with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, in-unit laundry, large deck, and 2 parking spots. Ideal location near Porter Square T station, shops, and nightlife; also walkable to Davis and Union Squares.
1 Summer Street #5, Somerville $2,950,000 Stunning, award-winning renovation of a historic church in the heart of Union Square. Grand living and entertaining space with 65 ft. ceiling; 500-bottle wine storage in dining room; 3-4 bedrooms and 3 1/2 baths on 3 levels; chefâ€™s kitchen; 2 garage parking spaces.
51 Craigie Street #2, Somerville ~ $395,000 Large Porter Square 1 bedroom/1 bath condo with 2 side-by-side parking spaces, and treetop views. Walk to Porter Square T station and to shops and nightlife in Porter and Union Squares.
1 Belknap Street #5, Arlington ~ $207,000
Nestled in a residential neighborhood between East Arlington and Arlington Center, this adorable top-floor studio condo has a flexible floor plan, full bathroom, and 1 covered parking space. Walk to Spy Pond, Alewife T station, and shops, restaurants, and theaters.
40 School Street #6, Somerville ~ $525,000 Top floor Union Square condo with sweeping city views, 2 bedrooms, study/office, 1 bath, in-unit laundry, driveway parking space, basement storage, and shared yard. Walkable to the delights of Union Square, several buses, and Porter Square.
President, Realtor ® 617.513.1967 cell/text Thalia@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Todd Zinn 20 Hicks Avenue #1, Medford ~ $tba Adorable first floor condo with 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, and 2 parking spaces. Convenient location near the Ball/Magoun Squares neighborhoods of Somerville.
Commercial – For Lease
Residential Sales and Commercial Sales and Leasing 617.875.5276 Nike@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Office space in 2,100 sq. ft. commercial loft with high ceilings, 2 parking spots, walkable to 3 Red Line T stops, Mass. Ave. #77 and #83 buses, commuter rail, shops, restaurants. Lease terms subject to build-out requirements.
Assembly Row/East Somerville
Steps from Assembly Row Orange Line T stop and just off Rt. 93. This 4,500 sq. ft. space on 2 levels has exposed brick walls and abundant natural light from windows on 3 sides and comes with 12 parking spaces. Lease terms subject to build-out requirements and whether the property is leased wholly or subdivided.
Free Classes for homeowners contemplating a move
Monsday, March 14th or Wednesday, March 30th or Wednesday, April 6th
How Individuals Can Buy Property Together as a Group:
Prepping Your House for Sale
for homeowners preparing to list their house
What do you need to do to get your home ready to put on the market? Is it worth updating a kitchen or bath? Finishing basement space? Landscaping? Decluttering? Repainting? Which repairs do you get your money back on? Which ones make your house sell faster? Get your questions answered in this short, informative session. Handouts and refreshments provided.
First Time Home Buyers:
an overview of the buying process Monday, March 7th
If you’re considering buying your first home and want to understand what’s in store, this is a quick and helpful overview. Led by our agents, it includes a 45-min presentation and 1/2 hour Q&A session. Handouts and refreshments provided.
To reserve space in any class, please email Adaria@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com. Admission is free, but we appreciate donations of canned goods or coats/gloves/hats for the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
Lynn C. Graham
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.895.6267 cell/text Brendon@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
When two or more people, whether or not they are related, buy property together, what are their options for taking title? How do you determine each one’s financial contributions, percentage legal interest in the property, and expense allocation? What kind of arrangements can be made in the event one or more parties want to move on but others want to keep the property? What type of financing is available? We will address these and other questions in this class with a follow-up Q&A session. Lead by our team and a local real estate attorney. If you are a first time home buyer, please attend the First Time Home Buyers Workshop (March 7th) or make an appointment with one of our agents (which we will schedule for you) so you’ll have your prerequisites for this class.
Wednesday, March 16th or Tuesday, March 29th
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.943.9581 cell/text Jennifer@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
If trying to figure out the logistics of selling your home and buying a new one make your head spin, this workshop will help make the process understandable. This workshop, led by our agents and a loan officer from a local bank, includes a 45-min presentation and 1/2 hour Q&A session. Handouts and refreshments provided.
Tuesday, March 8th
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.216.5244 cell/text Lynn@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time
a primer for non-traditional homebuyers
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.852.1839 cell/text Todd@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Executive Assistant to the President, Realtor ® 617.308.0064 cell/text Adaria@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
About our company... We are dedicated to representing our buyer and seller clients with integrity and professionalism. We are also commied to giving back to our community. Our agents donate $250 to a non-profit in honor of each transaction and Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate Inc. also gives $250 to a pre-selected group of local charities for each transaction. Visit our office, 128 Willow Avenue, on the bike path in Davis Square, Somerville.
MARCH | APRIL 2016 ::: VOLUME 38 ::: SCOUTSOMERVILLE.COM
contents 6 // EDITOR’S NOTE 8 // WINNERS & LOSERS Dognappings, casino drama, trouble at the Condo Review Board—2016 has already been a wild ride. 10 // NEWS: WHY TUFTS ADJUNCTS INTRODUCED THE SEIU TO HIGHER ED The university’s part-time staffers explain why they’ve unionized. 12 // WHAT’S NEW? Bid farewell to Sabertooth’s vegan donuts, say hello to Juice Union’s vegan smoothies. 34 // SCOUT OUT: WINTER HILL HEATS UP As the neighborhood changes and grows, residents are working to actively and responsibly shape its fate.
SOMERVILLE AT WORK
16 // AT THE GROMMET, SHOPPERS PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE A Somerville-based website helped launch Bananagrams, Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products and much, much more. 18 // HOME IS WHERE THE HARDWARE IS Local makers take us behind the scenes of their in-home workshops.
38 // SCOUT OUT: THE REST IS (NOT) JUST HISTORY Past, present and future collide at the Somerville Museum. 40 // CALENDAR 42 // SCOUT THIS Win $50! 44 // MARKETPLACE
46 // SCOUT YOU
20 // TALKIN’ TEEN JOBS Employment options for young people abound, but should we be doing more to support the city’s teens? 22 // FOR SOMERVILLE’S STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS, IT’S MORE THAN A LABOR OF LOVE Parenting: Not a traditional “job,” still an awful lot of hard work. 24 // TOOLS OF THE TRADE Knives, needles, notebooks and everything else area tradespeople need to get the job done. 26 // UNION SQUARE AT WORK Familiar faces share their stories.
Photo, top: Think stay-at-home parenting looks easy? Try wrangling six kids for a group shot. Photo by Emily Cassel. Photo, bottom: The Somervelo guys get through the day thanks to wrenches, air pumps and Newcastle. Photo by Jess Benjamin. On the cover: Winter Hill Brewing Company GM Bert Holdredge (left) and head brewer Jeff Rowe. Photo by Mary Schwalm. Hair by Salon Michael Domenic senior stylist Miranda Mills and artistic director Michael Leonida.
t’s a funny thing when your privilege smacks you in the face like the oblivious ingrate you are. Growing up in suburban Pennsylvania, my friends and I had part-time jobs so that we could pay for fun stuff: seeing crappy PG-13 movies, buying Fall Out Boy tees at Hot Topic, eating half-priced apps at Applebee’s after 9 p.m. (Hey, like I said, it was suburban Pennsylvania.) So when we decided to look into teen jobs (p. 20) as part of our “At Work” feature, I assumed the experiences of the city’s young people would largely mirror my own. Nope. Not at all. Here’s the cool thing about my job: Whether I’m talking to someone Your fearless editor slinging water ice (what do you call that up who defied naysayers here, shaved ice?) back in Pennsylvania, age 17. and built a business from the ground up (p. 16), asking resource-strapped artisans how they find time to make work (p. 18) or shooting photos of stay-at-home parents and their kids (p. 22), I’m constantly picking the brains of people who know more than I do. My assumptions are regularly challenged; my worldview is continually shifting. I learn something—lots of things, actually—with each issue of Scout I edit. In a Reddit AMA a few years back, “Science Guy” and personal childhood hero Bill Nye said, “Everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.” It’s a sentiment he later repeated in his 2014 commencement speech at UMass Lowell; the phrase has since been reprinted on posters, tee shirts—even votive candles. While I hate to trot out tired platitudes, this thought sticks with me. It’s an important thing to remember (a hard thing to forget, in fact) in my line of work, but I hope that whether you’re a barista, a blacksmith or a bank teller, you also keep it in mind. And I hope that you learn something—or lots of things—from this issue, too.
PUBLISHER Holli Banks firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR IN CHIEF Emily Cassel email@example.com emilycassel.me MANAGING EDITOR Emily Hopkins firstname.lastname@example.org genderpizza.net OFFICE MANAGER Melinda LaCourse email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Nicolle Renick firstname.lastname@example.org renickdesign.com CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Charan Devereaux, JM Lindsay, Bill Shaner, Hannah Walters CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jess Benjamin jsbenjamin.com Charan Devereaux Mary Schwalm instagram.com/maryschwalm COPY EDITOR Joshua Eaton STYLING Salon Michael Domenic 1426 Cambridge St., Cambridge 617-492-2000 BANKS PUBLICATIONS c/o Scout Somerville 191 Highland Ave., Ste. 1A Somerville, MA 02143 FIND US ONLINE
Emily Cassel, Editor in Chief email@example.com
Office Phone: 617-996-2283 Advertising inquiries? Please contact Holli Banks at firstname.lastname@example.org. CIRCULATION 30,000 copies of Scout Somerville are printed bimonthly and are available for free at more than 200 drop spots throughout the city (and just beyonds its borders). You can find a map of our pickup locations at scoutsomerville.com/pick-up-spots or get a subscription by visiting scoutsomerville.com/shop.
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
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JULIE ANN OTIS Even if you’re not a frequent museum or gallery patron, you probably recognize the work of performance and installation artist Julie Ann Otis. She’s the one behind the “Free Verse” typewriter that was on display in Union Square last year. A Somerville resident since 1996, Otis was recently named the city’s Artistic Fellow of Interdisciplinary Arts. “This award is such a great honor,” Otis said in a statement, “and I am so thrilled to be able to create art for a city that has given me so much.” We can’t wait to see what she makes next!
