Best Real Estate Agency
17 Conwell Street Unit 2, Somerville
17 Diane’s View Unit 17, Malden
A pet friendly 1-bedroom condo (has been used as 2 bedrooms) on a one-way side street between Porter and Davis Squares. With in-unit laundry, private front deck, and bay windows—just around the corner from 3 Little Figs.
This pet-friendly 3-story townhouse offers amazing treetop views of the area. It has 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, garage parking, and 3 outdoor parking spots.
34 Camp Street Unit 1, Cambridge $625,000
This sweet, inviting first floor 2-bedroom, 1-bath condo is steps to the bike path, Mass. Ave., and Davis Square subway. Private back porch and lovely shared yard. Private storage and laundry in basement.
Best Real Estate Agent
17 Laurel Street Unit 1, Somerville $589,000
Adorable 2-bedroom, 1-bath condo with parking and private back porch. Private storage and laundry in basement.
104 Woodstock Street Unit 3, Somerville
35 Curtis Avenue, Somerville $1,195,000
Bright and spacious 2 bedroom, 2.5 baths, central air, gas fireplace, 2-level condo with in-unit laundry, basement storage, and exclusive garage. Walk to Teele and Davis Squares, Alewife, and East Arlington.
Large Teele Square single family home with a mature wild flower garden and a 4 bay garage. It has 6 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and many original features including French doors and a warming cupboard tucked into the chimney breast.
348 Norfolk Street, Cambridge $2,000,000
Beautifully renovated, condo-quality, owner occupied 3-family between Inman Square and East Cambridge. First floor unit has open concept living, 1 bedroom, and 1 bath on the first level and finished lower level with study, media room, and laundry room. Second floor has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath, private w/d hook-ups in basement. Top floor has 3 beds, 1 bath, private w/d in basement and is rented for $3,000 through 5/31/20. Rear patio and small front yard. Units 1 and 2 delivered vacant. Residents with cars registered at this address are entitled to free parking in City-owned lot across the street.
156 Ivy Street, Brookline $5,995,000
This stunning historic Early Gothic Revival (c. 1851) single family sits on 8/10 acre and abuts conservation land in the Cottage Farm neighborhood, yet it is within walking distance of Fenway Park and Cambridge. The house offers 5 bedrooms, 4 1/2 baths, 3 studies, library, dining room, living room, 5 fireplaces, finished basement with media room, high ceilings, central air, beautiful architectural details, and 3-car garage with electric car outlet. Walk to Green Line B, C, and D trains as well as major hospitals and BU campus.
5 Granite Street #2, Somerville Bright Spring Hill 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom condo on 2 upper levels. Private deck off kitchen and shared yard space. Notable features include gas fireplace, central air, and vaulted ceiling in master bedroom suite. Pet friendly. Quick walk to Union, Porter, and Inman Squares.
President, Realtor ® 617.513.1967 cell/text Thalia@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
East Arlington Condo
Beautiful 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom condo with in-unit laundry, 2 parking spaces, private yard, central air, and large basement storage area. Walk to the shops, cinema, and eateries on Mass. Ave. as well as the bike path and the Red Line station at Alewife.
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.943.9581 cell/text Jennifer@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Lynn C. Graham
First Time Home Buyers:
an overview of the buying process Monday, August 26TH or Wednesday, September 11TH
6:30 – 7:45 pm
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 and a loan officer from a local bank, it includes a 45-min presentation and 1/2 hour Q&A session. Handouts and refreshments provided.
How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time: for homeowners contemplating a move Wednesday, August 21ST or Monday, September 16TH
6:30 – 7:45 pm
If trying to figure out the logistics of selling your home and buying a new one makes your head spin, this workshop will help make the process & your choices 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.
Reading the Clues:
recognizing the history of your old house
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.216.5244 cell/text Lynn@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.895.6267 cell/text Brendon@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 315.382.2507 cell/text Seth@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
With Architectural Historian, Sally Zimmerman Tuesday, September 17TH
6:30 – 7:45 pm
If you are a new owner of an old house, you may be wondering about how it’s changed over time and how you might go about bringing back some of its better attributes. Learn to read the clues about how old houses are frequently modified and how to uncover the history of your old house to reveal its best features in an illustrated 45-minute lecture on understanding how old houses evolve and why preserving them matters with architectural historian Sally Zimmerman, followed by Q&A on your old house projects.
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.702.4751 cell/text Sarasvati@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
How to Research Your Old House With Architectural Historian, Sally Zimmerman Wednesday, September 18TH
6:30 – 7:45 pm
You don’t have to go to the Registry of Deeds to find out a lot about your old house. Learn how to shortcut your way to great information about the history and occupants of your house in an illustrated 45-minute lecture by Sally Zimmerman, Senior Preservation Services Manager at Historic New England. Submit a photo of your house ahead of time and we will share what we have learned in a Q&A session to follow the talk.
To reserve space in any class, please email Adaria@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com. Admission is free, but we appreciate donations of canned goods for the Somerville Homeless Coalition.
Our Current Art Show:
Viktor Butko, Recent Paintings
This show will be up through July. Feel free to drop in to see it anytime we are in the office.
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.
KEEP IT REAL. KEEP IT GREEK.
KEEP IT REAL GREEK. at OPA GREEK YEEROS
THANK YOU FOR YOUR NOMINATIONS! Best Greek Food
BEST GREEK FOOD BEST CHEAP EATS
Vote for us at scoutsomerville.com/vote! Follow us on Instagram @opa_greek_yeeros for quick-fire specials.
378 Highland Ave Somerville, MA 617-718-2900 www.opayeeros.com hours 11-9 daily
Delivery available through Grub Hub and UBER Eats
he flavors of Greece can be found in Davis Square at Opa Greek Yeeros. Traditional dishes are served up daily by George and his crew with ingredients imported straight from Greece to ensure the authenticity and quality of every item on the menu. It’s not only the menu that is steeped in tradition; Opa is a family affair. George’s mother has owned and run Sophia’s Greek Pantry for over 15 years and now she keeps Opa stocked with homemade fresh Greek yogurt, delicious desserts and pastries. Even though yeeros are in the name, Opa offers so much more. The menu is a curated selection of Greek favorites from traditional Greek salads to spanakopita and “the best Greek yogurt” you’ll find outside of the Mediterranean. George will greet you with a smile, a friendly chat and delicious food that will keep you coming back for more.
BEST DENTIST Best Dentist
THANK YOU FOR YOUR N O M I N AT I O N , S O M E R V I L L E ! • FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY • TEETH WHITENING • CROWN AND BRIDGE WORK • RESTORATION OF DENTAL IMPLANTS • VENEERS • CLEAR ORTHODONTIC ALIGNERS
DR . KAT I E TALMO , D .M. D . • 6 1 7 . 8 6 4 . 6 1 1 1 • 1 8 0 HI G HL A ND AVE N U E
JULY 8 - SEPTEMBER 9, 2019 ::: VOLUME 58 ::: SCOUTSOMERVILLE.COM
contents 8 // EDITOR’S NOTE 10 // WINNERS & LOSERS A colony of bees has been welcomed to Assembly Row and a city ordinance limits the availability of single-use plastic straws. 13 // VOTE IN SCOUT’S HONORED 2019! 16 // WHAT’S NEW? Airbnb restrictions, the FY20 budget, a bike lane for Powder House Boulevard, and more.
32 TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION 20 // NEWS: THE GLX BRINGS PAIN BEFORE GAIN FOR SMALL BUSINESSES Local businesses are feeling the growing pains of the Green Line Extension.
30 // THIS TECH FIRM WANTS TO ENSURE THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT IS A DEMOCRAT NGP VAN provides crucial tools to the Democratic Party and its affiliated campaigns.
24 // STEP CONTINUES FIGHT FOR EQUITABLE TRANSPORTATION Helping secure the Green Line Extension is the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership’s landmark achievement, but its work isn’t over.
32 // SOMERVILLE BIKE KITCHEN FOSTERS LEARNING THROUGH DOING The coop is a relaxed, do-ityourself learning environment where local cyclists can forge a community.
34 // SCOUT OUT: THE SOMERVILLE SWITCHBOARD If you’ve ever dialed 617-6256600 and asked for the operator, there’s a good chance you’ve spoken to Norma Douglas.
36 // SCOUT OUT: LOCAL ICE CREAM TOUR Your rundown on the best spots to get ice cream around the city. 38 // SOMETHING VENTURED: UNION PRESS The letterpress studio uses 19th and 20th century machines to create custom print projects. 40 // DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS, AND GAME CHANGERS: DEBORAH MASON Deborah Mason uses dance to tackle tough topics and transform people’s lives. 42 // MEET THE SCOUT TEAM 44 // CALENDAR
26 // ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MEETS AGRICULTURE AT ROOT AI Let us introduce you to Virgo, a robotic farmer’s assistant.
Photo, top: The Somerville Bike Kitchen. Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz. Photo, bottom: City phone operator Norma Douglas. Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz. On the cover: The Somerville Bike Kitchen. Photo by Troy Sankey.
I like that I’m helping people. If they don’t know where they’re going, I’m able to help.”
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n this issue, we tackle two topics that touch everyone’s lives: technology and transportation. From startup founders to transportation advocates, from technology users to public transit riders, most of us engage with these themes on a daily basis. We started by looking at the Green Line Extension, which is set to rock Somerville, from two different angles: the impact of its construction on local businesses (p.20) and one organization’s fight for the equity it promises (p.24). Then we stepped inside bicycle repair coop to see how some cyclists keep their equipment in shape (p.32). For technology, Photo by Jenna Friedman. we learned about two companies whose innovations have far-reaching implications. There’s a robotic farming assistant from Root AI that could revolutionize the agriculture industry (p.26) and a tech firm that manages data and voter outreach for the Democratic Party (p.30). We also have several stories outside of this issue’s theme, including profiles of local dance legend Deborah Mason (p.40) and a community-oriented letterpress studio (p.38). The most delicious: a roundup of local ice cream spots, complete with information on the atmosphere, the owners, and options for people with dietary restrictions (p.36). So sit back during your T ride, as you listen to music from your phone, or as you eat some local ice cream, and dig into the Technology & Transportation Issue. We hope you enjoy it!
PUBLISHER Holli Banks firstname.lastname@example.org EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Reena Karasin email@example.com ART DIRECTOR Nicolle Renick firstname.lastname@example.org renickdesign.com CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Jerry Allien email@example.com EDITORIAL FELLOW Abbie Gruskin firstname.lastname@example.org STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Adrianne Mathiowetz EDITORIAL INTERN Jessica Blough CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Adam Sennott, JM Lindsay, John Zorabedian CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER John Zorabedian COPY EDITOR Joe Palandrani BANKS PUBLICATIONS 519 Somerville Ave, #314 Somerville, MA 02143
Reena Karasin, Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
FIND US ONLINE
ArtBeat Festival July 13, 11am-10pm, Davis Square Support the Festival: Buy a $3 dogtag! B.Y.O.W.B. Bring your own water bottle!
8 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
Office Phone: 617-996-2283 Advertising inquiries? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. GET A COPY Scout Somerville is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout the city (and just beyond its borders). Additionally, thousands of Somerville homes receive a copy in their mailbox each edition, hitting every neighborhood in the city throughout the year ... sometimes twice! You can sign up for home delivery by visiting scoutsomerville.com/shop.
of our 10 nd hours cations.
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BEST TACOS BEST RESTAURANT IN MAGOUN SQUARE
ALL-NATURAL & FRESH INGREDIENTS Try Michelada recipes from Mexico, Colombia and our native El Salvador. Our cocktail menu features delicious traditional Latin cocktails and American cocktails with a Latin twist.
505 Medford St. Somerville • 617-776-2049
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Upgrade to East Cambridge Checking
Our only personal checking account has no monthly fees, pays interest, and makes every ATM yours via fee reimbursements. Easily upgrade your bank online at ecsb.com/upgrade or by visiting any of our 10 local banking centers.
