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‘Opioid Project,’ City Hall Community Meetings, Pollinators, and More!


Proposed street redesign would bring protected bike lanes to Davis Square and beyond

The latest from Sen. Pat Jehlen

SAVE THE DATE: Public Forum on the Broadway Bus Lane, Nov. 9, 6-8 p.m., Somerville Media Center main studio. Short talks by Councilor Beatriz Gómez Mouakad and former Congressman Mike Capuano followed by open public testimony. Sponsored by Somerville Media Center, Somerville Media Fund, and Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism. Admission is free.


‘Opioid Project’ Tells Stories of Addiction

The Nave Gallery, in partnership with the Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, will host “The Opioid Project: Every Picture Tells a Story,” an exhibition of artwork that tells the stories of those affected and afflicted by addiction.

The Opioid Project: Changing Perceptions through Art and Storytelling is a creative response to the opioid epidemic. It started in 2016 as a collaboration between Dr. Annie Brewster, executive director and founder of Health Story Collaborative, and artist Nancy Marks. Using art and audio storytelling as its foundation, the project engages those touched by the opioid epidemic and substance use disorder—including active users, people in recovery, first responders, and individuals grieving the death of a loved one to overdose—with the goals of decreasing stigma, increasing public awareness, enhancing community dialogue, and supporting advocacy efforts.

The exhibit will run from Oct. 1 through Nov. 14, with an opening reception this Saturday, Oct. 1 from 3-5 p.m. A curator’s talk and book signing at 4 p.m. will provide an opportunity to discuss the Opioid Project and Brewster’s newly published book, “The Healing Power of Storytelling.” The book uses personal narrative, science-based research, and concrete guidance to show patients, families and care providers how to craft and share their own stories in order to heal and move forward. The book offers extensive case studies from Brewster’s years of experience as a doctor working with patients, families, and other care providers.

The exhibit is free and open to all. Nave Gallery is located in Clarendon Hill Presbyterian Church, 155 Powderhouse Blvd. The gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. (closed on Oct. 8).

You Can Question City Hall

City Hall Community Meetings, formerly known as the ResiStat program, is an effort to bring City-related discussions and decision-making to residents. The program strives to connect residents to City Hall by delivering valuable information straight from the source, and to give residents a platform to provide feedback on city services and empower them with opportunities to get involved.

Community meetings take place in the spring and fall of every year, at each of Somerville’s seven wards. At these meetings, residents meet the mayor, their local councilors, and key City officials, such as police district commanders. Residents receive ward-specific information as well as City-wide progress updates.

The next series of meetings will take place throughout the month of October. All meetings will be held in a hybrid format and begin at 6:30 p.m., preceded by an in-person meet-and-greet with refreshments at 6 p.m. You can look up the ward you live in with the My Somerville address lookup tool.

  • Monday, Oct. 3: Ward 5 – Kennedy School Cafeteria (5 Cherry St.)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 11: Ward 3 – Somerville High School, Highlander Forum (81 Highland Ave.)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 12: Ward 4 – Healey School Cafeteria (5 Meacham St.)
  • TBD: Ward 6 – Somerville Community Baptist Church (31 College Ave.)
  • Wednesday, Oct. 19: Ward 1 – East Somerville Community School Cafeteria (50 Cross St.)
  • Monday, Oct. 24: Ward 2 – Argenziano School Cafeteria (290 Washington St.)
  • Thursday, Oct. 27: Ward 7 – West Somerville Neighborhood School Cafeteria (177 Powder House Blvd.)
  • In addition, an All Ward Meeting presented in Spanish will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the East Somerville Community School Cafeteria (50 Cross St.).

Interpretation into Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian Kreyol, Nepali, Mandarin, Cantonese, or other languages may be available upon advance request by contacting the SomerViva Office of Immigrant Affairs at or by calling 311 (617-666-3311).

Welcome, Pollinators!

More than 75 percent of all flowering plants depend on pollination for survival, but due to habitat loss and pesticide use, pollinator populations are declining locally and worldwide.

The City of Somerville is creating a plan to prioritize local pollinator health to establish and maintain a healthy and biodiverse urban ecosystem. The plan will be the first of its kind in a city as densely populated as Somerville, according to the City.

“In Somerville, we are committed to supporting the health of all our residents, human and non-human alike,” said Mayor Katjana Ballantyne. “Municipalities have the power, and the responsibility, to support pollinators through our policies, designs, and public engagement. Our hope is that Somerville’s Pollinator Action Plan, produced in partnership with the community, will become a model for pollinator and wildlife conservation in challenging urban environments.”

The Somerville Pollinator Action Plan is forming an advisory committee to identify ways to create the best habitat for Somerville-specific and regional pollinators and wildlife in the city. The Advisory Committee will collaborate with City staff and a consultant team composed of experts in pollination, ecology, horticulture, and the urban environment to understand the interventions that a municipality can perform to create the most nurturing environment for pollinators.

“We know from our research that dozens of pollinator species already use gardens in Somerville,” said Dr. Elizabeth E. Crone, a Somerville resident and biology professor at Tufts University. “Creating more gardens like these will provide resources right away for these species. Additionally, more gardens will also allow new pollinator species – ones that need a little bit more green space – to move into the city.”

Residents are invited to apply for a seat on the advisory committee. Applications to join the committee are due by Oct. 21.

Photo credit: Artwork by Opioid Project participant Carol. Image courtesy of the Opioid Project.

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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Linda Pinkow is a reporter for the Somerville Wire. She is also a development consultant for the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism.

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