Cambridge Civic Journal Forum

June 27, 2017

Benefit for Comedian Jimmy Smith – Thursday, June 29

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 8:42 am

Benefit for Comedian Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Tingle hosts "Humor for Humanity," a benefit for fellow Cambridge comedian Jimmy Smith, on Thursday, June 29 at 7:30pm at the Regent Theater, 7 Medford Street, Arlington. Guests include Tony V, Mike Donovan, Mike McDonald, Lenny Clarke, Christine Hurly, Jack Gallagher and musical guests Erie Blue Band. Tickets available

Jimmy was also a CRLS teacher.

Jimmy Smith Benefit - June 29, 2017

May 18, 2017

City of Cambridge Awards Record $210,000 in Scholarships

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 2:26 pm

City of Cambridge Awards Record $210,000 in Scholarships
84 scholarships given out to residents pursuing higher education

May 18, 2017 – The City of Cambridge on Monday, May 15, 2017, hosted a special ceremony to honor the recipients of the 2017 City of Cambridge Scholarship. This year, the City awarded a record $210,000 in scholarships to 84 Cambridge high school seniors and others Cambridge residents pursuing higher education. The City of Cambridge provides these scholarships through the generous contributions of many residents and businesses.City Seal

While speaking to the recipients during the ceremony, City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said, “I know how expensive higher education has become, and I hope that today’s scholarship will make a difference.” He went on to say, “When you complete your higher education, I hope that you will seriously consider returning to Cambridge to work for one of the amazing companies located here, or better yet, you will consider working for the City of Cambridge. I can personally tell you that there is no career more rewarding than public service.”

The City Scholarship program is open to all Cambridge residents who are currently attending, have an application pending or have received acceptance to attend an institute of higher education beyond high school level. Award recipients were selected from the 198 applications received this year based on a number of criteria including academic achievement, school and community involvement, work experience, aspirations and goals, financial need, and special circumstances. The City encourages individuals who did not receive a scholarship this year to consider applying again, as awardees do not have to be graduating from high school to receive this scholarship.

The City extends its gratitude this year’s selection committee: Colin Dicke, John Kosko, Bill Neukomm, James Peck, Elaine Thorne, and Craig Yearwood.

The 2017 City Scholarship recipients are:
Eden Abebe, Zahyyeh Abu-Rubieh, Nusrat Africawala, Demi Akins, Alexander Alvarado Cortez, Samprity Ankita, Malate Aschalew, Hicham Asekkour, Alyxandra Bassile-McCarthy, Reya Begum, Helen Bekele, Bouchra Benghomari, Serena Bialkin, Johnson Blaise, Alia Campbell, Milo Cason-Snow, Kevin Chavez, Emily Chowdhury, Savanna Clegg, Amaniya, Cotton, Celeste De Lancey, Andre Domond, Nedjine Doreus, Emiliano Duran, Hend Elkatta, Carmen Enrique, Noah Epstein, Ayub Farah, Marian Farah, Bukhaari Farah, Misam Farsab, Roan Farsab, Emmanuella Fede, Yvette-Simon Figaro, Alexander Flamm, Mariamawit Gashaw, Walker Gillett, Kamaria Gooding, Anna Griffin, Nathaniel Habtom, Syed Hoque,Jacob Hunter, Amena Indawala, Jeremie Jean-Baptiste, Rebecca Jean-Louis, Gabrielle Joella, Ruksat Kabir, Nina Katz-Christy, Zainab Lakhani, Maisha Lakri, Diego Lasarte, Angel Lazar Osegueda, Albert Lee, Zoe Levitt, Samantha Liu, Jemima Mascary, Ean McDonald Wojciechowski, Natalie McPherson-Siegrist, Yeabsera Mengistu, Alexander Michael, Juliet Nadis, Sheikh Noohery, Rihana Oumer, Christelle Paul, Zian Perez, Ra-vonne Pierre, Asif Rahman, Fnu Ratna, Ariann Renaudin, Elliott Ronna, Charlotte Rosenblum, Akeru Sakakibara, Veronica Sargent, Hugo Schutzberg, Asikrahima Shajahan, Daniel Shin, Rikka Shrestha, Oliver Sussman, Miles Toussaint, Sana Vegamiya, Alyssa Watson, Eric White, Kenan White, and Alessandra Zona.

