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This week's 'Greater Somerville:' exploring the east

April 16, 2014 08:02 AM

Join "Greater Somerville" host KyAnn Anderson as she speaks with Renee Polcaro, president of the board of directors for East Somerville Main Streets. Tune in to find out about the upcoming events, buzzworthy restaurants, artistic opportunities, and how the nearly completed streetscaping project is set to transform this hidden little Somerville gem.

Think "Outside the Square" and visit East Somerville, you won't be disappointed.

For additional episodes, visit the Greater Somerville blog at:

Somerville artist’s portraits on display at City Hall

April 8, 2014 11:22 AM


Courtesy of Nancy Hall Brooks

Jim’s fixed gaze looks out from a wall on the first floor of Somerville City Hall, captured eloquently in a hand-drawn pastel portrait.

Jim, along with eight other members of Somerville’s various senior centers, is featured in an exhibition by local artist Nancy Hall Brooks. The exhibition was funded by the Somerville Arts Council as part of a program to support artists and their involvement in the community.

The project, titled “Reflections: Portraits of seniors in images and words,” is made up of nine pastel portraits, each with short bios and anecdotes next to each of the nine works.

“He said he was a child of the sixties,” Hall Brooks said of Jim, a Somerville resident and veteran of the Korean War. “He talked about how he used to get drunk and stoned all the time.”

The last line of Jim’s bio reads: “Thank God, never had an addictive personality.”

The idea to feature senior citizens came from grant recipient Hall Brooks, who said each drawing took about 15 hours to complete.

“I wanted to honor some people in the community who don’t have much interface with arts,” said Hall Brooks, a Somerville resident. “Part of the Somerville Art Council’s mission is to create liaisoning between artists and the rest of the city.”

Hall Brooks, originally from Chicago, studied history at Washington University in St. Louis before earning a master’s degree in drawing at the University of Arizona. She and her husband first came to Somerville in 1971, then moved around Massachusetts until settling back in the city in 1994. Her efforts in this exhibition are part of an involvement in the city’s thriving art scene that dates back to the 1980s.

Hall Brooks said the portraits were met with positive reaction, despite a few remarks that the drawings made them look too old.

The Council on Aging, which runs the city’s senior centers, invited the artist back to teach various art activities.

“Hopefully, it will be a nice alternative to afternoon bingo,” Hall Brooks said.

The exhibition will be on display on the first floor of City Hall until Apr. 21.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

Somerville mayor announces $50,000 reward to find Deanna Cremin's killer

March 31, 2014 08:30 AM

As friends and family gathered in Somerville Saturday to mark the 19th anniversary of Deanna Cremin's murder, Mayor Joseph Curtatone pledged a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of her killer.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan also pledged to pursue the investigation until the crime is solved.

Friends, family to mark 19th anniversary of Deanna Cremin's death

March 28, 2014 05:48 PM

The following was submitted by the Friends of Deanna Cremin:

Family and friends of Deanna Cremin will gather together this weekend in Somerville to mark the 19th anniversary of her murder, which remains unsolved.

The group will unveil a memorial wreath her father has arranged every year since her death. The gathering will be held at 2:30 p.m. at Deanna Cremin Square, at the corner of Temple and Jacques streets.

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“This event is meant as a time to reflect on who Deanna was and sadly who she may have become,” said Deanna’s father, Albert Rogers. “Deanna is never far from our thoughts and the outpouring of support and love from the community has been amazing. We still hold out hope that justice will finally be served for Deanna.”

The event includes a brief speaking program and a moment of silence as well as a release of 19 balloons, each signifying a year without her. Following this event there will be a 4 p.m. Mass at St. Ann's in the lower church.

The Friends of Deanna Cremin also announced the Somerville Board of Alderman passed a resolution requesting an update from the Middlesex district attorney's office on the status of the investigation of the murder of Deanna Cremin for this anniversary and for every anniversary until this murder is solved.

Deanna Cremin had just turned 17 when she was strangled on her way home in March 1995.

For more information, go to

Irish eyes are smiling at Somerville film fest

March 27, 2014 06:49 PM

What does the Irish Film Festival, the costar of the Oscar nominated film "Philomena," 30 Rockefeller Center, a former candidate for governor of Massachusetts, the Burren, the 100-year-old Somerville Theatre, and Joe Lynch all have in common?

Watch here and see what "Greater Somerville" and "Somerville Neighborhood News" director Jane Regan were recently up to in Davis Square.

Life and legacy of Tufts mascot Jumbo to be featured in upcoming exhibit

March 26, 2014 11:48 AM


Courtesy of Andrew McClellan, Tufts University

Jumbo’s portrait, 1882. Jumbo depicted next to an unknown man. The caption reads, “Taken by his old friend E.C. Barnes, Esq.,” an amateur British artist who painted this in February 1882. Jumbo had been at the London Zoo since 1865 and was the only African Bush Elephant in Europe during that time.

The exceptional life of Jumbo the circus elephant, from whose enormity the English language gets the word “jumbo,” will be chronicled in an upcoming exhibition this September in the Tufts Art Gallery, 40 Talbot Ave., Medford.