DOGNAPPER Unbelievably, we didn’t copy this story from the back of an Ace Ventura: Pet Detective DVD: In January, a Somerville couple returned home to find that their Pomeranians, Caesar and Cleopatra, had been stolen. Owners Olga and Chris Spivak plastered the community with posters, but the pair of poms remained missing for several days. They were eventually spotted—all the way out in Dorchester—by a local hero who gave the pups a lift back to the Somerville Police Department.
BOOZEHOUNDS Looking to combine your love for dogs, beer and the environment? You can, thanks to Slumbrew, which just started offering classes that turn spent grain—the byproduct of beer brewing—into wholesome, tasty dog treats. “The funny part is these dog treats are incredibly healthy for human consumption,” Slumbrew co-founder Caitlin Jewell told BostInno. And if you’d rather not share food with your canine companion, Slumbrew is also hosting classes where attendees turn spent grain into bread or chocolate chip cookies. OUR MENTAL STATE Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof! According to the city’s 2015 Happiness Report, which was released in February, “Somerville residents are happier on average than the happiest country in the world, Switzerland.” The city has been randomly selecting citizens to self-report their joy levels every year since 2011, and the most recent data suggests that we’re feeling pretty content with city services and policies, from the quality of public schools to trust in the local police to the availability of community events. Asked to rank their overall happiness on a scale from 1 to 10, residents responded pretty positively, with an average of 7.8.
CONDO REVIEW BOARD The city’s Condo Review Board recently came under fire after Ward 5 Alderman Mark Niedergang attended a December meeting and raised concerns about the proceedings. He worries that the board isn’t doing enough to uphold the condominium conversion ordinance that passed in 1980; the ordinance is meant to protect tenants from being unduly forced out of their rental units. At a January Board of Aldermen meeting, Niedergang, who chairs the Housing and Community Development Committee, said the Review Board was acting as “a conveyer belt for granting developers condo conversion permits.” Niedergang told us that he’s by no means against condo development, but added: “My interest as an alderman ... is in making sure low- and moderate-income tenants are not getting illegally pushed out of the city.” He said the city is currently taking steps to tighten up the process. EVERETT CASINO Somerville is really putting the “no” in casino. The city’s ongoing battle against the proposed Wynn Resorts Casino in Everett escalated in February when Mayor Curtatone and city lawyers filed a claim that challenged “the legal validity of a separate environmental permit granted for the casino,” according to the Globe. The claim said that the planned casino would be too big and that it would draw too many exhaust-spewing cars to the area, meaning it should not have qualified for the permit. On Feb. 24, planners put the Everett resort on hold to address Curtatone’s legal challenge. It’s drama that rivals Robert De Niro and Sharon Stone’s performances in Casino.
Someone rustle your jimmies or tickle your fancy? Let us know at scoutsomerville.com/contact-us, and we just might crown them a winner or loser. 8
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
Average monthly rent in the city, according to a recent report from Newton’s LDS Consulting Group (p. 15)
2013 The year Jules Pieri was named one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women” (p. 16)
Somerville High School students enrolled in the Career and Technical Services Education Program (p. 20)
12% Of private companies in the U.S. offer paid parental leave (p. 22)
3,100 People Community Cooks serves in Somerville and surrounding communities (p. 30)
True Home Partners: We Partner With You
LISA J. DRAPKIN
NANCY M. DIXON
Mobile: 617-930-1288 Lisa.Drapkin@NEMoves.com
Mobile: 617-721-9755 Nancy.Dixon@NEMoves.com
“Lisa engenders immediate trust, with a strong knowledge of the real estate market, great ideas for how to prepare for a sale, and an infinite network of connections to help you get the job done.”
DEBBIE LEWIS REALTOR®
DAVE WOOD REALTOR®
Mobile: 617-388-3054 Dave.Wood@NEMoves.com
Mobile: 617-461-6797 Debbie.Lewis@NEMoves.com “Debbie has a charming personality, bringing humor to the often stressful process of home buying, and always brightens our day. We would not hesitate to recommend Debbie to anyone looking to purchase in Cambridge, Somerville, or the surrounding areas.”
• A partnership of five full-time Coldwell Banker real estate professionals. • Full-time Executive Assistant. • Combined 55 years of experience.
LAURIE CRANE REALTOR®
Mobile: 617-866-8865 Laurie.Crane@NEMoves.com
• Honed negotiation skills. • Innovative marketing. • Intimate knowledge of current market conditions.
TrueHomePartners.com Call us to find out how we can partner to sell your home or find your next one. scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, an adjunct professor in the Tufts English department. Photo by Emily Cassel.
BREAD AND ROSES
WHY TUFTS ADJUNCTS INTRODUCED THE SEIU TO HIGHER ED By Bill Shaner
here are any number of reasons that people are drawn to the “gig economy,” the contract-based, short-term employment model that gives everyone from freelance creatives to instructors to Airbnb hosts a way to make a living on a project-to-project basis. It can be the pursuit of a passion or the liberty of self-employment. The freedom can be rewarding, but it’s work on a constant precipice. A class falls through, a show cancels, a story gets scrapped, and the income you expected is—poof—gone. “It’s like Saturday night for a musician, you have gigs,” says Andy Klatt, a part-time lecturer at Tufts University and an active member of its fledgling union. “Your livelihood is contingent [on] whether or not you get the next gig. It benefits the employer, and it’s a reflection of our modern economy.” Universities have increasingly come to rely on educators who work gig to gig. In 1980, 32 percent of university educators in America worked part time, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. By
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
2013, part-time and full-time professors were neck and neck, at 49 and 51 percent, respectively. Some believe the rise of part-time professors, and their accompanying vulnerability, is a response to market disruption. Universities bring on more educators without tenure to increase flexibility and cut costs, according to groups like the American Association of University Professors. But working without tenure is a game of insecurity, and it’s that anxiety that brought the part-time teaching staff at Tufts to organize. Unions have long been mainstays in manufacturing, in public schools and among service workers, but they are a relatively new sight among university faculty. Many feel the movement started at Tufts (at least where private universities are concerned). Adjunct professors—at Tufts, they’re called “part-time lecturers”—signed on with the local Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in September 2013 and entered into their first union contract with the university a year later.
The agreement offers job security, with three tiers of contracts. The first four years of employment are year to year, after which the adjunct can enter a two-year deal, then a three-year deal. The contract also gives adjuncts who are let go a grievance process and establishes a $25,000 fund for professional development work, which previously had to come out of pocket. The agreement greatly increased the pay—in some cases, by 22 percent—in fields in which the university had traditionally invested less heavily. What was once a $6,000 humanities class jumped to $7,300. Before, classes in the sciences would fetch much higher payouts than those in the arts, says Klatt, who teaches Spanish and translates on the side. While pay is still not equal, he says it is more fair. The deal came with intangibles, too. “We have a definite feeling that there’s a balance between us and the administration,” says Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, an English department adjunct. “We aren’t just sort of disposable—they’re not contending with us individually, they’re contending with a large ‘us.’” Tufts adjuncts led the country in signing on with the SEIU. Seeing their success, professors at many universities in the area have begun to follow suit. Adjuncts at Northeastern just won their first union contract this year. At Boston University, adjuncts have begun the bargaining process after voting to unionize last February. Back at Tufts, full-time, non-tenure-track professors are still negotiating for a contract after voting to unionize last January. Bentley faculty voted for a union last February and are still bargaining for a contract. Looking back, Tufts adjuncts say that before unionization, there was a sense that they were disposable. “I heard people every semester sounding worried that this would be the year that, for whatever reason, they’d be let go,” says Gibson. The professional life of an adjunct professor, like the life of any freelancer, is a series of puzzle pieces. Many work at multiple universities and hold other jobs in their field. They’re paid per class, and financial planning hinges on the number of classes they teach. Before unionization, adjuncts could receive no class assignments, or have their classes cancelled, with no opportunity for recourse. With housing, health care and living expenses to balance, having the rug pulled out from under even a single gig can cause a devastating ripple effect. It’s the instability, the feeling of a livelihood hanging in the market’s breeze—or at the university’s whim—that rallied Tufts adjuncts around unionization. Gibson, for one, has taught English at Tufts since 1995. Every year prior to unionization, her course load was subject to change. For seven years, her compensation and that of other adjuncts stayed stagnant— even in years when tenured faculty saw increases. In all her time at Tufts, she never worried that she, personally, would be let go. But she saw it happen to plenty of part timers, and on an academic schedule, losing course work could mean six months to a year spent waiting for your next opportunity. “There were a lot [of adjuncts] that didn’t know what they’d get until it happened,” she says. Indeed, after unionization, Tufts tried to let five adjuncts go. But it wasn’t so easy anymore. The union had a grievance process, and they exercised it. The adjuncts got either another year of classes or a compensation package. Unionization may touch on something more ephemeral than financial stress. The most recent American Association of University Professors survey found that “job insecurity in higher education harms the mental well-being of non-tenure-track faculty.” The survey continues: “A substantial number report feelings of stress, anxiety and depression associated with their position.” At Tufts, some of those fears have been quelled by collective bargaining. “The union is a defense,” Klatt says. Call “We’re united; much or visit any of we’re our 10 convenient, stronger.” full-service banking centers. Bill Shaner is a non-unionized Scout contributor. Reach him at email@example.com
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SO LONG, FAREWELL BALL SQUARE
SABERTOOTH VEGAN BAKERY
In “gone too soon” news, Sabertooth Vegan Bakery is no more. On January 29, founder Evie Noel announced that she was closing up shop and going on a “permanent vacation.” The altruistic donut dame went on to explain that she was moving COMING out west to work on an animal SOON sanctuary. Her short-lived storefront, which opened in a shared space with Taco Party at 711 Broadway in August, celebrated its final day on February 12, but donut fear: Taco Party will continue serving its vegan Mexican fare.
e’re very committed to this being a neighborhood restaurant,” says Josh Lewin, who just opened the doors to Juliet (257 Washington St.) with partner Katrina Jazayeri. The duo surprised the community by quietly kicking off breakfast service during the last weekend in February, and hungry ‘Villens can now drop by for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a SPRING HILL
BETTER BAGELS FINDS PERMANENT HOME (AWAY FROM HOME)
Bagel fans can satisfy their carb cravings on a regular basis thanks to 7ate9 Bakery (199C Highland Ave.), which now carries Somerville’s Better Bagels. For the last year, the New York-style bagel company has been popping up at area bars and restaurants, and while they’ll continue to host popups, they wanted to find a somewhat more permanent location. “You’re never in your own domain when you’re doing a popup. You’re also guests in someone’s house,” Better Bagels co-founder Sam Harden told us in
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
week. Lewin and Jazayeri want to serve high-quality food at a price point that makes this a place you can stop by any day of the week—not just on special occasions. They’ve also eliminated tipping and pay their staff a base hourly wage. “You never have that fear of, ‘Oh, it snowed in February and I have to work three days in a row, but the T isn’t running. I’m going to make $3 an hour,’” Lewin says.
