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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Monday, June 24, 2024

News | Local

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Somerville pilot program to provide families with guaranteed basic income

In March, Mayor Katjana Ballantyne announced that Somerville will begin a one-year guaranteed basic income pilot program this July. Approximately 200 households will receive monthly payments of $750 to use for self-identified expenses with the ultimate goal of increasing financial and housing stability. Much of this program’s funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act, established in 2021.


Mayor Ballantyne reopens Somerville’s search for a new police chief

At the end of January, Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne announced the resumption of the City of Somerville’s search for their next chief of police after three finalists for the position were ultimately rejected by the mayor’s office last November. The search will be led by the city’s Racial and Social Justice Department, its Human Resources Department and public-sector executive recruitment firm GovHR, which serves as the requisite external consultant to identify and certify potential candidates. This search has been ongoing since March 2020, when former Chief David Fallon announced his retirement. Interim Police Chief Charlie Femino has led the department since Fallon’s retirement took effect in December 2020.


Somerville builds community through CultureHouse

CultureHouse, a nonprofit placemaking organization based in Somerville, transformed a vacant storefront into a vibrant community center in Union Square. Since its opening in January 2024, the pop-up, located at 64 Union Square, has offered a space to foster community and build intercultural and intergenerational relationships.


Somerville municipal employees continue fight for fair wages

Established in 1963, the Somerville Municipal Employees Association has since grown to represent more than 260 municipal workers, with bargaining units that cover everything from the Department of Public Works to the library department to school nurses. For more than 20 months, however, these vital city workers, prohibited by Massachusetts law from going on strike, have been working without a contract.

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Local publication to end coverage of Somerville

Following a national trend of local newspaper closures, the Somerville Wire — a municipal news service which has now served the city of Somerville for the better part of three years — will soon close its doors for the final time.

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Medford calls for ceasefire in Gaza following neighboring cities of Somerville, Cambridge

On Feb. 6, Medford became the third city in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to pass a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza and Israel, following just over a week after the cities of Somerville and Cambridge called for the same. City Council Vice President Kit Collins proposed the resolution, passed in a 5-1-1 vote during last week’s city council meeting after public testimony from dozens of constituents.


Rep. Pressley secures $2.4 million in federal funding to renovate Clarendon Hill Apartments

In early January, Rep. Ayanna Pressley hosted a community roundtable with Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne and local authorities to discuss affordable housing, specifically, the plans for the Clarendon Hill Redevelopment Project. This project seeks to add 375 apartments to Clarendon Hill’s original 216 units, totaling 591 units of mixed-income housing across three buildings and several townhomes.


Oldest men’s prison in Mass. to permanently close

The Massachusetts Department of Correction announced on Jan. 24 its plans to close the Massachusetts Correctional Institution at Concord, a medium-security men’s prison, by summer 2024, falling in line with Gov. Maura Healey’s Fiscal Year 2025 budget recommendation.


Somerville residents critique new plans for Davis Square

Community members gathered at the Somerville Public Library West Branch on Jan. 29 to critique an updated commercial area plan for Davis Square. Somerville city planners shared their progress on their plan to redesign Davis Square’s commercial core, then opened the floor to  local residents for feedback.


Somerville becomes first Mass. city to call for Gaza ceasefire

In late January, Somerville became the first city in Massachusetts to pass a resolution calling for an enduring ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution, which was brought forth by City Council President Ben Ewen-Campen, was passed in a 9–2 vote after close to three hours of testimony and deliberation on Jan. 25.

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