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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, September 23, 2023



Ayanna Pressley, "The Squad” rallies supporters in Somerville

Members of the congressional ‘Squad’ spoke to a crowd of supporters at the Somerville Theatre on Saturday evening. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who represents Somerville in the U.S. House of Representatives, was joined by Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Cori Bush at the sold-out event.


The Rev. Mariama White-Hammond talks Green New Deal, environmental justice work in Boston

The Rev. Mariama White-Hammond, chief of environment, energy and open space for the City of Boston, visited Tufts University on Sept. 8 in the first installment of this year’s Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lecture series. White-Hammond joined to discuss the ways that Boston is acting as a Green New Deal city and the importance of centering environmental justice communities in climate work. 


Established Democrats defeat lesser-known challengers in Mass. primaries

Incumbent State Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven won the 27th Middlesex District Democratic primary on Sept. 6, defeating opponent Jason Mackey. Uyterhoeven, who is currently running uncontested in the general election, won with 87% of the vote and is on track to continue representing the city of Somerville in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.


Evicted on short notice, some Medford Square tenants receive little help from local, state governments

Residents of 18 units on month-to-month leases in The Bradlee Apartments, an apartment building in Medford Square, were given notice in late March that they had 30 days to permanently vacate their homes so that the building’s new property managers could renovate the units. The time frame was extended to 60 days after advocacy by city staff — placing the final move-out deadline in late May — but affected tenants said that was still too little time to find new housing and that local and state agencies were largely unhelpful.


Gannett to merge Somerville and Medford weekly newspapers

National newspaper chain Gannett plans to cease print publication of 19 weekly papers in eastern Massachusetts and merge another nine papers into four, beginning this month. Tufts’ host communities will have their papers — the Medford Transcript and the Somerville Journal — merged into one. The combined paper will still be distributed in print weekly.


Somerville School Committee approves evangelical private school

The Somerville School Committee voted on April 25 to approve Real Life Learning Center’s application to establish a K–8 private school. The vote came after a months-long standoff between Somerville’s subcommittee on Education Programs and Instruction and Vida Real Church, the founders of RLLC, who say they were unfairly targeted based on their religious beliefs.


Somerville will open a supervised consumption site where people who use drugs can use safely

The city of Somerville partnered with Fenway Health in March to prepare for the opening of a supervised consumption site where people who use drugs can consume drugs in a safe environment under medical supervision to prevent overdoses. Somerville signed a $40,000 contract with the healthcare and research organization — which caters specifically to people in the LGBT community, people of color and other underserved communities — to determine optimal locations for the supervised consumption site, establish a community advisory board and study existing models of drug use monitoring to determine how the site should operate.


Somerville to construct $2.5 million Poplar Street Pump Station

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley announced last month that she had secured $8 million of federal funding for the Massachusetts 7th Congressional District, which she represents, and that $2.5 million of that funding will be allocated for a Somerville project called the Poplar Street Pump Station. The project is slated to begin construction in fall 2022 and will provide critical stormwater management infrastructure to the city.


Somerville police staffing study sparks controversy over speed of reform

Local activists and some elected officials have criticized a recent study of Somerville Police Department’s staffing. The City of Somerville announced on March 8 that its Racial and Social Justice Department had contracted a consulting firm to conduct a study on the Somerville Police Department’s staffing procedures, prompting frustration over the speed of police reform in Somerville.


Green Line Extension contributes to increased displacement risk of Somerville tenants

The MBTA Green Line Extension officially began service with the opening of its Union Square Branch on March 21, 2022. The addition extends the Green Line’s service from Lechmere station to the new Union Square station in Somerville. The Medford branch of the GLX, which will terminate at the Medford/Tufts station currently under construction next to the Joyce Cummings Center, is slated to open in summer 2022.


Fare-free buses are a possibility for Medford and Somerville

A bill proposed by representatives of Medford and Somerville that would establish a one-year fare-free bus pilot program within the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is moving through the Massachusetts House and Senate, having recently been referred to the Joint Committee on Transportation.