87 Wallace Street, Somerville $999,999
Among Trees an exhibition of paintings by
Vicki Kocher Paret
Tired of seeing the same renovations and finishes at every open house? Would you rather customize your own home? This Victorian single-family gem, in the heart of Davis Square, awaits your re-imagining. With a great location, 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on 3 floors, yard, 2-bay garage and driveway parking for 3 additional cars, this house has all the ingredients you need to create your ideal home. Live on one of the most beloved streets in Davis Square, with an annual block party, listserv, and a sense of community. Walk to the Davis Square Red Line subway, shops, nightlife, and eateries—all just .3 miles away (WalkScore® 91).
February 15 – May 31, 2020 Opening Reception: Thursday, March 19, 2020 from 5:30-7:30 pm at the offices of Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate
156 Ivy Street, Brookline $5,125,000
Best Real Estate Agency
Best Real Estate Agent
Walk to downtown Boston, the hospitals, Fenway Park, and Cambridge from this stunning Early Gothic Revival (c. 1851) single family on 8/10 acre abutting conservation land in the Cottage Farm neighborhood. 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. Historic home originally owned by the co-founder of Mass Audubon. Walk to Green Line B, C, and D trains, major hospitals, Coolidge Corner, and BU campus.
21 Wood Street Unit 1, Cambridge Nestled on a side street between Porter Square and Huron Village, this bright first-floor condo has 2 bedrooms, 1.5 baths, 1 parking space, private porch, central air, gas fireplace, and basement storage area. Walk to Danehy Park, Porter Square, and Huron Village from this convenient residential neighborhood. Union Square Multi-Family $2,950,000 Union Square 10-unit multi-family on a corner lot with parking for 6 cars. Six studios, two 1-bedrooms, and two 2-bedrooms. Fully tenanted with 6 leases ending between 5/318/31/2020 and 4 units TAW. Owned by the same family since 1994 with several long-term tenants; rents below market rate. Spring Hill 3-bedroom with 2 baths and parking On a one-way street between Porter and Union Squares, this condo occupies the upper two floors on a corner lot and has sweeping views of the area. This warm, homey unit has 1 bedroom, study, kitchen, dining room, and full bathroom on the first level, and 2 bedrooms and another full bath on the top floor. A private porch, shared yard, and unobstructed parking space make this home complete with a list of desirable amenities. Porter Square Two-Family Well-maintained 2-family very near Porter Square T station with a strong rental history. Recent updates include re-siding, new fence and railings, and landscaping. Each unit has 2 bedrooms and 1 bath. Davis Square Two-Family Ideal location on a residential side street near Davis Square. First floor unit has 2-3 bedrooms and 1 full bath; upper unit is on two levels with 2-3 bedrooms and 1 full bath. Lovely front and rear yards. Lower roof replaced in 2020. Could easily be converted back to a single family as well and has been used that way in the past.
President, Realtor ® 617.513.1967 cell/text Thalia@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.943.9581 cell/text Jennifer@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
Lynn C. Graham
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
an overview of the buying process
Residential Sales Specialist, Realtor ® 617.702.4751 cell/text Sarasvati@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
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.
First Time Home Buyers: Wednesday, April 1st
6:30 – 7:45 pm
How to Buy and Sell at the Same Time: for homeowners contemplating a move Monday, April 13th
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.
How Individuals Can Buy Property Together as a Group Monday, March 16th
Executive Assistant to the President, Realtor ® 617.308.0064 cell/text Adaria@ThaliaTringoRealEstate.com
6:30 – 8:30 pm
When two or more people, whether or not they are related, buy property together, what are their options for taking title? How do you determine each one’s financial contributions, percentage legal interest in the property, and expense allocation? What kind of arrangements can be made in the event one or more parties want to move on but others want to keep the property? What type of financing is available? We will address these and other questions, followed by a Q&A session. Lead by our team and a local real estate attorney.
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.
About our company... We are dedicated to representing our buyer and seller clients with integrity and professionalism. We are also commied to giving back to our community. Our agents donate $250 to a non-profit in honor of each transaction and Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate Inc. also gives $250 to a pre-selected group of local charities for each transaction. Visit our office, 128 Willow Avenue, on the bike path in Davis Square, Somerville.
MARCH 10 - MAY 11, 2020 ::: VOLUME 62 ::: SCOUTSOMERVILLE.COM
contents 6 // EDITOR’S NOTE 8 // WINNERS & LOSERS The city makes a statement about young voters and Cliff Notez finds a spot on the Boston Calling lineup; meanwhile, some homes are at risk of lead exposure in the water, and high rent remains an ever-growing problem.
MEET THE MAKERS 22 // A DAY AT THE ARTISAN’S ASYLUM The Artisan’s Asylum is one of the largest makerspaces in the country. Take a glimpse into the crazy, winding world of the Asylum and learn more about some of the creators who call it their homebase. 24 // WHERE ART MEETS ACTIVISM Somerville resident Nina Eichner has been participating in social justice demonstrations on both a local and a national level, using her artistic abilities to act as an art lead for the organization Sunrise Boston. 26 // BECOMING ‘THE GIRL WHO CAN BUILD ANYTHING’ Artisan’s Asylum–based creative Sarah Miller likes to think of herself as a jack of all trades. Learn about how she finds beauty in chaos, and how she manages to have so many projects going all at once.
14 28 // A SLICE OF LIFE Along with getting their clothes cleaned and pressed, Porter Square Dry Cleaners customers have also started to purchase something else: floral jelly cakes, a classic Vietnamese dessert.
10 // WHAT’S NEW? Juliet expands its dining options, the beloved Jae’s Cafe closes its doors, the city considers a free bus fare program, and the GLX lags… again. 14 // FOLLOWING SOMERVILLE’S LEED When Somerville passed its first zoning overhaul in 30 years, many were still in disagreement about
whether or not requiring LEED Platinum sustainability standards would hurt or help the city. We break down what it all actually means. 34 // SCOUT OUT: BLACKBIRD PLASTICS Blackbird Plastics, a recycling service started by Alicia Durfey, is fighting clear plastic film waste on a hyperlocal level—one wrapper at a time. 36 // CALENDAR 38 // DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS, AND GAME CHANGERS: THE WELCOME PROJECT The non-profit organization does just its name implies: help immigrants feel safe and welcome in Somerville.
30 // LEARNING FROM THE BEST From chocolate making and bread baking to basket weaving and glass blowing, Somerville and Cambridge have it all. We compiled a list of our favorite classes in the cities to help you bring out your inner maker. 32 // A CAT, A MOUSE, AND AN APP It was serendipity that brought Marisa Wolsky to her latest project—an interactive, drawing-based children’s game that has become the most played game on the PBS Kids Games app. Here’s her story.
Photo, top: A building designed following Passive House standards. Photo by Trent Bell Photography. Photo, bottom: Sarah Miller, a jack of all trades at the Artisan’s Asylum. Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz. On the cover: Nina Eichner speaks to how her art meets her activism. Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
[There is always a] shortage of time, but certainly not a shortage of materials to work with.”
FAMILY RECIPES WITH MODERN TWISTS. SERVING SOMERVILLE HAND-CRAFTED LATIN AMERICAN CUISINE MADE WITH THE FRESHEST INGREDIENTS
IMPRESSIVE SELECTION OF TEQUILA, MEZCAL AND CACHAÇA! You’re probably familiar with tequila and event its smoky sister mezcal, but how about cachaça? Brazil’s most popular spirit, this spicy, sweet, clear liquor distilled from fermented sugarcane juice is perfect for sipping. We offer several varieties aged in different types of wood barrels - cavalho, balsamo, ipe, umbarana, and cedar. Cachaça is also makes a great caipirnha with fresh lime juice and cane sugar. Delicious! Prefer to stick with the familiar, you’ll be blown away by our selection of more than 80 types of tequilas! Enjoy our many margaritas, all made with the freshest ingredients, and now offering Cantarito made with Astral tequila and grapefruit juice, served on a clay jar to keep it cool as you enjoy it. Mix things up a bit with our muddled cucumber, mint and lemon for our Vida margarita with Mezcal Vida. Or try our hibiscus reduction in our Ahumado with a touch of cardamom to not only taste amazing but to give that citrusi aroma that goes so well with mezcal!
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t’s pretty remarkable how many skilled, creative makers live in Somerville—so many that I had a hard time picking the few that we included in this issue. We have artists and app creators, activists and Artisan’s Asylum members. And all with a fascinating story to tell about how their work is inspired by their city. We tried to cater to different interests and different readers: Those who want to know about an expert’s process from a distance, and others who want to dive right in and learn how to make something themselves. On one hand, we spoke to Sarah Miller, a jack of all trades who can design just about anything from a small sentimental piece to the interior of an electric car (p. 26). On the other hand, I also Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz. had a lot of fun compiling a list of classes around both Cambridge and Somerville that anyone could take—and I’m so tempted to join in, that you might just see me at all of them (p. 30). One of my favorite stories that I’ve read in Scout so far also appears in this issue: A story about sisters Hoa and Thủy from Vietnam, who are helping each other’s small businesses succeed. Thủy, who is still learning English, is a master at making floral jelly cakes (p. 28), and Porter Square Dry Cleaners owner Hoa helps translate for her when speaking to potential customers. We also dove into changes that residents, new and old, are making in their communities. We have a profile on The Welcome Project (p. 38), which helps immigrants become engaged citizens in the community. Our former intern and current interim fellow Elie Levine spent a little over a month investing herself in what the LEED platinum standards included in the new zoning code mean for Somerville—explaining how the city is leading the way in aspects of sustainable building (p. 14). This has turned into a wonderfully visual and distinct issue of Scout, and I’m proud to have it on the stands. I’m also proud to invite the community to our free celebration event for this issue at Somerville’s Aeronaut on March 22, from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Come join us and a few of our favorite makers as they demonstrate some of their skills, and we break down how we make our magazine every two months. As always, thanks for reading!
