Prince Hall's groundbreaking work as a black leader in the late 18th century is expected to be recognized during Arlington's annual Town Meeting.

Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner site, has published an account about how our city neighbor has honored the man. A tour highlighting several city monuments cites one established in 2010 about Hall, founder of the first black Masonic lodge. Born circa 1735-1738, he born into slavery but emancipated as a young man and became a leader in the free black community in Boston.

Read more here >>

Cambridge expands free Covid-19 testing program, to 7 days a week at 4 sites

Posted Nov. 1, 2020: Cambridge is significantly increasing its free Covid-19 testing program for viral tests for its residents, moving to seven days a week from two and doubling the number of locations to four, including a drive-through option at the CambridgeSide mall.

CambridgeDay, a YourArlington partner, reported that the announcement came Oct. 30,  a day that the public health department reported 16 new cases of coronavirus, the biggest daily jump since spring.

Besides the new drive-through location, tests will be offered at the former Fire + Ice restaurant on Church Street in Harvard Square. The current test sites -- the St. John the Evangelist Church on Mass. Ave. in North Cambridge and the Pisani Center on Washington Street in the Port -- will continue to operate. See the complete schedule >> The Cambridge Health Alliance has a testing location in Somerville’s Assembly Square open to its patients and community members.

Read the full report >> 

Arlington hiker, 54, rescued from Monadnock State Park

Posted Oct. 1, 2020: A 54-year-old Arlington man lost while hiking Monadnock State Park in New Hampshire Tuesday, Sept. 29, and was in the “early stages of hypothermia” when rescuers found him several hours later, reported

New Hampshire Fish and Game identified the hiker as Yogesh Shridhare.

His rescue came after two other Massachusetts men died in September climbing rocks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. A third man died when he fell from Arethusa Falls last Saturday, authorities said.

New Hampshire officials said Shridhare called 911 around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to report that he “was off trail, lost and cold.” A conservation officer tried to guide him back to the trail over the phone using GPS coordinates, but he couldn’t work the compass on his cellphone.

Two Fish and Game officers spotted Shridhare at 7:55 p.m. “Shridhare was not properly dressed for the conditions and was in the early stages of hypothermia," official said. “He was wearing shorts and a light-weight long-sleeved shirt and was soaking wet. Conservation Officers provided him with warm clothes, water and a headlamp. Getting Shridhare out of the woods and back to the trail proved difficult due to rain, wind and fog.”

Shridhare and the officers reached headquarters at 11 p.m., and he was given a ride back to his vehicle at the Birchtoft Trail Head, the statement said.

The authorities said Shridhare had started his hike around 1 p.m. and reached the summit of Mount Monadnock two hours later.

“After summiting, Shridhare lost the trail due to the low-visibility weather conditions,” the statement said. “This incident could have had a much different outcome had Shridhare not been able to make a call from his cellular phone. That particular area of Mount Monadnock is known for spotty cellular phone coverage.”

Cambridge police to probe social media linked to officer

Posted Sept. 15, 2020: Social-media posts apparently made by a Cambridge police lieutenant have been called “deeply disturbing” by department officials, and a comprehensive staff investigation was announced, YourArlington partner Cambridge Day has reported. 

The @CPD496 Twitter account was discovered to have been deleted Friday after posts from it were shown to police. The investigation aims to confirm the posts' origin and to see whether they violated department codes.

If its investigation finds there’s been a violation, the department will seek to “impose strict discipline” against the officer, a statement says. The specifics of police discipline are not shared with the public. Read the full news story >>  Marc McGovern offers his opinion >>

Bloomberg donates $3M toward building new Medford library

Posted Aug. 18, 2020: Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and presidential candidate who grew up in Medford, has made a $3 million gift to support the ongoing construction of a new library building in Medford.