February 27, 2016

Are You As Smart As A CRLS Student?

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 2:45 pm


EinsteinDo you remember all the elements on the periodic table? How about the formula for determining the length of an arc on a circle? Who was that president who served after Grover Cleveland? Questions similar to these will be asked at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin Community Academic Challenge entitled “Are You As Smart As A CRLS Student?” on Wednesday, March 16 at 7:00pm. Mr. Billy Costa, a Cambridge High and Latin graduate and host of the WGBH-TV “High School Quiz Show” will be the moderator. The event is free and open to the public.

This is the second time this event, sponsored by the CRLS Alumni Association, is being held. The first contest was won by a team from the Cambridge Police Department. Comments about the evening included:
"It was great fun for all, and wonderful to see so many parts of the Cambridge community come together to participate."
“I was a score keeper for the first contest and I was so impressed -bowled over really – by the whole thing. I loved every minute.”

This test of knowledge will be held in the school’s theatre. Members of community organizations, schools, businesses, CRLS alums and neighborhood groups are invited to enter teams of four colleagues to challenge teams of CRLS students in this exceptional battle of the brains. Individuals are also welcome to register by themselves and will join others that night in creating a team.

Students are encouraged to create their own four person teams from their classes, clubs and athletic teams. Trophies for the adults and financial prizes for the students will be awarded. Please note; no life-lines, phone a friend or smart phones are allowed. The CRLS Jazz Combo will be performing between rounds and smart food refreshments will be served before the contest starts.

For more information about the evening and to register your team (adults and students), contact Henry J. Lukas, retired CRLS Assistant Principal at, 617-784-5838 or check There is no registration fee.

Grand Opening Celebration and Tour of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School – Sunday, Feb 28, 2016

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Robert Winters @ 2:25 pm

Sun, Feb 28

Grand Opening Celebration and Tour of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School  (100-102 Putnam Avenue)

2:00pm   Grand Opening Ceremony

3:00pm   Building Tours

4:15pm   Refreshments (cafeteria)

Grand Opening Celebration and Tour of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School

The Cambridge community is cordially invited to a grand opening celebration and tour of the city’s first near net zero school building. The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. School complex opened on December 21, 2015, and houses the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Elementary School and the Putnam Avenue Upper School – as well as the Department of Human Service Programs’ Preschool, After-School, and Community School programs.

Designed by Perkins Eastman, the building embodies Net Zero ideals and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) in action. Throughout the building are embedded opportunities for students to explore the arts, sustainability, and engineering concepts – including math-themed interactive artwork and interpretive displays with signage illuminating the facility’s use of insulation and sustainable materials, consideration of natural light, and reliance on systems for solar energy collection, geothermal heating, and grey water reclamation. The construction manager for the 100 Putnam Avenue project was Rich-Caulfield a Joint Venture.

Expected to achieve LEED-Platinum certification, the building is designed to generate an Energy Use Intensity 60% less than typical educational buildings in New England. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized green building certification system by the U.S. Green Building Council.

This new complex is the latest example of the City of Cambridge’s commitment to architecture that is both beautiful and sustainable. It is also the first in a multi-year, multi-school building program aimed at enhancing and improving the quality of learning environments for students in Cambridge Public Schools.

For more information on this event or the school building project, visit

MLK Opening

October 27, 2015

Cambridge’s new Superintendent of Schools – Dr. Kenneth Salim

Filed under: Cambridge,School Committee,schools — Tags: , , , — Robert Winters @ 10:21 pm

Dr. Kenneth SalimCambridge’s new Superintendent of Schools

The Cambridge School Committee voted 6 (Cronin, Kelly, Fantini, Nolan, Osborne, Maher) – 1 (Harding) to appoint Dr. Kenneth Salim as the next Superintendent of Schools pending contract negotiations, tonight.