Lilly Milman Lilly Milman, Managing Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLISHER Holli Banks email@example.com MANAGING EDITOR Lilly Milman firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR Nicolle Renick email@example.com renickdesign.com CIRCULATION DIRECTOR Jerry Allien firstname.lastname@example.org INTERIM SCOUT FELLOW Elie Levine email@example.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Adrianne Mathiowetz firstname.lastname@example.org EDITORIAL INTERN Emily Curtis CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Shira Laucheroen, Eric J. Francis, Shafaq Patel, Rachael Dubinsky COPY EDITOR Maura Gaughan EVENT PROGRAMMING Bryan MacAuslan — EventThem email@example.com BANKS PUBLICATIONS 519 Somerville Ave, #314 Somerville, MA 02143 FIND US ONLINE scoutsomerville.com somervillescout
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.
6 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
ISSUE RELEASE PARTY
MARCH 22 / 1:30-4:30PM / 14 TYLER ST, SOMERVILLE You’ve read about some of our favorite makers, and now it’s time to meet them in person! Head down to Aeronaut Brewing Co. for a fun-filled afternoon of demonstrations, some you’ll be able to try yourself. Meet the Scout team and learn a bit about how we put this and other issues together. Children and teens must be accompanied by an adult. Suggested donation - $8. Photos: Top left, by Adrianne Mathiowetz. Bottom left, courtesy of Aeronaut Brewing Co. Bottom right, by Ellen Callaway Photography.
YOUNG VOTERS A new bill filed by Rep. Christine Barber proposes that Somerville residents ages 16 and 17 should have voting rights in local elections—and city officials support it. For them, the bill confirms what is already reality. “Teenagers in our cities and towns are involved with and educated about the issues that affect them and their community,” Mayor Joe Curtatone said at the State House in January. Barber shared a similar sentiment: “Young people are leading the way on so many issues—it seems only right to include them in the important process of electing representatives.”
LEAD EXPOSURE An annual test by the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority found high levels of lead in some Somerville homes. The culprit is the city’s older piping systems, since water corrodes the lead-based materials that comprise the pipes. The Somerville Water Department sampled 15 homes for lead levels and only found two with levels that exceeded the national “action level” of 15 ppb (parts per billion), but Somervillans should still be proactive about checking their homes for lead. To combat this common contaminant, residents can take care to filter their water, test their children for lead exposure, and run the faucet for up to two minutes before taking a sip.
STATE LOTTERY Walter Morales bought a winning scratch ticket for the Massachusetts State Lottery’s “$2,000,000 50X Cashword” instant game at Mid-Nite Convenience, located at 15 Union Sq., in January. He chose to receive a one-time payment of $650,000. The convenience store gets a bonus payment of $10,000 for making the sale. He plans on investing his prize, he told Patch.
HIGH RENT Compared to other cities in the Boston area, Somerville has seen the highest rate of rent growth from December 2018 to December 2019, according to the 2020 National Rent Report. With a median one-bedroom rent of $1,770 and a median two-bedroom rent of $2,195, Somerville’s rent growth this year is quadruple the nationwide increase of 1.4 percent. Rising rent has been a problem in Somerville for years, but rent hikes could slow down in 2020. City officials are aiming to address the issue with new rent control measures, and new condos in Cambridge and Somerville could lower prices for older buildings.
CLIFF NOTEZ Rapper and producer Cliff Notez has landed a spot on the musical festival Boston Calling’s lineup this year. The founder of the Winter Hill-based production company HipStory, who split his childhood between Somerville and Dorchester, says that Somerville has nurtured his growth as a rapper. He played his first headlining show at ONCE Somerville. Though he’s grateful to have seen his career grow quickly, he says he spends a lot of time advocating for other talent in the city. “Everything Hip does is for the betterment of the community,” he says. “Let’s highlight our city. Let’s do our own version of [performances like NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts and SoFar Sounds shows.]”
OFFICE SPACE The Somerville Media Center and the Mass. Alliance for Portuguese Speakers will need to move out of their offices in the Union Square firehouse due to an “urgent need” for repairs to the roof, clock tower, and walls of the building, city officials said. The conditions of the building are so dire that “a major storm could at any time create a situation where the building would have to be vacated immediately,” Denise Taylor, the city’s director of communications and community engagement, said. Somerville Media Center Board of Directors President Joe Lynch anticipates the move will occur by summer 2020. Currently, he is doing site visits in search of a new commercial space, he says.
SCOUT TO THE SOUTH Here’s just some of what you’ll find in the Meet the Makers Issue of our sibling publication, Scout Cambridge.
REPARATORY JUSTICE A group of Harvard students has uncovered the school has significant ties to the prisonindustrial complex, and they’re speaking up. We break down what The Harvard Prison Fund Divestment Campaign group has done so far, and what they’re planning next.
BORN AND RAISED Cambridge-raised rapper King Fiya is riding a wave of momentum, releasing three albums in three years and always thinking ahead to the next project.
LOVE LETTER TO CAMBRIDGE Known for his murals around the world, Caleb Neelon remembers the Cambridge he grew up in, dives deep into his latest mural in Central Square, and talks about his process.
Someone rustle your jimmies or tickle your fancy?
Let us know at scoutsomerville.com/contact-us, and we just might crown them a winner or loser. 8 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
—BY ELIE LEVINE
scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers
BY ELIE LEVINE
NEW AND IMPROVED EATS TEELE SQUARE
THE HAPPY CRAB
COMING MOVED SOON a new cajun
seafood restaurant, opened Jan. 1 in the former location of Amelia’s Kitchen at 1137 Broadway. Happyhour drinks, available from 3 to 5 p.m., are buy one, get one free. The menu is teeming with seafood options, featuring scallops, mussels, and baby clams, with a selection of sauces and sides.
FORTISSIMO COFFEEHOUSE IS BACK ON BOW STREET
Fortissimo Coffeehouse COMING MOVED reopened Jan. 15 atSOON 75 Bow St., a space larger than its former Somerville Avenue location, which closed last Halloween. The shop boasts free WiFi and its usual staples: smoothies, coffee drinks, baked goods, and breakfast foods. UNION SQUARE
A NEW, MEXICO CITYINSPIRED BARRA
Paola Ibarra, the beverage connoisseur who COMING MOVED developed the menu SOON at Celeste in Union Square, opened her own restaurant a few doors down on Bow Street with 10 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
her longtime friend Yhadira Guzman. The cocktail bar is in the former Juice Union space. Focusing on Mexican street food, Barra is a nod to neighborhood bars in Mexico City, from its corrugated aluminum to its green mood lighting and authentic cocktails. Stop by for a drink with mezcal or sotol, or taste xtabentun, a honey-anise liquor from Yucatan. UNION SQUARE
JULIET UNION SQUARE EXPANDS DINING OPTIONS
Juliet, known for its prix-fixe menu and no-tipping policy, changed its offerings as of Feb. 3. For the first time, Juliet offered a-la-carte service on Monday nights in addition to Sunday nights. Sunday dining lost its former name,
“Romeo’s at Juliet,” while the restaurant worked to expand its menu. Brunch will be served from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. “Today, our a-la-carte program is a staple of our dinner service; an opportunity for friends and neighbors to walk in, enjoy a casual dinner at the counter without making a reservation, and extend the spirit of our all
day bistro style service into the evening,” reads a press release from the restaurant. BALL SQUARE
TACO PARTY DOUBLES IN SIZE Fans of the plant-based restaurant Taco Party are in luck—the restaurant’s renovation is adding a bar and restrooms, and expanding the menu to include bar snacks, according to its owner, Keith Schubert. The restaurant will effectively double in size, adding 11 more seats. Beginning the first week in April, Taco Party will feature a bar serving tequila and mezcal, local beers, and Mexican lagers.
Photo, top left, courtesy of The Happy Crab. Barra photo, circle, by Lilly Milman. Photo, bottom left, by Brian Samuels Photography. Somerville School Rendering, top right, courtesy of SMMA. Photo, bottom right, by Eric Kilby.
SOMERVILLE HIGH SCHOOL SET TO WELCOME STUDENTS IN FALL Construction is proceeding on Somerville High School. It’s set to open in September, with the exception of the “War Memorial” wing. To progress quickly towards a September 2020 opening date, the team increased work hours and hired more workers. The new Somerville High School complex consists of four main structures: the gym, with technical-education facilities underneath; the “War Memorial” building; and “Phase 1” and “Phase 2” buildings. The “War Memorial” wing has faced construction delays—the centuryold structural steel had corroded and needed reinforcement.
NATIONAL GRID MOVES TO REPLACE A LEAKING GAS MAIN
Somerville is breaking a winter ban on repairs for the first time in history to fix a gas main, The Somerville Journal reports. On Jan. 13, National Grid started work on the gas main, which is in East Somerville, on Pearl Street and Myrtle Street. Gas leaks intensify the effects of climate change on local and global scales. The city outlined plans to address gas leaks in Somerville Climate Forward, Somerville’s first climate plan. For months, Somerville residents have been protesting gas leaks in National Grid’s old infrastructure.
Authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails with modern flare.
The searc h
for the roo ts of Mexic
TRANSPORTATION BEAT transportation, accessible. Free bus service would be significant, and cost is an important variable in people choosing the bus.”
SOMERVILLE CONSIDERS IMPLEMENTING FREE BUS FARE PROGRAM
Inspired by a Cambridge initiative to look into creating a program, Somerville city officials are considering making the bus fare-free. Mayor Joe Curtatone has long been a proponent of establishing free buses throughout the Boston area. “We’ve been doing our due diligence—we support it and we’re interested in doing it,” Curtatone told The Somerville Journal. “It’s about making equitable forms of transportation, in this case public
GREEN LINE EXTENSION PROJECT ANTICIPATES 4 BRIDGE CLOSURES
According to a city press release, four of Somerville’s bridges—the Broadway bridge in Ball Square, along with the Washington, Medford, and School Street bridges—will be closed until late spring and summer 2020, although not all at the same time. The Washington and Broadway bridges are set to reopen in May and July, respectively, and the Medford bridge should reopen in the fall. The School Street bridge, which will not be closed until May, is scheduled to reopen in the spring of 2021, according to the City of Somerville website.
t feeling a h t r o f h c ...the seaurthentic pride... of a
Corazón de Frida
1287 Cambridge St, Cambridge corazondefridacantina.com scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers
REP. DENISE PROVOST WILL NOT SEEK RE-ELECTION
enise Provost, who has represented the 27th Middlesex District for 13 years, announced at the beginning of January that she would not seek reelection this year. Throughout her career, Provost has championed environmental protection policies and worked for attaining equal rights for transgender people. Provost says it’s been a great honor to represent the people of Somerville in the House. “I got to the House in the midst of fights over universal healthcare and marriage equality, and we secured both,” she says. “I just haven’t stopped, you know? It’s continued to be one challenge and cause after another.”