The future library, set to open in fall 2021, will be named the Charlotte and William Bloomberg Medford Public Library in honor of Bloomberg and his sister Marjorie Bloomberg Tiven’s parents. Charlotte Bloomberg died in 2011 after residing in Medford for 65 years. William Bloomberg died in 1963. 

The gift covers more than half the private funds the Medford Public Library Foundation is raising for the $27.5 million project; other costs are being covered through city borrowing and a $12.2 million state grant, according to Barry Sloane, chairman and CEO of Century Bank, and president of the library foundation.

An announcement by Bloomberg Philanthropies, his charitable organization, and the Medford Public Library Foundation was reported Aug. 18 by

St. Eulalia closes temporarily after volunteer ill with coronavirus

Posted June 9, 2020: St. Eulalia Church in Winchester has temporarily closed and will be deep-cleaned after a volunteer tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said in a statement Thursday, June 11. reported that the volunteer helped with some recent Masses and interacted with some clergy and staff, including the Rev. John Kiley, parish administrator, and the Rev. James Savage, senior priest, who have all been asked to quarantine themselves for two weeks, according to a statement from archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon.

For more, click here >>

Proposed step to defund Cambridge police draws hours of comment in favor

Posted June 9, 2020: Nearly 400 residents signed up for public comment at the June 8 meeting of Cambridge City Council, nearly all seeking to speak about redirecting a $4.1-million police budget increase toward public health and safety measures – a nod to a nationwide call to defund police departments – and nearly all in favor.

At the usual three minutes per person, public comment would have lasted for 20 hours. The allowed time was cut to one minute per person, but councilors sat listened until around 10:20 p.m. Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said at the start of the 5:30 p.m. meeting that the entire night would be devoted to it, with a special meeting called for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday for councilors to get through the agenda. There will be no public comment Wednesday.

Read the full report here >>

 Maida making hard-to-get hand sanitizer

Posted March 26, 2020: Alcohol-based hand sanitizer kills the Covid-19 virus. Because stores are sold out and online retailers are out of stock, Massachusetts now allows certain pharmacies to make sanitizer and sell it to the public.

One is Maida Pharmacy Compounding and Wellness in East Arlington, which mixes concentrated alcohol and other ingredients in the state-approved formula. “There’s a huge demand people are buying it,” Angelo Maida told WHDH-TV.

Maida has a wait list for the hand sanitizer. Contact the store to get your name on the list.

For more, click here >> 

Ex-Medford police chief knew of payroll scheme, but held no outside probe

Posted Nov. 25, 2019: Before retiring in 2018, longtime Medford Police Chief Leo A. Sacco Jr. held a then-undisclosed meeting with his officers and said that about a quarter of them were allegedly padding their pay by either falsifying their hours or skipping out on detail shifts, The Boston Globe reports.

Following an anonymous tip, Sacco conducted a monthslong, informal inquiry and had numerous officers admit to him that they had fleeced a contractor, Feeney Brothers, paying for traffic-safety patrols at a construction project, according to an internal investigative report obtained by The Globe.

Sacco, the chief of 28 years, called dozens of the officers involved to a meeting at a hotel last fall and and told them to stop their scheme, according to the report, obtained via a Globe public-records request. Ultimately, the chief handed down no discipline, issued no written reprimands and retired two days later.

Now, 27 Medford officers have been disciplined and ordered to pay back $17,000 collectively, as the city police department joins a growing list of law enforcement agencies in Massachusetts embroiled in payroll scandals.

Read more here >> 

Out of Town News gets notice its lease ending

Posted Sept. 16, 2019: A renovation of Harvard Square’s iconic kiosk does not begin until spring, the site could be empty as soon as Oct. 31, city staff says.

Muckey's Corp., the tenant that has been maintaining the space as the Out of Town News newsstand -- its use since 1984 -- has submitted a 60-day notice to end its lease, according to a communication from the City Manager’s Office seen by city councilors. The lease ended July 31, according to the Historical Commission, but could be extended month-to-month.

