Somerville’s Teen Empowerment hosts 11th annual Peace Conference

On Saturday afternoon the East Somerville Community School auditorium was filled with elected officials, families, students, and other city residents, eagerly awaiting the 11th annual Youth Peace Conference.

The conference, hosted by Teen Empowerment, stemmed from Boston’s own Youth Peace Conference, started in 1993 to combat gang violence between five rival gangs.

According to a press release from last week, the conference “set the stage for dramatic improvement in the lives of thousands of youth.”

This year’s conference, “Views from the Ville: Fact vs. Fiction,” tackled topics such as immigration, racism, displacement, policing, and “fake news.” Shaheim Grant and Janelle Messina were the masters of ceremonies.

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NBC’s Lester Holt visits Tufts University for annual Murrow forum

This story originally appeared in the Somerville Journal. 

In a time when journalists often find themselves in the cross hairs of national debates over what’s truth and what isn’t, students at Tufts University had the chance to hear from one of the country’s most recognizable newsmen.

Tufts hosted their 12th annual Edward R. Murrow Forum on Issues in Journalism Wednesday, April 12. This year, the guest speaker was Lester Holt, anchor for NBC Nightly News.

Sponsored by the university’s Tisch College, Murrow Center, and Film and Media Studies program, the forum is designed to tackle issues facing the media. The forum is dedicated to Edward Murrow, a legendary CBS journalist who pioneered mass media efforts.

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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.

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Federal Realty seeks affordable housing waiver in Somerville’s Assembly Row

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal. 

Assembly Row developers say an increase in the amount of affordable housing required by the city may cause a halt to their project, at least temporarily.

Last May the Somerville Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance requiring 20 percent of residential development to be affordable units, an increase from the previous 12 1/2 percent.

The ordinance stemmed from what aldermen call a citywide housing crisis, resulting in the displacement of many residents who can’t afford the rising rents and property values.

On April 6, Federal Realty Investment Trust (FRIT), developers in Assembly Square, formally asked the Planning Board to waive the current affordable housing ordinance and allow them to build at the 12 1/2 percent established when they started the project in 2005.

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A brief history of economic development in Somerville

This story was originally published in the Somerville Journal

With multiple development efforts in Davis Square, Union Square, and East Somerville, the city is on the edge of major changes.

Amidst those changes, President of the New England Chapter of the Victorian Society in America Edward Gordon took a look back at past efforts in Somerville.

Since being hired by the Somerville Historic Preservation Commission 12 years ago, Gordon has led multiple walking tours in East Somerville and Union Square, highlighting historic neighborhoods.

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Somerville’s Hoyt-Sullivan Playground to see renovations in coming weeks

In just a few weeks, the Hoyt-Sullivan Playground on Central Street will be undergoing major renovations.

The playground was last renovated in 1995 after the community pooled their resources to cover a portion of the funding.

“There’s a real community spirit about this park,” said Director of Parks and Open Space Arn Franzen.

Franzen said the new design will feature more compartmentalized areas designed for specific age groups and uses, better lighting and visibility and a more natural playground environment.

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Spoiler: Body-shaming still isn’t cool.

I’m scrolling through my seemingly endless Facebook feed, looking at pictures from this past week, wishing a “Happy Birthday” to a friend, watching whatever video catches my eye.

And as I’m scrolling, I come across a post: “What Ever Happened to Cleavage?” I’m intrigued. So I click.

In a couple hundred words, Vogue UK quickly sums up author Kathleen Baird-Murray’s full-length article in the December issue, “Desperately Seeking Cleavage.” Baird-Murray, says the Vogue editors, notes the “distinct lack of pertinently pushed-up breasts everywhere from runway to red carpet.”

“‘The tits will not be out for the lads. Or for anyone else, for that matter,’” the post quotes.

If you’re anything like me, someone who has seriously struggled with body image, particularly with breast size, this post is rage-inducing.

Continue reading “Spoiler: Body-shaming still isn’t cool.”