SOMERVILLE LEADERS SUPPORT RENT CONTROL
In an eight-hour-long State House hearing on Jan. 14, the Joint Committee on Housing heard 100 testimonies on three bills: real estate transfer fee legislation, Rep. Denise Provost’s plan to adopt tenants’ right to purchase, and Rep. Mike Connolly’s Tenant Protection Act. A real-estate transfer tax would only apply to new developers coming to the city, protecting new and low-income 12 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
homeowners. The Tenant Protection Act would make it legal for municipalities to pass rent-control legislations, independent of state law. Both Ward 3 Councilor Ben EwenCampen and new City Council President Matt McLaughlin showed support for the bills.
STRAIGHT PRIDE MARCH SPARKS COMMUNITY COMMENTARY
Boston’s Straight Pride March on Aug. 31 drew counterprotesters
and a significant police presence, including the Somerville Police Department (SPD). At a community dialogue on Jan. 22, Mayor Joe Curtatone apologized for the trauma induced by the event’s heavy policing. Various activist groups, such as Solidarity Against Hate—Boston, presented suggestions for how the police can make amends, such as establishing a civilian police oversight board with control over the SPD budget and the power to discipline officers. At the meeting, Curtatone voiced
support for the idea, and Ward 2 Councilor Jefferson Thomas Scott said he will draft an ordinance to create a civilian board, noting that state law and police unions would be likely to oppose the effort.
SOMERVILLE WON’T ADOPT STATEWIDE SEX ED BILL
The city’s education system is choosing federal sex education standards over the statewide Healthy Youth Act. The bill, which is an attempt to standardize sex education curricula across Massachusetts, passed in the state senate and now appears before the House. It would require schools to employ comprehensive sex education curricula, helping young people learn how to practice safe sex and prevent STIs and pregnancy when they become sexually active. But Somerville isn’t jumping to adopt the bill, apparently because the city’s standards for sex ed are already high. “We all know health curriculum in Massachusetts needs to be revamped, but Somerville is a progressive place and they have been right there with federal standards the whole entire time,” Sheila Freitas-Haley, Somerville’s supervisor of Health and Physical Education, told The Somerville Journal.
BEN EWEN-CAMPEN REMAINS WARY OF FACIAL-RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGIES
Following on the heels of San Francisco in June 2019, Somerville was one of the nation’s first municipalities to ban the use of facial-recognition technology, and officials have worked to fix problems with federal legislation locally. They’re concerned about a risk of identification and a violation of individuals’ civil liberties. “There’s literally nothing stopping law enforcement from tracking someone who goes to a protest, who goes to a mosque or a church,” City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen, who led the effort in Spring 2019, told Government Technology in a Feb. 3 report.
Photo, left, courtesy of Denise Provost. Photo, right, by Ben Holmes.
THE BISCUIT CLOSES AFTER DISPUTE WITH LANDLORD
Somerville fixture The Biscuit closed its 406 Washington COMING St. location at the end of SOON December after a 15-year life in Somerville. On the homepage for its Indiegogo fundraiser, the restaurant said its “unreasonable landlord” forced the closure. “We did not lose the space due to rent increase, nor because the space will be demolished for condo development. We lost the space because the owner of the property wants it empty and fallow, like the majority of their other properties in the neighborhood,” the statement reads. The owners report they have found a new, “subterranean” spot, set to open in the spring, according to the Indiegogo page. The fundraiser has a goal of $150,000, of which they’ve raised about $21,000.
TWO OF AERONAUT BREWERY’S FOUNDERS SUE THE THIRD
Ronn Friedlander and Daniel Rassi founded Aeronaut Brewery with Ben Holmes in 2014, when Friedlander MOVED and Holmes were graduate students at MIT. In a Jan. 15 lawsuit, Friedlander and Rassi sued Holmes for copyright infringement, saying that he used Aeronaut’s protected information—including labels, fonts, recipes, and universal product codes (UPCs)—to start a new brewery, FAB Beer. According to the lawsuit, for the past two years, Friedlander and Rassi have been concerned about Holmes’ “management style” at Aeronaut. Holmes filed a counter-motion on Jan. 16 alleging that his labels are original and that he worked with a brewer in Dorchester to create his recipes.
CLOSING TIME SPRING HILL
LA RONGA BAKERY SOLD TO RAFI PROPERTIES
Rafi Properties has now purchased the La Ronga Bakery on Somerville Avenue, but have yet to release specific plans for the site, according to the Somerville Journal. The developer, with Collin Yip at its helm, recently bought the nearby Somernova complex. The beloved bakery had been familyowned and operated for 50 years, serving up fresh bread, pizza, and sandwiches to Somerville residents.
COMING MOVED ROCKIN BOB’S GUITARS SOON
After nearly 40 years of serving Davis Square, Rockin Bob’s Guitars closed at the end of February as its founder, Bob Mahoney, prepares to retire, according to the Somerville Journal. The shop was a centerpiece of the Somerville music scene. “It’s tough because for a long time there were a bunch of funky stores in Davis Square; it was a happening place … I’ve liked Davis Square, but now the funky places are all being priced out—the rents go up and up, they’re not going down,” he told theJournal.
Authentic Mexican cuisine and cocktails with modern flare.
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Corazón de Frida
1287 Cambridge St, Cambridge corazondefridacantina.com scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 13
FOLLOWING SOMERVILLE’S LEED: HOW THE CITY IS WORKING TOWARDS GREEN CONSTRUCTION BY ELIE LEVINE
omerville’s new zoning ordinance introduces a set of limits to the city’s energy standards for new laboratory buildings in the city, and not everyone agrees that this will help the city. The new standards require that development in Somerville is even more sustainable than what is currently required in nearby Cambridge and Boston. The City Council approved the new codes in a meeting on Dec. 12, after more than seven years of deliberations by city officials. It marks the first significant legal change to Somerville zoning since March 23, 1990. The city also approved its first changes to regulations that had been in place since Somerville first adopted zoning in 1924. 14 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
The ordinance requires developments that are over 25,000 square feet to earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification and developments that are over 50,000 square feet to achieve LEED Platinum certification. Earlier drafts of the ordinance established the requirements at LEED Silver and LEED Gold, respectively, to match sustainability standards in Boston and Cambridge. In addition, the ordinance stipulates that new laboratory buildings must earn LEED Platinum certification. That provision led to backlash just before it was adopted, Somerville’s senior planner, Dan Bartman, told The Tufts Daily. At a public hearing two days
before the City Council approved the new ordinance, the city government reviewed the final draft of the zoning code with community members. “As we see it, we’re building a new operating system for how the city handles development, and we want something that is consistent with all of our values, values around affordable housing, around economic development, and—as it relates to this particular issue—values around climate change and environmental protection,” George Proakis, director of Somerville’s Office for Strategic Planning and Community Development (OSPCD), says. “It’s very important for us to set high standards to continue to lead the way on building systems.”
The LEED v4.1 BD+C guidelines, the newest version of the standards developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, aim to provide a global framework for green building and construction. To determine a project’s level of sustainability, the guidelines take into account a wide variety of factors. Among them are a plot of land’s proximity to public transit (bicycle facilities, access to electric vehicles, sensitivity towards the land,) sustainable sites, water efficiency, light pollution, rainwater management, renewable energy, and indoor air quality. Each of these subcategories is associated with a point value. LEED certification requires a minimum of 40 points. Silver requires 50 points, Gold requires 60, and Platinum at least 80. Photo courtesy of Trent Bell Photography.
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scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 15
A ‘PATHWAY TO PLATINUM’
o help review sustainability-related components of the zoning ordinance, members of the City Council and drafters of the zoning code within the city planning department reached out to Stephen Moore, a project architect at Boston-based firm ICON Architecture who serves on Mayor Joe Curtatone’s Commission on Energy Use and Climate Change. Moore has served as a resource for Somerville, advising on energy-use and carbon-emission reduction. He says he began to work with the city on its “Pathway to Platinum” two weeks before the Dec. 12 City Council vote. At the start of the process of developing a “Pathway to Platinum,” Moore saw apprehension and resistance from developers, but he still strongly supports the city’s adoption of these guidelines. He says the group of technical professionals he helped gather to create the “Pathway to Platinum” were invaluable in easing that tension and allowing the city to proceed with confidence. “My thoughts were, as an architect and as a sustainability practitioner, we can get there,” he says. “And there are precedents, although not in this particular realm here—laboratories in the Northeast—but it’s been done. So we’re going to get there. We can all get there together.” Moore says the new standards are “aggressive,” but that the committee worked to establish a “comfort zone” through forums for developers and other interested parties to provide feedback, to shift the sustainability targets from “aggressive” to achievable. Moore stresses the value of adopting a proactive mindset, saying that he works with his clients to curb energy use as much as possible before construction. “Maybe the project can’t get all the way there. But here’s the net difference. And here’s how you can overcome that over time, so that you’re kind of building in a [resilient] path later. You certainly don’t want to be painting 16 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
something onto your client that’s a problem later,” he says. Chris Iwerks, co-founder of Boston-based firm BIA.studio, is concerned about the city’s adoption of LEED Platinum. At the public hearing, he said that the city councilors are adopting a multiple-choice, menu-driven system—the specifics of which the councilors likely know little about. LEED Platinum is not well-tailored to the outcomes City Council seeks, specifically related to labs, he believes. Iwerks says it is also important to consider that LEED is a business and is also interested in furthering its own self-interest to be the dominant US green building rating system in the country. He describes LEED as a business that, like any brand, is attempting to further its presence among architects and designers. “They’re endorsing something that may not be completely aligned with what they want to achieve, and the proponents for it also have other objectives that are internal to them,” he says. Iwerks suggests that the city consider other green-rating systems and determine if there is a better way to align their objectives by using those. For example, with a similar system called Green Globes, a consultant examines the building in person, while LEED is self-reported. Green Globes includes 1,000 points, “an order of magnitude greater” than LEED Platinum. BREEAM and WELL are other global sustainability assessment tools the city should consider, Iwerks says.