January. “It’s good to have a place that we can kind of call home … We’re excited to have a place where everyone can find us every day.” Tuna- and chicken-salad bagel sandwiches are available, as are spreads including Nutella, peanut butter, cream cheese— and, of course, fluff. TEELE SQUARE
Giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “playing with your food,” The Brookline-based board game cafe Knight Moves is planning to open a second location near Tufts at 1159 Broadway. Details were scarce at press time, but at the cafe’s
Coolidge Corner location, board game aficionados can access more than 1,000 board and card games with a $40 monthly membership or a $5-$10 day pass and play over coffee, pastries and cheese plates. ASSEMBLY ROW
Fans of Allston’s Totto Ramen will be pleased to know that the eatery may make an appearance in Somerville soon. According to Eater Boston, the New York-based restaurant chain is eyeing a new location in Assembly Row (465 Artisan Way). We’ll have more for you on this as it develops!
After 47 years, Johnny D’s (17 Holland St.) will say its goodbyes on March 13 with a “funeral procession of sorts.” The free, all-ages celebration kicks off at 4 p.m. with short sets from local brass bands Revolutionary Snake Ensemble and Second Line Social Aid and Pleasure Society, followed by a parade and gathering in Statue Park (across from the Somerville Theatre). “This will be a memory for a lifetime, and it would mean so much to us if you came along our last journey,” reads a post on the beloved venue’s website. “Johnny D’s greatness is a culmination of all of us.” DAVIS SQUARE
High-end consignment shop Found (255 Elm St.) closed abruptly in late January—so abruptly that many people who had dropped off pieces at the store are now scrambling to find out how they recoup their wares, and, in some cases, collect the money they’re owed. On the Found Facebook page and in a thread on the Davis Square Livejournal, consignors have been wondering who they should contact to get their stuff back; so far, no one seems to have an answer.
Photo, top left, by Brian Samuels Photography. Photo, top right, courtesy of Canopy.
GREEN DAY DAVIS SQUARE
TECHHUB BECOMES CANOPY
echHub Boston just opened its Davis Square space (212 Elm St.) last year, but in January the company’s co-founders announced that they were splitting from TechHub (which is based in the UK) to form Canopy. Matt Hoey, Simon Towers and Stewart Noakes realized that there were a lot of shared workspaces throughout Greater Boston, and they wanted to offer a new spin on that idea. “The three of us are very philosophically aligned,” Hoey explains, and they started talking about an organization that would bring local nonprofits and startups together—taking the incubator space in a social impact direction. Canopy was born in early 2016.
2016 has brought with it more bad news for the Green Line Extension. After Joseph Aiello, chairman of the MBTA’s fiscal control board, said that GLX cutbacks would have to be “on the side of brutal,” during a January transportation board meeting, Congressman Michael Capuano warned that the cuts could threaten the project’s federal funding. “Any changes to the Green Line that would jeopardize federal money are unacceptable as far as I am concerned,” he told the Globe. What’s next for the GLX is dependent on a number of factors. If you have questions,
“It’s a perfect metaphor for the community we’re trying to cultivate,” Hoey says of the name, which combines the diversity, shelter and strong root system they’ll provide for nonprofits. “With the rising rents in the area, we all know a few nonprofits that have been squeezed out … We’re on a mission to save nonprofits that are doing good work.” They’re already partnering with local groups like Groundwork Somerville and have begun hosting a social impact event series, the first of which was held in late January and brought together keynote speaker Noam Chomsky and a panel that included the ACLU’s Kade Crockford and State Rep. Paul Heroux.
concerns or input, you can voice your thoughts at an upcoming series of public meetings hosted by MassDOT and the MBTA. The Somerville meetings will take place on March 2 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Armory (191 Highland Ave.) and on April 13 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Argenziano School (290 Washington St.).
LINCOLN PARK RENOVATIONS
After two years of design meetings, updates to Lincoln Park (290 Washington St.) are scheduled to begin this summer. Here’s what the redesigned park will have, per the city of Somerville website: a new
schoolyard for the Argenziano school, a multi-purpose grass community space and recreation field, new pathways and seating platforms, activity areas for skateboarders and Parkour fans, all-ages “adventure style” playgrounds, a water spray area, an off-leash play place for dogs, community gardens, a new ballfield and over 150 new trees. On the technicalbut-important side, the design will include updated lighting and irrigation systems as well as anti-flooding features like rain gardens to capture and reuse stormwater and a 1.26 milliongallon subsurface stormwater management system.
POLICE SCANNER CITYWIDE
Could Somerville soon outfit its officers with body cams? Mayor Curtatone is already on the record as supporting body cameras for all Somerville police—he said as much during an August radio interview—and the topic was raised at a January 14 Board of Aldermen meeting. According to the Somerville Times, the board ordered that the chief of police must ready
an implementation feasibility report that will be presented to the Public Health and Safety Committee at a future meeting. ASSEMBLY ROW
In January, the new Assembly Row Somerville Police Substation was dedicated to the memory of former Federal Realty GM Russell Anthony Joyner, who passed away in January 2015. “I still get phone calls and messages from
all over the country, all over the world, from people wanting to remember and giving some little quote that he said,” said Brenda Joyner in a press release, “and it sticks with us and will stick with us forever because he taught us all a lot about living, about giving back.” The Federal Realty-funded station, which bears a plaque honoring Joyner, will serve the Assembly Row neighborhood and will be staffed by Somerville Police Department officers.
You can’t ask for much worse than a roach from an uninvited house guest: Not only do they come right on in, eat your food, and leave a mess – they also stink, can get you sick, and are sure to bring along even more guests. In Somerville, the most common forms of roaches are the American cockroach, the Oriental cockroach and the German cockroach. These roaches will eat about any form of organic material, be it human food, pet food, or even dried glue on a cardboard box. For that reason, once they’re in your home, they can be difficult to defend against. And, once they’re in, you don’t want them to stay long. Aside from the foul odor they’re known to leave behind, their feces can cause allergic reactions. The allergens they produce have been linked to an increased risk of asthma. Beyond that, a few roaches in your home today may mean a few hundred down the road. Each egg capsule can carry up to 40 eggs. Should you find a roach or roach fecal matter, which would look like fine coffee grounds splattered about, encroaching on your home, it’s best to act fast due to the health risks and rapid reproduction rates. If you think you have a problem – or just want the peace of mind that comes with knowing you don’t – make a quick call to Best Pest Control Services. Unlike other companies, Best Pest will treat your home only if it’s necessary. We are a locally owned and family-operated business. We’ve been serving Somerville and greater Boston since 1984 – and not just for roaches. Ants, bedbugs, mice, rats – you name it, we’ll get rid of it. Our rates are reasonable and customer service is our top priority.
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DRINK UP CITYWIDE
SOMERVILLE COFFEE CREW
oon, a really cool coffee company will be cruising Somerville’s streets in a refurbished, vintage van. After years of planning, Somerville Coffee Crew co-founders Townsend Colon and Sarah Saleh are just about ready to launch a mobile cafe that will bring coffee culture to the people. “First and foremost, we want to make good coffee, and we want to share how that happens,” Colon told us in February. “We wanted to make it more approachable. We wanted to make it something that could be more community involved.” They hope to be up and running by early summer. UNION SQUARE
“We really wanted to start offering healthy options to Somerville,” says Juice Union’s Diana Krefetz. No offense to Union Square Donuts, but, “We’d walk around Union Square and think, ‘Huh, we kind of want a smoothie, or something.’” With the help of her husband and friends, Krefetz started renovating the Juice Union space—a former lawyer’s office—in November. The shop opened at 23A Bow St. in February, with unique, healthy, 100 percent vegan smoothies and banana-based vegan ice cream bowls.
BACK IN ACTION DAVIS SQUARE
MR. CREPE GETS A FACELIFT
In December it was iYo Bistro that temporarily closed for renovations, and in January Mr. Crepe (51 Davis Sq.) became the latest Davis Square eatery to get some cosmetic updates. The restaurant shut down for about two weeks in early 2016 so that new tables, countertops, flooring and lighting could be installed. “Every two or three years we do a little something,” says Mr. Crepe manager Leo Souza. “But this time, we had to rip everything out.” The menu is largely the same, though Souza adds that a relatively new addition—one that surprises a lot of customers—is the availability of gluten free buckwheat batter. UNION SQUARE
DOSA N CURRY
Thankfully, the August electrical issue that permanently shuttered A4 Pizza didn’t also claim neighboring Dosa N Curry (447 Somerville Ave.). The restaurant reopened on January 14
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
24 and is back in business with its usual hours (11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily). BALL SQUARE
YAK & YETI BECOMES HOUSE OF KEBAB
In early January, Yak & Yeti (719 Broadway) became House of Kebab, an offshoot of the Kebab Factory. You can dine in, take out or make a catering or delivery order. And don’t worry: Momos are still on the menu.