Dr. Salim is the current Superintendent in Weymouth, MA and previously work in the Boston Public Schools as Senior Director for the Chief Academic Office and Interim Assistant Superintendent for Professional Development.

February 10, 2015

Cambridge Snow Emergency and Parking Ban (Feb 8-10)

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council,schools — Tags: , — Robert Winters @ 6:05 pm

City of Cambridge to Lift Parking Ban on Wednesday, February 11 at 7:00am
City announces free off street parking for Cambridge Residents
at Cambridgeside Galleria Parking Garage and First Street Garage

Feb 10, 2015 – Cambridge will be lifting the Snow Emergency Parking Ban at 7:00am on Wednesday, February 11. Residents who are taking advantage of the free off street parking program will have until 9:00am on Wednesday to exit the Green Street Garage and the One Kendall Square Garage before being charged.

Residents parked at Harvard’s 52 Oxford Street Garage and MIT’s 65 Waverly Street lot must exit these locations by 9:00am.

The City is announcing an extended free parking program being offered at both the Cambridgeside Galleria Parking Garage and the City’s First Street Parking Garage through February 22 in recognition of the historic amounts of snow that Cambridge has received during the past few weeks, including the 18.5 inches of new snow that fell over the past few days.

Residents with a valid 2015 City of Cambridge resident parking permit on their vehicle who are having difficulty finding street parking or are traveling for February school vacation week can participate in the extended free parking program at the Cambridgeside Galleria and First Street Garages until Sunday, February 22 at 8:00pm. Parking for this program at the Cambridgeside Galleria Parking is restricted to the upper garage, levels 4 and 5. The upper garage entrance is located on First Street, closest to Sears. The First Street Garage is open, subject to availability. Vehicles without a 2015 Cambridge resident parking permit will be charged full parking rates.

Residents currently parked in the First Street garage do not have to exit once the parking ban is lifted; however, residents who parked their vehicle at the Cambridgeside Galleria need to exit and reenter through the First Street entrance and park on levels 4 or 5.

In addition to this free short-term program, the City of Cambridge offers a year-round discounted parking program at the First Street Garage to Cambridge residents with a current City of Cambridge resident parking permit on their vehicles.

Even with plowing and snow removal, streets in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area are getting narrower due to snow accumulation. Prior to traveling, residents are asked to ensure that snow is cleared from the top of their motor vehicle to create safer conditions for those travelers around you. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.

Any parked vehicle that obstructs a 10 foot wide safe travel lane will be ticketed and towed.

Updated information will be available at throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at

UPDATE: All Cambridge City Offices and Cambridge Public Schools will remain closed on Tuesday, February 10. The Snow Emergency/Parking Ban remains in effect. Tuesday’s curbside trash and recycling pick up will occur as scheduled.

City of Cambridge Announces Parking Ban and Closures
Parking Ban in Effect; Curbside Trash/Recycling pick-up on Schedule;
All City Offices, Programs, and Public Schools closed Monday, February 9

SnowpocalypseFeb 8, 2015 – A Snow Emergency Parking Ban went into effect at 4:00pm today (Sun, Feb 8). [City Notice] Cambridge residents with a current Resident Parking Permit issued by the Department of Traffic, Parking and Transportation can take advantage of the City’s free off street parking program during the declared snow emergency parking ban. A complete list of off street locations as well as a listing of streets with parking restrictions during a snow emergency can be found at

Curbside trash and recycling collection will occur on Monday as scheduled. Due to the large amount of snow received in the area, trash and recycling trucks may not be able to get to all streets scheduled for a given day. If this does happen, DPW asks residents to leave their trash/recycling out on the curb for pick up the following day. In the event the roadway conditions do not allow for trucks to access the roadway the following day, residents should remove all trash and recycling from the curb and place their contents curbside the following week on their regularly scheduled day.