A STEP TOWARDS CARBON NEUTRALITY?
ew LEED standards are just one item in a long to-do list for achieving key sustainability goals such as carbon neutrality and a fossilfuel-free city, explains mechanical engineer Malcolm Cummings. Cummings is also a member of Fossil Free Somerville, a community group that lobbies the city to adopt policies to improve energy efficiency in its buildings.
The group is part of the Climate Coalition of Somerville. In the November 2018 Somerville Climate Forward plan, the city adopted the goal of producing only as much carbon as it consumes by 2050, by reducing emissions from buildings and transportation, among other actions. “We support the highestpossible efficiency standards for new construction and for retrofitting buildings in the city … to meet the 2050 goal of carbon neutrality,” Cummings says. “These [new LEED] standards in the zoning represent a step toward that.” Even supporters of the new LEED standards do not think it is perfect, though. Though LEED standards are based on measurable metrics related to sustainability, they are not based on measured building
and none of them are really related to energy performance,” Cummings says. LEED also fails to account for construction mishaps. Cummings provides the example of a potential construction mistake in which a building’s windows are not airtight. Passive House is an international business standard that addresses energy expenditure with metrics more specific than what LEED stipulates, according to Cummings. Passive House standards scan the building at the end of its construction process: A blower door test measures the airtightness of a building, and a complete thermal scan of the edifice measures its energy efficiency. Moore says he uses Passive House standards with developers who feared a more “aggressive” design approach, due to perceived
energy performance, Cummings says. The rating system presents a qualitative layout of best practices, rather than a concrete set of requirements for meeting clean-energy goals. For example, materials for draining and insulation are each assigned scores, and the rating system works by adding up the LEED-assigned points for each aspect of a building’s construction. This means that the LEED score of a design may not reflect the project’s energy efficiency performance when it is complete. “It’s a bit scattershot in that you can meet that score with a variety of different metrics,
financial inviability. He says ICON Architects is now delivering in the affordable housing sector with Passive House standards as well. According to Proakis, however, certification systems that appraise the building after it’s constructed can become impractical. If a small issue prevents a building from meeting standards, it may have to lie empty. That’s why the city chose to use a preemptive rating system—it makes much more sense to make meeting LEED standards a condition of awarding a building permit. The city’s consultations with the design community will help it address energy concerns in Photo courtesy of Trent Bell Photography.
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scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers
a practical way, Proakis says. A forum at the end of February, entitled “LEED for Labs,” will give architects, designers, and engineers the opportunity to share feedback with the city on the new zoning requirements. Cummings believes that while the new zoning code is an improvement on the previous standard, it’s not likely enough to bring the city to carbon neutrality by 2050. He says that new labs, even those that meet LEED Platinum standards, might have to be gutted and reworked unless they are designed from the outset to meet that goal. “There’s a strong consensus that LEED is not going to get us where we need to be for net zero,” Cummings says. “It’s a step in the right direction, [but] it’s not the greatest metric.” Net zero refers to a building using only as much energy as it produces. Iwerks says the city’s embrace of LEED has not been carefully considered with regards to the specific outcomes it wants to realize in its new laboratory projects. “LEED ... assures that you get a lot of sustainability into the building, and you’re not really going to look too closely at which aspects of it happen,” he says. Larry Yu, a member of the Climate Coalition of Somerville who has advocated for more sustainable zoning measures in the city, says LEED Silver is easy to achieve “by accident” in a transitoriented, sustainably-minded city such as Somerville. LEED Gold is worth ten more points, and it’s achievable, too, Yu says. Platinum presents more of a challenge since it represents a 20-point increase from Gold. Since location and transit-orientation are out of a developer’s control, achieving Platinum can be a stretch, particularly for labs, which use a lot of energy. But it’s certainly achievable for all, Yu believes. Cummings says that with all the development happening in the city, curtailing energy use remains a top priority. One way the city combats the energy use from new development is by purchasing electricity in bulk and negotiating a lower rate than what individual pricing 18 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
would dictate: “It’s Groupon for electricity,” Cummings says. Somerville implemented this program, called Community Choice Electricity, in 2017, and folded in 10 percent over the state’s required rate of renewable energy, resulting in a lower price and significant energy conservation. Hot-water boilers shared among buildings also help accomplish this aim. Solarize Somerville—a 2016 partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, and Somerville—encouraged residents and businesses to install solar panels by lowering prices and providing consultations. HeatSmart/CoolSmart Somerville, a group-minded program introduced in 2017, kept costs lower for residents and businesses looking to reduce their electric bills and improve efficiency by recommending the use of heat pumps, which move heat around rather than creating it. By fall 2019, HeatSmart/CoolSmart had helped decrease energy use in public buildings by 16 percent over a period of five years. Still, according to Cummings, even programs like these are still not saving enough electricity to meet stringent sustainability requirements. Proakis says the city chose LEED because it is so wellestablished. “When you look at the communities that have tried to tackle this around us, most of them have used LEED,” he says.
A COMPLETE OVERHAUL
he city is focusing on laboratories in its LEED guidelines because labs may need to control greater amounts of pollution than other buildings, Iwerks speculates. Proakis concurs, saying labs are concerning because they have a more substantial energy profile than other buildings. Buildings must have accountable operations plans to account for human errors, like leaving the windows open and the lights on. Cummings says
“Fortunately, Somerville—the community as well as the administration and the council—are all starting to recognize the [climate] crisis. I wouldn’t be surprised if other municipalities follow.” - Larry Yu schools and public buildings struggle with this; no matter how well-designed they are, an integrated operations plan is key for a net-zero building to live up to its potential. LEED only applies to new construction. To achieve carbon neutrality, there is still a lot of work to be done when it comes to improving the sustainability of Somerville’s existing buildings, according to architect Stephen Moore. He says a top priority for the city should be decarbonizing energy uses in its older buildings through deep energy retrofitting, a process that completely overhauls
an existing building’s energy use to improve performance. “We are an incredibly dense residential community of 100-plus-year-old buildings that are ridiculously inefficient,” Moore says. “It’s the [challenge] that’s hardest because you’re talking about individual landlords. In a lot of instances, it’s out-of-town landlords who may not be motivated to do deep energy retrofitting.” Yu says it is harder for absentee landlords to see their buildings as homes; instead, they view their properties as “lines on a spreadsheet.” Proakis says the city’s Photo courtesy of USGBC.
Office of Sustainability and Environment, under the leadership of Oliver SellersGarcia, is addressing this issue by providing resources to retrofit those older, inefficient buildings, which are frequently in lowerincome areas of the city. The city is also prompting them to switch to air-source heat pumps, the most efficient method of heating and cooling for those buildings. To improve performance, the city—and greater Boston area—must tackle energy use on a granular level. Moore says the problem (and solution) extend to all aspects of urban life, from transit infrastructure to localizing goods and services.
CARBON IN CONTEXT
omerville is not reforming its energy use in a vacuum. Though the new LEED standards the city has adopted are more stringent than those Boston and Cambridge currently use, those cities’ net-zero policies have also been in the works for years, Moore says. Moore sees Article 21, a Brookline city ordinance that
aims to reduce that city’s carbon emissions by 15 percent in the next 30 years, as an example of cutting-edge legislation within the Commonwealth. Other municipalities across the country, such as Berkeley, Calif., have also forged a precedent. He says that he helped Cambridge with its efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions at the time of its initial consideration and impact evaluation around 2013, when Henrietta Davis was mayor. The net-zero stretch code is an optional appendix to the Massachusetts statewide building code that gives communities that opt in the opportunity to strengthen their energy efficiency standards beyond what the existing laws, or “base code,” stipulates. Of the 351 municipalities in Mass., 262 have chosen to adopt a stretch code, but Somerville has not. This means that the city can’t require developers to adhere to stricter quotas than the base code. Without a stretch code, development in the city could continue with no way to standardize pollution levels. However, Yu says Somerville’s new standards make it a model within the region. “I am personally invested in pushing for a meaningful response to the climate crisis,” he says. “Increasingly, that kind of shift has to come from the local level. Fortunately, Somerville—the community as well as the administration and the council—are all starting to recognize the crisis. I wouldn’t be surprised if other municipalities follow,” Yu says. George Proakis says that when the federal government doesn’t move on climate change, Somerville picks up the reins of tackling energy efficiency at a local level. “We tend to lead in these areas, and we’re okay with that,” Proakis says. “It’s something we will likely continue to do on environmental standards [and] on affordable housing standards … We have a community that wants to take steps to address … issues that are important to us.”
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scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 19
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MEET THE MAKERS
A Day at the Artisan’s Asylum BY LILLY MILMAN | PHOTOS BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
The Artisan’s Asylum is one of the largest makerspaces in the country, and on any given day, you’re bound to run into a slew of local creators—all working on completely different projects. We dropped by one rainy Monday to capture a snapshot of what a typical afternoon in the building might look like. Dick Rubinstein specializes in crafting technical theater props, like the model of an early attempt at the computer he is currently working on for the Central Square Theater’s production of “Ada and the Engine.” The storage space and the shared facilities make the Asylum the perfect spot for Rubinstein— when he downsized to a condo, he lost his basement workshop space and needed to find a home for his prop materials. “But the best thing is the people here,” he says.