PAPERCUT ZINE LIBRARY
February was a heckuva month for the team behind Papercut Zine Library. After a pipe burst in their space at 10 Ward St., they had to move quickly to preserve close to 1,000 damaged zines. That meant temporarily freezing the damp collection until it could be professionally vacuum freeze dried in Pennsylvania, a procedure that would cost roughly $2,000. Librarians Sarah Ruggiero, Gen Cayford and Kevin Lieber moved the damp collection
into a freezer at their landlord’s restaurant, La Hacienda, and set up a YouCaring page to try and raise the funds. They reached their goal almost immediately and even raised enough to pay the rent in their space several months out. “I’m still, like, processing it,” says Ruggiero, who adds that she never anticipated such an outpouring of community support. “Just knowing that we have the stability of a few more months in our space ... my heart is so warm.” UNION SQUARE
It’s been a complicated—but exciting!—last few months for Cove. The D.C.-based shared
SOON a Boston workspace opened outpost in September, and its Union Square location (375 Somerville Ave.) opened in October… briefly. A paperwork issue caused the space to close shortly after its debut, and it reopened right before the holidays with little fanfare. Now, they’re celebrating a grand re-opening of sorts. Marketing Manager Shakira MacLyons says that Cove is “building a network of workspaces that are geared toward the on-the-go individual,” the freelancer or work-fromhome warrior who “doesn’t want to be staring at their cats all day.” Cove offers flexible, month-to-month memberships that grant access to all of their workspaces, even the 9 in D.C. According to MacLyons, Cove combines the comfort of a coffee shop with the amenities of an office space. It offers everything from speedy wifi to free printing to a networking platform where people can post skills and interests and connect with other members.
Photo, top left, by Townsend Colon. Photo, bottom left, by by Eliot Neff. Photo, top right: 44 Summer St., one of the properties recently purchased by Anwar Faisal. Photo by Emily Cassel.
HOUSING HAPPENINGS CITYWIDE
n his January 4 inaugural address, Mayor Curtatone laid out some plans to keep Somerville affordable, including the completion of 9,000 new housing units by 2040 and updated inclusionary housing standards that would raise affordable housing requirements from 12.5 percent to 20 percent for developments of six or more units. Unfortunately, the cost of living here is rising too quickly for many renters: A recent report from Newton’s LDS Consulting Group found that the average monthly rent in the city is $2,384, a price tag that’s pushing Somerville’s renter population, which has a median income of $58,510, out of the area. The high cost of living, combined with flatlining wages, is taking a toll on many of the city’s artists. That includes longtime creative fixtures Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola, who announced in February that they were leaving the area for Los Angeles. Epstein, who founded the Somerville Makers and Artists group and serves on the board of the Somerville Arts Council, laid out the reasons for their move in a February Facebook post that has been shared nearly 150 times. He explained that, between Greater Boston’s rising rents and the lack of infrastructure to support creatives, it’s no longer sustainable to stay in Porter Square. “Every year,” Epstein wrote, “more and more of our friends give up and move outside the city because they can no longer afford the rent.” SPRING HILL
ANWAR FAISAL BUYS 100 PROPERTIES
Infamous Boston landlord Anwar Faisal, who was the subject of the 2014 Boston Globe Spotlight Team investigative series “Shadow Campus,” just bought more than 100 Somerville apartments. In February, the Somerville Journal reported
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that Faisal purchased numerous buildings along Summer Street and plans to raise rents in those centuries-old complexes to the current market rate. “People working in the financial district, they should be getting the market,” Faisal told the Journal’s Danielle McLean, adding that he plans to buy more real estate in the city as it becomes available. Specializing in small businesses, Accounting for Creativity provides an opportunity for all businesses to have access to quality professional bookkeeping. Working with a personal approach will insure that your accounting system works best for you. Offering flexible service options and affordable rates.
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
SOMERVILLE AT WORK BY EMILY CASSEL
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE GROMMET
Grommet co-founders Jules Pieri (left) and Joanne Domeniconi
AT THE GROMMET,
SHOPPERS PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE In the midst of one of the worst financial crises ever, Jules Pieri banked it all on the theory that, given the choice, shoppers would spend a little more to support socially-conscious companies and causes they cared about. Today, with business booming, it looks like she was right. 16
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
hat do a vegan nail polish, a minimalist bike rack and a bluetoothconnected guitar have in common? How about an automatic ball launcher called iFetch, Mrs. Meyer’s earthfriendly cleaning products and the popular crossword-style game Bananagrams? Each of these products— from bike rack to ball launcher— first came to life thanks to a spunky little website known as The Grommet. The Grommet is the brainchild of co-founder and CEO Jules Pieri, who saw, years ago, how the web was altering our socioeconomic landscape. Internet commerce and social media were far from fledgling services in 2008, but they weren’t yet ubiquitous, either. (Spotify was just getting off the ground in ‘08; Instagram wouldn’t exist for another two years.) At the same time, the web was giving oncefractured groups the opportunity to form their own communities. “I was watching citizen journalism and citizen science—all these movements where regular people were permeating a professional sphere in a positive way,” Pieri explains. “I thought, ‘Business is the most powerful entity on earth. Let’s let people permeate that and make it easy. Make it bite-sized and actionable.’” So Pieri introduced an idea she calls Citizen Commerce. People know, she explains, that they should vote if they want to have a say in government, that they should show up to rallies if they want to shake up the status quo. Wouldn’t it be nice to give them the option to speak as loudly in the consumer sphere? No single person can research every company to make sure its morals are sound, but what if a website took that guesswork out of the game by providing the resources socially conscious makers need to launch their products? Pieri believed that, given the choice, people would opt to support businesses on ethical grounds, even if that meant the
price point was a little higher. But this was during the peak of the financial crisis. Tensions were high, investors were wary and purse strings were tighter than they’d been in decades. No one with capital was willing to risk it on an online platform that wasn’t meant to save people money. “It was really, psychologically, kind of… what’s the word? Terrifying,” Pieri says. “They all wanted us to be Groupon.” She couldn’t quantify people’s desire to shop ethically; there was no data to support her thesis. All she had was a hunch. She’d been watching the explosive growth of organic foods and farmers markets. Even in 2008, when organic produce tended to be both far more expensive and harder to find than its non-organic counterparts, people were seeking it out. Using that movement as a barometer, Pieri persevered. Seven years and thousands of product launches later, it would appear that her faith in Citizen Commerce has been confirmed. Online shoppers are familiar with the sorting options typically offered by ecommerce sites. Items can be listed from lowest to highest price, for example, or organized to show the newest arrivals first. The Grommet takes that idea and applies a social impact filter to it, letting its shoppers browse the site’s wares based on their personal values. Want to shop brands that were started by underrepresented entrepreneurs or support a company with a social enterprise aspect? There are filters for that. Maybe you only want to see items that were made in the USA? There’s a filter for that, too. Over the years, people have taken notice of The Grommet’s ethical point of view. Today, the site has more than 175,000 Facebook fans, and 22,500 people follow the Grommet on Twitter. With more than 5,000 Twitter followers, Pieri herself is a bit of an Internet celebrity. She’s also an Entrepreneur in Residence at Harvard. In 2013, she was named one of Fortune’s most powerful women. Pieri and her staff don’t always have it easy. Each week, they’re narrowing a field of more than 300 project proposals down to just seven. They’re testing every last item; Charles McEnerney, The Grommet’s director of communications, says he’s often bringing potential Grommet launches home to get his kids’ feedback. They’re shooting photos and videos for every product’s page in their studios, and they’re hosting a live discussion between maker and online community the day each product launches. It’s a labor of love, sure, but that doesn’t make it any less labor-intensive. While the company could probably save some time and cut costs by automating a few of these processes, Pieri isn’t here to slash spending or make short-term financial gains. In an era of instant meals and instant messaging, she’s bucking traditional business models—again—by playing the long game, banking it all—again—on wisdom that doesn’t quite hold as conventional. The Grommet is working with startups of all sizes and all sophistication levels, and they need a broad spectrum of resources to help bring their dreams to life. “You can’t put that into an algorithm,” Pieri says. “You can’t put that into an automated response for their needs.” She knows that these products are their makers’ babies, knows how needy babies are, how different each child can be. And she’s willing to bet that taking the time to really get to know each one—to hold its hand, to guide it to market step-by-step—will pay off in the long run. If the last seven years are any indication, it looks like she just might be right.
GET THE GROMMET T
he Grommet launches a product a day, so if you’re just hearing about them now, you have some catching up to do. Which new items should you take the time to check out? We asked a handful of the website’s Somerville-based staffers to share their recent faves.
JULES PIERI CO-FOUNDER AND CEO, THE GROMMET JUNOJUMPER PORTABLE CAR JUMP STARTER “We looked at JunoJumper— it’s a little bit over the size of a deck of cards—and said, ‘No way,’ right? No way. We went over to Dick’s Auto Body next door, and they had this old Mercedes station wagon that had been in someone’s driveway for 20 years. It was 20 years dead, and we jumped it with that little box.”
IAN MARKOWITZ SENIOR MANAGER, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT, THE GROMMET WHOLESALE BEAR PAW MEATSHREDDING CLAWS “Who doesn’t hate the sound of metal and metal when two forks collide when shredding meat? Bear Paws does that—and speeds up the process to boot.”
JASON MCCARTHY DIRECTOR, THE GROMMET WHOLESALE TABLIFT TABLET STAND “I got Tablift as a gift for my future father-in-law as he was always sitting on the couch with a tablet on his lap with his neck craned down. Now he always uses the Tablift. It’s much more comfortable for him, and he loves it.”
CORRIN BARNES FRONT END WEB DEVELOPER, THE GROMMET BITTERSWEET HAIR TIE BRACELET “I like the BitterSweet bracelet. I’m not at all surprised that it’s one of the best sellers. I always keep a hairband on my wrist, and it’s so much nicer to have something that looks attractive!”
scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
SOMERVILLE AT WORK
HOME IS WHERE THE HARDWARE IS
In less than two years, Michelle Wax has built a booming baked goods business out of her modest kitchen.
Words and photos by Emily Cassel
f you’re a desk jockey (like us), the phrase “working from home” probably means something akin to “wearing flannel pants and eating cereal out of the box while you shoot off emails.” But for Somerville’s creative class, working from home can mean everything from “tying on an apron and baking for hours” to “firing up the laser cutter and power sander.” We asked three local makers to take us behind the scenes of their home workshops.