All City offices and programs, as well as the Cambridge Public Schools, will be closed on Monday, February 9. All public meetings, including the City Council meeting, have been cancelled for Monday. Additional information regarding school closings can be obtained by calling 617-349-6513 or visiting Information about rescheduled meetings will posted to the City’s website.

The Department of Public Works (DPW) will be working around the clock for the duration of this prolonged storm. “We are all in this together,” said Owen O’Riordan, Commissioner of Public Works, asking property owners to do the best they can under current conditions to keep sidewalks, corner crossings, catch basins and fire hydrants clear of snow.  “The historic amount of snow that we have received during the past two weeks – over 50 inches now – is trying everyone’s patience. The City’s snow operations have been in effect nearly continuously since January 25. Our primary focus right now is ensuring that emergency vehicles can access major arteries, neighborhood streets and dead ends. The City will continue to clear streets and sidewalks for many days to come, including the nearly 23 miles of sidewalks alongside schools, city buildings, major squares and high volume bus stops.”

Property and Business owner’s participation in clearing sidewalks will help the City return streets and sidewalks to safe, passable conditions as quickly as possible. When it snows or is icy this winter, please think about all the people who might be using your sidewalk and the challenges they may face if snow or ice is not fully cleared. City Ordinance requires that owners remove snow and ice from all sidewalks next to their property. The path on shoveled sidewalks must be wide enough for someone using a wheelchair, walker, or stroller (at least 3 feet, preferably 4 feet wide).  Corner properties must clear sidewalks on all sides surrounding the property and clear ramps at cross-walks. Additionally, business owners are requested, if there is a disability parking space on the street near your storefront, to please take the extra time to shovel a clear path to that space. In particular, shovel a space wide enough so that vans with lifts can deploy the lift onto the sidewalk.

The historic amounts of snow that have fallen in the past two weeks have created special challenges for the City and the region. Even with plowing and snow removal, streets in Cambridge and the Greater Boston Area are getting narrower. Additionally, the MBTA has experienced numerous weather related failures and delays. Commuters should allow additional travel time, exercise patience during slower traffic patterns, and use extra caution at intersections and crosswalks. Prior to traveling, residents are asked to ensure that snow is cleared from the top of their motor vehicle to create safer conditions for those travelers around you. Drivers should use their best judgment when considering whether to park in areas where large snow piles are still alongside the curb, to ensure they do not block the flow of traffic.

Updated information will be available at throughout the storm. In addition, the public is encouraged to follow updates on Twitter at @CambMA and on Facebook at CambridgeMA.Gov. The City will be utilizing the hash tag #CambMASnow on Twitter to help the public follow the conversation. Members of the public can also call 617-349-4800 or 617-349-4700 for information. Members of the public are encouraged to sign-up to receive notification of snow emergency parking bans at

Off Street Parking is available at the following locations:

  • Galleria Mall. Enter on Cambridgeside Place, Between P.F Chang’s and The Cheesecake Factory Entrance. Residents of Cambridge can park for free in the Cambridgeside Galleria Garage from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • First Street Garage. Enter on Spring Street. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • Green Street Garage, Central Square. Parking is free if you have a Cambridge resident parking permit from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until 2 hours after it is lifted.
  • 52 Oxford Garage. This is a Harvard owned and operated garage. When a Snow Emergency is declared it is open to City residents with a resident parking permit on a space available basis for no fee from the time the declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after the snow emergency is lifted. Important — vehicles parked in this garage must exit no later than two hours after the ban is lifted. Space is limited, and availability is on a first-come, first-served basis. The University reserves the right to cease admittance due to capacity limitations and operation issues.
  • 65 Waverly Street. This is an MIT owned surface lot at the corner of Sidney, Waverly and Erie adjacent to Fort Washington Park. Parking is free with a resident permit from the start of the snow emergency until 2 hours after it has been lifted.
  • One Kendall Square Garage. This is a privately owned garage next to the Kendall Square Cinema. Parking is free during snow emergencies for Cambridge residents with a resident parking permit on their vehicle from the time the City’s declared snow emergency is in effect until two hours after it is lifted. The garage entrance is at 389 Binney Street.

