MAAV Annual Walk and Candlelight Vigil This Sunday

As the Honorary Chairperson of MAAV’s 19th Annual Walk & Candlelight Vigil, I urge everyone to attend this meaningful community event on Sunday, Oct. 19. Since last year’s Vigil, 9 people have been killed in Massachusetts as a result of domestic violence. Several family members of those victims will be joining us to commemorate the lives lost, and to renew our commitment to ending violence in our community. The event begins at 4:00 pm in the Melrose Veterans Memorial School cafeteria. For more information please visit http://www.maav.org or call 781-662-2010.

Learn Hebrew in a Day at Temple Beth Shalom!

Temple Beth Shalom, Melrose, will hold a workshop on reading Hebrew on Sunday, October 19, from 12–5 p.m. This crash course will use games, group activities, as well as more traditional instruction to teach participants how to recognize Hebrew letters and vowels and to decode Hebrew words as they appear in the prayerbook. Please reserve a spot by contacting Rabbi Allison, Director of Family Education, at rabbiallison@gmail.com. All are welcome. Members $10; non-members $15. The Temple is located at 21 East Foster St., Melrose. For more information, visit tbsma.org or call 781-665-4520 and leave a message.

Masons to Hold Open House October 18

Who are the Masons and what is Freemasonry all about? The Wyoming Lodge A.F. & A.M., located at 326 Main St. (corner of West Wyoming Ave.) will hold an open house on Saturday, October 18, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Freemasons will be on hand to give tours of the historic building and to help the public gain a better understanding of the fraternity, its history, and why Freemasonry has been the common denominator of so many great men throughout our country’s history. For more information, e-mail Michael Nachshen, michael.nachshen@gmail.com.

Come to the Farmers Market Today!

The Sally Frank Farmers Market is on today, rain or shine! This week’s vendors include Dick’s Market Garden, Flats Mentor Farm, Roberto’s Seafood, Fior d’Italia (fresh pasta, sauces, and entrees), Soluna Garden Farm, and Ackermann Maple Farm. Rich Eibert will play live music from 4-6 p.m. and this week’s artisan is Sarah’s Originals, making placemats, table runners, aprons, bibs, pillows, cloth books, wristlets, baby accessories, and seasonal and holiday crafts.

Ride your bike to the market and get $2 in Market Bux for everyone in your family who rides!

The market will close at 6:30 p.m.

The last Farmers Market of the season will be next week, October 30. On the Edge Knife will be there to help you sharpen your knives and other utensils, just in time for the holiday season.

Starting Sunday, Nov. 23rd, the farmers market moves indoors to Memorial Hall, 590 Main St., for the monthly winter farmers market. The Thanksgiving Harvest Festival will be on November 23, and then the market will be on the third Sunday of every month until April. All markets will from 12-4 p.m. This is a combined effort with the Wakefield Farmers Market.

MHS Band Hosts First Citywide Band Night

The Melrose High School Band is doing something very cool tonight: They are hosting a Citywide Band Night for elementary and middle school band students. The students will have the opportunity to march alongside the members of the Melrose High School Band under the lights on Fred Green Field. Parents are asked to accompany the students and stay the whole hour. To sign up, click here. In case of rain, the event will be postponed to October 22.

Lebanon Street Update

The work on Lebanon Street is moving into a new stage this week, as the City of Melrose completes its water main improvements and National Grid finishes its gas main improvements on the street and the surrounding area. Here’s what has been done so far:

  • The City has upgraded 1,800 feet of water main on Lebanon Street between Porter Street and Upham Street and 270 feet at the intersection of Lebanon Street, Grove Street, and Lynde Street.
  • National Grid has upgraded approximately 4,000 feet of gas main and 65 gas services on Lebanon Street, Upham Street, Porter Street, Green Street, and East Emerson Street.

With that work done, the roadway improvement project got under way this week. The scope of the entire project includes curb realignment, the installation of ADA compliant sidewalks and ramps, roadway paving, new traffic signals, and drainage improvements. This project will run from Lynde Street to the Main Street/Green Street/Lebanon Street intersection and is being overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The first stage of the project is drainage improvements and installation of electrical conduit; this will continue throughout the remainder of the construction season and possibly into the winter. Curb work, sidewalk installation, and roadway paving are scheduled for next year. All sidewalks disturbed during the construction this year will be temporarily patched with asphalt before being replaced with concrete next year. The final sidewalk and roadway improvement phase of the project will begin next construction season.