Michelle Wax, Kitchen Millie KITCHENMILLIE.COM
t first glance, Michelle Wax’s kitchen looks like that of any area twenty-something. It’s a bit bigger than a galley kitchen, with enough room for a small wooden table and some—but not much—counter space. The white oven and refrigerator are in good shape, but they’re no top-of-the-line, space-age, stainless steel appliances. It’s the intoxicating aroma that really sets this room apart: a peanut buttery, chocolatey amalgam so dense it seems it could settle into the fibers of your clothing. This modest space is where Wax created Kitchen Millie, the sensational two-bite cookie company she founded in December 2014. “Honestly, I started it with a couple hundred dollars, and I’ve really just been bootstrapping it since then,” Wax says. She started selling her baked goods wholesale last June, and just this August, she left her 18
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day job to pursue Kitchen Millie full time. Her cookies are available at an ever-growing number of Greater Boston restaurants and specialty shops, and in late March, she’ll launch a Kickstarter to help spread the sweets even further. While some people struggle to work from home, Wax is hard-wired for this type of independent success. She has an entrepreneurial spirit and a business brain, and before she set out on her own she worked for a startup downtown. “I know a lot of my friends … they just couldn’t do it,” Wax says, recalling the way some people hit a wall in their work when last winter’s snowstorms kept them trapped indoors. “I’ve just gotten into a mindset where I’ll make a list of what I need to get done and won’t really stray from that—or try not to, as hard as I can—until it’s done for the day.”
Janine Kwoh, Kwohtations KWOHTATIONS.COM
ith relatable well-wishes like, “Thanks for watching me ugly cry” and, “Yay, you’re gay!” it’s no surprise that Janine Kwoh’s handmade cards have found a home here in Somerville. She started printing “Kwohtations” cards for her friends in 2011 and opened an Etsy store shortly thereafter. Now, she sells her work at area popups and in shops like Davis Squared.
Her greeting cards are becoming more and more popular, but Kwoh’s workspace has remained more or less the same: two folding tables set up adjacent to her bed. “It really was—or is—a matter of necessity,” she says. While she’d eventually like to have her own studio space—and maybe even her Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations, whose own letterpress—she says bedroom doubles as a studio with the she can’t justify incurring help of two folding tables. that expense right now. “And I actually do really enjoy it,” she adds. “I love being able to roll out of my bed and immediately start working.” Having the ability to take 15 minutes to create here or there, or to throw in a load of laundry while she works, offers her a flexibility she wouldn’t have in a rental space. Those little moments of time go a long way, especially since Kwoh also has a full-time job. But she notes that constant exposure to your work can be a downside, too. “It’s literally staring at me in the face when I wake up and when I go to bed,” Kwoh jokes. “Sometimes, I have to pause and think, ‘Am I having fun, or am I just stressed out?’ And honestly, sometimes it’s hard to tell.” Luckily, she lives in a place full of people—many of whom work from home themselves—who understand exactly the situation she’s in. “There’s a whole community of makers in Somerville, there’s so many artists here,” she says. “It’s really great to have that support network—to have people to connect with and bounce ideas off of and be inspired by.”
Antoinette Hocbo and Jared Steinmark, Hawkmark Studio HAWKMARKSTUDIO.COM
think people are surprised when they hear that we have a laser cutter in our house,” laughs Antoinette Hocbo. “It’s certainly a presence in the room.” Hocbo and partner Jared Steinmark use their bright red, oven-sized 60-watt laser, which they’ve affectionately named Richard, to etch and cut out their intricate wooden jewelry and housewares. It’s not the kind of tool you can just stow away on a shelf somewhere, so they recently converted their bedroom into a studio space, complete with shelving units, a workbench and the computer they use to sketch out their designs. They still need somewhere to sleep, of course—so they’ve moved their bed into the tiny office Antoinette Hocbo of Hawkmark Studio shows off a cutting-board that was laser etched in their space off of their living room. converted bedroom. Yes, that’s a map of Somerville! “Our bed touches three walls … it’s quite literally a bedroom,” Hocbo says. “We had to disassemble the frame and assemble it in the room, because we couldn’t fit the bed into the room,” adds Steinmark. The creative couple doesn’t seem too bummed about not having a super spacious bedroom. Their craft is their priority, and for now, this arrangement lets them freely pursue their passion at any time of day or night, without worrying about renting studio space or being dependent on someone else’s schedule. “It actually kind of shifted my mentality about what I need a bedroom to be. Really, it’s just a place where we sleep,” Hocbo explains. “It made a lot more sense to give more room to where we’re going to be working.”
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SOMERVILLE AT WORK
TALKIN’ TEEN JOBS FROM CITY HALL TO ASSEMBLY ROW, THE CITY’S YOUNG PEOPLE ARE WORKING HARD—OFTEN OUT OF NECESSITY
Words and photo by Emily Cassel
really don’t have the privilege of having a job for pocket change,” says Clarah Leite. “I have to make sure my dad’s okay with his bills, and if he isn’t, I’ve got him. And I also have my own bills, my phone bill.” Leite is a 16-year-old student at Somerville High School, where she’s taking advanced classes and trying to maintain a high GPA. She’d eventually like to go to college (maybe to study psychology; she isn’t sure, but she likes the social sciences). She also works part time at Somerville’s Center for Teen Empowerment, where she helps plan their youth programs and events. The daughter of Brazilian immigrants, for whom she’s a translator, Leite uses her (limited) free time to read and write. She’s a fan of Edgar Allan Poe. Balancing schoolwork and an after-school job, maintaining a social life and setting aside personal time, planning for the future while trying to assure that your family is financially stable in the present—isn’t that a lot for a 16 year old to handle? “Oh my god,” she says, with an exasperated laugh. “I’m going to be honest and say there are some days where I just sit on my bed and I cry, because it’s like, ‘What am I doing?’” According to Center for Teen Empowerment Program Director Danny McLaughlin, Leite’s story is common among the city’s teens. “The Somerville population and the youth population are exact opposites of each other,” McLaughlin says. “Most of our youth are coming from extreme low-income families.” Himself a lifelong Somerville resident, McLaughlin has seen firsthand the way the city has changed over the last several decades. Many of those changes are for the better, especially when it comes to the employment opportunities available to city youth. The shops and restaurants at Assembly Row intentionally and aggressively hire Somerville residents, many of whom are teens. The Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program matches youth with positions in city departments or with private employers, and City of Somerville Human Services Director Nancy Bacci, who has managed the program since 2007, says it’s gotten bigger every year since Mayor Curtatone first took office in 2003. There’s also the robust—and growing—Career and Technical Education Program at Somerville High School, which gives students the opportunity to work in one of 13 different fields, from metalwork to dentistry, before they graduate. Director of Career and Technical Education Leo DeSimone says that participation in the program has tripled over the last five years, and today, about 550 students—or 45 percent of the overall high school population—are enrolled. The employment opportunities for teens may be better, but 20 March | April 2016
“economically, their lives aren’t improving,” McLaughlin explains. The city’s economic status has improved in recent decades, and he says there’s an impression from folks outside of Somerville that people who live here must have a good chunk of change. That’s not necessarily the case; McLaughlin says Teen Empowerment’s Somerville site employs more low-income students than its sites in Roxbury or Dorchester, according to intake forms filled out by the teens at the start of employment. “It’s crazy that the city’s improved so much, and we do have these jobs, and we do have these great services,” McLaughlin says, “and it’s still tough for a lot of the kids.” “There are too many teens in Somerville who have to work. That is, I think, a real problem,” agrees Ward 4 School Committee member Andre Green. Green says that as it becomes increasingly expensive to live in this city, it’s also becoming increasingly difficult for teens to find their place. Many, like Leite, work one or more jobs to supplement their families’ income. Green is a huge supporter of the high school’s “simply phenomenal” vocational program, but he’d like to see more infrastructure that supports the city’s young people. That includes resources like flexible school scheduling to accommodate those who work and mental health support for stressed-out, struggling teens. “Somerville’s politicians love to talk about how 40 percent of Somerville’s residents are between the ages of 21 and 34,” he adds, “and increasingly, those are the residents for whom we are designing and building things.” More broadly, he points to legislation like State Rep. Denise Provost’s Education Equity for All Act, which would “provide high school graduates equal access to in-state tuition rates and financial aid in the higher education system.” If there’s one thing that Green, McLaughlin and DeSimone agree on, it’s that Somerville’s teens really want to succeed. “They’re hard workers, these kids,” McLaughlin says. “It’s actually amazing how motivated they are to look for and find jobs.” DeSimone says he consistently gets positive feedback from the employers who participate in the Career and Technical Education Program. “The kids in Somerville high school are good kids— they are—and they understand hard work and work ethic,” he says. “It is hard for me to overstate how impressive Somerville’s teens are,” adds Green. “They are insightful, they are hardworking, they are kind and compassionate.” He’s confident that, given the right tools and opportunity, Somerville’s teens will take those resources and run with them. “I love being a school committee member,” he says with a chuckle, “but I am pretty confident that if you picked a random Somerville High School student, they would do a better job.”
Photo: Youth at the Center for Teen Empowerment plan the organization’s annual Peace Conference.