Keep those fire hydrants clear of snow!
Map of Cambridge fire hydrants – Zoom in for a closer look.

November 10, 2014

STEM and Root – On the Agenda of the Nov 10, 2014 Cambridge City Council meeting

Filed under: Cambridge,City Council,schools — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 1:24 pm

STEM and Root – On the Agenda of the Nov 10, 2014 Cambridge City Council meeting

It’s a very short agenda this week. Here are a few items of interest with brief comments.

Manager’s Agenda #6. Transmitting communication from Richard C. Rossi, City Manager, relative to a recommendation from the License Commission to approve the jitney application of Groupzoom, Inc., d/b/a Bridj for a six month pilot program.

Bridj has been described as a cross between a bus and a taxi service. It’s a Cambridge-based company that ran into regulatory roadblocks several months ago when planning to launch its service in Cambridge. These are interesting times with the emergence of services like Uber and the widespread availability of applications for mobile communication devices that make services like Uber and Bridj possible. This recommendation from the Cambridge License Commission is for a six-month pilot program but it does seem like the future is upon us and we’ll be seeing a lot more services like this in the future. There was a day when omnibuses and trains were all run outside of government control. Could we be going Back to the Future?

Applications & Petitions #2. A zoning petition has been received from Whitehead Institute, Nine Cambridge Center, to amend the Zoning Ordinance, Sections 14.32.1 and 14.32.2 to provide for an increment of 60,000 square feet of GFA to be allowed by special permit in a portion of the MXD District, in Section 14.70 by retitling "Special Provisions Applicable Within the Ames Street District" and by adding a new Section 14.72 "Special Provisions Applicable Outside the Ames Street District.

The proposal seems sound, but the fact that it does not propose to build housing (only contribute money toward that goal) might translate into some resistance. Not every site is appropriate for housing and this may be one such site. It also proposes to simply expand an existing structure. However, this petition should focus some attention on the bigger picture of adding housing in Kendall Square in locations such as the site of the Volpe Transportation Center down the street. I’m sure there will be some who will say that no changes should be approved until the "Master Plan" process is complete, but that really borders on the ridiculous in a district such as this.

Communications #1. A communication was received from Michael Brandon, 27 Seven Pines Avenue, regarding the Planning Board appointments.

Translation: Mr. Brandon is unhappy with the recent appointments to the Planning Board. His description of the appointments: "Despite the dedication, expertise, civic-mindedness, and good intentions of the board members, this same-as-it-ever-was, opaquely picked panel of powerless project tweakers is obviously designed and inherently destined to obey the administrative staff’s instructions and support the rampant, unplanned, uncoordinated, uncontrolled overdevelopment of the city’s neighborhoods and natural resources that continues to degrade the quality of residents’ lives." I beg to differ. The current Planning Board members and the new appointees are all great people whose interests align well with the great majority of Cambridge residents.

Order #3. That the City Manager is requested to locate the additional funding needed to move forward with the archiving and preservation of all City Council records in the Vault Phase II project.   Councillor Simmons

Cambridge is an historic city that should appropriately maintain all of its historic treasures – including the records of City Council proceedings. Whether or not this project can be completed in the current budget cycle, it does have to happen. The City has done a lot in this regard over the last decade or so, especially in conjunction with the opening of the new Main Library and its most excellent Cambridge Room.

STEM and rootCommittee Report #1. A communication was received from Paula Crane, Deputy City Clerk, transmitting a report from Vice Mayor Dennis A. Benzan, Co-Chair of the Economic Development and University Relations Committee and Councillor Nadeem A. Mazen, Chair of the Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts & Celebration Committee for a joint public meeting held on Oct 28, 2014 for the STEAM working group and its subcommittees to discuss how best to present their research to the greater Cambridge community and for working group members to collectively put forth sound recommendations around: STEAM workforce development, the alignment of all stakeholders, access for all to the innovation economy, and partnerships that will speed the journey.

