James Beard Awards, a town hall with A.G. Maura Healey, and a Western Washington Street mobility improvements meeting
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Somerville restaurant, chef nominated for James Beard Awards
Two members of the Somerville hospitality industry have been nominated for this year’s James Beard Awards. Cassie Piuma of the restaurant Sarma is in the running for the title of Best Chef in the Northeast. The wine bar Rebel Rebel was named as a semifinalist for Outstanding Wine Program.
“This team has worked exceptionally hard and navigated these uncertain times with unwavering kindness, intuition and grace,” wrote Sarma chef and owner Cassie Piuma in a statement. “I’m over the moon to see them celebrated and grateful to the foundation for the important work they do—helping to rebuild our industry and forge a sustainable path forward.”
Candidate for governor Maura Healey holds Somerville Town Hall
Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey, who is running for the position of governor, took questions from attendees at a Somerville Town Hall on Feb. 27. She was introduced by Mayor Katjana Ballantyne, who stated, “My first impression of Maura was that she listens, and she really wants to know what people think.” Healey proceeded to give comments on why she held the Town Hall in Somerville, explaining, “I’m here today, joining the Somerville community, because you’re a critical part of a grassroots effort, a vibrant, diverse community that has led the way, including on innovating solutions around affordable housing, climate, health inequities, and so forth.”
Healey first addressed the climate crisis, stating that her approach will be aggressive and multi-faceted. Last year, the legislature passed a strong climate roadmap, and the next governor, she said, will be responsible for helping to implement it and expand upon it.
“First of all, we need to direct major investments into climate resiliency projects,” said Healey. “We need to electrify and expand our rail and our buses. … We need to work to convert millions of homes and businesses to electricity. We also need to make sure we’re doing this in low income communities and in communities of color.”
Healey also said that she supports same-day voter registration, adding that in the past, she has fought hard against voter suppression. Making the ability to exercise one’s right to vote in an accessible way is important to her, she said. She responded to a question on education, explaining that she does support student debt cancellation and that people should not have to struggle with the stigma of having loans.
She responded to a question about what other projects from other divisions she has worked on, and she added that she is proud of her Fair Labor Division. This division has been active in combatting wage theft and supporting immigrant and undocumented workers. Healey also spoke to the efforts she has made to support the Black community in the Commonwealth.
“[I established] the Race and Equity Council, so that we are regularly meeting with communities of color and leaders from communities of color around the state,” said Healey. “That’s really important—centering equity. … You need to teach all of your divisions, managers, and agencies that equity has to be the lens through which they see their work and do their work.”
Healey concluded by saying that Massachusetts is an incredibly prosperous state but that not enough people are able to share that prosperity.
“We’re home to the first public school in the country, the first library in the country. We have been a leader on everything from ensuring that people have access to healthcare, to marriage equality,” said Healey. “We can and should be so much more.”
Western Washington Street mobility improvements meeting
Mayor Katjana Ballantyne, Councilor J.T. Scott, and staff are inviting the public to attend a virtual community meeting to discuss roadway upgrades and traffic safety improvements on Washington Street. The meeting will take place on March 1 (TODAY), at 6 p.m. You may visit somervillema.gov/westernwashington to register to attend.
“The City is planning to reconstruct sidewalks and repave Washington Street between Webster Avenue and Line Street. This roadwork presents an opportunity to consider additional changes to the street that would improve safety and usability—for example, wider sidewalks at bus stops, raised crosswalks for traffic calming, or dedicated bus or bike lanes. It also provides an opportunity to rethink on-street parking locations and regulations,” reads a press release. “At this meeting, City staff will introduce the project scope and timeline and explore future options with attendees. A proposed design for the street will be developed using community input and presented for additional feedback, likely in May or June. The City plans to finalize design and initiate construction bidding later this summer. Construction is anticipated to be complete in late 2024.”
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Shira Laucharoen is assistant director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and assistant editor and staff reporter of the Somerville Wire.