GREAT BITES AT SOMERVILLE’S FAVORITE PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH THE PATIO IS OPEN! COME PEOPLE WATCH WITH US ALL SUMER LONG. Best Place to People Watch
Member FDIC | Member DIF
9 DAVIS SQUARE
PLUS: • TRIVIA TUESDAY • MUSIC BINGO THURSDAY
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation
LOCAL BEES Assembly Row is now home to a buzzing colony of honey bees. Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) and The Best Bees Company installed two beehives on the rooftop of the Row Hotel, according to a press release. The new bee community is meant to boost the health of existing bee populations and contribute to global pollinator research, plus the bees are traveling up to five miles for nectar and pollen, pollinating surrounding wildlife. Bonus: FRIT intends for the hyperlocal honey to be incorporated into menus and special offerings at nearby restaurants. Skeptics, fear not—the large honey bees are stingless.
SINGLE-USE PLASTIC STRAWS Somerville is breaking up with plastic straws (mostly). The City Council voted in May to restrict plastic straw and stirrer usage with an ordinance that makes them available by request only and allows plasticalternatives instead, the Somerville Journal reports. The ordinance states that “plastic straws can be available on request without explanation,” accommodating people with disabilities and elderly populations who may rely on plastic straws. “This is ultimately not a straw ban, but a way to take these straws out of automatic dispensing but make them available as an accommodation for the people that need them,” City Councilor J.T. Scott said, according to the Journal.
BALANCED MEALS A new study found that medically tailored meals from Community Servings, a Boston-based organization that serves thousands of meals in Somerville annually, decreased the average monthly cost of healthcare by over 16 percent, according to a press release. The medically tailored meal program, intended for people with one or more complex illnesses, shrunk healthcare costs by reducing hospital and nursing home visits. Next steps include testing meal plans like those from Community Servings in randomized trials.
IMPERSONATING REPORTERS Barstool Sports is in trouble. Mayor Joseph Curtatone launched a lawsuit against Barstool and one of its employees, Kirk Minihane, after Minihane allegedly conducted a phone interview of Curtatone under the guise of Boston Globe reporter Kevin Cullen, Boston. com reports. Curtatone cites the Massachusetts Wiretapping Statute, which requires all reporters to seek consent before recording interviews, in his lawsuit. Though Minihane supposedly did ask to record the interview, Curtatone’s civil suit alleges that he did so under a false identity. Curtatone has long been a harsh critic of Barstool Sports, and intends to donate any damages won from the lawsuit to the antidomestic violence nonprofit RESPOND, according to Boston.com.
THE COMMUNITY PATH After renovations during May, the Community Path is up and running again. A section of the bike and pedestrian path from Buena Vista Road to Cameron Avenue was closed in May to complete the Community Path Drainage & Retaining Wall Upgrades project, which started in 2018 to improve flooding and water drainage safety in the area, according to the city. The construction also included some above-ground improvements, including five new trees and updated landscaping. The Somerville Bicycle Advisory Committee tweeted that while the path may look roughly the same as it did before, bikers no longer have to worry about hazardous flooding on rainy days.
RESIDENT DEMANDS Despite the overwhelming community push for underground parking in Union Square, a Planning Board meeting in early June revealed the financial burden could make the project unfeasible, the Somerville Journal reports. US2, the developer contracted to design a possible parking solution for the D2 block, estimated above-ground parking would cost $12 million, while an underground garage would total $23 million. With forecasted delays in construction, the estimated prices could continue to rise, forcing underground parking further out of reach.
SCOUT TO THE SOUTH Here’s just some of what you’ll find in the Technology & Transportation Issue of our sibling publication, Scout Cambridge.
FROM PUBLIC TO PERSONALIZED: ALTERSPACE TURNS LIBRARIES INTO ROOMS OF REQUIREMENT Alterspace is a pop-up, customizable library environment.
‘POCKET MUSIC MACHINE’ PUTS INSTRUMENTS AT YOUR FINGERTIPS What if you could fit a drum kit in your pocket?
TIPS FOR BIKING IN THE CITY The Urban Cycling Basics workshop helps people get road-ready.
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. 10 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
—BY ABBIE GRUSKIN
IS SQ. FIX DAVECK OUT H NOW! CNOW.ORG DAVIS VE THE IMPRO NOW; MBTA RE NO FA SE! INCREA
CITY COUNCILOR AT LARGE
SOMERVILLE NOVEMBER 5TH Paid for by the Committee to Elect Jack Connolly
avid has crafted an impeccable 18 year career defined by integrity and his “can and will do” attitude. Born and raised in Somerville, David’s connections to local community and his extensive experience with condo conversions and multi-families are particularly relevant to the Somerville, and Cambridge market.
In 2018 with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth David received the prestigious Chairman’s Circle Gold producer award along with the 2018 Quality Service Award. And most recently named as one of 2019’s 10 Best Real Estate Agents for Client Satisfaction by The American Institute Of Real Estate Agents. As well as a 3x Somerville’s Scout Magazine “Best Realtor” award winner. In today’s housing market, negotiating requires knowledge and knowledge creates leverage. David is an excellent negotiator and provides honest advice backed by comprehensive research and data to assist clients in making smart decisions. If you’re looking for a successful and highly respected agent David Bottari is the one for you.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Commonwealth 2018 Chairman’s Circle Gold Producer Award 2018 Quality Service Pinnacle Producer 2019 named as one of the 10 Best Real Estate Agents in Massachusetts for Client Satisfaction by The American Institute Of Real Estate Agents
Best Liquor Store
Best Liquor Store
ALL HOPPITY HOPS MUST BE LEFT OUTSIDE STORE
15 MCGRATH HIGHWAY, SOMERVILLE 233 ALEWIFE BROOK PARKWAY, CAMBRIDGE 2153 MYSTIC VALLEY PARKWAY, MEDFORD 48 BROADWAY, MALDEN
We deliver through the Drizly and Minibar Apps! NO PANTS REQUIRED!
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation
VOTE LOCAL. VOTE NOW.
YOUR FAVORITES WILL WIN A SCOUT’S HONORED AWARD AND YOU COULD WIN $200! You nominated your favorite businesses in Somerville. Now, it’s time to help them take home a Scout’s Honored award—the final round of Scout’s Honored voting is now open. One voter will be selected at random to win $200! Must vote in minimum of 20 categories. (Limit 5 entries per person to be entered into drawing. Scout does not sell or add your email address to any lists.)
FILL OUT THE BALLOT OR MAKE YOUR PICKS AT SCOUTSOMERVILLE.COM/VOTE 12 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
VOT E O N L I N E AT S C O U T S O M E RV I L L E . C O M
Show your favorite businesses some love through July 24 at scoutsomerville.com/vote or mail this paper ballot to Banks Publications, 519 Somerville Ave. #314, Somerville, MA 02143. Winners will be announced in our next issue, out in early September.
Food BAKERY o Forge Baking Company o Lyndell’s Bakery o Vinal Bakery
BURGER o Boston Burger Company o Bronwyn o R.F. O’Sullivan & Son
SERVICE STAFF o Trina’s Starlite Lounge o Dalí o Juliet
BUTCHER o M.F. Dulock o McKinnon’s Meat Market o Modelo’s Market Cafe
PIZZA o Dragon Pizza o Veggie Crust o Leone’s Sub and Pizza
AMERICAN o Bergamot o Highland Kitchen o The Smoke Shop BBQ
COFFEE SHOP OR CAFE o Bloc Cafe o Revival Cafe + Kitchen o 3 Little Figs
SUSHI o Genki Ya o Sugidama o Ebi Sushi
ASIAN o DAKZEN o Ebi Sushi o Himalayan Kitchen
GOURMET OR SPECIALTY FOOD o Capone Foods o Dave’s Fresh Pasta o Q’s Nuts
TACOS o The Painted Burro o La Posada o Taco Party
GREEK o Zo Greek o Daddy Jones Bar o Opa Greek Yeeros
BREAKFAST o Ball Square Cafe o The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery o Sound Bites
VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN o Dosa-n-Curry o True Bistro o Taco Party
ITALIAN o Posto o Vinny’s Ristorante o Fat Hen
GLUTEN-FREE o Health Club o NU Kitchen o Oat Shop
LATIN AMERICAN o Celeste o Tu Y Yo o Machu Picchu
CATERING o Cuisine en Locale o Forklift Catering o Redbones
MIDDLE EASTERN o Sarma o Sam’s Falafel & Shawarma Place o Istanbul’lu
BRUNCH o Five Horses Tavern o Highland Kitchen o Juliet BAR EATS o Olde Magoun’s Saloon o Elm Street Taproom o Bull McCabe’s Pub CHEAP EATS o Taco Loco Mexican Grill o Opa Greek Yeeros o Machu Chicken SWEET TOOTH SATISFIER o Gracie’s Ice Cream o Union Square Donuts o maca boston TAKEOUT o Tasty Mo:Mo: o Big Belly Deli o Jaju Pierogi
KID-FRIENDLY RESTAURANT o Flatbread Company o Rudy’s Cafe o Winter Hill Brewing Company OUTDOOR DINING o The Neighborhood Restaurant & Bakery o Daddy Jones Bar o River Bar CHEF o Ebi Sushi - Jose Garcia o Sarma - Cassie Piuma o Juliet - Rachael Collins
RESTAURANT IN ASSEMBLY SQUARE o The Smoke Shop BBQ o Southern Kin Cookhouse o Totto Ramen RESTAURANT IN BALL SQUARE o Ball Square Cafe o Sound Bites o Taco Party RESTAURANT IN DAVIS SQUARE o Five Horses Tavern o Posto o Rosebud American Kitchen & Bar
RESTAURANT IN EAST SOMERVILLE o Fasika Ethiopian Restaurant o Vinny’s Ristorante o La Brasa RESTAURANT IN MAGOUN SQUARE o Daddy Jones Bar o La Posada o Olde Magoun’s Saloon RESTAURANT IN TEELE SQUARE o Rudy’s Cafe o True Bistro o Masala
RESTAURANT IN WINTER HILL o Sarma o Winter Hill Brewing Company o Leone’s Sub and Pizza RESTAURANT NOT IN A SQUARE o Bergamot o Tu Y Yo o Highland Kitchen RESTAURANT OVERALL o Sarma o Celeste o Field & Vine
RESTAURANT IN UNION SQUARE o Juliet o Celeste o Field & Vine
Drinks COCKTAILS o Backbar o Highland Kitchen o Spoke Wine Bar BEER PROGRAM o Five Horses Tavern o Elm Street Taproom o Olde Magoun’s Saloon BREWERY o Remnant Brewing o Aeronaut Brewing Co. o Winter Hill Brewing BARISTA o Winter Hill Brewing - Annie o Nine Bar - Edward o Oat Shop - Alan
BARTENDER o Five Horses Tavern - Derek o Highland Kitchen - Madagan o Rebel Rebel - Lauren LIQUOR STORE o Downtown Wine & Spirits o PROOF o Jerry’s Liquors WINE SHOP o Dave’s Fresh Pasta o Joe’s Liquor o Ball Square Fine Wines
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BARBERSHOP o Dente’s Barbershop o Wally’s Barber Shop o Razors Barbershop & Shave Parlor HAIR SALON o Clementine Hair Studio o Evie Salon Studio o HAIR by Christine & Co. HAIR COLOR o Clementine Hair Studio - Patrick o Evie Salon Studio - Abby o HAIR by Christine & Co. - Sam HAIRCUT o Clementine Hair Studio - Julie o Razors Barbershop & Shave Parlor - Joe o HAIR by Christine & Co - Ashley SKIN CARE o Amal Niccoli Salon o Noel Herbal Skincare o Skin & Body Works MANICURE o Angel Nails o Lisa’s Nails o Princess Nails Salon EYEBROW SERVICES o brows by renata o Kaya Beauty Spa o Threading Studio TATTOO OR PIERCING o The Boston Tattoo Company o Empire Tattoo Boston
Wellness ACUPUNCTURE o KenkoDo Clinic o Massage Therapy Works o Open Space Community Acupuncture MASSAGE o BlueFern Massage Therapy o KenkoDo Clinic o Massage Therapy Works
Arts & Entertainment Services MUSIC VENUE o ONCE Somerville o Sally O’Brien’s o Somerville Theatre
EVENTS SPACE o ONCE Somerville o Warehouse XI o Arts at the Armory ART GALLERY o Brickbottom Artists Association o Nave Gallery o Somerville Museum PERFORMING ARTS o Dub Apocalypse o El Sistema o Shit-faced Shakespeare VISUAL ARTIST o Heather Balchunas o Hilary Scott o Yorgos Efthymiadis COMEDY o The Comedy Studio o Comicazi - ComedyCazi o Winter Hill Brewing BEER ME! KID-FRIENDLY ENTERTAINMENT o Parkour Generations o Play Union o School of HONK JEWELRY DESIGN o e. scott originals o Jade Moran Jewelry o Filomena Demarco Jewelry PRINT SHOP o Loyal Supply Co. o Tiny Turns Paperie o Union Press LOCAL (NON-SCOUT) MEDIA o The Somerville Journal o Somerville Media Center o The Somerville Times