Michael Shonle’s most recent project is the E-corder, an all-electric version of a recorder that lights up and can make a wide range of sounds, like a keyboard. “It’s something I’ve always wanted somebody else to do, and nobody else was doing it,” he says.
22 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
Richard Driver and Michael Beach share a space, and they work together on a lot of three-dimensional printing work at the Asylum. As a result, their space is filled with all kinds of fun objects like this skull. Driver, a physicist, says this is where he goes to have fun: “I’m retired, so I just kind of play here.” Beach is a consulting engineer who spends his time teaching hands-on basic electronics courses with Driver.
Known for her geometric furniture design, Irene Ferri is currently taking on a new challenge in collaboration with Jennifer Maestre, who works with wood embedded in resin. Ferri is in the early stages of working with colored pencils embedded in resin to create intricate and colorful designs that fit together like puzzle pieces. She says she’s been allowing their work to take unexpected turns. “We’re trying to create something that’s alive and dynamic that has depth, which is kind of magical and illuminating,” Ferri says. “What we intend is not what we get. We work with happy accidents.”
“I’ve been sanding all day,” says Melissa Glick, who is using the woodshop to make a table for her nephew as a side-project. The lumber came from a local maple tree that was revealed to be sick before it was chopped down, and she says it takes about a year to dry before it becomes workable. Her main endeavor is called Hacker Creations, in which she uses discarded and outdated electronics and computer components to create art.
SCUL, the “SciFi Bicycle Chopper Gang” previously covered in Scout, was based in various basements before it found its headquarters in the Artisan’s Asylum, SCUL member Stogie says. “It’s super cool because it’s kind of upped our integration into the maker scene, and maybe made us have to look a little more sharp and act a little more pro,” he adds.
Ilana Krepchin, who teaches in addition to creating her jewelry line Sculpture to Wear at the Artisan’s Asylum, makes good use of the heavy machinery available in the space. She is using a post-ARC welding machine, “which is basically just a tiny welding machine,” because it works better with titanium than a traditional jewelry soldering method, she says.
Not usual residents of the Artisan’s Asylum, the Somerville High School robotics team has landed in the space due to construction at the school. They are in the process of building and preparing their robot for competition season, and will continue to be based out of the Artisan’s Asylum for the rest of the academic year.
scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 23
MEET THE MAKERS
Where Art Meets
ACTIVISM BY SHIRA LAUCHAROEN | PHOTOS BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
omerville resident Nina Eichner participated in her first demonstration through the youth climate change movement Sunrise when she drove a 15-person van to Washington D.C. in December 2018. The group occupied the Capitol building and shared stories with lawmakers, urging them to back the select committee for the Green New Deal. Eichner currently works for 24 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
Sunrise Boston as an art lead and co-action lead, meaning that she is responsible for coordinating the visual strategy behind demonstrations. The Sunrise Movement, which started in 2017, advocates for political action on climate change. In particular, Sunrise is focused on lobbying for Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey’s Green New Deal—a
bill that aims to have the nation reach carbon neutrality by 2050, while also creating jobs. However, according to Eichner, climate change intersects with other social justice issues like classism and racism, as well. “It’s not just about renewable energy,” says Eichner. “It’s really about jobs, housing, and issues around equity. The idea is that we can’t actually make the transformation we need around
climate change without addressing those issues as well, because frontline communities … are already being affected in really significant ways.” She appreciates the positivity surrounding the group, she says, and is inspired by the spirit of the other activists involved. She is even preparing to take a role on the national level for the organization’s Philadelphia hub. “Sunrise is such a hopeful,
amazing group of people to be part of,” she says. “You’re there with other younger people. People are singing together and keeping spirits high. The cool part about it is that by the end, you’re connected to all these people you’ve had this experience with. It was very powerful. That’s kind of how I got hooked.” Before working with Sunrise, Eichner worked to uplift various underrepresented groups on a more local level. She served as the special events manager of the Somerville Arts Council, where she coordinated festivals for the city. While ideas were usually proposed by Somerville residents, Eichner envisioned projects like the Big Gay Dance Party and the Black, Brown, and Queer festival. Helping put together
gravitates towards because of their tactile qualities. In her space at Mad Oyster Studios, she is developing a series of paintings that are close-ups of people’s eyes. Eichner was inspired to try to “get people to look more closely at each other,” she says. As Eichner has seen her work in art and activism overlap, she has come to recognize the power that art has to influence social change, she said. “A lot of times, people think of art as this nice side thing,” said Eichner. “Like, ‘art’s pretty.’ ‘It makes people happy.’ ‘It’s nice to make art, because it’s community building.’ Those are all true things, but actually, the art that we make, like these banners for action, that’s a way to help build power of the movement. …
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public art pieces, like murals, and producing festivals that brought people together was a form of activism for her. “There’s so much art that is not accessible to the public,” she says. “You have to pay to see it. … I think murals and all the festivals are ways to make art accessible to all types of people.” Eichner finds time for her own art in between all of her organizing. She works primarily with oil paints, which she
To me, that is art and activism working directly together. That’s something that I’ve always believed, that art is powerful, but I’ve learned through my work this past year in Sunrise, that there’s actual theory behind that.” Mad Oyster Studios is an artist workspace located at 2 Bradley St. To learn more, visit www. madoysterstudios.org. To learn more about Sunrise, visit www. sunrisemovement.org. scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 25
MEET THE MAKERS
Becoming ‘The Girl Who Can Build Anything’ BY RACHAEL DUBINSKY PHOTO BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
omerville resident and local artist Sarah Miller had her “a-ha” moment about what she wanted to do with her life when she was taking architecture classes at California Polytechnic State University Pomona. Call it youthful naivety, but at the age of 20 she had a sense that what she was learning in her classes didn’t necessarily reflect an 26 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
architect’s career. She says she confirmed her suspicions while visiting the local architects association, where professionals told her that the first 10 years of a career in architecture would mean less designing and more drafting of plans. After a lunch with a few of the architects she met at the association, she discovered the
field of industrial design, which combines engineering and art to create product designs product. It felt like she found her calling. And now, at Artisan’s Asylum—a land of raw materials with every resource at her disposal and a community that encourages its makers to fail and keep trying—she has been “home” for five years. She says that at the makerspace, there
is always a “shortage of time, but certainly not a shortage of materials to work with.” According to Miller, the different shops at Artisan’s Asylum give her unique access to materials and machines that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars anywhere else, allowing her to explore new mediums she is unfamiliar with. This is what’s earned her the reputation as “the girl who can build anything.” At any given moment, her work station may be covered in bundles of fabric, strips of wood,
metal hoops, and laser cut plastics. Yet, what may appear as chaos to many others actually makes perfect sense to her, she says. If you are going to “create something out of nothing,” it has to have two key factors: functionality and aesthetic appeal. “There is beauty in chaos,” she says. One of Miller’s rules is that she never creates the same thing twice. In the past, she’s worked on projects as large as designing boat and electric car interiors, but she says she is also happy creating something small and sentimental—whether it’s for a friend, family member, or complete stranger. As she puts it, her projects range from creations for “people who have limited resources and a big dream, to those who have a ton of resources and limited ideas in the way of design.” When she’s not being spotted at the Artisan’s Asylum—identifiable by her purple eyeshadow, knit beanie, and denim jumpsuit—Miller also dabbles in music. She has provided backup vocals for over 30 albums, and says singing gives her an emotional outlet. It’s Miller’s continuous curiosity and proactive attitude that have brought her success as a maker. Upon clicking the “future products” tab on Miller’s website, one is met with a scatter graph that ranks projects based on affordability and feasibility. So, what’s on the horizon for Miller? It depends. On her to-make list, you’ll find an allin-one diaper, 5-in-1 glasses, an auto wallpaper print service, an invisible toddler fence, a makeup printer, and a sonic wave umbrella. If you can think of it, Sarah Miller has probably already considered making it. And if her past is any indication of her future, she’ll probably have it out in the world sooner than you could possibly imagine. Learn more about Sarah Miller’s work on her website www.wheredidyougetthatidea.com or on her Instagram at @sarahmillerworkstuff.
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MEET THE MAKERS
A Slice of Life BY SHAFAQ PATEL | PHOTO BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
long with getting their clothes cleaned and pressed, Porter Square Dry Cleaners customers have also started to purchase something else: floral jelly cakes, a classic Vietnamese dessert. The owners—Hoa and Khanh Nguyễn—started Porter Square Dry Cleaners shortly after immigrating to Massachusetts from Vietnam about two decades ago. When the business moved from Elm Street to Highland Avenue, some of the previous clients followed to support the couple, and new customers quickly became regulars. Now, while some of the regulars are catching up with Hoa, they’re shown a white wedding album filled with jelly cake photos. These cakes, called rau câu in Vietnamese, are created by Hoa’s older sister, Thủy Nguyễn. Thủy, who often goes by Viva, came with her family to Hoa and Khanh Nguyễn’s home in November 2019. Back in her hometown, Đà Lạt, Thủy had a three-year-old business where she baked and sold jelly cakes. She closed her store, Rau Câu 3D, a few months before coming to America. Hoa translates for Thủy. She learned how to make these jelly cakes from a teacher in Vietnam. After practicing for a year, she started her own business. These gluten-free cakes have a gelatinous consistency, 28 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
and are known for the threedimensional jelly flowers that appear inside the cake. Thủy grew up as an artist, and she was surrounded by creativity. Her other sister creates intricate paintings and fabric dyes, and her father used to draw, but Thủy brought her craftsmanship into the kitchen. Hoa says Thủy also makes delicious egg rolls and yogurt, but rau câu is her specialty. “Oh, I love to eat them when we have extra,” Hoa laughs. Rau câu comes in various flavors including coconut, chocolate, strawberry, and coffee. The colorful flowers are made from natural vegetable dyes in Vietnam, Hoa translates. The bottom, more opaque layer is harder and holds up the cake. Thủy says these cakes, because of the drying and setting time, take her between three and five hours to make. Over the years, Thủy has perfected the technique—some people use molds to create the three-dimensional effect, but Thủy intricately draws in the realistic looking flowers by hand. This Vietnamese sweet is sparsely sold around the Greater Boston area, and other Vietnamese-Americans often purchase the dessert. But Thủy and Hoa want to share rau câu with other Americans as well, and that’s why she’s advertising it to her customers.