The exhibition, titled “Jumbo: Marvel, Myth and Mascot,” will feature an array of pictures, circus posters, and advertisements showing the elephant’s ascension from a circus animal to a part of American culture and history.

See pictures of Jumbo from the exhibition here.

Jumbo, who lived from 1861 to 1885, was taken from Africa as a calf and spent his early years in zoos in Paris and London — giving rides to the likes of Queen Victoria’s children and Winston Churchill — until being purchased by P.T. Barnum for $10,000 in 1881. After weeks attempting to coax Jumbo onto a ship, Barnum finally succeeded and brought him to America, where he performed and traveled with the Barnum & Bailey Circus until he was killed in a train accident in Canada at the age of 24.

“Jumbo connects to a lot of things in American history,” said Tufts University Art History Prof. Andrew McClellan, who has spent the last eight years preparing the exhibition. “Everybody knew Jumbo when he was alive and this exhibition is to bring some of that history out; how popular and how famous he was.”

Barnum marketed Jumbo when he was alive as much as possible, perhaps most notably marching him across the Brooklyn Bridge when it opened to prove the bridge safe.

After his death, Jumbo was stuffed by Carl Akeley as one of the first and most famous examples of taxidermy.

From there, Barnum, a trustee at Tufts University, displayed Jumbo’s body in his circus for four years until giving the animal to the university to be featured in the newly built science building in 1889. Jumbo remained there for almost 100 years until a fire burned down the entire building in 1975.

Now, 125 years after Jumbo’s arrival on campus, McClellan said the exhibition will convey all the aspects of the tragic life of Jumbo as a captive animal.

“He spent his life amusing human beings,’ he said. “He really illustrates the plight of animals being subjected to the whims of human beings.”

McClellan will publish a book on Jumbo coinciding with the exhibition, which will run from Sept. 4 to Dec. 7.

This article is being published under an arrangement between the Boston Globe and Emerson College.

Neighborhood News episode 11

March 26, 2014 11:09 AM
The following was submitted by Somerville Neighborhood News:

In SNN episode # 11, reporters bring you stories on a new program for young readers at Porter Square books, on a former child soldier who spoke at the high school, on the contest between developers vying to win the Union Square contract and SNN has an interview with congressman Michael Capuano commenting on the Union Square Post Office, as well as reports on pie day and on youth homelessness in Somerville.

Somerville Neighborhood News is a community service production of staff, interns and volunteers at Somerville Community Access TV. We welcome feedback on all of our stories. Please contact us with comments, questions or feedback and to submit news ideas, at Visit for a complete list of current and archived SNN programs.

Volunteers needed for Patriot’s Day Colonial Fair

March 21, 2014 03:45 PM
The following was submitted by the City of Somerville: 

Help the City re-live Paul Revere's historic ride from Boston through Somerville and onto Lexington and Concord. Volunteers are needed for the City's annual Patriots Day Colonial Fair at Foss Park on Monday, April 21.

Volunteers will help residents learn about life in the late 1700s by leading Colonial-era games, serving refreshments, and distributing and stamping Colonial Passports. To set the scene, all volunteers will dress in Colonial-era clothing (we have clothing to lend or tips for what to wear!). We’ll also teach you games to lead including hop scotch, cat’s cradle, hoop rolling and ring toss.

The events are sponsored by the City's Historic Preservation Commission, Historic Somerville and the Somerville Museum, and will be held rain or shine on Monday, April 21 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. at Foss Park.

For more information, contact the Historic Preservation Commission at 617-625-6600 ext. 2500 or email 

City 's Annual Rabies Clinic April 6

March 21, 2014 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by the City of Somerville Health Department: 

The City of Somerville Health Department and Animal Control announced today that the City will host its annual Rabies Clinic for cats and dogs on Saturday, April 6th from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Department of Public Works (1 Franey Road). Rabies vaccinations and on-site licenses for dogs will be available at the clinic.  

The cost of the vaccine is $10, and dog licenses are offered at a cost of $20 for spayed and neutered pets, and $30 for all others.  Prior vaccination records are not required, and all vaccinations will be valid for one year.  All residents are required to license their dogs, and a current rabies vaccine is required to obtain a license.  For more information, please contact the Somerville Health Department at 617-625-6600 ext. 4300.

Tufts University Department of Music presents upcoming performance

March 21, 2014 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by the Tufts University Department of Music: 

The Tufts University Department of Music presents Michael Gordon’s “Rushes”: A Work for Seven Bassoons, as performed by The Rushes Ensemble in the Distler Performance Hall at the Perry and Marty Granoff Music Center on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 at 8:00 p.m.  This iconic work brings out tonal and timbral aspects of the bassoon that are meant to induce a quasi-meditative, almost ecstatic state in the listeners as well as the performers. Michael Gordon is one of the founders of Bang On A Can.

The Granoff Music Center is located at 20 Talbot Avenue on Tufts’ Medford/Somerville campus. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit or call the Granoff Music Center Box Office at 617.627.3679.

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