“Staff inquired whether the tenant would be interested in extending its lease to Jan. 31, but Muckey’s indicated it is not interested in any further extensions,” city staff said in the notice.

Reported first by Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner. Read more >> 

The Globe reported more Monday, Sept. 16 >> 

Cambridge carnival organizers hope for makeup event 

 Posted Sept. 6, 2019: Organizers of the canceled Cambridge Carnival want a scaled-back event on the rain date during the weekend of Sept. 28-29 and a commitment for community involvement that allows the carnival to be held next year and without fail in the future, they said Wednesday, Sept. 4.

But this year’s carnival, which was planned for Sunday and would have been the 27th annual celebration of Caribbean/African culture, remains canceled because of threats of violence. Shootings at the Boston Carnival Parade in Dorchester two weekends ago killed one person and injured three more.

A fallback outdoors event being proposed by carnival organizer Nicola A. Williams and a 12-person volunteer carnival committee is also facing resistance. 

Read more at Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner >> 

Cambridge Carnival canceled; fears of violence after Dorchester event cited

 Posted Aug. 31, 2019: The 27th annual Cambridge Carnival, scheduled for Sept. 8, has been canceled over fears of violence, event organizers and city officials have said.

Cambridge Day, a YourArlington partner, reported the news Aug. 30. The cancellation resulted from shootings related to the Boston Carnival Parade in Dorchester last weekend, they said, and fears the incidents would repeat on this side of the river.

The carnival has drawn crowds of as many as 100,000 people as it parades out of Central Square to Kendall Square, where the Caribbean/African-themed event offers dazzling handmade costumes and the music of DJs and bands playing world music, Haitian roots, reggae and Soca, with foods and crafts for kids rounding out the event. For more, read here >> 

 Rogers bill among those tightening local marijuana contracts 

Posted July 17, 2019: Massachusetts lawmakers are set to consider new limits on the ability of municipalities to demand fees from marijuana companies, following widespread complaints by businesses, activists and state regulators that many local officials are unfairly shaking down the firms.

At a hearing Monday, July 29, the state Legislature’s joint committee on cannabis policy will take up a number of proposed bills that would tighten the rules around so-called “host community agreements,” the contracts every recreational pot operation must sign with the city or town in which it hopes to open before applying for a state license, reports.

A bill filed by state Senator Julian Cyr and scheduled for discussion July 29 would grant the commission oversight of the deals, while another offered by state Rep. David Rogers would explicitly outlaw payments beyond 3 percent of a company’s revenue.

Current state law caps the value of those deals at 3 percent of a company’s annual revenue, for a maximum of five years, and says any payments must be “reasonably related” to the actual costs imposed by the marijuana facility. But many cities and towns have side-stepped those limits, asking for additional payments while arguing the law doesn’t explicitly prohibit them from requiring separate fees or mandatory “donations” to local nonprofits in exchange for local approval.

Arlington's two host agreements, for one medical and one recreational marijuana outlet, are set at 3 percent.

Somerville Hospital emergency room to become urgent care

Posted July 27, 2019: The Cambridge Health Alliance has taken the final step toward closing its Somerville Hospital emergency room and replacing it with an urgent care clinic, expected next year.

The change stemmed mainly from a continuing decline in patient visits that began in 2009 when the alliance took over the hospital and closed inpatient beds, trustees said.

Immediately, “usage fell off a cliff,” because people didn’t want to come to an emergency department if they would need a transfer for hospital admission, board of trustees vice chairman Gerald McCue said. State health officials had encouraged the alliance to keep the emergency room open as one of a few “satellite” emergency departments not attached to a hospital. “It was an experiment that failed for us,” McCue said.

For more, read a report in Cambridge Day, YourArlington partner >> 

Recent Medford High grad drowns in Upper Mystic Lake

Posted July 2, 2019: The body of a 18-year-old boy was pulled from Upper Mystic Lake in Medford late Monday, July 1.