FITNESS o Parkour Generations Boston o The Training Room o Achieve Fitness
HOLISTIC HEALTH SERVICE o FLOAT Boston o Massage Therapy Works o Tibetan Herbal Healing
PHYSICAL THERAPY o ATI Physical Therapy o Boston Sports Medicine o Outback Physical Therapy
YOGA o O2 Yoga o Ball Square Yoga o Samara Yoga
DENTIST o Casey Cook o Smiles by Rosie o Katie Talmo
ARCHITECT OR ARCHITECTURE FIRM o Group Design Build o Centrepoint Architects o Mix Design and Development PHOTOGRAPHY OR VIDEOGRAPHY o Jason Corey Photography o Mike Spencer Photography o Zev Fisher Photography FLORIST o Bostonian Florist o Nellie’s Wildflowers o Afterall Floral Design FRAMING o Michaels o The Prince Gallery o Stanhope Framers COMMUNITY CLASSES o Artisan’s Asylum o Somerville Media Center o Parkour Generations DOG WALKING o Second Chances Dog Walking & Sitting o Paws in the ’Ville o Neighborhood Paws
VETERINARIAN o Huron Veterinary Hospital o Porter Square Veterinarian o Winter Hill Veterinary Clinic
REAL ESTATE AGENCY o Compass o Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate o Steve Bremis Realty Group
PRINTING SERVICES o The UPS Store, Somerville Ave. o Superior Printing & Promotions o Master Printing
REAL ESTATE AGENT o Berkshire Hathaway David Bottari o Thalia Tringo Team Jen and Lynn o Thalia Tringo Thalia Tringo
SHIPPING SERVICES o The UPS Store, Davis Square o The UPS Store, Somerville Ave o Davis Square Post Office BANK OR CREDIT UNION o East Cambridge Savings Bank o Naveo Credit Union o Community Credit Union INSURANCE AGENCY o Wedgwood-Crane & Connolly Insurance Agency o Allstate Insurance Adaias Souza o HJ Wiseman Insurance
GIFT SHOP o 4GoodVibes o Homeslice o Davis Squared
DATE NIGHT SPOT o Flatbread Company & Sacco’s Bowl Haven o Saloon o Trina’s Starlite Lounge
HOME DECOR o Homeslice o 4GoodVibes o Setting the Space KIDS SHOP o Comicazi o Two Little Monkeys o Magpie Kids THRIFT OR VINTAGE o High Energy Vintage o Goodwill o We Theives BIKE SHOP o Ace Wheelworks o Bike Boom o Somervelo PET SUPPLIES o Petwell Supply o RiverDog o Stinky’s Kittens & Doggies Too
LATE-NIGHT HAUNT o Brass Union o The Burren o Saloon PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH o Mike’s Food & Spirits o Diesel Cafe o Bow Market PLACE TO SPLURGE o Field & Vine o Sarma o Tasting Counter NEW BUSINESS o Elm Street Taproom o Rebel Rebel Wine Bar o Urban Axes OLD FAVORITE o The Somerville Theatre o Sligo Pub o Lyndell’s Bakery
VOT E O N L I N E AT S C O U T S O M E RV I L L E . C O M
LANDSCAPING o Green City Growers o Your Garden Curator o Generous Earth Gardens MECHANIC o Chicken and Shakes Automotive o Good Gas Somerville o Hillside Auto Repair MOVING COMPANY o Gentle Giant Moving Company o Precision Moving Company o Intelligent Labor & Moving CO-WORKING SPACE o SPACES o Workbar
ECO-FRIENDLY BUSINESS o Recover Green Roofs o Neighborhood Produce o Make & Mend NEIGHBORHOOD TO DINE o Davis Square o Union Square o Winter Hill NEIGHBORHOOD TO RESIDE o Union Square o Assembly Square o Davis Square NEIGHBORHOOD TO SHOP o Assembly Square o Davis Square o Union Square NEIGHBORHOOD TO WORK o Assembly Square o Davis Square o Union Square
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We’re vibrant and diverse just like Somerville - Work, Play & Live • It takes a diverse community to run a vibrant hotel and we hope you’ll join our team. • Hiring Somerville Residents. • Full/Part Time Jobs, Flexible Schedules. • Comprehensive Benefits. • Hotel Room Discount Program Worldwide.
STOP IN MONDAY – FRIDAY, 10 A.M. – 4 P.M.
to complete an application or visit us online: www.hospitalityonline.com/holiday-boston-somerville Part of the Somerville Community since 1974. Locally, Owned and Operated
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BY ABBIE GRUSKIN
ALL SHE WROTE BOOKS HIGHLIGHTS DIVERSE NARRATIVES
ook no further for a good feminist read—All She Wrote Books has it covered. Searching for better representation in literature, local Christina Ciampa launched the pop-up bookstore to celebrate the voices of female, queer, and trans authors. “We are in 2019. There’s no reason why we can’t make more shelf space for more writers that tell unique and different stories,” Ciampa tells Scout. All She Wrote has popped up at Bow Market, Winter Hill Brewing Company, and the Boston Women’s Market.
NEXT STEPS FOR THE VACANT STAR MARKET What once was a Star Market is now a longstanding void in Winter Hill. City staff, alongside Ward 4 Councilor Jesse Clingan, held a “conversation about the future” of the empty lot in June to discuss three possible options for redevelopment—a “wait and see” approach, “urban renewal,” or a “demonstration project plan,” the Somerville Times reports. The city could either buy the land from Comar Real Estate Trust or forcibly take it through eminent domain. A proposed preliminary design is a renovated building that includes retail and commercial space on
16 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
the ground floor and four upperlevel floors of housing.
SOMERVILLE HOSPITAL CONSIDERS REPLACING EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT WITH URGENT CARE CLINIC
A proposal to repurpose the emergency department of Somerville Hospital into an urgent care clinic by the spring of 2020 has evoked criticism from nurses and local residents, the Somerville Journal reports. The switch would decrease the number of beds from 16 to six and reduce the 24-hour service to 9 a.m. through 9 p.m., in addition to cutting access to MRI, ultrasound,
CAT scan, and respiratory equipment. Cambridge Hospital’s management says it would be prepared to accept additional patients after the shift.
RECORDED FUTURE ACQUIRED IN $780 MILLION DEAL Local cybersecurity firm Recorded Future announced at the end of May that it was acquired by New York firm Insight Partners in a $780 million deal, the Somerville Patch reports. Founded 10 years ago, Recorded Future has 170 employees and is “the largest privately held threat intelligence software company in the world.”
BLUEBIKES RIDERS REACH NEW MILESTONE
With warm weather finally invigorating the city, more locals are taking to Bluebikes than ever before. Riders of the publicly owned bikeshare system set a new record of 10,035 rides taken in a single day, according to a press release—that means more than 13,000 miles traveled. Even higher records are expected as 50 new stations and 1,000 new bikes are added to existing Bluebikes locations in Somerville, Cambridge, Boston, and Brookline, and as the system expands into Everett.
Photo, top left, courtesy of All She Wrote Books. Photo, top right, by Sasha Pedro. Photo, bottom right, courtesy of Somerville Media Center.
ARTS COUNCIL TO HOST BLACK, BROWN, & QUEER FESTIVAL
The Somerville Arts Council and Oompa are handing queer and trans people of color the spotlight with the upcoming “Black, Brown, & Queer” festival, scheduled for Aug. 24. The outdoor, community-wide festival intends to be a safe space to celebrate LGBTQ+ people of color and their contributions to the arts. ASSEMBLY SQUARE
SOMERVILLE MEDIA CENTER LAUNCHES VOX POP Look no further than VOX POP for movie screenings, author talks, and virtual reality experiences this summer. VOX POP is the Somerville Media
Center’s first pop-up media space outside of Union Square, made possible with support from the Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), the Somerville Journal reports. “We are thrilled, absolutely thrilled, that in partnership with FRIT we were given the opportunity to spread our wings into a new community called Assembly Row,” SMC Board President Joe Lynch told the Journal.
NEW BIKE LANE OPTIONS FOR POWDER HOUSE
Two new bike lane options are on the table for Powder House Boulevard as part of the city’s Traffic Safety plan, according to the city’s website. The proposed addition of a bike lane, which would either be a single lane or a two-way lane paired with a partial removal of street parking, is part of the city’s plan for a “road diet” to slow traffic by narrowing car lanes. Discussions will continue through the summer to see which bike lane option is more popular.
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EVOLVING EATS UNION SQUARE
Paola Ibarra, the beverage and cocktail connoisseur of Celeste, is moving onto bigger and better things—while still sticking close to home, Eater Boston reports. Ibarra plans to open her own bar, named Barra, a few doors down from the popular Latin American restaurant. The two will be “more like restaurant cousins than siblings”—though the relationship between both business owners is ongoing, Barra will feature a more in-depth focus on Mexican street food rather than expanding on the Peruvian cuisine of Celeste. UNION SQUARE
THE JUICE UNION
Barra’s planned home is where healthy juice spot The Juice Union closed its doors thisCOMING SOON spring, Eater Boston reports. The Juice Union thanked its loyal
customers on Instagram, saying, “Judging from the fantastic MOVED feedback and reviews, we successfully created a shop that fostered personal connections and made customers feel good.” UNION SQUARE
REBEL REBEL WINE BAR GIVES BACK THROUGH THE YELLOWHAMMER FUND
Rebel Rebel Wine Bar’s been fundraising. Following multiple Republican-controlled states’ moves toward severely limiting abortion access, for a stretch of May the Bow Market wine bar donated all its rosé sales to The Yellowhammer Fund, an organization that supports people who seek care from the three abortion clinics in Alabama. The bar surpassed its initial goal of $25,000 and has racked up more than $32,000 through an accompanying MOVED GoFundMe fundraiser that is still open for donations.
ecino’s Café has it all, from Mexican- and SalvadoranCOMING style plates of burritos, pupusas, tamales to rich SOON andMOVED American pastries like New York cheesecake. The cafe, which opened in late May, is owners Jose Recino and Joseph Garcia’s first restaurant in the city.
AVENUE KITCHEN AND BAR
Out with the longtime Italian favorite Pescatore and in with the COMING MOVED new American gastropub-style SOON Avenue Kitchen and Bar, which features a cozy patio, U-shaped bar, and easy take-out entrance, Boston Magazine reports. The 18 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
restaurant is the first in the area to offer Detroit-style pizza as a staple of its menu, alongside healthier options such as salads and bowls. Chef and owner Kenny Schweizer has a wealth of experience from his time at Ward 8, Bodega Canal, and Florentine Cafe, where he met his Avenue Kitchen and Bar business partner Gino DeLuca. Photo, top left, courtesy of Recino’s Café. Photo, bottom left, courtesy of Rebel Rebel Wine Bar. Photo, top right, by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
CITY COUNCIL APPROVES FY20 BUDGET
The City Council signed off on the FY20 budget at the end of June. The greatest chunk of funding—30 percent in the proposed FY20 budget summary, which equals over $76 million— was allotted to the school department, while 18 percent went toward public safety. The budget also devoted $771,670 to improving “bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure” as part of the city’s Vision Zero efforts, according to a tweet from City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen. Missing from the FY20 budget plan, though, were the names of city employees next to their position and salary as in years prior, the Somerville Journal reports. Adapted from previous years to protect the privacy of city workers, the lack of names made it difficult to “track vacancies,” Councilor J.T. Scott said, according to the Journal. The names of city employees and their positions were later made available to the City Council on a private server.
