In this special Somerville news roundup, we say goodbye to SMC's Erica Jones!
Want the news delivered to your inbox? Sign up for our newsletter here!
Only have a few minutes to catch up on Somerville news? We’ve got you.
On March 4, the Somerville Journal’s Julia Taliesin sat down with Erica Jones from the Somerville Media Center to chat about the latest local news.
On Super Tuesday, Somerville went for Elizabeth Warren, with Bernie Sanders not far behind and Joe Biden in third place. Republican voters chose Donald Trump. Voter turnout was just about the same as the March 2016 primary: about 50%.
The week of Feb. 20, Somerville residents and city staff became aware of updated plans for Foss Park, which included removing several healthy trees to install an artificial turf field. On Feb. 25, Somerville’s state delegation met with Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation staff to clarify the plans. DCR told the delegation the trees would be preserved, and only the trees that had been previously planned for removal would be affected.
The issue of whether to top Conway Park with artificial turf or natural grass was a tough vote for the City Council, but in the end the majority voted to approve design funding for an artificial turf surface plan. For councilors, it came down to playtime equity for Somerville’s many athletic leagues versus green space, and the majority chose playtime equity.
Paraprofessional contract negotiations
Though paraprofessional contract negotiations moved into mediation in February, increased activism from the Somerville Teachers Association and paraprofessionals encouraged the School Committee to re-enter into negotiations. The main sticking points are salary and job security: STA asking for a significantly higher starting salary, $25,000 from the current $20,000, and the School Committee’s response so far has been that the STA’s proposal is too expensive. The Journal took a look at the numbers and processes behind that, and found that it would be a complicated process to support that increase. This is an ongoing issue.
New dog walking co-op
In business news, three local residents are launching New England’s first cooperatively-owned dog care service, Adventure Pups Cooperative. This women and queer-person led business is currently booking all sorts of services in Somerville Cambridge, Arlington, and Medford.
Annual SMC gala
On April 16, SMC is hosting its annual Awards Honors and Fundraiser event at the Armory to recognize local producers. Community members are invited to get creative with their attire, and tickets are available online.
After seven and a half years at SMC, Erica Jones is off on a new adventure! In a few weeks, she is moving to the New York metro area with her partner, so this is the last local news roundup she will host. We will miss her and all of her community media advocacy, and wish her well!