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
SOMERVILLE AT WORK
FOR SOMERVILLE’S STAY-AT-HOME PARENTS,
IT’S MORE THAN A LABOR OF LOVE By Hannah Walters Photo by Emily Cassel
hen Jessica Knauss moved to Somerville with her family in late 2013, she found the stigma of stay-at-home-parenting was much less palpable here than it had been in Pennsylvania. “A lot of people ask me, ‘Do you get to stay home with your kids?’ instead of, ‘Oh, so do you just stay home?’” Knauss never thought she’d want to be a stay-at-home parent. It’s not exactly an easy decision—according to the U.S. Department of Labor, a paltry 12 percent of private companies offer some kind of paid parental leave. But when her husband landed in Boston on a two-year work agreement, it just made sense. Their decision turned out to be for the best; Somerville, she says, actually has a culture of stay-at-homeparenting. She’s found a large community of parents in the city who have chosen to stay with their kids at least part time, a far cry from her experience in Pennsylvania. Financial obligations and social stigma aside, stay-at-home parents face a litany of unique challenges—and rewards!—that often go unseen by society at large. “Anybody knows how to run a load of laundry,” says Todd Easton, a stay-at-home dad to three children. “The mental side of being a stay-athome parent is the harder part.” The mental side includes (but is not limited to): fear of leaving your career behind, lack of control and isolation. The toughest part
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
KAT RUTKIN WITH SONS SUMNER (AGE 4) AND GRAHAM (11 MONTHS)
for Easton, especially in the beginning, was going without the water cooler banter that happens naturally at an outside-the-home job. “The sidewalk for a stay-at-home father can be a lonely place,” he reflects. And if loneliness was a problem for Easton, a Somerville resident for almost 13 years, it certainly was for local mom Kat Rutkin. Rutkin was seven months pregnant when she and her husband made the move to Somerville from Brooklyn in 2011. She faced making a whole new group of friends—a challenge she says she would have had to navigate even if she had stayed in New York after having her first son. “If your friends aren’t on the same baby-having schedule as you, you have to make all new friends,” she explains. But Rutkin is ambitious and enthusiastic about community engagement, which went a long way in helping her find a new social network. She took over Somerville Local First from founder Joe Grafton in 2012 and served as its director for three years. She also became the moderator for the Somerville Moms listserv, an online community that has grown to include more than 2,500 moms (and dads) since it was founded in 2005. The listserv is an indication of how welcoming the parenting community in Somerville can be. Knauss and Rutkin didn’t just find other parents through the network, they found friends they might not have ever met had they not had children in common. “It forces you to overcome social biases you may have,” Rutkin notes. Parenthood can
serve as a common ground among different social spheres. There’s a universal desire among parents of all backgrounds to just get out of the house and have a cup of coffee with another adult. Ironically, the isolation also broadens horizons. Easton explains that Somerville is indeed a special place to be a stay-at-home parent. “There are a lot of different outlets that allow those parents that are home to connect with other parents that are home,” he says, noting a multitude of online communities through which he’s made connections. “You’re constantly being informed of things that are going on.” Despite the strong parenting network Rutkin, Easton and Knauss say they’ve joined, there are still challenges to doing a job that’s literally impossible not to take home with you. On one hand, you’re craving the company of other adults. On the other, you’re craving just five minutes to yourself. “Someone else is driving the bus,” Rutkin says. “You can’t take a break whenever you want … you have to respond to the needs of your child, first and foremost.” Sometimes, you can’t even manage a bathroom break. “I can’t tell you when the last time was that I went to the bathroom by myself, with the door shut,” says Knauss. With two children to look after, showering and answering the phone have become Olympic sports. “It’s a lot harder to juggle things than anyone gives you credit for,” she says. Knauss emphasizes the importance of developing a healthy perspective when you become a stay-at-home parent. She’s developed a level of patience with and understanding for her child that she wouldn’t have cultivated had she not been with her kids day in and day out. That’s particularly true because her first son threw her some extra curveballs—Knauss explains that he was colicy and had a less easygoing temperament than other children. “You better accept the role you’re stepping into, otherwise you’re going to be miserable, whether you’re the man or the woman of the house,” Easton adds. “If you put yourself first and foremost and you’re not happy, it’s not going to change with kids.” With all the mental—and physical—gymnastics one has to go through as a stay-at-home parent, what keeps people in this city so keen on it? Parks, for one thing. “You can’t go four or five blocks without finding a park,” Rutkin says—even in the winter months. “If their face won’t get damaged, we’re going outside.” Somerville’s stay-at-home parents aren’t just taking their kids out for walks or playdates. Many are heavily involved with their neighborhoods, and they maintain creative and professional outlets on top of parenting—even if that means strapping a baby to their body for meetings. Easton has dabbled in a number of extracurricular activities throughout his tenure as a stay-at-home parent. In 2011, he ran for alderman while managing three children at home. He also served as the president of Somerville Youth Soccer League, has coached youth sports and is now moving into substitute teaching. Sarah Read, who cares for her 11-month-old daughter full-time, laid the groundwork for a nonprofit while she was still teaching, and now devotes more time to it as a stay-at-home mom. Read’s organization, called The Story Café Project, connects adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to local businesses for volunteer and eventually paid work. Her daughter consequently rubs elbows with clients, human services workers and local businesspeople, like the owners of Aeronaut Brewing Company and Somerville Chocolate. While Read loves being a stay-at-home mother, she sees The Story Café Project as a way to make her full-time caregiving even more sustainable. “Because of that nonprofit, I would say that I could stay at home longer than if I didn’t have that in the works. I have that outlet.” “I am very lucky,” Read notes. “Since [my daughter] was born, she’s been to a million meetings. She just goes along for the ride … and it’s been neat for me because rather than see her as an addition or something to be worried about, she’s totally an asset. People are so excited to have a baby around.”
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
SOMERVILLE AT WORK
t f o s l Too
PHOTOS BY JESS BENJAMIN
e don’t need a lot to get through the day here at Scout. Give us a laptop, a recorder, a cell phone, a camera and gratuitous amounts of coffee, and we’re pretty much all set. But when your job is less online and more hands-on, you end up carrying around a very specific set of tools. We asked a few ‘Villens who work in different trades to open their backpacks, purses and knife sheaths so we could see what it takes for them to get work done.
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
SOMERVILLE AT WORK
UNION SQUARE AT WORK 26
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
hen Charan Devereaux started photographing the faces of Union Square in 2014, she never intended for the portraits to become an extensive project. But as she spoke to more people and learned the histories of the square’s businesses and nonprofits, “I kept wanting to do more,” she says. Her resulting exhibit, “Union Square at Work,” debuted at the Somerville Museum in October. “What I like about it is the variety—variety of types of businesses, of people’s stories,” Devereaux explains. “There are a lot of themes that come up— about entrepreneurship, about bringing creativity to your work, about immigration—over and over again.” Which is part of the reason that she’s still shooting; after she put the project together, Devereaux realized there were more people and places in the square she wanted to photograph. “Union Square at Work” is on display through the end of March, and we’re sharing some of our favorite photos from the collection on the following pages. You won’t want to miss the exhibit, which showcases more than 70 of Devereaux’s photos and features a playlist of Union Square bands that Devereaux coproduced with Club Passim’s Matt Smith and Damon Leibert from Bluetone Studio.
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ose Garcia opened Ebi Sushi in 2010. “We are a bunch of rebels—an Asian-American and seven Latinos making Japanese food,” says head sushi chef Sean Ikeda. (Garcia is originally from Guatemala.) Ikeda says Ebi Sushi has provided its staff with opportunity. Alexander Morales became lead kitchen chef in less than six months after working at McDonald’s. “He worked hard and learned so quickly,” Ikeda says. Ikeda himself had left advertising and spent a year trying to get restaurant work before finding a job making sushi. “No American restaurant would take me,” he says. Now Ikeda specializes in nigiri sushi, “fish on rice with concentrated new flavors on top,” he says. Ikeda also enjoys creating new takes on commonly available fish like salmon. “It took some time [for Ebi Sushi] to get credibility,” Ikeda says. “But we are all trained traditionally and take pride in our work. Now, I’ve had opportunities to leave Somerville and work elsewhere. But this is where I want to be.”
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Somerville at Work
ERIC SHAKES & EVERTON “CHICKEN” GAYLE CHICKEN & SHAKES AUTOMOTIVE 6 BEACH AVE.
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
hicken & Shakes Automotive opened for business in Allston in 1990. “We are both originally from Jamaica,” says co-owner Eric Shakes. “We worked at [auto] shops there and then migrated here in 1981.” Initially, both men had other jobs. “But we did a lot of mechanical work along the street-side,” says Shakes. “We got to know a lot of people and finally decided to open a business.” Chicken & Shakes moved to Somerville after Harvard University purchased the Allston building where they rented space. Boynton Yards has changed significantly since they first arrived, they say. “When we moved here in 1997, you couldn’t leave a car outside,” Shakes says. “If we went inside to work on another, somebody would break into the car. You couldn’t walk down the street after 6 o’clock.” Shakes credits the constant presence of their business, open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with making the area safer. “I think we helped change the neighborhood,” he says.
COME IN AS A CUSTOMER, LEAVE AS A FRIEND ”I’d buy another car from John tomorrow and I’d tell all my friends to go there too.” – Suzanne Fontano
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Now in its 25th year, Chicken & Shakes does not advertise, but relies on word of mouth. “If we fix your car and give you a nice price, you will tell somebody else,” says Shakes. “It is an honest job from an honest mechanic. And people remember our name.” Shakes is Eric’s given name. “But they call me Chicken because we charge cheap,” says co-owner Everton Gayle. The shop does not specialize in a particular make or model. “We started from the bottom up, so most of the time, we can just listen to a car and tell you what’s wrong with it,” Shakes says. “If you need a muffler or shocks, we do it. If you need an air conditioner charge, we do it. If you need some body work or a new engine, we do it. Certain things we won’t touch, but most things we can do.”
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Somerville at Work
VICKY I, BOARD PRESIDENT AND CO-FOUNDER COMMUNITY COOKS
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30 March | April 2016
ommunity Cooks started 25 years ago, just down the street from the Somerville Museum. Raising two children at 8 Westwood Rd., Lucy Leu organized her neighbors to make monthly meals for the Somerville Homeless Coalition. Shortly afterwards, lifelong activist Vicky I moved to Somerville and joined Lucy’s efforts, organizing neighbors on Central Street. “In those days, it was hard to know what do to about the homeless situation. It was everywhere. What we could do?” Vicky says. “The idea was, we could make a meal.” The group of neighborhood volunteers grew. For a time, they drove a minivan through the streets of Somerville broadcasting Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony from a mounted loudspeaker—a signal for volunteers to bring their food outside for transport. Now based in Union Square, Community Cooks mobilizes over 800 volunteers to prepare and deliver meals to 35 direct service agencies. The food serves over 3,100 adults and children each month in Somerville and surrounding communities. “It is important to work together. On one hand, we provide a service,” Vicky says, “and on the other hand, we build community.”