One of Hoa’s customers, Steve Coughlin purchased a cake after seeing the photos at the dry cleaners. “I came in one day, and the wife is showing me pictures of these incredible cakes, and I’m like ‘oh my god, these are so great,’” he says. “At the time, Viva had only been in the country for three weeks. Three weeks and she already had a cake business, and she didn’t speak a word of English.” Coughlin, who has been a regular at Porter Square Dry Cleaners for around six years, purchased a larger cake for his office. Coughlin is a real estate agent, and sometimes his office gives gifts to clients during events, and he hopes that he can give more of these cakes to his clients. “The cakes would be perfect for us,” he says. Over the holiday season, Thủy’s sales went up, as she was called on to create a lot of cakes for family holiday parties. She sold a dozen cakes with holiday-themed flowers on the inside for Christmas, six cakes for New Years, and a few more for Valentine’s Day. Hoa says her customers even came back to her to say that they liked the cake. Smaller cakes cost between $15 and $20, while the price of larger cakes can go up to $35 or $40. Thủy also requests that cake orders be made three days in advance. Hoa and Thủy have big dreams for the rau câu cake business. When Hoa came to Massachusetts, her older sister helped her open the dry cleaning business. Now, Hoa wants to pay it forward and help Thủy with her ideas. Hoa hadn’t visited her siblings in Vietnam in about a decade, so she says that she’s happy that they were able to come to her and start their life here. Because Thủy doesn’t speak English yet, Hoa enrolled her in an English school so that she can eventually learn the language and communicate with customers. But in the meantime, the family business is thriving as Thủy helps with alterations at the dry cleaners and Hoa advertises the floral jelly cakes. Porter Square Dry Cleaners is located at 346 Highland Ave.
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MEET THE MAKERS
LEARNING FROM THE BEST: FUN CLASSES AROUND SOMERVILLE AND CAMBRIDGE BY LILLY MILMAN
f you live in or are visiting Somerville or Cambridge, you’re probably just steps away from an independent store owned by one of the best in the business. From artisan candy stores to bakeries, to glass blowing studios and media centers, our cities have it all. What’s even more exciting is that most of these experts and store-owners are looking to share the tricks of their trade! So, roll your sleeves up, get ready to get 30 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
your hands dirty, and check out some of our favorite classes and workshops in the area!
FORGE BAKING COMPANY
626 Somerville Ave., Somerville
Head down to Forge and break bread with some of Somerville’s best bakers at their home breadbaking class, offered on various dates throughout March and April. Want something a little sweeter? In January, co-owners
Tucker Lewis and Jennifer Park launched a home pastrymaking class with baker Meghan Lethem. For the coffee-lovers, Harrison Seiler will be teaching an espresso class. All classes include a lunch and required tools and ingredients. For more information, call (617) 764-5365, email info@ forgebakingco.com, or visit forgebakingco.com.
MAUD MORGAN ARTS 20 Sacramento St., Cambridge
Fun is the focus at the Maud Morgan Arts 10-week “Start With Art” class, taught by Alice Turkel, where pre-school and toddler-aged children and their caregivers are given a new variety of materials to play with during every session. The course begins on March 24, but the arts center also offers specialized 5-week classes on printmaking and
Mudflat photo, top, by Adrianne Mathiowetz. Photo, right, courtesy of Gracie’s Ice Cream.
ceramics that are perfect for teen and adult learners looking for a little more difficulty and flexibility. For more information, call (617) 349-6287, or visit maudmorganarts. org.
SOMERVILLE FABRICATION LAB
5 Meacham St., Somerville
Not only does the Somerville Fabrication Lab, also known as Fabville, offer handson classes where you can use awesome equipment, but they do it for free! On Thursday evenings throughout the spring, head down to the Healey School, where instructors Justin Schmidt or Halley Murray from Fabville will be providing free introductory classes in 3D printing, vinyl cutting, laser cutting, and more. For more information, email email@example.com or visit fabville.net.
NOCA GLASS SCHOOL 147 Sherman St., Cambridge
North Cambridge Glass School is the one-stop shop for artisans looking to expand their knowledge and get to work on one-of-a-kind projects. There are a few ways to get involved: Sign up for a six-week session based on skill level and interest (choose from barware, Scandinavian glass, and more,) choose a workshop based on a specific item you want to make (like the one-day workshop on glass flowers,) or take a private lesson with one of the NOCA experts. For more information, call (617) 245-0350, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit nocaglassschool.com.
MUDFLAT STUDIO 81 Broadway, Somerville
Mudflat Studio is a non-profit space in Somerville focused entirely on ceramic arts since 1971. Their classes are offered in semesters, and you’re just in time to sign up for the spring and summer session, starting on April 27! Mudflat offers classes for children and teens once a week, adult workshops, introductory workshops for beginners, parent and child workshops, and studio rental. They also offer scholarships to a few students each semester, with a form available on their website. For more information, call (617) 628-0589 or visit mudflat.org.
GRAYMIST STUDIO & SHOP
364 Huron Ave., Cambridge
Started in 2006 by founder, owner, and master basket weaver Etsuko Yashiro, GrayMist is the perfect place to learn the careful art of the Nantucket Basket. All skill levels are welcome at their nearly daily basket-weaving classes, where students are encouraged to work at their own pace. GrayMist also offers private lessons and, for those who feel they’re ready to graduate from the basket-weaving sessions, classes on learning to become an instructor yourself. If basket weaving isn’t your thing, GrayMist also offers felted wool workshops where you can make small animals (think: Calico Critters) and decor.
in groups. While there are currently no public classes, Gracie’s is considering them in the future if there is enough interest.
For more information, call (617) 714-4871, email email@example.com, or visit spindlerconfections.com.
For more information, call (617) 764-5294, email info@ graciesicecre.am, or visit icecreamgracies.com.
SOMERVILLE MEDIA CENTER
2257 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Spindler Confections, started in owner and founder Jeremy Spindler’s personal residence, is your one-stop shop for sweets that’ll leave you wanting more. Spindler is crazy for candy, and he wants you to be, too! That’s why he’s teaching a class called “Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate!” where he teaches the basics of tempering chocolate, making fillings, prepping, and capping molds. All attendees will leave with about $80 worth of chocolate and a new set of skills! Periodically, Spindler also teaches classes about making caramel and other candies.
90 Union Square, Somerville
Here at Scout, we’re big supporters of local news, and Somerville Media Center is one of the best local news sources out there. Even better, they’re sharing the wealth! In April, Somerville Neighborhood News coordinator Jane Regan will be teaching journalism basics like finding interviews, contacting sources, and more in the free “How to Pitch Your Story and Get Coverage… or Cover it Yourself!” workshop. Come in as an interested resident and leave as a budding journalist! Want to become an even more informed media mogul? Other workshops include audio, video, and editing seminars, social media classes, and more. For more information, call (617) 628-8826, email info@ somervillemedia.org, or visit somervillemedia.org.
For more information, call (617) 868-8868, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit graymist.com.
GRACIE’S ICE CREAM 22 Union Square, Somerville
Known for their delicious ice cream flavors and their quirky vibe, Gracie’s Ice Cream is a Somerville staple. They offer a “Make Your Own Dream Ice Cream” class where people can decide what ice cream they want and then come in and learn how to make it from Gracie’s coowner Aaron Cohen himself. The classes are scheduled as needed and they’re conducted scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 31
MEET THE MAKERS
A CAT, A MOUSE, AND AN APP SOMERVILLE’S MARISA WOLSKY HAS SPENT HER CAREER HELPING EDUCATE KIDS THROUGH PUBLIC TELEVISION. HER LATEST PROJECT LETS YOUNGSTERS EXPRESS THEIR INNER ARTIST. BY ERIC J. FRANCIS | PHOTOS BY ADRIANNE MATHIOWETZ
or 30 years in public television, Somervillian Marisa Wolsky has been able to focus on her raison d’etre: making educational content fun for kids. Her latest project has proven to be one of her most popular: the interactive “Scribbles and Ink” drawing app, based on children’s books by author and illustrator Ethan Long. “Children’s television has 32 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
always been a passion of mine,” says Wolsky, an executive producer at WGBH. “I wrote my thesis in college about Sesame Workshop and ‘Sesame Street.’” At the time they met, WGBH had been working with Long on another project. Long introduced Wolsky to his “Scribbles and Ink” books, whose titular characters— Scribbles the cat and Ink the mouse—had adventures that
prominently featured making art. She liked them so much that WGBH licensed the books with the idea to produce a TV show. Most of Wolsky’s work as a producer focuses on STEM projects (those that teach science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,) but she was drawn to “Scribbles and Ink” precisely because art comes naturally to the PBS audience, which is
mostly ages 4 to 8. It was pure serendipity that PBS was looking for a new project in which video and gaming were integrated, and Wolsky realized that “Scribbles and Ink” would be a perfect fit. Forty other people applied to work with the PBS team, but Wolsky and Long were awarded the opportunity. Of course, it wasn’t quite as
“My mind felt super charged.” simple as that. In fact, Long says, it was a lengthy and occasionally frustrating process getting from acceptance to final approval, and he credits Wolsky’s perseverance for making sure the app actually happened. “In my mind, I had quit a couple of times. I was tired of waiting,” he says. “Marisa talked me down off the ledge a couple of times, told me this is just how it goes. Then PBS bought it, and now it’s online and it’s pretty amazing.” Since its introduction, it has become the most-played game in the PBS Kids Games App. It can also be played on the PBSkids. com website. Young artists guide the duo through four different stories, where they get to create a rocket ship and throw a party, among other activities. “I’m encouraging imagination and I just wanted it to be subtle,” Long says of his creations. “I wanted them to have a world that looks like it was drawn.”