The Boston Globe reported that Apurba Devkota, a recent graduate of Medford High School, was identified as the victim.

Devkota's sister told The Globe he was celebrating his graduation from Medford High School with some friends. She said she did not know he would be at the lake.

Devkota drove her brother to his college orientation at UMass Amherst just a few weeks before his death, she said. He had planned to study math and biology, and he hoped to become an aeronautical engineer.

She said her brother worked at an Indian restaurant in Arlington, and he enjoyed making videos and playing soccer in his limited free time.

 "I am deeply saddened by the loss of a young member of the Medford Public School community," Medford Superintendent Marice Edouard-Vincent said in a statement Tuesday, Julky 2. "A well-respected young man, who excelled academically and socially. Our sincerest condolences go out to the young man's family and friends." 

There will be grief counselors at Medford High School's Caron Theater July 2 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and July 3 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Investigators believe Devkota could not swim and immediately was in distress after going in the water, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's office. 

Emergency crews  said the water was about 20 feet deep. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 10 p.m.

Mass. State Police told Channel 4 that the teen had been swimming there before he went missing just before 8 p.m. 

“There’s no lifeguards here, so you swim at your own risk, it’s unfortunate if you’re not a strong swimmer. Just unfortunate,” Eric Calvert of Medford told Channel 4.

State Police tweeted that their dive team was searching for the teen. Cambridge and Medford Fire Departments also helped. The search lasted for about an hour.

The Medford Fire Department cautioned residents to stay away from the area, near the Tufts Sailing Pavilion.

"Wright's Pond and Sandy Beach are better and safer options when trying to cool off this summer," the fire department said in a statement. 

The investigation is ongoing, officials said. No foul play is suspected, The Globe reported.

Police officers arrived at the Devkota family’s Medford home Monday night, urging them to rush to MGH, but Apurba Devkota died before they could get there, Asmita Devkota said.

Suddenly, Japan's cultural influences surround us

Posted April 30, 2019: Japan is all around us: Arlington Town Meeting on Monday, April 29, heard Kengo Nakakoji, mayor of Nagaokakyo, the town’s sister city, and a group of 20 from that city sang.

Next door in Belmont are echoes of another song. A new emperor of Japan will be installed on May 1, as Akihito has abdicated to allow his son Naruhito to ascend the throne. Naruhito's wife, Masako, the crown princess, graduated from Belmont High School. She will become the empress consort of Japan, according to the New York Times. caught up with the local angle May 2 >>

 AG settlements include order to sell Arlington nursing home

Posted March 13, 2019: State Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Wednesday, March 13, settlements with seven nursing homes to resolve allegations of systemic failures that led to five residents’ deaths and several injuries.

The settlements include an order to the owner to sell the Park Avenue Health Center in Arlington, reported. No deaths were alleged at the Arlington facility.

Healey’s settlement requires Synergy, the owner, to pay up to $200,000 in fines. It forbids the company’s two founders, Avi Lipschutz and Dov Newmark, from operating or participating in any federal or state government health-care programs in Massachusetts for seven years.

 Synergy Health Centers is a troubled New Jersey company that started buying Massachusetts nursing homes in 2012 and quickly ran into problems with serious patient injuries as it bought 10 more facilities.

The settlement also requires the pair to close or sell within nine months their two remaining nursing homes not under court receivership, Park Avenue and New England Health Center in Sunderland.

The settlements impose fines on the nursing homes ranging from $30,000 to $200,000. Five of them will be required to upgrade staff training and policies, conduct annual audits of their progress, and report that progress to the attorney general’s office for three years.

But the nursing homes, some of which have been sued or are facing lawsuits from families whose relatives died in the incidents, will not face prosecution from the state, according to the settlements.

Healey’s office said half the money it collects in fines will be put toward improving safety and quality at nursing homes.

This ongoing series of briefs was published May 26, 2018, and updated April 19, 2021.