COMMUNITY LAND TRUST COMING TO SOMERVILLE
Members of the Somerville Community Land Trust (CLT) hosted a kickoff event this June to share information about the newly incorporated group and get more community members involved, the Somerville Journal reports. The city CLT is a nonprofit, community-run organization that can acquire property and accept donations with the
goal of maintaining housing affordability through renting units on the property at sustainable rates. Instead of having “low-moderate” income individuals and families forced out of their homes by rising rents, CLTs are meant to allow residents to benefit as their property gains value. “Community land trusts don’t just create permanent affordable housing and give people a place to live, they support those people while they’re living in community land trust property,” Somerville CLT member David Gibbs told the Journal.
Architecture and Design
• New construction, additions, renovations • Restaurants, homes, and interiors • Sustainable materials and methods
NEW AIRBNB RENTAL RESTRICTIONS PASSED
The city passed stricter regulations on short-term rentals including Airbnb this spring, banning people from renting entire “adjacent units” as opposed to single rooms within a home. City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen called the ordinance “a critical tool for protecting our existing rental stock” in a tweet. The ordinance will take effect on Jan. 1, 2020. DAVIS SQUARE
POLICE ARREST SUSPECTED BANK ROBBER
Daniel Rosado, the suspect who allegedly shot at police officers during a bank robbery in Davis Square on May 1, was arrested three weeks after the event, the Somerville Patch reports. Police officers closed local roads and public transportation shortly after the shooting, urging residents to remain indoors while searching for the suspect with helicopters and the aid of the FBI. Rosado is being charged with “one count of armed bank robbery, one count of brandishing and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm,” according to the Patch.
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THE GLX EFFECT: PAIN BEFORE GAIN FOR SOMERVILLE’S SMALL BUSINESSES WITH BRIDGES CLOSING AND MESSY TRAFFIC DETOURS, LOCAL BUSINESSES ARE FEELING THE GROWING PAINS OF THE GREEN LINE EXTENSION WORDS AND PHOTOS BY JOHN ZORABEDIAN
ou see the day-glow orange road signs everywhere, from the Powder House rotary to Union Square: bridge closed; detour. Other signs, a little less obvious, say, “Businesses open.” Staying open has become challenging for some businesses impacted by this spring’s closure of three bridges— part of construction on the longawaited Green Line Extension project, which is set to finally be completed sometime in 2021. The effects were almost 20 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
immediate after the Broadway bridge closed in April, severing a major artery between Ball Square and Magoun Square. Sassafras Somerville closed for good, noting the bridge closure as a factor. Some business owners have told the city that the bridge closures have caused a 20-30 percent decline in business, according to Lauren Drago, an urban revitalization specialist for the mayor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Community Development.
Rhett Richard, the owner of True Grounds on Broadway in Ball Square, says business was down about 10 percent in the first week after the bridge closed, which initially gave him hope that the construction wouldn’t be too painful. “But now we’re down more than 20 percent, and that’s a lot,” Richard says. A Magoun Square resident himself, Richard takes his bike to work many days and can ride around the bridge without
too much trouble. But some commuters who would normally stop at the cafe on their way to work are avoiding the square. Richard says he plans to cut back hours after Thanksgiving, eliminating the closing shift, which means potentially cutting some staff. “When we go into the winter season, we try to squirrel away money,” Richard says. “I’m considering taking out loans just to have that cushion.” The Broadway bridge will be closed through next March,
assuming construction stays on schedule. “The amount of time until the bridge is actually done and until we see the train coming in, it’s going to be so long,” says Nancy Fucile, who runs Victor’s Deli on Broadway in Ball Square with her husband, Jason Fucile. “You’re never going to make back what you lost during the time when you were losing business.” Fucile, whose parents Rosa and Victor Moccia have owned Victor’s Deli for 37 years, says her customers have complained that the bridge closure and traffic detours have made getting in and out of Ball Square a pain for some and a complete deterrent to others. “I posted on Facebook, ‘Don’t be afraid to come into Ball Square, because there’s no traffic coming in and there’s plenty of parking, so it’s actually easier to get in here,’” Fucile says. The detours are a hassle for employees and business owners who live farther from the square, too. At Taco Party on Broadway, night manager Stephanie Clifford says a few staff members take advantage of the “bridge hopper,” a shuttle service to get people around the bridge detour, funded by $400,000 from the city. Some Ball Square businesses, like Sound Bites, continue to do well. Other spots are fortunate to have a strong delivery business, including Taco Party, which uses the delivery app DoorDash to help make up for less foot traffic. Lindsay Griffin, who has owned a salon (Lindsay Griffin + Co.) on Bristol Road near Broadway in Ball Square for seven years and recently expanded, says her business is less affected than others. Her clients book appointments in advance and come from all over, and the parking opened up by less traffic in the square is actually a welcome change. She’s keeping positive about the future benefits of having a new T station up the street. But she acknowledges that some of the businesses in the neighborhood that rely on local residents coming into the square are hurting. “I don’t think people who live in the area truly realize the impact that it has on a lot of these businesses,” Griffin says.
he Green Line Extension, or GLX as it’s efficiently known, is a monumental, $3 billion project that’s been planned for decades. As everyone who lives here knows, it is long overdue. Now that construction is finally picking up, with five new Green Line stations being built in Somerville and one in Medford near Tufts University, the side effects feel all-encompassing for Somervillians. Not since the Red Line was extended to Davis Square in 1984 or the construction of Route 93 and McGrath Highway in the 1950s has Somerville undergone such a transportation transformation. The development that will come along in the wake of the GLX—more construction, more investment—will be felt all across the city. In the meantime, it’s the businesses and residents of
for development,” Murphy says. She likes the way Magoun is now, with all the funky little businesses, and many new ones popping up even as old ones close. “But we still need support,” she adds. Across Medford Street from Daddy Jones, Pennypackers has been dealing out gourmet sandwiches for the past six years. Owner Ryan McGuire says “not many people” make it over to Magoun Square from hotter neighborhoods, but the Green Line construction is adding insult to injury, with Magoun sandwiched between the Broadway and Medford Street bridge closures. “I’m concerned at the moment,” he says. “If nothing else, it’s very difficult for our staff to get here. We do catering all around town, and we’re almost trapped [between the bridges]. We’re sort of confused as to why they have to do both at the same time. I guess the train’s coming in, it has to be
property values and rents are going to go up substantially. But we’ll see. I’m sure it will be good for businesses—if their rents don’t price them out of the neighborhood.”
Somerville who are bearing the brunt of the GLX project’s cost. Dimitra Murphy, owner of Daddy Jones bar in Magoun Square, grew up in East Somerville in the ’80s. “Magoun is one of the last neighborhoods to be thought of
done, but it’s fairly painful.” As McGuire loaded up his food truck for a wedding that day, I asked him, “Is the Green Line Extension going to help Magoun?” “I imagine so,” McGuire answered. “I’m sure everyone’s
Square will become a smaller rival to Kendall Square a mile down the road in Cambridge, which is still booming with construction cranes and new buildings springing up to house the biotech, pharma, and other big companies, like
A LONG TIME COMING
A NEW ERA FOR UNION SQUARE
erhaps no Somerville neighborhood is going to see more change as a result of the GLX than Union Square. The Union Square T station will help draw an influx of residents and commuters to live and work in new high-rises set to break ground this year on Prospect Street, the first phase of a massive development project managed by Union Square Station Associates (US2). The development, marketed as USQ, includes a 20-plus story, 450unit residential tower next to the T station alongside 175,000 square feet of lab space. When construction is complete, Union
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 21
But we just have to keep trying to advocate for ourselves and our vision of what we want this neighborhood to be and hope for the best.”
KEEPING THE SMALL BUSINESS COMMUNITY ALIVE
“I don’t think people who live in the area truly realize the impact that [the construction] has on a lot of these businesses.” – Lindsay Griffin, owner of Lindsay Griffin + Co. Boeing, that keep moving in to take advantage of the proximity to MIT and the educated workforce. Greg Karczewski, president of US2, told Scout in a statement that the development, which will eventually add 1,000 new housing units, including 200 designated as permanently affordable, will create “an economic engine for the city,” supporting the city with taxes and “providing a place for existing and future innovative businesses to grow.” In addition to 1.2 million square feet of lab and office space, the development plan calls for creating new spaces for groundlevel retail, art space, and public open space, which Karczewski said will “support and grow the 22 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
character of the neighborhood.” Thousands of new people pouring off the T to work in those businesses every day will drive more foot traffic to the local restaurants and small businesses in the square, says Lindsay New, a board member of Union Square Main Streets (USMS). USMS is providing technical assistance and marketing support for the businesses in the square, helping them to navigate the construction and all that’s happening within the community. The nonprofit is also advocating on businesses’ behalf in discussions with the city and the developers. There are pains from the construction, New says,
especially with streets ripped up in the square for sewer work and streetscape improvements. Bridge closures, the road work and detours, and already-limited parking in Union Square have been causing traffic jams and problems for delivery trucks trying to load and unload. Yet Union Square is still a draw, thanks to the farmers market, hip restaurants, tap rooms, and shops in places like Bow Market. USMS, the city economic development office, and neighborhood groups are working hard to help businesses through the rough patches. “Personally, I’m ready for the construction to be done,” New, who has lived in the neighborhood for close to a decade, said while working at the USMS tent at the farmers market. “At least the streetscape and the sewer work that’s going on now, we’ll be very happy to have those improvements. I think we just try to keep our friends close and keep fighting for the Union Square that we want, and hoping that’s what [we’ll] have. As stuff changes some things will be better, and some things will be different and maybe not better.
t’s hard to predict the future, but some of Somerville’s small business owners are cautiously optimistic. Everyone wants the Green Line Extension to make Somerville an even better place to live: more convenient transportation, more connected. and more community-oriented. Business owners like Murphy and Griffin are among those helping themselves by sticking together. Griffin and Murphy have big ideas for linking the businesses in Ball Square and Magoun Square with neighborhood events. Murphy is organizing a benefit show in August with local Somerville bands at the ONCE ballroom to support artists and businesses. Last September, the Ball Square Business Association, with support from the city, hosted “A Ball for Squares,” a street fair for families with vendors, food, music and activities for kids. The event will take place again this year, and Griffin hopes it will be a draw to get people to shop and enjoy the neighborhood, which she says is frequently overshadowed by nearby Davis Square. For many business owners, it’s difficult to make commitments to attend community meetings and keep up with networking emails, on top of the daily work of running a business. “We all have families, we all run a business, we all work 24/7,” Griffin says. “But the power of bringing the community together is huge.” Murphy says the business community needs the support of the local residents most of all, if Somerville residents want the independent businesses they love to survive. “Let’s not be looking back saying we wish those restaurants and businesses didn’t close,” Murphy says.
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TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION
STEP Continues Fight for Equitable Transportation BY ADAM SENNOTT | PHOTO BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
hen Ellin Reisner moved to Somerville in 1999, she was “pretty shocked” to discover how poor MBTA services were in some parts of the city. “People who live near Davis and people who live near Sullivan have good service going into Boston,” Reisner says. “But there isn’t good service going through Somerville.” As a former MBTA employee, Reisner knew the MBTA had committed to extending the Green Line into Somerville years earlier but hadn’t followed through on its promise. Fed up with waiting, in 2003 a group of residents formed the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP) to “get the state to honor its commitment to build the Green Line Extension,” according to Reisner, president of STEP and one of its founding members. 24 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
STEP has since expanded its focus to “secure transportation for the city that will increase social equity, environmental health, and economic opportunity,” according to the group’s website, but helping secure the Green Line Extension (GLX) remains its landmark achievement. The multi-billion-dollar venture will extend the Green Line through East Cambridge into Somerville and Medford. The project will include seven new light rail stations, the replacement or rehabilitation of eight bridges, and a pedestrian/bike path. The goal of the project is to “significantly [reduce] vehicle trips and related air emissions while increasing access to fast and reliable public transit service in historically underserved areas,” according to the MBTA’s website, which refers to the project as “a top transportation priority of the Commonwealth.”