Wolsky admits that she is not an artist herself, but that she wishes more kids would pursue drawing without thinking about how others will see their art. “You’ll notice young kids have no problem drawing. With great abandon, they’ll draw,” she says. “But at some age, usually lower elementary school, they get self-conscious about drawing and the kids who feel they aren’t talented stop. And it’s really sad!” Wolsky and Long’s journey in encouraging creativity isn’t over yet. PBS was so pleased with the results and engagement that it has ordered a second season. Long says he is excited that his characters will get to continue interacting with young artists through four new stories. And after that? Your imagination’s the limit. The Scribbles and Ink app is free and can be used online at PBSkids. org or downloaded through the PBS Kids Games app.
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scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 33
BLACKBIRD PLASTICS BY LILLY MILMAN
hat do you do when you see a clear plastic wrapper on the ground outside, on a bus seat, or even crumpled up in someone’s hands, seconds away from being thrown out? Well, Somerville resident Alicia Durfey picks it up. She never leaves home without a bag and a pair of Home Depot Gorilla Gloves for this exact reason, and isn’t shy about asking strangers if she can take their trash. Locals may recognize Durfey from the vintage resale store Stow—which formerly had a storefront in Union Square that closed due to complications with the lease—but her newest project takes her background in sustainability to another level. Last year, she began the boutique recycling company Blackbird Plastics, which is meant to help small businesses and residences recycle clear plastic film. What is clear plastic film, exactly? Once it’s pointed out to you, you start seeing it everywhere, Durfey says. Think: the thin plastic bags that clothes are shipped in, bubble wrap, the plastic wrap surrounding packages of toilet paper and paper towels, the plastic that togo utensils are eagerly ripped out of, the bags that stacks of cups 34 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
are sold in, seran wrap, and the list goes on. “Just because it’s small and see-through, doesn’t mean it’s not making a big difference,” Durfey says. The problem with this type of plastic is that it’s not easily recyclable, and it does not belong in the big blue bins that people are used to. Tossing this type of plastic into a singlestream receptacle can actually contaminate the entire batch of recycling, causing it all to be dumped into a landfill. Other common mistakes with single-stream recycling include not washing used items like milk cartons or cans properly, not allowing washed items to dry before dumping them, or failing to sort items well. According to the National Waste and Recycling Association, about a quarter of recycling is contaminated and ends up in landfills. With Blackbird Plastics, Durfey is trying to fight this problem on a hyperlocal level—by rolling her sleeves up, getting in her car, picking up gallons upon gallons of plastic, and delivering it to a family-owned facility called Conigliaro Industries in Framingham once a week.
Blackbird offers subscription services at various price points: A one-time pick-up costs $14.99, while a six-month recurring pick-up subscription goes down to $13.99 per month. The 12-month commitment is the most cost effective, at $12.99 per month. Blackbird provides customers with a five-gallon bucket, and then Durfey comes to collect it once it’s full. She charges $5 for anyone who wants an extra bucket delivered. Currently, Blackbird Plastics has a little under 40 subscribers—a mix between personal residences and commercial clients, including the bike-shop Somervelo and the Institute of Contemporary Art in downtown Boston. Durfey adds a personal touch to her services, as well; she texts and emails every client individually, rather than sending any mass correspondences, and works around each person’s schedule. The Blackbird team is small, with only four people currently involved, but it has grown quickly during its first year of operation. Like Durfey, the rest of the Blackbird team has also been inspired by the idea that any person can make
a difference, even if it is only in their community. In addition to providing recycling services, Blackbird also has an online blog that is periodically updated with motivational and educational materials about sustainability. Currently based out of Miller Street Studios, the self-proclaimed “hardware programming nerd” Durfey wants to have her own recycling machines one day. She also hopes to expand her project by working with other recycling services in the area and by taking on more and more clients. After living in Somerville for 12 years, Durfey is committed to protecting her community— much like the black kite bird for which she says the company is named. The black kite is known for its impressive colorful nests—made up of found objects, often plastic—meant to protect its chicks inside. She compares herself to the bird, reusing things creatively, sending out the same message: “Just because these things are little, doesn’t mean they’re insignificant.” To learn more about Blackbird Plastics, visit blackbirdplastics.com. Photos courtesy of Blackbird Plastics Recycling.
10 Tips to Captivate Your Home Buyer
Specializing in: FIRST TIME HOME BUYERS MULTI-FAMILY SALES CONDO SALES & CONVERSIONS REAL ESTATE INVESTMENTS
70 Josephine Ave #1
s spring begins to bloom, so will the housing market, property owners looking to sell and have their property stand out among the crowd should keep in mind our top 10 tips. 1. Exterior landscaping First impressions make a lasting one so focus on cleaning up the front yard. Mow the law or treat sparse areas if necessary. Remove and replace dying flowers, bushes and trees. If you already have thriving greenery, then prune it to avoid an overgrown look. You do not want your beautiful plants and flowers to block off pathways, doorways and windows. While out in the yard, double check for unwanted hornets and bees nests, these may need to be removed by a professional if in commonly traversed yard areas. 2. Refresh or Replace paint Having your property stand out is important, but not for the wrong reasons. If your properties front door or any other visible doorways are an out of date or an eccentric color, then plan to repaint them with a more neutral and classic one.The same can be said for shade shutters, porches, and sheds.Take care of chipped paint to revive their appearance.Although it can take more patience and effort to repaint sections of your house, this is a priority if the outside of the property looks faded in comparison to others in your neighborhood and on the market. For the interior, repaint chipped trim, and window frames. Also consider repainting any rooms with a dated and/or bold wall color.The more movein friendly your home is for a potential buyer, the more attractive it’s going to be and lead to an offer. 3. Adjust window treatments Are your blinds broken? Are your curtains faded or torn? Now is the time to consider fixing, replacing or adding new ones altogether. If the master bedroom gets ample sun in the morning and lacks the ability to block out light, consider installing blinds and/or curtains to fix the issue.The same can be said for any rooms with windows that are street level or lacking privacy from neighbors, etc.There are a multitude of window treatments that improve a home’s appeal, especially those that keep out heat and provide insulation. 4. Declutter Channel the tried and true phrase,“A place for everything and everything in its place.”Your home should be tidy and show potential buyers that there is enough storage and drawers to accommodate their life. Declutter junk drawers, closets, pantries and bathrooms. Don’t hold on to old items that you haven’t used in years. Invest in storage boxes and organizational items that help with the process if necessary. 5. Update lighting Flickering front porch light? Or lights that just need a light bulb replacement? Now is the time to take care of it. Plan to replace light fixtures that appear outdated and tired with light sources and simple fixtures that make sense for each room. Installing dimmers in frequented rooms like living rooms and bedrooms draw buyer’s attention as well.
2 0 H O L L AND S T. , SOME R VILLE
6. Deep clean A property going on the market must be cleaned outside and inside. Power wash the exterior part of your home or any walls/fences you have.This is very important if they’re covered in tree pollen, salt stains from winter, overgrown with moss, etc. For the interior, focus closely on bathrooms and the kitchen.These rooms can hold onto strong and unpleasant odors easily, which accumulate over time. Remove grime and rust build up and any grease or food stains with proper cleaning products. If you have rugs and/or carpets in any rooms, consider steaming and treating them or removing them altogether. If you have pets, deep cleaning is especially crucial. Vacuum all pet hair from places it’s easily caught like heating and cooling vents, corners, and underneath furniture. 7. Make minor repairs Uneven cabinets or drawers? These are easy fixes that should be addressed. For any cracks and crevices, plan to use caulking for fast results. Replace loose or outdated door handles, faucets, curtain rods and any other loose fixtures.The wear and tear on bathrooms, kitchens and living rooms makes these rooms especially vulnerable. 8. Put away the personal items A personal touch goes a long way in most industries, but this couldn’t be further from the truth when putting your home on the market. Neutralize your home because anonymity will be on your side. 9. Place flowers/plants in main living areas Fresh flowers and plants boost the mood and oxygen in a space.The presence of live color, especially green, is a timeless touch enjoyed by all. Before your open house, it can’t hurt to buy some fresh, decorative flowers to place on the kitchen table, living room, and disperse in smaller vases throughout the bedroom, bathrooms, etc. Fresh flowers create a fresh scent without needing to spray air fresheners or light candles ahead of time. 10. Don’t neglect the backyard The backyard and sides of your property should be tidied up so they are functional. Focus on this area just like your front yard and if you have pets make sure you pick up after them so potential buyers can also feel free to explore these spaces. As always, ensure you’re utilizing a brokerage that understands the market and has access to the most amount of tools to ensure your property sells for the most amount of money in the least amount of time. Ivy Realty Group offers a no obligation comparative market analysis of your property in which we will discuss your property’s value, different options for a fast sale and explain our marketing strategy which includes, professional photography, 3D virtual tours, custom videos and our unique approach to leveraging technology ensuring your home receives the most visibility to potential buyers.
MARCH 15 | FOOD & DRINK
Photo courtesy of The Vegan Market.
THE VEGAN MARKET 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Free 191 Highland Ave., Somerville It’s finally here—the Spring Vegan Market at Arts at the Armory! Featuring food, baked goods, beer and wine, art, jewelry, and more from a grand total of 30 local vendors, this is the place to be for anyone looking for crueltyfree and vegan goods. Free parking will also be available.
APRIL 6 | ACTIVE
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
MARCH 22 | SCOUT
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
MEET THE MAKERS: ISSUE RELEASE PARTY 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.; Free 14 Tyler St., Somerville You’ve read about some of our favorite makers, and now it’s time to meet them in person! Head down to Aeronaut Brewing Co. for a fun-filled afternoon of demonstrations, some you’ll be able to try yourself. Meet the Scout team and learn a bit about how we put this and other issues together. Children and teens must be accompanied by an adult. Suggested donation - $8.
APRIL 17 | EDUCATION
Photo by Leonardo March.
Photo courtesy of The Jungle.