I have been looking over the committee reports on this for a while now and it’s hard for me to get a clear picture of what’s going on other than some "brainstorming," creating some kind of web portal, and creating a new "coordinator" job. Maybe this will all turn out great, but so far it seems more like a lot of politically-oriented people riding on board the current national STEM bandwagon. One might think from these reports that education and excitement in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics has been thoroughly lacking in elementary and secondary schools in Cambridge. That’s not the case. There is, however, a gap between the world of MIT, Harvard, and a host of science and technology-oriented companies in Cambridge and many young Cambridge residents who could benefit from jobs and other opportunities in these schools, labs, and companies. I worry that advocacy relating to the Foundry Building as well as much of this other STEM/STEAM discussion may lead to enhanced opportunities for young people who were already going to find good opportunities anyway. Only time will tell if those who might otherwise have been left out will somehow get excited about the opportunities around them and get a head start on developing the kind of skills that will be necessary to access these opportunities.

Frankly, this isn’t something that should be bubbling up from a couple of City Council subcommittees. Efforts in this regard should really be growing out of a partnership between the Cambridge School Department, our great local universities, and some of the companies that have been locating in Cambridge during the last few decades. They have had some representation at these committee meetings, but it would be so much better if they were driving the initiative. Otherwise the whole initiative could just come and go with only an extra job left in its wake. The entire Cambridge School Department and all the other local schools have to be at the root of any lasting change.

I am old enough to remember President Kennedy’s exhortations on the importance of science and mathematics education in the era of the space program. So many young people, including me, drew inspiration from what was happening during those years. I don’t know what the modern-day equivalent inspiration might be, but that’s really what is needed in order to get people jazzed about mathematics, science, and related fields. – Robert Winters

November 6, 2014

CRLS Alumni Association – 2014 Homecoming Calendar

Filed under: Cambridge,schools — Tags: , , — Robert Winters @ 9:26 am

CRLS Alumni Association – 2014 Homecoming Calendar

  • Mon, Nov 24:  Rindge Tech Dinner – Tickets sold by the Rindge Tech Alumni Association: Hellenic Cultural Center, 25 Bigelow Avenue, Watertown.
  • Wed, Nov 26:  Open House at CRLS – tours of the new facilities and meeting with Principal Damon Smith 10:00am to 12:00pm @ CRLS. Free of charge!
  • Wed, Nov 26:  Alumni Reunion Night – All classes, all schools. Free Hors D’oeuvres 8:00pm to 10:00pm. Cash Bar. @ Grendel’s Den, 89 Winthrop St., Harvard Square.
  • Thurs, Nov 27:  Boys Alumni Soccer Game – 9:00am to 11:00am at Danehy Field #4. No charge!
  • Thurs, Nov 27:  Pre-Game Tailgate – CRLS Football game, with coffee, snacks and good company, 8:30 to 10:00am @ Dilboy Field, 324 Alewife Brook Pkwy., Somerville.
  • Thurs, Nov 27:  CRLS vs Somerville Football Game at 10:00am. AWAY GAME @ Dilboy Field, 324 Alewife Brook Pkwy, Somerville. $5.00 tickets.
  • Fri, Nov 28:  “Back to the Future” Annual CRLS Alumni Association Luncheon with brief business, 11:30am to 2:00pm @ CRLS. No charge, registration requested.
  • Fri, Dec 5:  CRLS Fall Musical “The Addams Family” 7:00pm. with reception @ Fitzgerald Theater, CRLS. $5.00 tickets.

To register or pre-pay for tickets, please go and search “crls alumni” or check out the CRLS Alumni Association page on Facebook.

The alumni association is open to those who have attended CRLS and all of its predecessor schools such as Rindge Tech and CHLS. As of today, there are 849 members with the goal of bringing this up to 1000 by the end of the calendar year and to 1500 by the end of this school year. Sign-up and some information is available at

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