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Somerville at Work
SHEILA BORGES THE NEIGHBORHOOD RESTAURANT & BAKERY 25 BOW ST.
March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
anuel Borges first moved to Somerville to cook at PA’s Lounge on Somerville Avenue. “I still remember when Tony Amaral came to visit us in [New] Jersey and asked my father to come to Boston,” says daughter Sheila Borges. “At the time, PA’s Lounge served dinner and it was the place to eat—there was always a line down the street.” Manuel Borges, now 94, eventually bought the building at 25 Bow St., where his family still lives and works today. “There was a little bakery here on the first floor, and it wasn’t making it,” Sheila says. “So in 1983, my brother [Mario] took it over and started baking sweetbread using my grandmother’s recipe. Portuguese sweetbread is like challah—you always have it at parties, in the house, in your life—it is a staple.” Unfortunately, even Mario’s sweetbread was not enough to make the bakery profitable. “But
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instead of closing down, he started making eggs,” Borges says. “That comes from my father’s mentality—it’s an old country thing. If no one eats the bread, you crumb it and put in on fish, or you find another way. So my brother cuts up the bread and serves eggs with it. He started a breakfast place.” The Borges family worked to develop the restaurant. “[Mario] went to auctions and bid on tables and chairs—nothing matched. We were broke as hell, but again, it comes from my father. You find a way, you stay in business. You paint it yourself, you put in the floor. That was the mentality,” Sheila says. Manuel joined Mario at the restaurant, and they built out the kitchen and expanded the hours to stay open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mario served breakfast and lunch, and Manuel cooked dinner. “They were always working,” Sheila says.
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
By Emily Cassel Photos by Mary Schwalm
HEATS UP 34 March | April 2016
inter Hill Brewing Company is almost ready to open. The taps have been installed, the signage is up and the espresso machine—yes, they’ll also be serving coffee— has arrived. But the brewery was only midway through its buildout when, in late September, the team welcomed the Winter Hill community into its skeleton space at 328 Broadway to talk about revitalizing their neighborhood. “Everything was a little bit of a nightmare, and we didn’t know what the hell we were doing,” laughs co-founder and head brewer Jeff Rowe. “We helped the only way we could, which was to offer the space and clean it out for a quick second.” Dozens of their soon-to-be neighbors, unperturbed by the unfinished building, met in the brewery to snack, drink, play games—and talk tactical urbanism. The evening was facilitated by The Better Block, a nonprofit that encourages and empowers citizens to take a hand in shaping their communities for the better. Better Block’s Andrew Howard says that the organization wants to reach residents who haven’t previously been engaged. “Maybe they wouldn’t go to the school meeting or the town hall meeting,” Howard explains, “but they’ll go [to an event] right in their neighborhood and express what they want and put the time into building it.” The idea is also to get community members to think big, to imagine, “What if?” At the Winter Hill Better Block Festival in December, residents made temporary changes like setting up a parklet—literally, a tiny park— and painting a colorful rainbow crosswalk. The hope is that these inexpensive, short-term initiatives can help set the stage for longterm growth and revitalization. “A lot of us live our day to day and just sort of accept what’s around us and don’t think a lot about it,” says Melissa Woods from the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning. “To sort of disrupt that status quo—especially in the fun way that we did—is, I think, really
eye-opening to people.” Winter Hill residents already know this region as one of the city’s hidden gems, an off-thebeaten-path place to get some of the best pizza in Greater Boston (Leone’s) a stone’s throw from some of the region’s best Middle Eastern fare (Sarma). And the brewery is just the latest in a long line of local businesses—Winter Hill Bakery, Winter Hill Bank, Winter Hill Liquor Mart, Winter Hill Veterinary Clinic—to claim the neighborhood as its namesake. It’s also one of a number of new eateries that have opened or will soon open in the area. Falafel Place came to Main Street a little over a year ago; Nick Robertson just opened the doors at Somerville Bread Company on Medford Street in February. Soon, Tipping Cow will serve gourmet ice cream a few doors down from Robertson’s shop. In some ways, Woods says that this marks a return to Winter Hill’s roots. Lifelong residents will remember the kind of thoroughfare that Broadway once was, lined with shops and restaurants, with the Broadway Theater just down the road in East Somerville. The challenge, of course, as any neighborhood morphs from a residential district to a drinking and dining destination, is in keeping the neighborhood’s integrity intact—and in keeping rents affordable for the people who currently live there. How do we encourage development without contributing to skyrocketing rents? Can we make this a nicer place for the people who are already here without pushing those same people out? Finding a way to strike that balance is “the thesis of about a third of all graduate students across the U.S.,” says Woods. It’s something that’s at the front of her mind and the minds of her coworkers at City Hall, and she says that, honestly, they don’t have a simple answer. What they do know is that they want to keep citizens as involved in the process as possible. Better Block’s Monica Diodati says that her organization tries to get residents and people from the private sector talking, to show people that it’s not as hard as
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scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
Scout Out Winter Hill Heats Up
they think to make improvements on their own. Which is why, on February 18, about 30 people got together at the Winter Hill Community School for a follow-up discussion about the Better Block Festival. “We really hadn’t planned on doing this kind of meeting,” says Max MacCarthy, who works in the Economic Development Department at City Hall. But, he says, residents wanted a way to stay involved moving forward. At the meeting, attendees discussed the report Better Block compiled after the festival and tried to set up local, community-based leadership that will guide Winter Hill’s future. There was talk of establishing a neighborhood institution that could set small-scale priorities, whether that means planning events, encouraging advocacy or something else entirely. Winter Hill has its longstanding institutions, but there’s no cohesive organization— formal or informal—for guiding the neighborhood’s future like East
Can we make this a nicer place for the people who are here without pushing those same people out? Somerville Main Streets and Union Square Main Streets do in their respective communities. The guys behind Winter Hill Brewing are here to help in whatever way they can. Rowe and business partners Bert Holdredge and David Bailey are still putting the finishing touches on their space—on the late February afternoon when we met, Bailey was building the bar—but they have lots of thoughts about using their brewery in offbeat ways once it’s ready. Rowe says they’d consider scheduling farmers markets during the summer, or maybe holding bicycle races out front. They’re envisioning a future where Winter Hill is a destination, a place where people from Somerville and beyond can converge and connect. “Somerville is small as it is,” says Holdredge, glancing up from his work on the bar. “We’re just trying to make it smaller.” 36 March | April 2016
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Scout Out The Rest Is Not Just History
THE REST IS NOT JUST HISTORY BEHIND A MODEST BRICK FACADE IN SPRING HILL, STORIES OF THE PAST REST ALONGSIDE THE SPIRIT OF OUR FUTURE. By JM Lindsay Photos by Emily Cassel
eatly tucked away off Central Street between Summer Street and Highland Avenue, the Somerville Museum may not have the obvious and imposing grandeur of other area museums. It’s not as modern and spacious as the Seaport’s Institute of Contemporary Art, and it’s not nearly as palatial as Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum— where, coincidentally, the Somerville Museum’s Board of Trustees president, Barbara Mangum, once worked as chief conservator. But those museums, beautiful as they are, house worldly collections geared towards tourists and discerning art historians. The Somerville Museum, founded in 1897 as the Somerville Historical Society, has an entirely different purpose. It’s a mission that shines through its current exhibit, Charan Devereaux’s “Union Square at Work,” and upcoming events, like the always popular “Union Square Open Studios,” headquartered at the museum from April 29 through May 1. For a long time, the museum ran simply as a historical society, according to Mangum, an art conservator who hails from Alabama. “These were incredible people who wanted to get together and keep the history of Somerville alive as they knew it, because Somerville had undergone such huge change already” by the turn of the 20th century, Mangum says. Historical Society members wanted to
Union Square at Work: photographer Charan Devereaux leads a tour of the Somerville Museum 38 March | April 2016
document the history of Somerville’s growth during the second half of the 19th century from a sparsely-populated, almost rural section of Charlestown to one of the most densely populated cities in New England. “The history is the movement from a rural community to what it is today,” says Michael O’Connell, a former Fort Point painter and the museum’s director of exhibitions. The Somerville Historical Society officially became the Somerville Museum in 1988. Since then, it has been much more focused on social history, a recounting of the past from the voices of community members rather than elites. “A new group of people came in and reinvented the society as the Somerville Museum,” O’Connell says. He points to the 1997 exhibit “Lifting the Veil: Remembering the Burning of the Ursaline Convent” as the major turning point in the museum’s focus and mission. According to O’Connell, organizers Nancy Natale and Nancy Lusignan Schultz decided not only to present the “well-worn” history of the 1834 anti-Catholic attack, but also “to present the story to contemporary Somerville artists and have them respond to it.” “Lifting the Veil” featured the resulting paintings, sculptures and art installations. O’Connell calls it a “very interesting collision,” one that made him realize that the museum’s purpose should be to create a conversation between past and present through its exhibitions. “Union Square at Work” (which you can learn more about on p. 26), continues in the same tradition, exploring the history of businesses and nonprofits in one of the city’s oldest commercial districts. The show features photographs of people in their working environments around the square: workshops, bars and restaurants, auto body centers and more. Devereaux, in her project statement, asks of the planned $1 billion Union Square Revitalization Plan, “Who will gain? And what will be lost? What new opportunities will arrive and which will disappear?” “We had some great lectures from some of the people that owned these businesses, talking about Somerville then and what they saw for the future,” says Mangum. “We kind of mix and match [visual arts with more traditional history], and the whole thing is really to get a good experience for people, but we don’t want to forget the history, too.” Indeed, a casual passerby could be fooled by the museum’s modest exterior and residential location. But it’s certainly not without its historic beauty. It was built during the Great Depression specifically to house the Somerville Historical Society, and its high ceilings and large windows allow the space to be flooded with natural light, even on the gloomiest winter afternoon. The interior contains a split staircase designed in 1792 by Massachusetts State House architect Charles Bulfinch. Not original to the building, the stairs, Mangum says, were built for the mansion of wealthy Somerville shipping merchant Joseph Barrell. The mansion, once located at the current site of the Holiday Inn on Cobble Hill, later became the original site of the McLean Hospital—then known as McLean Asylum for the Insane. “Somerville had been an oasis of suburbia for Boston, but by the 1870s the railroads had come through and were coming right through their property,” says Mangum, “so the hospital moved to Belmont [in 1895].” The stairs were donated to the Somerville Historical Society and remain in the museum to this day. “As far as we know, it’s the only one like this designed for a residence that’s still in existence,” Magnum says proudly. When people think of Somerville, “a lot of people think of the Civil War or the American Revolution,” says O’Connell. But, “When you look at the history of the 19th and 20th century, what you’re actually looking at is an emblem of a lot of cities in America. The history of Somerville is an example of that.” The Somerville Museum is located at 1 Westwood Rd. Its regular (Fall through Spring) hours are Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m., Fridays from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.