The Engineering Division will be working closely with the Department of Transportation throughout the project. Please feel free to contact City Engineer Andrew Street, 781-979-4172 or astreet@cityofmelrose.org, with any questions or concerns.

Melrose Cultural Council Seeks Funding Proposals

Organizations, schools and individuals seeking funding for cultural activities are encouraged to submit an application to the Melrose Cultural Council by October 15, 2014 (postmark date). The Massachusetts Cultural Council‘s Local Cultural Council (LCC) Program is the largest grassroots cultural funding network in the nation supporting thousands of community-based projects in the arts, humanities, and sciences annually. These grants can support a variety of artistic projects and activities in Melrose – including exhibits, festivals, short-term artist residencies or performances in schools, workshops and lectures.

The Melrose Cultural Council will also entertain funding proposals from schools and youth groups for field trip programs.

Application forms and more information about the Local Cultural Council program are available in the Reference Room at the Melrose Public Library, at Melrose City Hall outside the second floor Mayor’s office, on the web at http://www.mass-culture.org/melrose, or by contacting Dana Webber, Chairperson, at 781-662-0380 or MelroseCultural@gmail.com.

City Proposing to Use ‘Visual Budget’ Program for 2015

Here is a press release my office sent out last week.

Mayor Rob Dolan announced today that he will propose to the Board of Aldermen that Melrose begin using an award-winning visual budget software program to help residents understand how their tax money is spent as part of next year’s budget process.

“In 2013, when the City of Melrose was awarded the Massachusetts Municipal Association’s Innovation award for the Our City Series, I was introduced to the other award winning entry from Arlington called The Visual Budget,” said Mayor Dolan. “I thought it was a fantastic tool to allow the public to get accurate, exact information about what the city brings in for revenue and where their tax money is spent.”

The program will allow Melrose residents to type in the amount of property taxes they paid in a certain fiscal year and then view how each of those dollars were deployed across all city services. In addition to school funding and city operations, residents will also be able to see other categories such as insurance, pensions, stabilization fund, and other funds and reserves.

“We look forward to working with the Mayor’s office in Melrose to launch Melrose Visual Budget,” said Annie LaCourt of Visual Government. “The Visual Budget tool gives residents the information they need to understand budget priorities and engage in the process. The City of Melrose and Mayor Dolan are committed to making the budget accessible and transparent, and we hope to be a partner in that effort.”

According to Arlington Town Manager Adam W. Chapdelaine, “The Visual Budget tool provided by InVolution Studios has truly revolutionized our ability to communicate complex financial data sets in a meaningful way to residents. Through the use of this tool, we have increased both transparency and civic engagement. I am hopeful that communities across the Commonwealth will consider using this or similar tools to improve their communication with residents.”

“One of the aspects I value most about Melrose is our engaged citizenry that allows us to have mature conversations about what we collectively value as a community and how it should be funded. This budgeting tool will allow residents to dive deep into our municipal finances and see for themselves if they believe they are getting good value for their dollars,” added Mayor Dolan

Residents can visit the Arlington Visual Budget site to see a template of the program that Melrose may be utilizing in 2015.

Ask Me a Question!

question-mark

As I promised in my State of the City address, we host a public question-and-answer session on this blog every month. Here’s how it works: Send in your questions to my assistant, Brigid Alverson, at balverson@cityofmelrose.org, or submit them via a comment to this blog. Please include your name and address; we will not answer anonymous questions. (The names and addresses will not be published.) We will post all the answers on the third Wednesday of the month, which this month is October 15.

Big Joe Comes to Kids Club on Friday

Big joe 2

Big Joe the Storyteller will be the featured entertainment at the Melrose Kids Club on Friday, October 10, from 10-11 a.m. at Memorial Hall. Each month, the Melrose Kids Club features a different entertainer for preschool-aged children and offers parents and caregivers an opportunity to come together and network with one another.

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