Arlington's Central Fire Station, an icon identified with the town's early 20th century, has been returned to 21st-century life for $6.5 million. On a tour of the five-bay historic building, wedged between Broadway Plaza and Mass. Ave., the last of three stations to be revamped, Chief Robert J. Jefferson was pleased to points out old and new.
Among the high points of the latter is an environmental distinction. While the Highland station, whose renovation was completed in 2011, project was named LEED Silver, Central is LEED Gold, the first public building in Arlington to gain this title.
In addition, Central station now complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Among other features, the station has an elevator, a key aid to public access.
Further, for the safety of firefighters, an industrial-strength washer and drier in the basement cleans heavy gear used to protect against hazardous waste, among other dangers. That's better than using a garden hose, as was done in the past.
These are among many changes aimed at improving life for those charged to protect the town when fire strikes.
Take tour via photos >>
Preserving the station's noted exterior was a chief aim for Donham & Sweeney, the Boston architect, and town officials. Jefferson says they have succeeded. In an Aug. 17 two-hour tour, YourArlington witnessed a fresh, practical structure dotted with numerous reminders of the past.
Plans aren't set yet, but the public could be invited to come inside the station on Town Day, Sept. 12. In the meantime, follow Jefferson for a preview:
The Jam'n Java Open Mic and Coffeehouse, open Fridays every month, performs its sets at the Kickstand Cafe. The next is set for Sept. 4 with Chris Nauman.
In Arlington Center for the Arts' special after-school class, children in grades three through five will spend their Tuesday afternoons drawing, painting, building, sculpting and exploring.
Join ACA for a creative and fun foray into the arts as students explore the work of famous artists, experiment with color, line and texture, hone their art skills and let their imaginations run wild.
Starting shortly after Arlington public schools’ early Tuesday dismissal for lelmentary students, this after-school class is the place for children to unwind after the regular school's half-day as well as create personal and engaging artwork each week.
UPDATED, Aug. 31: The long-awaited Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford could cost as much as $1 billion more than the T’s initial budget estimates, raising doubt about whether the project will be completed, BostonGlobe.com reported in an update Tuesday, Aug. 25. An explainer was added. On Aug. 26, The Globe reported concern among property buyers, and is editorial page urges the project onward.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority initially estimated that the project would cost about $2.3 billion, including interest payments on debt incurred to fund it. But T officials said Monday they now believe the project could require between $700 million and $1 billion more than initially projected.
Officials said they are looking into ways to trim the project, including bike paths.
UPDATED, Aug. 28: After the state Department of Public Health has announced Aug. 20 that West Nile virus has been detected in mosquito samples taken in Arlington and Lexington, the agency said ab unidentified 40-year-old Middlesex County is the first case this year of an affected human, Channel 5 reported. The Globe reports more detail >>
Until Thursday, Aug. 27, no human cases of virus infection had been reported in the state this year, but the risk level for human infection in town remains moderate as West Nile circulates among local mosquito populations, the town's website reported.
In addition, the consistently high temperatures in this region over the past two weeks have created an environment that is historically associated with higher human illness rates.
UPDATED, Aug. 26: You think renovating Mass. Ave. in East Arlington, the backbone of the town’s road system, won't give businesses headaches? Of course, it will.
Talk to owners, and some have plenty of complaints.
Mess with sidewalks, and you affect foot traffic. "They promised two weeks," one restaurant manager said recently of the promise from state officials in May to revamp sidewalks in that general time frame. "It's taken seven."
Others try to take the pain in stride.
Photos linked to a website by photographer Martha Ingols show signs posted recently along and near the project area that add whimsy to midsummer.
During the project, businesses are not only open -- they are, according to one sign, "OPALESCENT."
Whether the Greek bakery reflects an iridescent light, which is what the adjective means, is open to question. Clearly, the sign poster -- whoever it was, and no one is saying -- would like a pleasing light to fall upon East Arlington.
You can see the photos Ingols posted online >>
Town Meeting bylaw effort underway months early
Are developers in Arlington cutting down trees on private property at a rate requiring town-bylaw protection?
Members of the town Tree Committee who addressed selectmen Monday, Aug. 17, think so, and they provided some before-and-after photos to support their plea.
"The town has no ability to prevent cutting of tree on private property," Susan Stamps told the board, saying builders are clear-cutting trees at an increasing rate. "
"This is not what the people of Arlington want."
She provided lengthy documentation that included bylaws in Cambridge, Newton, Lexington and Wellesley. She said she favors the latter's town's law.
Board members praised the depth of the documents and raised a number of issues.
Selectman Diane Mahon asked whether such a bylaw could apply to a 40B or larger project. Heim saw problems with it and would have ton research it.
Prosecutors have announced the indictment of a former Arlington substitute teacher on statutory-rape charges.
James Martin III, 36, of Woburn, was indicted by a grand jury in July on charges of aggravated rape of a child and child enticement. The Middlesex District Attorney's office listed Martin among many indictments released July 29.
The case involves a former Ottoson Middle School student who he met while teaching there and who he continued to interact with.
Martin had also been a substitute at Stratton Elementary School, which led parents to call for an investigation last March.
Superintendent Kathleen Bodie declined to comment to YourArlington about whether parent claims that Martin had been fired were true, saying they were personnel issues. Bodie then told told WickedLocal that Martin was not fired. She said there were no other indications that he had had inappropriate contact with other children.
Town Counsel Douglas W. Heim has released for publication Arlington selectmen's formal response opposing the Thorndike Place development, proposed for the 17.7-acre Mugar site along Route 2 in East Arlington.
The 15-page letter, which Selectman Dan Dunn said Aug. 17 has "muscular prose," lays out the town's arguments against the development, including concerns about floods and the fact that the site has long been a town priority for conservation.
The document was mailed Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 18, to MassHousing, a state housing-finance agency, which decides whether the Mugar development meets its criteria for receiving money to cover part of the cost of its affordable units, planned to be 25 percent of the 219-unit development. If it favors Cambridge developer Oaktree, MassHousing will issue a project-eligibility letter, allowing housing subsidies.