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www.VisitGriffin.com scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
EDUCATION (& MORE!) Opens March 1
IMAGINING NEW TECHNOLOGY: BUILDING MIT IN CAMBRIDGE 10 A.M.-5 P.M., $10 FOR ADULTS, $5 FOR STUDENTS AND SENIORS KURTZ GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHY 265 MASSACHUSETTS AVE., CAMBRIDGE Celebrate art, architecture, community, education and more with “Imagining New Technology,” which opens March 1 and runs through September 6. This expansive exhibit celebrates the 100th anniversary of MIT’s move to Cambridge with rarely and never-before-seen artifacts as well as photographs and interviews with longtime members of the Cambridge community. Visitors can even 3D print their very own building and add it to a model of the neighborhood!
2 NATURE | March 12
MAPLE SYRUP BOIL DOWN FESTIVAL 10 A.M.-2 P.M., FREE Community Growing Center, 22 Vinal Ave., Somerville How sweet it is! On March 12, foodies, naturalists and hungry folks of all stripes can watch and learn as sap from local sugar maple trees is boiled down over a fire into pure maple syrup. Syrup tasting, kids’ activities—and of course, waffles— are all on the menu for this fun, free and family-friendly outdoor event. Follow the hashtag #mmmsyrup for updates.
BOOKS | March 17
SHIRIN EBADI 7 P.M., FREE 6:30 P.M., $5 OR $28 (INCLUDES BOOK) FIRST PARISH CHURCH 1446 MASS. AVE., CAMBRIDGE Certified badass Shirin Ebadi, a human rights lawyer and the first Muslim woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, comes to Cambridge to discuss her memoir Until We Are Free, which documents her life spent fighting for justice under a brutal regime in Iran. Her incredible story shows the lengths to which the Islamic Republic was willing to go—wiretapping, death threats, arrests—and her unstoppable spirit in the fight for a better future.
ARTS | March 19
FITNESS | March 13
CRAICFEST 5K 2016 5:30 P.M., $20.25 CAMBRIDGESIDE GALLERIA, 100 CAMBRIDGESIDE PL. Running is hard—but it’s easier if there’s beer at the end of the tunnel. Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day with Cambridge 5K, who are bringing you a green-themed road race sponsored by Notch, Slumbrew and Bantam Cider. And if that’s not enough incentive, your registration gets you a race shirt plus free food and beer.
40 March | April 2016
“THE UNCANNY HOME OF OUR IMAGINATION” 6-9 P.M., FREE NAVE GALLERY ANNEX 53 CHESTER ST., SOMERVILLE This offbeat exhibit explores the Uncanny Valley—the unsettling, creepy place that exists when something appears human, and yet isn’t, exactly. Curated by Lisa Crossman and Julia Csekö, “Uncanny Home” will transform the Nave Gallery Annex into a house of not-quite-horrors, where everyday objects are ever-soslightly off. The exhibit opens March 19 and runs through April 9.
SCIENCE | April 15 - 24
CAMBRIDGE SCIENCE FESTIVAL CITYWIDE This 10-day celebration of science and tech returns in April with a host of events throughout the city. There’s a sidewalk astronomy presentation in Harvard Square, a “robot zoo” at the Cambridge Public Library, a workshop teaching aspiring bioengineers how to build their own living organism and much, much more. Find the whole list of happenings at cambridgesciencefestival.org.
COMMUNITY | April 21
FINAL RACE AND RACISM BOOK DISCUSSION 7 P.M., FREE SOMERVILLE LIBRARY MAIN BRANCH 79 HIGHLAND AVE., SOMERVILLE In January, the Somerville Public Library kicked off a new series of book discussions and panel presentations that center on race and racism in our community and beyond. The series continues on March 17 with a discussion of Michelle Alexander’s award-winning The New Jim Crow, and wraps up on April 21, when the library will welcome a panel of speakers that includes Guerlince (“Lince”) Semerzier, executive director of the Haitian Coalition of Somerville, and Sassiane Estany, program coordinator for Somerville’s Center for Teen Empowerment.
7 CREATIVITY | Saturdays
#WHATIMAKE CONFERENCE 9:30 A.M., $35 OR $45 AT THE DOOR AERONAUT BREWERY AND ARTISAN’S ASYLUM 14 TYLER ST. AND 10 TYLER ST., SOMERVILLE Inspiration and perspiration meet at the 2016 What I Make conference, where local artists and artisans come together to talk about their creative process and then lead a series of hands-on creativity workshops. Dance, music, cooking, printmaking, farming—it’s all here. Grab tickets and reserve your spot on Eventbrite.
MUSIC | April 16 and 17 MURDER BY DEATH 8 P.M., $20 THE SINCLAIR 52 CHURCH ST., CAMBRIDGE The brooding country five-piece Murder by Death is only hitting the road once in 2016. Luckily, you have two nights to catch them in Cambridge, and double-luckily, they’ve promised to pull out some more obscure tracks from their discography for this run of shows. With support from Kevin Devine & the Goddamn Band.
10 TECH | April 7
GEEK GIRL BOSTON TECH CONFERENCE 8 A.M.-6 P.M., $75-$129 MICROSOFT NERD CENTER 1 MEMORIAL DR., CAMBRIDGE This traveling tech conference brings together geeky gals from filmmaker Alecia Orsini of Good Natured Dog Productions to Get Smart Web founder Bridget Ayers for a day spent learning, talking code and more. Startup founders can even pitch their idea to the “Sharekette” Tank. Find more info and tickets at boston.geekgirltechcon.com. scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
Congrats, Greg Mucci!
TAKE YOUR SCOUT TO WORK DAY YOUR PHOTO
Win ! $200
ongratulations to Greg Mucci, who took home $350 in gift cards to local eateries after correctly identifying each of the four letters from our January/ February Scout This! contest. Mucci follows 3 Little Figs on Instagram, and when they posted a photo of the “Where is the Love?” scavenger hunt he realized the “L” belonged to them. Because he used to live in Union, he recognized El Potro’s “E” right away, and from there he and his girlfriend used social media to try and find the remaining letters. “We did a little detective work,” Mucci says. “Couchsurfing.” He and a friend had a competition going to see who could track more steps with their Fitbit, and on a sunny winter day, Mucci walked 21 miles—from Coolidge to Somerville and back—and snapped a photo at every spot. “I had blisters on my feet afterwards,” he says. Mucci and his lady are no longer together, though he says that’s not all bad. “I guess it means I can enjoy more food,” he chuckles. “No, no. I’ll share it.”
Create quiet enjoyment in your home this spring...
Porter Square Showroom 46 White Street, Somerville 617-628-2410 closet-solutions.com
Wall Units by
e liked Greg’s creative photos from the “Where is the Love” contest so much that we’ve decided we want to see more shots from our readers. Since this is the “At Work” issue, we’re asking you all to celebrate “Take Your Scout to Work Day!” The idea is simple: Just snap a pic of yourself with a copy of Scout Somerville in your workplace. Post it to Instagram—and make sure to tag @scoutmags—with the hashtag #scoutsomervilleatwork. Have some fun with it! Get creative! We want to see what kinds of shenanigans our readers can get into on the job. The person who posts our favorite photo will take home $200 in cash and prizes. Entries are due by April 15. Not on Instagram? You can also email your entries to email@example.com. Winners must be available for interview.
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March | April 2016 scoutsomerville.com
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Winner! 2013, 2014, and 2015 BEST HAIR SALON
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44 March | April 2016
907 Main Street | 617-491-6616 dumplingroom.com MAKE DUMPLING SCHOOL YOUR NEXT TEAM BUILDING EVENT!
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175 El m St., Su ite C3 | S om ervi lle, MA | 617 3 31.6303 175 Elm St., Suite C3 | Somerville,(Between MA Davis and Porter Squares) 617.331.6303
Monday: 4pm-12am Tuesday-Sunday: 4pm-2am
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Leone’s Sub and Pizza
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Everything made in-house to order! 292 Broadway, Somerville 617-776-2511 • Open Daily 8am-11pm
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Make a splash with your gifts this spring TRY OUR NEW FLATBREAD PIZZAS
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Hammond Real Estate is the only real estate company in the area that has been locally owned and operated for over 35 years. TWO BRATTLE SQUARE • 617-497-4400 • HAMMONDRE.COM
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fun, modern gifts for him, her, house and baby.
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1933 Massachusetts Ave. (617) 868-4200 sugarandspicecambridge.com scoutsomerville.com March | April 2016
Photos by Jess Benjamin
Steve Pardo and son Benjamin play at Conway Park
Prince Verma looks out from the kitchen of Momo N Curry near Union Square
A thirsty customer contemplates soda selections at Market Basket
Progress is made on the renovation of a Union Square storefront
46 March | April 2016
Robinson, Maria Eduarda and Anna Beatriz DaSilva share a pleasant afternoon at Conway Park
A customer checks his phone at Forge Bakery on Somerville Avenue
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To sign up, visit www.cove.is. We’re located at 375 Somerville Ave, Union Square.
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We talk to artists, parents, tradespeople, teens and more about making it work in Somerville.