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.

Continue reading “Somerville ranked No. 3 ‘Green City’ in U.S.”

“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 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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Mayor Curtatone defends Somerville’s sanctuary city status at UMass panel

Somerville has been a sanctuary city since 1987, protecting undocumented immigrants from federal arrest, detainment and deportation, absent violent or serious crime.

Despite the risk of losing federal funding, Mayor Joseph Curtatone has repeatedly pledged to remain as such, many residents applauding his outspoken efforts.

Just last month, Indivisible Somerville organized a rally at the State House to push legislators to support a statewide Safe Communities Act, prohibiting religious registries, preventing local police resources from being used for federal immigration cases, etc.

But there are some who oppose sanctuary city status.

Continue reading “Mayor Curtatone defends Somerville’s sanctuary city status at UMass panel”

Groups rally for safe communities at Indivisible Somerville rally

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal

Since moving into the White House, the Trump administration has proposed multiple policies affecting immigrants throughout the country and the world.

While supporters of President Donald Trump say the policies will better protect the country, critics say they are unjust and place targets on immigrants.

Through the nation-wide debates, both Somerville and Boston vowed to remain sanctuary cities, and now activists are pushing the state to follow in their footsteps.

On Tuesday morning, demonstrators gathered at the Statehouse in support of immigrants and to urge Gov. Charlie Baker to support the Safe Communities Act.

Continue reading “Groups rally for safe communities at Indivisible Somerville rally”