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The City hopes to extend the eviction moratorium, an Urban Forest Management Plan, and “Penny Chronicles” exhibit goes up at the Somerville Museum



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The Somerville Fair Housing Commission compiled a Fair Housing questionnaire for mayoral and City Council candidates to respond to. The Somerville Wire will be publishing the completed questionnaire in a six part series. The fifth is included below


The Jamaica-born artist brings inspiration and vibrancy to his projects


The event garners enthusiasm from many, while others say it disturbs the peace


City honors the anniversary of September 11

The City of Somerville will be holding its annual 9/11 Procession and Memorial Ceremony. Mayor Joe Curtatone and the City’s Department of Veterans’ Services will hold the event to mark the 20th anniversary of the tragic events that took place on Sept. 11. Anyone interested in joining the procession should meet at the Cedar Street end of the Community Path at 9:30 a.m. Beginning at 10 a.m., there will be a speaking program and the presentation and retiring of the colors by the Somerville Police and Somerville Fire Honor Guards at the 9/11 memorial in Davis Square.

City seeks to extend eviction moratorium

Somerville is seeking to extend its eviction moratorium through Nov. 30, Mayor Joe Curtatone announced on Sept. 3. If it is not extended, the moratorium would expire on Sept. 15, and the Somerville Board of Health will consider the issue at a Sept. 9 meeting. The request comes in light of COVID cases rising and the Biden administration’s call for cities and states to enact local moratoria.

“We are still in a health crisis and this is one important way we can keep our most vulnerable safe,” said Curtatone, in a press release. “We also understand that while we use this tool to protect the health of our residents, we must also minimize financial impacts to our property owners, some of whom are also struggling. That’s why our staff are working furiously to assist both tenants and homeowners in accessing housing assistance. Those funds can make landlords whole while keeping people safe in their homes as COVID-19 surges.”

“It’s important to seek help as soon as possible, even if the moratorium is extended,” said Fred Berman, deputy director of the Office of Housing Stability. “No one should be waiting to seek help making rent or mortgage payments. Falling behind month-by-month can make it difficult to catch up.”

The Somerville eviction moratorium prevents the physical removal of tenants from their homes. Landlords are able to seek court orders for evictions, but tenants may not actually be able to be removed from their place of residence, while the protection is in place.

Somerville publishes first Urban Forest Management Plan

The City of Somerville, after years of data collection, research, and community engagement,

has published its first Urban Forest Management Plan to guide the next decade of urban forestry planning and policymaking. It creates a vision and action plan to preserve and expand the city’s urban forest. It explains the findings of a public tree inventory, sets goals for the next five to 10 years, and offers recommendations on how to achieve these goals. The plan also includes details on how to prepare for storms, manage invasive insects and diseases, optimize operations and policies, increase urban forestry funding, and expand public participation.

“Trees are an invaluable resource for our community and our climate. Here in Somerville, we have long invested in improving our urban forest, but as always, we must be strategic and data-driven in charting a path forward,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone, in a press release. “This plan gives us the foundation we need to be deliberate in our approach and consistent in our action.”

“We are thrilled to have completed this important plan, which has been a focus of the Public Space and Urban Forestry team for the last two years,” said Luisa Oliveira, director of Public Space and Urban Forestry, in the same release. “It provides the data for making decisions and guides our future tree policies and practices. It reflects the high caliber of urban forestry expertise we have cultivated in the City of Somerville and the passion for trees our residents share.”

“Extreme weather events like those we’ve experienced this year really highlight the importance of having a healthy urban forest,” said Vanessa Boukili, senior urban forestry and landscape planner, in the same release. “I am proud to have been a part of creating a plan that not only provides details about our current tree canopy but also presents a multifaceted approach for growing our tree canopy in a safe and equitable way.”

An art show to support community art 

On Sept. 11, visitors are welcome to meet the local artists of the Out of the Blue Community Arts gallery. Artists will be available to talk about their works, and guests can bid on pieces for a donation price. These works have been placed on the stair walls and walls of the Armory during the pandemic. On Saturday, there will be free tours and Meet the Artists from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

After this portion of the event, there will be a reception with theater, music, and arts talks in the performance space, B6. For the 6-10 p.m. performances, a $10 donation is being asked for. There will be Indian food from Parma Chai and non-alcoholic drinks on set.

Learn more about the artists at this link:

Somer Fest is back!

The free, family friendly festival, Somer Fest, is being held on Sept. 10 from 7-9:30 p.m. at Seven Hills Park, behind the Davis Square MBTA station. Produced by 2020 BIPOC Grant Series winner SUR5ILL, Somer Fest will be hosting its third annual, outdoor, multi genre concert. There will be live music, with punk rock and acoustic pop covers. Participants are welcome to dance to the tunes a DJ will be spinning, from reggaeton to Top 40 hits. Also present will be stars from Boston’s standup comedy scene and magic acts.

“Penny Chronicles” exhibit goes up at Somerville Museum 

From Sept. 9 through Jan. 8, an exhibit, “Penny Chronicles and the Stories They Tell,” will go up at the Somerville Museum. The show has been curated by David Guss. The exhibit focuses on the postcard, “that popular and resilient artform” that helps tell the “surprising history of Somerville.” It is organized into 18 sections, with each “episode” presenting the postcard and accompanying material in a distinctive manner.

“They cost a penny to buy and a penny to send. They were the social media of their day, snippets of news attached to images of local buildings, monuments, and events,” reads the Somerville Museum’s website. “Big pictures in a small frame, serving as testimonies to one’s pride of place. Strung together, they tell Somerville’s unique history: a visit from a president, the impact of suffragettes, veterans marching, monuments dedicated, developers building rows of new homes.”

“Penny Chronicles” also features works by a varied group of artists, commissioned specifically for this exhibit. There will also be a Curator Tour held on Sept. 11, from noon until 1:30 p.m.

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

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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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