However, the project wasn’t always prioritized by the MBTA. In 1990, the state announced plans to extend the Green Line from Lechmere in Cambridge to West Medford as part of a large-scale mass-transit plan for Boston 2020, according to the Boston Globe. However, 15 years later, the project stalled and the Conservation Law Foundation sued the MBTA for not moving forward, according to the Globe. The case wasn’t settled until 2016, when the government agreed to a set of deadlines for the project. Somerville residents quickly expressed their support for the group’s efforts, according to Reisner. “It wasn’t like we had to make a big fight in Somerville about it. People really did want it, [and] so did the elected officials.” And in October 2004, residents showed the MBTA just how serious they were when
STEP arranged a public meeting with transportation officials at Somerville High School. The catch: That night, the Red Sox were playing the St. Louis Cardinals in Game Four of the World Series and were on the cusp of ending their 86-year championship drought. It was a game the entire region had longed for. “We were terrified that nobody
would show up,” Reisner says. Despite the history the Red Sox made that night, more than 500 people attended the meeting and sent a message to the MBTA, according to Reisner: The GLX had to be built. “That was a really important moment for Somerville,” Reisner says. “It was a very powerful meeting.” STEP would spend many
more years advocating for the GLX. The group went on to hold more community meetings, and they worked with city officials to advocate for the project and with the city’s state legislative delegation to move it forward. The MBTA even acknowledges STEP’s work—in an email to Scout, MBTA spokesman Joe Pesaturo credited STEP for being a strong advocate for the GLX.
“They participated in the ground breaking in June of 2018 and they’ve helped inform commuters and public transportation users of several bridge closures implemented this year,” Pesaturo wrote. “They also aided the MBTA with an open house style meeting at which the public asked questions directly to design engineers and construction managers. “In addition, they posted informational maps for bridge detours on their web site as a public service,” Pesaturo added. “The MBTA greatly appreciates STEP’s dedication to reducing vehicle congestion and emissions, and improving the quality of life for Somerville residents.” STEP’s work isn’t over just because GLX construction is underway. Reisner says the organization is concerned about how some of the new stations are being designed, particularly in Union Square and East Somerville. While STEP has been influential over the years, Reisner admits there are limitations to what the group can do. “We’ve really tried to work with our legislative delegation, who’ve been really helpful to push a lot of this along in their role, as well as with the city,” she says. “But the new contract for building the extension is a design build contract, and it doesn’t allow for a lot of community input the way it is structured, and because of that our role is limited, even though we’re very frustrated.” “I don’t think they’re being designed to service the large number of people that will be using the stations over the next 20 [to] 30-years,” Reisner adds. STEP argues that the MBTA needs to look at improving accessibility for people in Union Square and East Somerville. The original plan included elevators inside the stations and an additional entrance at the Union Square station. “I don’t think the stations are designed to service people with accessibility needs, and I
don’t think they’re designed to easily carry the volume of people that will use those stations,” Reisner says. Despite her criticisms, Reisner maintains that the the GLX will still have a significant impact on the residents of Somerville. “When the Green Line Extension is built, access to better transit will be available to close to more than 80 percent of the people in Somerville,” Reisner says. Right now, only about 15 percent of residents are within walking distance of the Davis and Sullivan Square stations, according to Reisner. In addition to advocating for the GLX, STEP has supported a number of other initiatives over the years. Brad Rawson, Somerville’s director of transportation and infrastructure, credited STEP with helping to plan for and secure the community path extension, which was not always integrated into the GLX project. He also commended their work advocating for bus services in Somerville and for helping make the Orange Line station in Assembly Square a reality. “They’ve been instrumental, absolutely instrumental in a hundred different issues,” Rawson says. “I would not limit the praise that we heap on them to the Green Line Extension, although that clearly is [their] most visible … project victory.” STEP has also partnered with researchers at Tufts University to monitor the air quality inside housing units built near busy roads in Somerville. “Because of the Green Line Extension being legally mandated by the Clean Air Act, we started to look at the air pollution issues that the city faces,” Reisner says. “And we’ve teamed up with faculty at Tufts University; I think it was in 2006 we started working with them, on a research study to look at the health impact of traffic on I-93 on people living along the I-93 corridor.” scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 25
TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE MEETS AGRICULTURE AT ROOT AI BY REENA KARASIN
26 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
Photos courtesy of Root AI.
et us introduce you to Virgo. Think of it as a farmer’s assistant—one that can tell when tomatoes are ripe and nimbly pluck them. Created by Somervillefounded start-up Root AI, the robot uses artificial intelligence to navigate the complex tasks of indoor, greenhouse, and outdoor farming. And picking tomatoes is just the beginning, according to Co-Founder and CEO Josh Lessing.
What’s your background and how’d you get to the point of founding this company? I started out my career in food automation, specifically food
processing, food packaging [and robotics]. All across the food supply chain, there’s a lot of really tricky problems that need to be solved and can be solved with more modern robotics and artificial intelligence tools. That’s what got me into building Root. One of the biggest issues is being able to find people to work in farms—out in the fields, amongst the crops—and then simultaneously being able to optimize those crops so that we can uplift production. Part of the problem is it’s seasonal work, and that just becomes a logistics issue. If I’m working in Baja, Mexico, and I have a crop harvest that lasts three months, what do I do the rest of my year? These agriculture jobs are highly physical, they’re in harsh conditions, often, and for many kinds of crops the window over which your services are needed is very small. So it’s become a complex labor challenge, all over the entire world. How do you solve this problem? For us, it’s robotics and artificial intelligence.
What are some of the benefits of having a robot do this work? There’s a lot that you can get done with a robot. There’s obviously the need of being able to find people to work the farm, but there’s also being able to use what robots are great at to elevate yield. One of the things that we can heavily benefit from is more individualized crop care. So if I am overseeing 500,000 tomato plants on a 40-acre farm, and I have deep expertise on how to care for the health of a plant, if I had infinite time I could go to each plant and observe its nutritional health, whether or not there’s insects, whether or not there’s disease, and I could do an amazing job of caring for each and every plant. That’s not a tractable task for one person, but if you had robotic systems that were farming assistants—and that’s what we’re building, we’re building farming assistants—if you had robotic systems that are driving around the farm, they’re doing harvesting, they’re
Somerville Car Wash Protects Your Vehicle
ith more cars fitted with parking aid sensors, lane departure alerts and parallel parking assists and adaptations to become fully autonomous, washing vehicles has become increasingly important over the past decade. These sensors must be clean in order to work properly. Leaving sensors covered in dirt, there is a risk for false readings or malfunctions. This can all be solved with regular washing of the exterior. Living in New England, winters are brutal both us and our vehicles. Combinations of sand and salt constantly on the road take a toll on your vehicle’s clear coat. Now that summer is here, it does not mean to turn a blind eye to your car. Stronger UV rays beaming down on cars deteriorate the paint and ultimately cause oxidation.This is avoidable with waxing your car two times a year. Wax adds moisture back into the paint, similar to dry skin; paint will have a spider web look to it which means it is desperate for a wax. At this point even regular washing will not make these marks disappear which can get discouraging. The professionals at Somerville Car Wash can properly diagnose this issue and get your vehicle protected and clean. Beware of dealerships trying to trick new car buyers with over-thetop, high-end paint protection plans, telling the customer they don’t need wax on their just purchased car. There are multi-year waxes that exist and work fantastic; however, the cost of these waxes will never exceed $1,000.00. At Somerville Car Wash, we use the Diamond Plate ceramic coating. This is guaranteed to last for two years and comes with an insurance policy comes from an A+ insurance company. Somerville Car Wash is a full-service car wash and detail center offering everything from a basic car wash to a high-speed buff and wax for the exterior and from a vacuum to a complete shampoo for interiors.
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scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 27
TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION
What are some of the things the robot can do? Right now, we’re focusing very specifically on harvesting for our first product. It is one of the most challenging things in order to be able to oversee at a growing operation. In order to harvest, a robot needs to be able to look at a crop, assess fruits for quality, assess them for ripeness, and then harvest it. Since it’s already visualizing these fruits, it’s in a position to, in the future, be able to say new things about them. Like if it’s looking at a crop, and it knows how many are unripe and what stage of ripeness everything’s at, it can predict future yields. That really helps manage supply chains for growers, for retailers. If it’s looking at the crops, it can also be spotting insects. That’s what we’re trying to work toward, as a holistic platform.
Do humans have any advantage over a robot here?
“IF YOU GET TO CONTROL YOUR GROWING ENVIRONMENT, THEN YOU GET TO CONTROL THE OUTCOME.” doing the pruning, a lot of the more physical, dexterous work on the farm, they also have eyes and a brain, so why can’t they be looking at the plant and informing the grower that there are nutritional deficiencies, and simultaneously being able to take immediate action? If your 28 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
systems know that the grower wants you to do the following under the following set of circumstances, the robots can enact the high-level growing plan, the intent of the grower for those 500,000 plants. So you’re looking at more individualized crop care.
I would say for a lot of the high-level judgment calls on the farm, that is a great place for people to do work, and then the implementation of those judgments, that’s where the robot comes in, that’s why it’s a robotic assistant. So I wouldn’t say there’s any disadvantages to using a robot, because you wouldn’t build features that would replace things that humans simply just do better. You’re trying, basically, to extend a person’s capacity to get work done by giving them helpers.
Indoor farming is another piece of this equation. What are the benefits of indoor farming? Incredible levels of efficiency, for one, and on top of that the ability to grow in arbitrary geographies and the ability to grow more sustainably. Because of all the technology that you put into these buildings, you also can do things a lot more sustainably. They’re likely doing [over] 25 times as much fruit production per acre as an outdoor reference point. These types of farms can do up to 90 percent less water use, since all the water goes
directly into the plant, and any water that the plant doesn’t need is collected, reprocessed, and recleaned so it can be used again. And then on top of that, because they have this controlled, indoor environment, they can massively drop the pesticide use.
How can this technology help the agriculture industry navigate climate change? It’s about predictability. If you get to control your growing environment, then you get to control the outcome. If you are using a glass house enclosure or a full enclosure, you have a lot of fine control over the temperature, you have a lot of fine control over water exposure to the crops, humidity, and as a result, you know what amount of production [you’ll have] with a much higher degree of confidence than you would with an outdoor farm today. Looking toward climate change in the future, there’s going to be increasing unpredictability in weather patterns that are going to have really massive effects on outdoor production. A big part of what we want to support at Root is making fresh fruits and vegetables much more accessible, and accessibility has to do with having local production, so that people can get highquality, vine-ripened, fresh produce next-day. This is the problem of today. The problem of tomorrow is unpredictability and weather, which creates fluctuation in supply and pricing.
What stage is Virgo in now? It’s a late-stage prototype. We’re going to be launching the product early next year, and right now it’s a mobile harvesting platform that has an on-board intelligence, doesn’t require to be connected to the internet, can see tomatoes regardless of their ripeness. And it’s able to assess whether or not they’re ripe enough to be picked, and then be able to pick without damage. The tomatoes that we pick are already sold to grocery stores. Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and conciseness.