Photo courtesy of Harvard Museums of Science & Culture.
Photo by Adrianne Mathiowetz.
Photo courtesy of BIDA.
36 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
LADIES CLIMBING COALITION MEET-UP 7:15 to 9:15 p.m.; $24 12 Tyler St., Somerville Once a month, the Ladies Climbing Coalition invites all women-identifying, non-binary, and femme people interested in rock climbing to Brooklyn Boulders to test their skills in a welcoming environment. Both new and experienced climbers are welcome, and the focus is on bouldering and top rope.
APRIL 25 | EDUCATION
APRIL 5 | ACTIVE
BIDA CONTRA FAMILY DANCE 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.; $5-15 1950 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge Whip out your dancing shoes, it’s time to contra dance at the Cambridge Masonic Hall! This is a gender-free, all-ages dancing experience where anyone is welcome to participate in any capacity they choose. The price of entry is on a sliding scale, and a beginner’s workshop runs from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
TODDLER DANCE PARTY 5 to 7 p.m.; $7 6 Sanborn Ct., Somerville Kids deserve a night out, too! And that’s exactly why The Jungle is hosting a dance party specifically for toddlers—complete with fun kid-friendly foods like grilled cheese and fries (vegan options are also served) and appropriate music for all ages. Everyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
APRIL 20 | ACTIVE
MARCH 29 | EDUCATION
HARVARD ARCHAEOLOGY FAIR 1 to 4 p.m.; $15 11 Divinity Ave., Cambridge Travel around the world and back in time with Harvard students as they share their experiences from excavations abroad at the Peabody Museum’s all-ages fair. Examine artifacts, participate in various hands-on activities, take a behind-the-scenes look at how scientists identify animal bones in the Zooarchaeology lab, and more!
SCIENCE IN THE CITY 2020 2 to 6 p.m.; Free 795 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge How do traffic lights work? What about compost piles, or solar panels, or urban gardens? Find out the answers to all of those questions and more at the City of Cambridge’s science fair takeover, conveniently located at City Hall. All four floors will be dedicated to hands-on learning activities that are exciting for all ages.
APRIL 19 | KIDS
MARCH 25-29 | ENTERTAINMENT
BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL Varying times; $25+ 40 Brattle St., Cambridge Are you a fan of the strange and unusual? Have we got just the fest for you! Every year, BUFF brings innovative filmmakers to Brattle Theater and connects them with eager audiences. Festival passes and various ticket packs can be purchased online, and different price points come with unique perks.
SOMERNOVA ROBOT RUN 6 to 7 p.m.; Free 12 Tyler St., Somerville Need some motivation to lace up your sneakers? The weekly Somernova Robot Run is an opportunity to get active, and then get rewarded with the opportunity to meet a real-life robot and its creator. Brooklyn Boulders will first lead a 50 to 60 minute run, and then participants will be introduced to a specialized robot.
Photo courtesy of Earthwise Aware.
URBAN WILDLIFE QUEST 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.; Free 22 Vinal Ave., Somerville A collaboration between the Somerville Community Growing Center and non-profit EarthwiseAware, the Urban Wildlife Quest is a day to get involved in helping the local environment and to learn more about the international City Biodiversity Challenge. Pre-registration is required and attendees should bring their smartphone or camera in order to upload photos.
Please consider shopping with these and other Scout sponsors.
REAL ESTATE DIRECTORY TEAM JEN & LYNN
PORTER SQUARE BOOKS
Thalia Tringo & Associates Real Estate Lynn 617-216-5244, Jen 617-943-9581
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.
Bringing our expertise and good humor to help you find a perfect home or say good-bye to your old one.
HEALTH & WELLNESS DIRECTORY
IRENE BREMIS THE IBREMIS TEAM
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.
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
DR. KATIE TALMO, D.M.D.
180 Highland Ave., Somerville 617-864-6111 Dr. Talmo provides a personalize approach to dental care. Come enjoy the Morrison Ave. and Grove St., is the very large, open, level yard. Owned by the same family comfortable dental experience since 1955, this unspoiled home is readyafor a new family to make their own updates and memories. in her newly renovated office space. ~ $519,000 ~ $1,495,000
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
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.
~ $349,000 Roomy Ten Hills 2 bedroom/1 bath condo with charming details, reonvated kitchen, parking, and storage.
MASSACHUSETTS FOOT & ANKLE SPECIALISTS
Lynn C. Gr aham
Residential Sales Specialist, ealtor R ® cell/text Lynn@ThaliaTringoRe alEstate .com
RESTAURANT DIRECTORY LEONE’S SUB AND PIZZA
292 Broadway, Somerville 617-776-2511, leonessubandpizza.com Pizza and subs fit for a king since 1954. Now being delivered by Dash!
MIKE’S FOOD & SPIRITS
617-905-5232, irenebremis.com email@example.com Real Estate Consulting, Listing, Marketing, Sales & Rental Specialist. iBremis Realty, Inc. powered by LAER.
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!
CHARLES CHERNEY REALTOR AT COMPASS
OPA GREEK YEEROS
THALIA TRINGO & ASSOCIATES REAL ESTATE
LA POSADA RESTAURANT
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.
378 Highland Ave., Somerville 617-718-2900, opayeeros.com Authentic Greek cuisine and a lively atmosphere. Expanding soon!
Near Medford Sq., this 1 bedroom/ 1 1/2 bath condo is in an elevator building with parking.
Dr. Pasquale Cancelliere 53 Main Street, Somerville 617-629-2806, candriafas.com In the heart of Davis Sq., this 2 bedroom/1 bath condo in a brick building has a parking space. Board Certified, Fellowship Trained 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. Podiatrist Coming Soon
Renovated 1 bedroom/1 bath near Prospect Hill with central air, in-unit laundry, private porch, and shared yard.
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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.
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617-461-4691, firstname.lastname@example.org Servicing Greater Somerville, Boston, and Cambridge, Erik is committed to trustworthy, personalized, and responsive service for his clients.
505 Medford St., Somerville 617-776-2049, laposadasomerville.com Somerville’s spot for delicious, hand-crafted Latin American cuisine.
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!
711 Broadway, Somerville 617-764-0683, tacopartytruck.com Building tacos from the ground up.
scoutsomerville.com | Meet the Makers 37
DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS & GAME CHANGERS
DO-GOODERS, KEY PLAYERS, AND GAME CHANGERS
THE WELCOME PROJECT
BY SHIRA LAUCHAROEN
he Welcome Project has been opening doors for immigrants since 1987. The non-profit organization, located in the Mystic Valley Public Housing Development, does just what its name implies: help immigrant residents feel welcome in Somerville through various classes, programming, and invitations to safe spaces. But it’s not just another classroom; its work goes a step further. The Welcome Project supports immigrants as they help shape the community, have engaged civic lives, and find an identity within schools, government, and similar institutions. Its mission is to “build the collective power of immigrants so they can participate in community decisions,” says Director of Parental Engagement Kenia Alfaro. And this goes for 38 Meet the Makers | scoutsomerville.com
people of all ages. A few of the organization’s popular programs include ESL classes for all skill levels and ages, a citizenship class, homework help for younger people, and college preparation programs for high-school students. The courses are intended to foster the sense of pride an individual feels for their native culture, while also helping them adjust to a new country. “One of the biggest barriers to integration is language,” says Executive Director Ben Echevarria. “The fact that we teach them that— and they can speak English, they feel confident about it, and now they’re part of the community—is a huge impact.” The Welcome Project has supported immigrants from a variety of countries, often from Central America, all facing difficult barriers of entry that
require them to advocate for themselves. The programs seek to give them the skills and resources to find housing, obtain an education, and know their rights. The purpose is not simply to help someone assimilate to their community, but rather to help them become an active and engaged part of shaping it. Another goal of the group is to dispel negative attitudes surrounding immigration, and the nonprofit’s headquarters doubles as a safe space where people can feel fully protected and secure. The country has seen a decline in immigrant attendance at institutions like schools and hospitals, says Echevarria, due to a fear of sharing personal information and risk of deportation. The Welcome Project is a place to share these concerns. “If they want to talk about
that, we’re going to listen,” says Alfaro. “That’s more important to me than the lesson, learning English or whatever it is we’re doing. Hearing them and giving them that space to talk about their worries and their anxieties—that’s super important because it’s a teaching moment for us as a staff.” Echevarria says that one of the reasons people continue to visit The Welcome Project is because of the relationships that they build there. “They see we care,” he says. “Whenever they need something, we will go out of our way to try to figure out how to accommodate that. At the end of the day, they see us as a trusted source.” The Welcome Project is located at 530 Mystic Ave. #111, Somerville, MA 02145. To learn, visit www. welcomeproject.org. Photo courtesy of The Welcome Project.
YOUR DENTAL HEALTH IS PART OF YOUR OVERALL HEALTH AND WELL-BEING.
DR. KATIE TALMO received her DMD from Tufts University School of Dental Medicine in 2010. Upon graduation, she joined her father, Paul Talmo, in his practice located in the historic English Tudor house at 180 Highland Avenue on the corner of Highland Avenue and Benton Road. Dr. Talmo graduated first in her class from Tufts and continues to be involved in her alma mater where she teaches parttime as an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Comprehensive Care.
Her patient-centered treatment philosophy focuses on prevention and conservative treatment modalities. She is a member of the American Dental Association and the Massachusetts Dental Society and is a fellow of the International College of Dentists. She is engaged in the community, serving as the Advisory Committee Chair to Somerville High School’s Dental Assisting Program. Dr. Talmo also travels to the Dominican Republic to provide dental care as part of a global outreach mission project. Schedule an appointment to visit Dr. Talmo in her newly renovated office space.
• FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY • TEETH WHITENING • CROWN AND BRIDGE WORK • RESTORATION OF DENTAL IMPLANTS • VENEERS • CLEAR ORTHODONTIC ALIGNERS
DR. K AT I E TA L M O , D .M .D . • 6 1 7 . 8 6 4 . 6 1 1 1 • 1 8 0 H I G H LA N D AV E N U E