Artwork at the Kensington Underpass, a supervised consumption site meeting, and Somerville joins the State’s reopening plan
Welcome to the Somerville Wire’s May 25 Weekly Roundup—a fast look at local news published every Tuesday at somervillewire.news. Readers with Somerville-focused news tips or press releases or calendar items or letter and opinion submissions can send them to Wire staff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or call us at (617) 209-9511.
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During negotiations with Cambridge Health Alliance, nurses feel unrecognized.
The arts operation embraces change.
Phase 1 of Kensington Connector Project installed
The Kensington Underpass connects East Somerville to Assembly Square and is an important walking corridor that is dangerous for pedestrians. However, local groups and government are working to beautify this part of the neighborhood a little bit. A partnership with Neighborways, East Somerville Main Streets, and the City of Somerville Public Space and Urban Forestry installed Phase 1 of the Kensington Connector Project on May 21. The project has many creative components to it and has brought artwork to the area.
Included in the project is a fence scrim of This is East portraits by Meagan O’Brien. Real community members who live and work in East Somerville are depicted on new street banners. People represented include Ellin, the president of the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, as well as JoJo, who is involved with SCATV at the Somerville Media Center. There will also be art canvases from WRAP ‘EM, a community art project from 2018 that has never been shown before. Finally, there are wayfinding art panels by artist Liz LaManche.
Concerns about the underpass are still very much warranted. According to East Somerville Main Streets, walkers have to cross through high-speed lanes of traffic in order to get to the other side of the underpass. Community members are currently pushing for change to the area. In July 2019, Cheryl Pauline Richards of Somerville was killed in the crosswalk of the Kensington Underpass. MassDOT responded to the accident by making some safety improvements in 2019, but East Somerville Main Streets will continue to advocate for safer conditions.
Supervised Consumption Site meeting postponed
A community meeting intended to discuss a supervised consumption site was originally scheduled for May 25 and will be moved to June 10. At the meeting, attendees will learn more about SCS work, see data from a recently conducted needs assessment and evaluation, ask questions, and receive feedback.
SCSs have been implemented in more than 10 countries, including Canada, Australia, and across Europe. The intention is to reduce harm and prevent fatal overdoses. People who use drugs can take substances under supervision of staff, who are present to intervene in the case of an emergency. According to a press release from the City of Somerville, “to date, there have been no reported drug overdose deaths in a SCS.”
Participate in the Town Hall online or by phone:
- The meeting will be hosted on Zoom, and there will also be an option to call into the meeting from a phone.
- Visit somervillema.gov/virtualtownhall at the start time of the meeting to join live or get call-in information.
- Call-in information will also be available on the day of the meeting on GovTV, RCN channel 13 and Comcast channel 22, or by calling 311.
- The meeting will be shown live on GovTV, RCN channel 13 and Comcast channel 22, and at YouTube.com/somervillecitytv. The meeting will be rebroadcast on GovTV and available to watch later on YouTube.
- You can submit questions ahead of the meeting at http://bit.ly/SCSQuestions. This form will be left open until 5 p.m. on June 10.
Somerville to join State’s reopening plan
On May 29, Somerville will join the State in lifting remaining COVID-19 restrictions. As of this date, State guidelines will require the public to wear face coverings on public transit, in rideshares and taxis, in healthcare facilities, and in other settings with vulnerable populations. Until then, face coverings will be mandatory in indoor public spaces and outdoors when 6-foot social distancing is not possible.
“Thanks to more and more people getting vaccinated, we have made tremendous progress against this disease and are able to lift almost all remaining COVID restrictions,” wrote Mayor Joe Curtatone, in a statement. “It’s a day we’ve waited more than a year for, and one we should celebrate with cautious optimism—it’s important to remember that there are still residents who haven’t gotten the vaccine, and we need to continue to push for an equitable rollout that prioritizes communities hit hardest by COVID.”
For more information on the State’s reopening plan and guidelines, visit mass.gov/reopening.