Town Clerk Juli Brazile recommends reducing the number of precincts from the current 21 to 16, to allow more flexibility in the face of anticipated changes to election law, especially regarding early voting and vote by mail. “Having 16 precincts is overall better for Arlington,” she told the Select Board on Sept. 13.
Her recommendation met significant pushback.
“The town is following the guidelines outlined by the secretary of state; the law sets the standards for how to draw precincts that do not dilute minority votes. Our goal is to avoid situations where a small number of households are very different from the rest of the precinct. Fewer precincts allows for more flexibility and increased efficiency, as well as being more affordable because fewer precincts need to be staffed on Election Day.
“We’re not proposing fewer polling locations; we’ll stick with the ones we’ve got. Some polling locations currently accommodate three precincts, so some people now have to travel far. Reprecincting won’t worsen the traveling distance,” said Brazile.
UPDATED, Sept. 14: The public is invited to a special open-studios event with Eva Zasloff, set for Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Her work will be displayed in the Old Schwamb Mill’s Barn,18 Mill Lane.
“I will be camped out on a picnic blanket outside all day," she said, "and I will bring my ukulele in case a singalong presents itself. Please feel free to bring an instrument along! Now that some Covid restrictions are being lifted, I am looking forward to having a day of seeing friends and being together in real life.” Masks will be required when indoors.
UPDATED, Aug. 30: Are you looking for an outdoor fun activty as summer temperatures cool down? Join the Heights Haiku Scavenger Hunt, which has been extended for three more weeks, until Saturday, Sept. 18.
Three additional drawings will held at the Roasted Granola Cafe, 1364 Mass. Ave., at noon Saturday, Sept. 4, 11 and 18.
Entry forms can be picked up and dropped off at the Roasted Granola Cafe.
Dishing up some Arlington restaurant-related news morsels:
UPDATED, Sept. 17: Scutra -- the small, sophisticated restaurant tucked between an insurance company, a liquor store and the bikeway -- is for sale.
The business, not the building, which opened in 2002, is offered at $249,999.
A Multiple Listing Service entry reports the reason for the sale is retirement. Scutra is owned and currently operating by Cesidia Baugniet and Chef Didier Baugniet, who has more than 35 years' experience.
Contact Steve Antonucci, with RE/MAX in Newton at Steve at SteveAntonucci.com or 617-908-7712.
The first issue of the Arlington Magazine & Community Guide has been released as an e-magazine, the Arlington Chamber of Commerce has announced.
The print version of the magazine is to be released later this month and will be distributed via a combination of free outlets around Arlington and surrounding towns and via direct mail. The e-magazine can be viewed and downloaded at www.visitarlingtonma.org.
The magazine focuses on the unique features that make Arlington a wonderful place to live and a destination for dining, shopping, arts, culture and outdoor activities.
Feature articles include such topics as "A Day Trip in the Arlington Cultural District," sculptor Cyrus Dallin’s legacy of indigenous allyship and activism, local authors and an in-depth look at the community’s experiences during Covid-19 through a current public-art installation.
UPDATED, Sept. 17: The Select Board voted Monday, Sept. 13, to provide safety measures for bicyclists at the Mass. Ave./Appleton Street intersection in the Heights, where cyclist Charlie Proctor was killed in May 2020 after he was hit by an oncoming car.
The board was provided two short-term options by Traffic Engineer Jayson Gauvin, and unanimously approved option 1 -- rather than the more extensive option 2 -- and to have the town manager conduct a parking study in October and provide the results in November. (4–0 vote; board Chair Steve DeCourcey recused because his sister owns a neighborhood business.) A long-term solution is to add a traffic light, which requires funding.
“Voting for option 1 doesn’t mean I won’t be voting for option 2 at some point in the future. Some of option 2’s requisites need to be investigated,” said board member Diane Mahon.
Both options aim to improve safety at the Mass. Ave./Appleton Street intersection. Option 1 maintains the existing condition of requiring cyclists to share the traffic lanes with drivers, adding new shared-lane markings to increase driver awareness and direct cyclists to their positioning, eliminating five parking spots on Mass. Ave. Option 2 provides dedicated bicycle lanes on Mass. Ave. to improve biking safety but loses 22 parking spots, with most of the impact on the eastbound side of Mass. Ave.
News summary from Thursday forum added, as manager offers new total of $35.25M
UPDATED, Sept. 14: Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine joined other officials at a virtual town forum on Thursday, Sept. 9, presenting an plan to spend $34 million in federal funds from the American Recovery Plan Act.
The next day, the manager confirmed the funding amount totals $35.25 million and has provided an updated framework to reflect this update.
In addition, the comment period has been extended from Sept. 9 to Sunday, Sept. 19, before a final plan is presented to the Select Board, on Sept. 27, for endorsement. The board heard details about the forum at its regular meeting, set for Monday, Sept. 13, and those will be reported.
Meanwhile, read the following report from the virtual town forum on Thursday, Sept. 9, was provided by Melanie Gilbert, YourArlington freelancer.
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