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TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION
THIS TECH FIRM WANTS TO ENSURE THE NEXT U.S. PRESIDENT IS A DEMOCRAT BY JAMES LINDSAY | ILLUSTRATION BY STEFAN MALLETTE
assachusetts isn’t an electorally competitive state at the presidential level. And, since our Democratic primary isn’t very early on, it would be easy to assume that the Bay State won’t be playing much of a role in the 2020 election season. But that assumption would be wrong, at least here in Somerville. NGP VAN, a technology company based in Somerville and Washington, D.C., has been providing crucial tools to the Democratic Party and its affiliated campaigns and organizations since 2011. That’s when NGP Software, Inc., a left-leaning fundraising and compliance firm, merged with Voter Activation Network (or “VAN”), a data management and voter outreach company. If a canvasser knocks on your door this summer to ask you to support a particular candidate, chances are the campaign got your address through NGP VAN’s VoteBuilder app, the go-to voter outreach tool for left-leaning causes and candidates. But just because the campaign got your information through NGP VAN’s app does not mean that it got your information from the app. It’s a subtle, but important, distinction. “We’re the interface. We’re not the data,” explains 30 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
Amanda Coulombe, NGP VAN’s Somerville-based General Manager for Organizing. “We’re a software company. We build the tools. We don’t collect the data or provide the data. That’s provided by our clients.” As Coulombe explains, those clients, some of which are independent organizations and some of which are subsidiaries of the Democratic National Committee, can get access to a state’s voter file or purchase a database from a consumer reporting agency. This database could be a small sample of people who might vote for Somerville’s next mayor, or it could include every registered voter in the United States for a presidential election. The campaign then inputs that data to NGP VAN’s outreach tools, which can help sort the information by a number of factors such as age, income, or how often someone votes. This way, the campaign can determine who is or isn’t likely to support the cause or candidate. “The way our contract with the DNC works is that the DNC actually purchases our organizing tools centrally and provides that to state parties and grants access to campaigns,” says Coulombe, adding that NGP VAN’s financial, fundraising, and compliance tools are being used by the majority of 2020 presidential candidates.
As a campaign knocks on more doors and talks to voters, voter reactions and responses are added and compiled. As time goes on, more and more information is added so that outreach efforts can be concentrated on the people most likely to support a particular cause. Currently, any Democratic campaign that wants to have access to the technology is welcome to use it, but each campaign uploads and curates its voter data separately. For example, Elizabeth Warren’s and Joe Biden’s teams might start with the same databases—whether from state voter files, from consumer reports, or directly from the DNC. But Biden’s campaign would not have access to the results of interactions the Warren volunteers have with voters they target, and vice versa. “A lot of what our products do is help fuel progressive and democratic outreach,” says Coulombe. “But we provide data in a very contextualized way.” With more than 60 employees in Somerville and about triple that in D.C., the company has become the default vendor of data technology to most organizations affiliated with the Democratic Party. “We are kind of a one-stop shop for everyone from the Democratic National Committee, to all of the state parties, to labor
organizations like the AFL-CIO and SEIU. And we’ve grown into the nonprofit space, so we work with everyone from the Audubon Society to Greenpeace to Planned Parenthood,” Coulombe says. The consolidation has obvious advantages to Democrats and their progressive sympathizers
“WE ARE KIND OF A ONE-STOP SHOP FOR EVERYONE FROM THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE, TO ALL OF THE STATE PARTIES, TO LABOR ORGANIZATIONS LIKE THE AFLCIO AND SEIU.”
nationally: ideally, the information used to target and motivate voters gets stronger and more specific with every campaign. But there are downsides as well. During the Democratic presidential primary in 2016, members of the Bernie Sanders campaign gained unauthorized
access to data that had been gathered by the Hillary Clinton campaign via a software malfunction in NGP VAN’s products. In response, the DNC briefly revoked data access for the Sanders team. The Sanders campaign denied wrongdoing, though one Sanders staffer
was fired over the incident and Sanders himself apologized to Clinton. Despite any misgivings, the firm’s products are clearly still popular among left-leaning political causes. While Warren has made tech privacy and taking on data collection giants
like Facebook a core part of her campaign, and this round’s Sanders team has created its own voter outreach app, NGP VAN remains the top data tech provider to 2020’s crop of candidates. In fact, in the 2018 election cycle, organizations like Planned Parenthood Votes, the Democratic Party of Oregon, Friends of Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth for Massachusetts were among NGP VAN’s highest-paying customers, according to the political watchdog site OpenSecrets.org. “At its heart, it’s all the same publicly available data, it just depends on the vendor you’re purchasing it from,” says Coulombe. For the most part, it is the aggregation and interpretation of the data that campaigns pay for, not the data itself. But even then, a candidate can’t win without people actually showing up to vote. “You need to be so focused on getting out people who are supportive of you,” Coulombe says. scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 31
TECHNOLOGY & TRANSPORTATION
Somerville Bike Kitchen Fosters Learning through Doing BY ABBIE GRUSKIN | PHOTOS BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
his is anything but an ordinary bike repair shop. Instead, it’s a relaxed, doit-yourself learning environment where local cyclists can forge a community. “The mission of our space has always been a little bit shifting, but mainly we’re trying to empower people, which is why we do the hands-off type of approach,” Somerville Bike Kitchen (SBK) Co-founder Zachary Hirschtritt says. “We’re closer to the end of the spectrum of just friends sharing tools,” Co-founder Troy Sankey adds. Founded in 2015 by Hirschtritt, Sankey, and Sam Christy, SBK is a collaborative makerspace housed under the roof of the science- and technology-minded organization Sprout & Co. After bonding over a shared love of fixing up their own bikes—and realizing that breaking out tools in the living rooms of their homes wouldn’t suffice much longer—the SBK founders decided they could fulfill their own mechanic dreams and serve a larger community of cyclists by opening a bike kitchen. The 32 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
communal tools and spare parts (many of which came from the founders’ personal collections) paired with the flexible atmosphere of the coop allow cyclists to complete larger, longer projects like revamping defunct bikes or even building one from just a skeleton, Hirschtritt and Christy explain. Somewhere between a nonprofit and for-profit business, according to Christy, the bike kitchen is maintained by 10 staff members who pay a monthly fee and oversee drop-in hours in exchange for uninhibited access to the space and tools. Staff members encourage drop-in bikers to problem solve at their own pace, even if that means making mistakes along the way or prolonging the process. When drop-in bikers do ask for help, the founders and staff often model certain techniques on spare chains to avoid robbing drop-in users of the experience of fine-tuning their own bikes. “We don’t replace professional mechanics, we’re just here for people who really want to work on their bikes themselves and learn about how to work on their bike,” Christy says. “It’s very easy as someone who knows what
needs to get done to just do it, but that doesn’t help the person who’s trying to learn how to fix a bike.” “We hardly even touch people’s bikes,” Sankey adds. “Our goal is to instruct and to be an educational resource rather than a labor resource.” The bike kitchen also boasts a library of mechanic books and a computer with access to instructional videos. Some dropin SBK users even bring friends along for the ride for technical and emotional support or video chat with more mechanically savvy peers for advice, according to the founders. And SBK rarely faces lulls in usage. Many of the coop’s drop-ins are local Somerville or Cambridge bike commuters who discover the makerspace through word of mouth or referrals from nearby bike shops like Cambridge Bicycle, and Hirschtritt says the true enthusiasts continue visiting during the dreary winter months. The bike kitchen, much like the people who take advantage of its space and amenities, seems to succeed independently and without overbearing leadership—the founders believe SBK runs seamlessly due in part to the growing sense of
ownership among staff and community members. “It was maybe three months and I thought, ‘I could just walk out, it’s going to run,’” Christy explains. “Because people came that were so enthusiastic, and so energized to get this thing happening, and are just still motivated. I’ve been really impressed by how much people have gotten involved and how much they’ve done. People who are involved really feel ownership of it.” SBK suggests a $10-per-hour donation for drop-in sessions, which run from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday, but the fee is need-flexible. The SBK co-founders further encourage a sense of community through out-of-the-box events and gatherings, including organized group rides, bike-in movie nights, and bike pageants—which Christy describes as runway-esque events with different categories where enthusiasts can show off their bikes. Beyond hosting lighthearted events, SBK aims to welcome more female-identifying enthusiasts into the traditionally hyper-masculine world of bike repair through the same hands-off approach so integral to their organization. The founders collaborate with a local group called Femmechanics once a month to host “Grrrease Time” events, during which the bike kitchen is only open to femaleidentifying and non-binary people. “There’s definitely a macho bike culture, and a stigma about that,” Christy says. “I imagine there’s an intimidating factor to coming to the space, and I really want to try to encourage people not to feel that, to feel like we’re just here to help out. We try as much as we can to counter that idea.” “That’s also the experience that every woman I’ve talked to that’s gone to a bike shop has had, they go into the bike shop and they get mansplained to, and they are intimidated,” Hirschtritt adds. “So we actively go out of our way to try to provide the opposite experience of that, but we’re a lot of men, so we do our best.” The Somerville Bike Kitchen is located at 339 Summer St. For more information, visit somervillebikekitchen.org.
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The Somerville Switchboard
A Q&A WIT H T H E CIT Y’ S VE TERAN P H ON E OP ERAT OR BY REENA KARASIN PHOTO BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
almost always do interviews for print articles in person. But this time, I decided to make an exception. “City of Somerville, how may I help you?” Norma Douglas has been a phone operator for the city for 32 years. She’s one of two people who answer the approximately 100,000 calls that come into the city’s main line annually. If you’ve ever dialed 617-625-6600 and asked for the operator, there’s a good chance you’ve spoken to her. Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up at this job. Well, that was a long time ago. I came for an interview and I started as a fill-in, so I was on a 34 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
day-to-day basis, if they needed me I would come in, if they didn’t need me, I wouldn’t come in. I worked here and I worked down at the police station. A year later, or maybe two years later, I was made permanent. What about this job appealed to you? I like dealing with the people. I’ve always been working with the people on the phone—I used to have another job, I was a telephone operator. I like talking to people. What does a typical call look like? They call up and they ask for the extension, or if they don’t know where they want they ask, “Where can I get a birth certificate?” or “Can I talk to somebody about my taxes?” We can connect them to the certain different departments. The most is the schools, and a lot of DPW calls. A lot of tax
calls, birth certificates, we handle all those, put them in to the departments. How have things at this job changed—or not changed—over the decades? When I first started there were three of us here, because there was no automation and then automation came in and it went down to two of us. Some people, like [the] elderly, they don’t know what they’re looking for. We try to figure out what they need and where we can connect them to get them the help that they need. And then the schools, the parents that are signing their children up for school, we give them the parent information center. When I first started, they didn’t have that. A lot of things have changed from when I first started here, because that was back in 1986, so
a lot has changed. I’ve seen a lot of different people. Thirty-two years is a long time to stay at a job. What has kept you here this long? I like my job. I like the people that I work for, I enjoy what I do, helping people if they don’t know what they’re looking for. That’s really what kept me here. And I like the people I work with. I like that I’m helping people. If they don’t know where they’re going, I’m able to help. If somebody calls up and they’re looking for something, they don’t know who to ask or who [can] help them, I try to see who I can get to help them. I do try to help people as much as I can. Editor’s note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and conciseness.
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BY JESSICA BLOUGH
864 Broadway, (617) 620-6810
FORGE ICE CREAM BAR 626 Somerville Ave., (617) 764-5365 Origin story: Tucker Lewis and Jennifer Park met while working at an ice cream shop before going on to open Somerville staples Diesel Cafe and Bloc Cafe together. They opened their third store, Forge Baking Company, in 2014. Two years later, they expanded their menu to include housemade ice cream, coming full circle.
Intelligentsia coffee in its coffee ice cream as Forge Baking Company uses to make coffee drinks, and the cookies and brownies mixed into ice cream flavors come from the bakery.
What makes it unique: The ice cream shop collaborates with Forge Baking Company, housed in the same storefront and under the same management. That means high-caliber ingredients: Forge Ice Cream uses the same
Dietary restrictions: Dairy-free sorbet
36 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
Atmosphere: A classic ice cream shoppe— stools at the counter, black and white tile floors, milkshakes in tall glasses—with a modern feel.
