Reinventing the wheel: Spoke Wine Bar returning under new management

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal

After almost five months, Spoke Wine Bar will reopen its doors on Holland Street.

Owner and operator Felicia “Flea” Foster first opened the cozy neighborhood destination bar three years ago, with David Jick, owner of Dave’s Fresh Pasta. The restaurant specialized in small production wine, craft cocktails, and small food plates from executive chef John daSilva.

Now, new owner Mary Kurth and new executive chef Eric Frier are ready to take the restaurant to a new level, complete with an improved menu and homey aesthetic, while simultaneously honoring Spoke’s legacy.

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Planning Board to continue discussing Federal Realty’s affordable housing waiver

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal

Tensions were high at Thursday night’s Planning Board meeting, as Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT) again asked the board for an affordable housing waiver.

Multiple aldermen and dozens of community members stood up in the Aldermanic Chambers April 24, urging the Planning Board to deny the request. Though the board fully intended on voting on the waiver, they decided to continue the discussion and reconvene on May 18.

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Somerville ranked No. 3 ‘Green City’ in U.S.

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

Over the past few years, Somerville has implemented a list of environmentally fueled goals to accomplish.

For starters, the city hopes to be carbon neutral by 2050, and have 50 percent of all trips be completed by public transit, biking or walking, as detailed in the 30-year SomerVision plan.

As a result of citywide efforts to be more sustainable, paired with demographics and planning, Somerville was recently named as one of the ”Best Green Cities for Families in 2017” by SmartAsset. The city was ranked third on the national list, falling just behind Cambridge and Honolulu.

Using information from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Department of Education, and the Environmental Protection Agency, SmartAsset developed a list of the top “greenest” cities in the country.

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“A seat at the table”: Union United urges US2 to meet and commit to formal CBA

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

Earlier this month, Union Square master developer Union Square Station Associates (US2) signed an agreement with the City of Somerville to contribute an estimated $112 million to the city.

The contributions include funds for the Green Line Extension, infrastructure upgrades, new open space, and an agreement to negotiate a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) with community members via the Union Neighborhood Council.

Though community group Union United considers this a step in the right direction, they are pushing for more.

On Thursday, April 20, the group hosted a press conference outside the US2 offices at 31 Union Square, urging the developer to hold a formal meeting with the community and negotiate a CBA in good faith.

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Somerville Spotlight: Poet GennaRose Nethercott

This post was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

Growing up with a writer as a father, GennaRose Nethercott has always loved literature. For her, the arts provide connections with the world, connections with human beings.

The Somerville resident can remember being a little girl, listening to her father recite classic poems. And she remembers dictating her poems to her father, before she was able to write, and he would record them for her.

“I have a very well-bedazzled Lisa Frank folder with my poems,” Nethercott said with a laugh. “Both of my parents have always been very encouraging of me and my brother’s creativity and passions.”

After receiving her poetry degree from Hampshire College in 2013, the Vermont native picked up her 1952 Hermes Rocket typewriter and hit the road, traveling throughout the United States and Europe, writings poems-to-order, which typically feature a free verse narrative style.

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Somerville parents opt children out of high-stakes MCAS testing

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

A group of Somerville parents is doing something a bit unprecedented: opting their children out of taking the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS), the statewide standards-based assessment program for students from grades 3 to 10.

Jennifer Bullard, Nancy Clougherty, Brian Duplisea, Gina Garro, Jamal Halawa, and Renee and David Scott will not have their fourth and sixth grade children at the East Somerville Community School participate in this year’s round of MCAS, starting the week of April 24.

Because of drastic changes in MCAS testing, installed in 1993, parents argue the amount of stress and anxiety placed on students is concerning.

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Somerville resident co-founds Pepperlane: A community of mothers for mothers

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal.

Somerville resident Jess Petersen met her business partner Sharon Kan almost a year ago.

As mothers with two children each, the women recognized how hard it was to balance professional, personal and home life.

A lot of career services available for moms, said Petersen, focus on part-time positions.

“We were thinking that could be kind of unsatisfying,” she said. “In that capacity, you can’t really advance (in the workplace).”

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