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Sparkle the Dog and her battle with cancer, a citywide election recount, and Open Studio arts events in Somerville



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Sparkle the Dog, beloved by community, diagnosed with cancer

Sparkle is an 11-year-old Corgi mixed breed dog, who has been greeting visitors outside her owner’s house on Elm Street, over the years. She was recently diagnosed with cancer. Affectionately known as the “Mayor of Somerville,” Sparkle has been a part of the community for a long time and was known to have been a source of comfort to passersby, visiting during the pandemic. Melora Rush, her owner, said that she and Sparkle’s fans have been devastated by the news, but that her friend and companion has received an outpouring of support from people across the country.

“[People have been] stopping by more frequently, to give her love,” said Rush. “They look for her, to see if she’s outside. People have been leaving treats, bags of treats for her and toys. It’s just incredibly sweet. But on my social media, I’ve been saying, please, instead of doing that, just donate to your local rescue or shelter. If Sparkle can help other dogs, that’s such a fabulous thing.”

Rush said that she had found out that Sparkle had cancer about a month ago. Sparkle had been having problems since August.

“Her face swelled up. We took her to the vet, and they thought it was a tooth. But when they went to check on her teeth, they realized it was a really bad bone infection. That was what they thought, at that point,” said Rush. “They did a biopsy, and at that point, it showed lots of infection, but it did not show cancer. We started treating her with antibiotics, but when the antibiotics didn’t really do the trick, they did a second biopsy, and that one did show the cancer. So she’s had it for a long time, I’m guessing.”

Sparkle was adopted almost exactly ten years ago, and she has been known in the community to sit outside of Rush’s house, regardless of the weather. Whether it be the summer or the winter, Sparkle has always loved the outdoors and has been beloved by neighbors and people walking by for her gentle demeanor.

“We adopted her from a rescue in New Hampshire called Mary’s Dogs,” said Rush. “They got her because she had been found running along a highway in Vermont by a family on vacation there. They tried to find her owners and didn’t succeed. They tried to keep her, but their other dog didn’t want another dog in the house. We were the people who lucked out.” She added, “From day one, she has been the calmest dog I’ve ever met. She’s sort of the perfect dog to introduce little kids to or people who are scared of dogs. From early on, she just really wanted to be outside. Living on a busy street, she just developed a huge following.”

Visit Sparkle online:

CAAS celebrates 40th anniversary with show

The Community Action Agency of Somerville will be celebrating its 40th anniversary with a live broadcast to benefit people in need. The show will be airing from the Somerville Medica Center Studios. Watch on Nov. 18 from 7-8 p.m. on SCATV or livestream the event on Facebook and the CAAS 40th Anniversary Fundraiser website. The event is free and supports CAAS’ new Emergency Relief Program.

The Emergency Relief Program offers financial support to people in Somerville who are unemployed or struggling with the effects of COVID.

“As we emerge from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to remember that the economic effects of this disruption have not been spread evenly across the community,” said David Gibbs, executive director at CAAS, in a press release. “So many of our neighbors are still unemployed, and don’t have the resources to pay for housing, food, or other basic necessities. CAAS’ Emergency Relief Program is designed specifically to meet those needs by channeling donations from those who have a little extra to give to those who are in the greatest need.”

The live show will be co-hosted by CAAS board members, and it will feature a message from State Representative Mike Connolly and a performance by Somerville’s Emperor Norton’s Stationary Marching Band. There will also be guest appearances and engaging discussions with CAAS staff and community members who have benefited from CAAS programming. CAAS is proud to feature interviews with partners/sponsors John Fenton, managing partner at DLJ Real Estate Capital Partners. DLJ, along with Leggat McCall Properties, are co-developers of the Boynton Yards project in Somerville. CAAS also welcomes Dwan Packnett, vice president of Government Relations & Community Investment at Sira Naturals, for a live interview.

Citywide election recount to take place

Billy Tauro, former candidate for mayor, has filed recount petitions for the election that was held on Nov. 2. The recount will be happening on Nov. 18 at 9:30 a.m., in the Council Chambers of Somerville City Hall.

“I have reasons to believe and do believe that the records, or copies of records, made by the election officers of all wards are erroneous, and are in error, and that challenged votes were cast by persons not entitled to vote therein, and that I believe a recount of the ballots cast in all wards will affect the election outcome of one or more candidates voted for at the November 2nd, 2021 Somerville Municipal Election for the office of mayor,” wrote Tauro in a letter to the Somerville Elections Department. “One of the reasons coming directly from the elections commissioner himself stating such before myself and one more person who was present and directly involved in our conversation. Other reasoning is that many ballots containing votes regarding write-in/stickers were not allowed and rejected.

“There were multiple ballots cast in this election where many ballots were rejected because voters may not have filled in the circle and may not have put in the address or may not have done both or may have wrote in ‘Billy Tauro’ instead of ‘William Tauro’ or may have put the sticker on and not filled in the circle etc. etc. etc. But there is a court ruling stating that the voters intent to cast their vote for that candidate is there so it is allowable. Somerville is pushing the envelope by ignoring these facts and making the candidate beg for it forcing a recount of the actual physical paper ballot and/or court action.”

Somerville Community Lantern Project: Call for Art

The Somerville Art Council’s Illumination Community Lantern Project is returning! As part of the 2021 Tour, the project will bring “fabulous light installations around Somerville,” according to a flyer. The official launch date for the Community Lantern Project will be Dec. 11. If you would like to be included on the Illuminations Google map, please sign up no later than Dec. 1.

“As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, we are looking for ways to brighten the darkness,” wrote SAC’s office manager and art coordinator Heather Balchunas, on a Facebook post. “Building off of the success from last year’s Illuminations Community Lantern project, we are encouraging residents to create their own lantern displays in their neighborhoods and Squares as a part of this year’s month-long festivities.”

To get involved, visit the following link:

Brickbottom Open Studios and Joy Street Open Studios to showcase art

The Brickbottom Artists Association will present Brickbottom Open Studios, taking place on Nov. 20 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be held on 1 Fitchburg Street.

“In order to support the health and safety of the Brickbottom community, Brickbottom Open Studios 2021 has been reimagined with pop-up artist tents, Directory Show in the Brickbottom Gallery, a sculpture courtyard, and live music! Masks and social distancing will be required,” reads the organization’s website. Snacks will be provided by SEABISTCUIT.

BAA is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and expanding the arts in Somerville and the Greater Boston area. It was founded by the residents of the Brickbottom Artists Building, one of the oldest living and working artists community in the country, according to BAA’s website. Since 1987, Brickbottom residents have been volunteering their time and energy to make the group a vital community arts organization in Boston’s contemporary art scene.

The music schedule for the event is included below:

Noon: Pete Valle/Acoustic Guitar/singer

1 pm: They Haymakers (band)

2 pm: TBD

In addition, Joy Street Artists will be holding Joy Street Open Studios on Nov. 20, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The event will be held at 86 Joy Street. There will be paintings, sculptures, jewelry, ceramics, and more.

This article is syndicated by the Somerville Wire municipal news service of the Somerville News Garden project of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

All Somerville Wire articles may be republished by community news outlets free of charge with permission and by larger commercial news outlets for a fee. Republication requests and all other inquiries should be directed to Somerville Wire articles are also syndicated by BINJ’s MassWire state news service at


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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.



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