Hours: 2-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday 2-9 p.m Friday 12-9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Origin story: In 2011, Mary McPartland decided to combine her love of baking with her love of ice cream. She purchased a 1976 ice cream truck off Ebay, added two more trucks a few years later, and opened a storefront in Powder House Square five years ago. What makes it unique: Frozen Hoagies’ specialty is ice cream sandwiches made with cookies baked in-house and ice cream from Rancatore’s in Lexington. The cookies are baked fresh every morning with all-natural ingredients and no preservatives. Atmosphere: Pink and black everything—displays showing the variety of options, chalkboards explaining the order process, and packaged candies and gummies available for purchase. Dietary restrictions: Vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options are available for both cookies and ice cream. Hours: 12-9 p.m. Monday through Friday 12-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Ice cream truck schedule: frozenhoagies.com/find-our-truck
415 Medford St, (617) 718-0558
GRACIE’S ICE CREAM
22 Union Square, (617) 764-5294
Origin story: David Lindsey and Gerly Adrien, who got married at the beginning of June, bought Tipping Cow from Anna Gaul just over a year ago. With their purchase of the fiveyear-old business came a promise to preserve the integrity of the ice cream store and “give people a piece of love and happiness,” Lindsey says.
play with seasonal ingredients, including strawberry basil, black forest cake, and caprese salad. “Ice cream is the perfect medium to be creative,” Lindsey says.
What makes it unique: Tipping Cow specializes in fresh, creative flavors made in-house that
Dietary restrictions: The entire store is free of peanuts, tree nuts, and sesame, with dairy-free and vegan options available.
Origin story: Owner Aaron Cohen used to produce food festivals and wanted to get into retail, which led him to the ice cream business—reminiscent of his job in an ice cream shop when he was 17 years old. Cohen opened Gracie’s in 2015 and named it after his daughter, who is now 6. He recently added his son’s name, Callum, to the Union Square storefront’s sign. What makes it unique: Along with the collection of standing and rotating flavors of small-batch ice cream made on-site, Gracie’s customers can’t miss the welcoming messages postering the walls and storefront, including “It is ok to cry in this place” on the menu and a sign that reads “Eat ice cream and defend vulnerable communities” outside the store. Gracie’s also partners with local schools and gives customers the option of donating a “Selfless Scoop.” Atmosphere: A family-friendly, colorful space covered in chalk art, inflatable ice cream cones, murals on the counter, and art on the walls. Dietary restrictions: Dairy-free sorbet available. Hours: 2:30-10 p.m. Monday through Friday 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday 1-10 p.m. Sunday
Atmosphere: The motto of the shop is “gourmet ice cream without the ego,” which is reflected in its simple design to accompany its bold flavors.
Summer Hours: 2-8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 2-9 p.m. Friday 2-10 p.m. Saturday 2-7 p.m. Sunday
LOUIE’S ICE CREAM 193 Broadway, (617) 776-6800
Origin story: Paul Robichaud didn’t have air conditioning in his car in the early 2000s, so he’d stop to get a cone from Louie’s Ice Cream every day on his way home from work. In 2005, his daily tradition was interrupted when the store closed. Within a month, Robichaud and his wife, Gail, purchased the store and continued its tradition of selling ice cream out of the window. Louie’s, which has been in operation for at least 57 years under various owners, is now run by two of their children, Colleen Robichaud-Mountzouros and PJ Robichaud.
reminiscent of an old-school ice cream shop.
What makes it unique: Louie’s takes a walk-up-window-only approach, meaning that it trades indoor seating for picnic benches and attracts nearby foot traffic, kids getting out of school, and families coming from the nearby Foss Park. The flavors are
Options for those with dietary restrictions: The store’s slush is vegan and dairy-free.
Forge, Gracie’s, and Louie’s photos by Jessica Blough. Frozen Hoagie’s photo by Micaela Malley. Tipping Cow photo courtesy of Tipping Cow.
Atmosphere: Family friendly, communityoriented, and distinctly summery. “It’s a classic, and we try to keep it as classic as possible,” RobichaudMountzouros says.
Summer Hours: 12-11 p.m. every day, weather permitting
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 37
UNION PRESS WORDS AND PHOTOS BY REENA KARASIN
n an otherwise ordinary building on Somerville Avenue, a spiral staircase brings you to a small room filled with letters. There are cases of them—wide, flat drawers of them stacked in what could almost be dressers. Others are assembled and at the ready, negative spaces carefully tucked around them. Eli Epstein was told it was unlikely he’d be able to make a career designing with his hands. But he didn’t heed that advice, and went on to become the owner of Union Press, a letterpress print shop and design studio. Epstein describes letterpress printing as the intersection between art, design, printing, and engineering. At Union Press, he uses 19th and 20th century machines that are mostly manually operated to create posters, business cards, wedding invitations, and more. “I think the appeal is the tactility,” he explains. “Letterpress printing affords 38 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
you the opportunity to make an impression in the paper, which you can physically feel. I think for us technology-dependent humans, who are dealing with very smooth and flat and sleek computer objects, I think we do desire some other form of tactile stimulation. I think it feels more substantial, in a lot of ways.” The physicality is part of the draw of letterpress printing for Epstein, too. “It all made sense—the smells and the physical feelings and the things that I was seeing, the way that I was able to use the skills that I had acquired as a graphic design student, but apply it to a more hands-on process,” he says of finding letterpress printing. “It was way more fluid for me.” Much of Union Press’s work is with local organizations, including the Somerville Arts Council, Union Square Main Streets, and the Somerville Homeless Coalition. Posters for SomerStreets festivals, album
tours, and the Union Square Farmers Market line the walls. “What feels really important to me, and what I feel lucky to be doing, is to be working within my neighborhood and my community, and making work that people see hung up around town and are able to identify where it came from,” Epstein remarks. He credits Martha Stewart with prompting a renaissance in letterpress. She featured the craft in the 1990s, and its popularity grew as it found its niche in a computer world. Letterpress offers something extra for special occasions, for example. “Often what I’m producing is work that is intended to commemorate something or to celebrate an important milestone or event, things like wedding invitations and birth announcements, posters for bands who are playing an album release show,” Epstein says. It’s also more unique—
Epstein pulls out drawers of type to show how the wooden characters have absorbed colors over their years and even gotten scuffed up a bit, which lends the printed words character and a distressed style. The characters themselves, from the big numbers to the small, fancy “catchwords” (“and,” “the,” “or,” and so on) are integral to the design. “This process [is] so attached to materials—both the equipment but then also the type and imagery that is printed,” Epstein says. “Often the style or aesthetics are dictated by the collection within the shop, and so having printed here for nine years, I’ve begun to define a style that is dependent on what is inside of here.” Union Press is located at 440 Somerville Ave. For more information, visit unionpressprints.com or call (617) 625-1615.
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DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS & GAME CHANGERS
DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS, AND GAME CHANGERS
DEBORAH MASON PERFORMING ARTS CENTER BY REENA KARASIN
eborah Mason’s life has been transformed by dance. It started early: She grew up in a family full of musicians and artists, and would gather the kids in her East Cambridge neighborhood to put on shows. She began taking dance classes when she was 7. Behind on the routine, she practiced on her own until she had it down and would sit and watch the students in other classes. By 14, Mason was teaching and running one of the studios on Saturdays. “She was making an entrepreneur out of me,” Mason says of her dance teacher. The entrepreneurship stuck. Mason founded her own school in 1975, which is now called The Deborah Mason Performing Arts Center. “When you’re a child, you do the things that you love,” she explains. “If, when you get older, you’re not sure what you want to be, you should look at your 40 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
childhood, because that’s who you really are.” The studio teaches ballet, tap, jazz, modern, musical theater, and hip-hop to children and teenagers, and offers a variety of classes for adults. The center has moved six times over its 44 years, hopping throughout Somerville and Cambridge as Mason was pushed out of one place after another. Mason credits the same tenacity that she needed to learn that first dance routine with helping her keep her business alive through each move. When Mason founded the studio (formerly called the Deborah Mason School of Dance), she had the intention of giving children what dance gave her. “To help other kids get off the street was my main goal at the time,” she says, noting that she would give free classes to students who needed them. “My neighborhood was pretty rough at the time, and there was a lot of
drugs. I had a lot of friends that died from drugs, and dance is what saved me.” Somewhere along the way, a second focus emerged: helping students become professional dancers. And Mason has been successful, sharing stories of students who have gone on to Broadway and renowned dance companies. Mason’s two goals merge in the Cambridge Youth Dance Program, the school’s non-profit wing that provides subsidized, tailored programs to serious dance students. The program, which is audition-only, celebrated its 15th anniversary in April. Just as Mason’s goals for the studio have grown and developed, so has her own relationship to dance. “When my first husband passed away, I reached into my own spirit and soul,” she says. “It was the only way I could express myself. Once I found that tool, I used it, and I knew that it would
help other people. So it evolved, and now we’re here today and I use it for all kinds of special reasons—to protest, to make stories, just utilizing it as an art form and not just steps.” Now, Mason uses choreography to tackle tough topics that are relevant for her and her students, from women’s rights to bullying. After Mason created a dance to the audio of a Hillary Clinton speech from 1995, the former Secretary of State sent her a thank you letter in 2013. “I wanted to make sure that I could give back to the community by making young women feel important and appreciate their bodies,” Mason says. “Growing up in the ’70s, that was a big deal, and it seems to be a big deal now, too.” The Deborah Mason Performing Arts Center is located at 624 Somerville Ave. For more information, call (617) 616-5124 or visit deborahmasonperforming artscenter.com. Photo courtesy of Deborah Mason.
Temple Brith Temple B’nai B’nai Brith JewishHome Home inin Somerville Your Your Jewish Somerville Welcoming • Inclusive • Egalitarian LEARNING + SOCIAL EVENTS
• Tot Shabbat Saturdays monthly at 10am, September thru June • Potluck Fridays Services 6-7pm, followed by vegetarian potluck • Shabbayit Group Dinners Go to templebnaibrith.org to sign up! • Reading with the Rabbi monthly book group, 7pm Wednesdays at Panera Porter Sq. Read and join the discussion for one book or as many as you like! • A special place to celebrate your life cycle events: Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Baby Namings, Weddings, etc. • Adult Education – Fall semester registering soon. • Weekly Children’s School K-7 (monthly pre-K) • Programs for Young Adults email TBB20s30s@gmail.com for info.
1st and 3rd Fridays of the month at 6pm and every Saturday at 9:30am
HIGH HOLIDAY TICKETS AND FREE FAMILY SERVICES 201 Central Street 02145 | 617-625-0333 | www.templebnaibrith.org | firstname.lastname@example.org
BEST MUSIC VENUE
AT SALLYS! LIVE MUSIC ALL DAY (NO COVER!)
Featuring The Round Table Acoustic Series 1-4pm The Natural Wonders at 4pm Sambalolo hosts African Night at 10pm
SUNDAY ROAST AND FULL MENU
sallyobriensbar.com Union Square | 335 Somerville Ave., Somerville
Thank You for nominating us for Best Hair Salon, Best Hair Color (Sam) and Best Haircut (Ashley)!
Check out our new location at 290 Highland Ave! BEST HAIR SALON: 2013–2018 BEST HAIR COLOR: 2016–2018 BEST HAIRCUT: 2016–2018
290 HIGHLAND AVENUE, SOMERVILLE • 617-776-6470 WWW.HAIRBYCHRISTINEANDCO.COM
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 41
MEET THE SCOUT TEAM
MEET THE SCOUT TEAM
ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER
drianne grew up outside of Minneapolis in a home that was covered wall-to-wall with her father’s photography. She moved to the Boston area for a job in public radio, but found herself gravitating toward photography. “I feel like it gives me a sixth sense—when I’m photographing something, I feel like time passes very differently,” she says. “It’s like I have eyes all over my head. I feel very tuned in to multiple things happening at once, and even kind of a sense of the future, you’re always trying to be five seconds ahead of what’s about to happen so that you can run to the right spot and be there.” Adrianne found out about Scout a few years
ago when she walked by one of our outdoor boxes. She started by shooting our old Scout You sections, and now is the staff photographer who’s in charge of our Somerville edition. “I love that I feel so much more connected to the area by photographing for the Scout,” she says. “Scout has me directly meeting people and talking to them and creating portraits of them or documenting what they’re doing. It’s made me feel really positively about the area that I live in.” In addition to Scout, Adrianne does portrait photography out of Vernon Street Studios and works on her Home Portraiture project, where she makes photo books of people’s homes for them before they move. She and her husband, Janaka, have an infant son named Eli. She likes doing yoga and makes gluten-free baked goods every few days.
Top left: Adrianne and Eli in the Fells (photo by Janaka Stucky). Middle left: Self Portrait, 2019. Lower left: Home Portraiture books. Right: Janaka greets Eli after work.
42 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
CHEF - JOSE
617-764-5556 • EBISUSHI.COM • 290 SOMERVILLE AVE, SOMERVILLE FREE PARKING AT MIKE’S AUTO AFTER 6 P.M.
MON–THUR: 11:30AM-3:30PM, 5-10PM • FRI: 11:30AM–3:30PM, 5–10:30PM SAT: 11:30AM–10:30PM • SUN: 11:30AM–10PM
We understand an hour never feels long enough. Schedule an hour therapeutic massage for a Tuesday between 9 and 2 and receive an extra 15 min FREE (75 min total)! Call our office to schedule. Limited availability. Promotion ends 8/31/2019.
Best Vegan or Vegetarian
Best Vegan or Vegetarian
Best Mobile Eats
BEST TACOS BEST RESTAURANT IN BALL SQUARE BEST VEGAN OR VEGETARIAN
BUILDING TACOS FROM THE GROUND UP
BEST MASSAGE BEST ACUPUNCTURE BEST HOLISTIC HEALTH SERVICES
22 years experience providing clinical bodywork & massage.
711 BROADWAY, SOMERVILLE
Visit us online at www.massagetherapyworks.com or call 617-684-4000 Open every day, including 6 evenings for your convenience 255 Elm Street | Davis Square | Somerville
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 43
SATURDAYS | FITNESS
JULY 22 | CONVERSATION
YOGA IN THE PARK 9 a.m., Free 355 Artisan Way, Somerville Some.Yoga.Studio is teaching free yoga on the Mystic River each Saturday morning. There are 100 spots available, and registration opens the day before at 12 p.m.
BOSS BABES SERIES – LAMPLIGHTER BREWING 6:30 to 8 p.m., Free Lamplighter Brewing Co. 284 Broadway, Cambridge Boston Girls Pints Out organizes talks with local women who are involved with beer, and this July three women from Lamplighter will be featured: Bri Grealish (director of sales and distribution), Megan Knetemann (head bartender), and Jess Alexander (lab manager and microbiologist).
JULY 11 | FOOD & DRINKS
Photo courtesy of Assembly Row.
BAR STARS AT ASSEMBLY ROW 6 to 8 p.m., $25 355 Artisan Way, Somerville Assembly Row is asking for your help to answer one question: Which restaurant in the neighborhood makes the best cocktails? Your ticket gets you samples of drinks from 10 Assembly Row spots, small bites, and a vote for your favorite drink. The event benefits Groundwork Somerville.
JULY 13 | ART
Image by giraffesandrobots.com.
ARTBEAT 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Free Davis Square, Somerville “Consumed” is the theme of this year’s ArtBeat, the annual art festival that shuts down Davis Square. The arts council is taking “Consumed” both literally and figuratively, and is focusing on how the topic affects the environment. ArtBeat will offer up music, dance performances, food, and activities.
JULY 16 | FOOD
TASTE OF CAMBRIDGE FOOD FESTIVAL 5 to 8 p.m., $65 65 Sidney St., Cambridge Sample some of the best of Cambridge’s food scene at this outdoor event featuring Craigie On Main, Curio Coffee, Formaggio Kitchen, and dozens of others. Ticket sales benefit local nonprofits.
JULY 25 & AUG. 22 | COMEDY
Photo by Reena Karasin.
JULY 31 & AUG. 28 FOOD & DRINKS
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
Photo courtesy of Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room.
44 Technology & Transportation | scoutsomerville.com
VEGAN DRINKS 6 to 8 p.m. True Bistro—1153 Broadway, Somerville This chance to try vegan drinks also includes tastes of food, mocktails, and giveaways. The event is a collaboration among The Humane League-Boston, True Bistro, and Veganizer Boston.
AUG. 24 | ART
JULY 18 | FOOD
DUMPLING MAKING PARTY 6 to 8:30 p.m., $79 85 Windsor St., Cambridge Chef Patty Chen of Patty Chen’s Dumpling Room will teach how to make TaiwaneseAmerican dumplings at home. Attendees will make pork and vegetable dumplings in five different shapes.
AFFIRMATIVE REACTION: AN ASIAN & ASIAN AMERICAN COMEDY SHOW! 9:30 p.m., $15 40 Prospect St., Cambridge This comedy series highlights experienced and new Asian and Asian American comedians. “This show aims to create an inclusive and inviting space for members and allies of the Asian and American communities to gather and laugh,” the Facebook event reads.
Photo by Sasha Pedro.
BLACK, BROWN & QUEER FESTIVAL Union Square Plaza, Somerville Oompa and the Somerville Arts Council are partnering up for this festival, which will highlight queer artists of color across multiple disciplines.
AUG. 29 | FOOD & DRINK
TWILIGHT WINE TASTING 5:30 to 7 p.m., $12 580 Mount Auburn St., Cambridge For good wine at a beautiful time of day, head to Mount Auburn Cemetery’s Asa Gray Garden for samples from the Magnolia Wine Company.
131 SHERMAN ST., CAMBRIDGE 617-354-0335 • JOSESMEX.COM
793 MASS AVE., ARLINGTON 781-316-0138 • JOSESTORTA.COM
SU P P O RT LO CA L ME D IA . ADVERTISE WITH SCOUT. Contact Holli at email@example.com
scoutsomerville.com | Technology & Transportation 45
Please consider shopping with these and other Scout sponsors.
HEALTH & WELLNESS DIRECTORY
DR. KATIE TALMO, D.M.D.
JOSE’S MEXICAN RESTAURANT
131 Sherman St., Cambridge 617-354-0335, josesmex.com Authentic, homemade, Central Mexican Cuisine. Patio, private party room and full bar. Catering also available.
LEONE’S SUB AND PIZZA
180 Highland Ave., Somerville 617-864-6111 Dr. Talmo provides a personalize approach to dental care. Come enjoy a comfortable dental experience in her newly renovated office space.
292 Broadway, Somerville 617-776-2511, leonessubandpizza.com Pizza and subs fit for a king since 1954. Now being delivered by Dash!
711 Broadway, Somerville 617-764-0683, tacopartytruck.com Building tacos from the ground up.
MIKE’S FOOD & SPIRITS
MASSAGE THERAPY WORKS
9 Davis Square, Somerville 617-628-2379, mikesondavis.com Pizza, Pasta, Seafood, Burgers and more! Dine in our casual dining room open to Davis Square or watch a game at the bar!
255 Elm St #302, Somerville 617-684-4000 Leader in clinical bodywork and therapeutic massage since 1997.
LA POSADA RESTAURANT
505 Medford St., Somerville 617-776-2049, laposadasomerville.com Somerville’s spot for delicious, hand-crafted Latin American cuisine.
OPA GREEK YEEROS
1001 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge 288 Highland Ave., Somerville o2yoga.com Athletic, empowering, energizing practice improving body, mind and spirit.
378 Highland Ave., Somerville 617-718-2900, opayeeros.com Authentic Greek cuisine and a lively atmosphere. Expanding soon!
MASS AVE DINER
906 Mass. Ave., Cambridge 617-864-5301, massavediner.com Since 2010 Serving Killer Brunch and Diner Fare. Now Open Late and Serving Craft Beer and Wine!
Prices are already up quite a bit over 2013, which was the strongest market in years. More inventory has started to appear, but it is still not enough to satisfy demand. Consequently, prices should continue to rise in 2014.
64 Union Square, Somerville 617-821-5560, bliss-brain.com Learn how to utilize your brain’s natural neuroplastic abilities to create the life you strive for through NeuroSculpting and meditation.
REAL ESTATE DIRECTORY Our New Listings
Please call us for more information on the market, or to get a sense of the current value of your home. ~Thalia, Todd, Niké, Jennifer, and Lynn
This is a very rare opportunity to own a single family home with garage on one of the largest lots in Davis Square . The Victorian-era house has 4 bedrooms and one and a half baths on two levels. The detached garage
TEAM JEN & LYNN
Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate Lynn 617-216-5244, Jen 617-943-9581
the Morrison Ave. and Grove St., is the very large, open, level yard. Owned by the same family since 1955, this unspoiled home is ready for a new family to make their own updates and memories.
Residential Sales Specialist, ealtor R ® cell/text Jennifer@ThaliaTringoRe alEstate .com
Lovely Agassiz 2 bedroom/2 bath condo with private porch on a pleasant side street between Harvard and Porter Squares. Near great shops, restaurants, and Harvard campus.
Bringing our expertise and good ~ $349,000 humor to help you find a perfect home or say good-bye to your old one. ~ $229,000
Roomy Ten Hills 2 bedroom/1 bath condo with charming details, reonvated kitchen, parking, and storage.
Lynn C. Gr aham
Residential Sales Specialist, ealtor R ® cell/text Lynn@ThaliaTringoRe alEstate .com
CHARLES CHERNEY REALTOR AT COMPASS
CambridgeRealEstate.com 617-733-8937, firstname.lastname@example.org Helping You Buy the Right Home and Sell for the Best Price in Cambridge and Somerville, MA.
Near Medford Sq., this 1 bedroom/ 1 1/2 bath condo is in an elevator building with parking.
PORTER SQUARE BOOKS
25 White St., Cambridge 617-491-2220, portersquarebooks.com Porter Square Books is your fiercely independent source for great books, magazines, fun gifts and more.
IRENE BREMIS THE IBREMIS TEAM
In the heart of Davis Sq., this 2 bedroom/1 bath condo in a brick building has a parking space.
617-905-5232, irenebremis.com email@example.com Renovated 1 bedroom/1 bath near Prospect Hill with central air, in-unit laundry, private porch, and shared yard. Real Estate Consulting, Listing, Marketing, Sales & Rental Specialist. iBremis Realty, Inc. powered by LAER. Equidistant from Davis and Porter Squares, this 3 bedroom/1.5 bath condo on two levels has in-unit laundry, 2 porches, private yard, and exclusive driveway for 3 cars.
THALIA TRINGO & ASSOCIATES REAL ESTATE
Our agents strive to make your experience of buying and selling as smooth as possible. From start to finish, we are here to help you. Free classes.
S U P P ORT LO CA L ME D IA. ADVE RTIS E WITH S CO U T. Contact Holli at firstname.lastname@example.org
Did you remember to vote? VOTE LOCAL. VOTE NOW. SHOW YOUR LOVE. WIN $200. SEE PAGES 13-14 FOR YOUR 2019 SCOUTâ€™S HONORED FINALISTS. VOTE AT SCOUTSOMERVILLE.COM/VOTE
THE SHOPS OF BOW MARKET THANK YOU ALL FOR THE NOMINATIONS! BOW MARKET
BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH
BROWS BY RENATA
MAKE AND MEND
BEST EYEBROW SERVICES
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY BUSINESS
THE COMEDY STUDIO
REBEL REBEL WINE BAR
FILOMENA DEMARCO JEWELRY BEST JEWELRY DESIGN
BEST HOME DECOR BEST GIFT SHOP
1 BOW MARKET WAY, SOMERVILLE BOWMARKETSOMERVILLE.COM
BEST SWEET TOOTH SATISFIER
BEST NEW BUSINESS BEST BARTENDER LAUREN FRIEL
REMNANT BREWING BEST BREWERY OR DISTILLERY
TINY TURNS PAPERIE BEST PRINTS SHOP
BEST THRIFT OR VINTAGE
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