LETTER: Neighbors Upset by Two Story Addition 5 Feet From Rear Property Line

Neighbors on the back side of 73-75 Morse Street worry that having a two story garage right near their property line will hurt the value of their homes. Editor:

We are writing as a concerned and outraged neighborhood about an egregious construction situation at 73/75 Morse St. If this is allowed to be completed, it will set a precedent that could be repeated throughout Watertown. If stopped, it would set a precedent that this kind of thing isn’t allowed or tolerated in this town. The new owner-builder of this property has permission from the town to re-construct the two houses and garage that were there.

LETTER: Resident Reflects on Trip to Germany, Christmas Markets and the EU

To the Editor:

I had a lovely time visiting Christmas markets – Weihnachtsmarkt – in Germany with my best friend from first grade. In 1972 she settled in Munich with her German husband. For most of the years since then we have stayed in touch, and get together when she travels Stateside to visit family. This was my second time to Germany; the first in 1970. Here are a few takeaways from my latest adventure:

Germany is very clean.

OP-ED: Steps to Stop Your Kids from Drinking, Using Drugs

The following piece was signed by: Michael Lawn, Chief of Police, Laura Kurman, Senior Program Director, Wayside Multi-Service Center, Dede Galdston, Superintendent of Schools, and Larry Ramdin, Director of Public Health:

With the holiday season underway and the opening of retail marijuana shops in Massachusetts, adults are urged to pay special attention to teenagers’ behavior around alcohol and other drugs. The Watertown Youth Coalition’s (WYC) partner agencies, Wayside Multi-Service Center, and the Watertown Police, Schools and Health Departments remind adults that teen alcohol and marijuana use can lead to unsafe behaviors that put their health and safety at risk. After all, it is all our responsibility, as a community, to help teens make healthy decisions and stay safe. Underage substance use affects everyone in the community and delaying use has shown to be protective as every year a teen does not use alcohol, the odds of lifelong dependence decrease by 15 percent. In the most recent Watertown Youth Risk Behavior Survey, administered to middle and high school students last year, of those who reported drinking, most reportedgetting alcohol from older siblings /friends or from home without their parents’ knowledge.

LETTER: Author of Watertown’s Solar Requirement Thanks Supporters, Urges More Action

The following statement was read, in part, to the Town Council on Dec. 11, 2018, by Watertown Resident Jocelyn Tager. The requirement to have solar power systems on new developments over a certain size was passed by the Town Council on Nov. 27, 2018, making the town the first in the state to adopt such a requirement. Here is the full version:

My name is Jocelyn Tager.

LETTER: New Federal Rules Threaten Watertown Cable’s Funding, Station Seeks Support

Good Afternoon,

On behalf of WCATV, I am reaching out to you today in regards to a policy proposed by the FCC. This policy will eliminate a major source of funding from Comcast and RCN and could result in Watertown Cable and other community media centers closing their doors in every community across the country. The policy will change the “franchise fee” structure that has been in place since the 1980s, and would allow the cable companies to charge cities for access to historically “in-kind” resources such as cable channels, I-net services, and access to their system to deliver content to people’s homes. The current franchise fee structure is the lifeblood of community media centers across the country and without that funding, it would be nearly impossible for stations to continue the important work they provide for all communities. This would cost our local governments millions of dollars, and would force them to choose whether supporting community media is more valuable than the millions of dollars of lost revenue.

OP-ED: Changes to Traffic Signal Timing Will Make Mt. Auburn St. Bus Lanes Work Better

The following piece was provided by State Sen. Will Brownsberger (D – Belmont) who represents Watertown:

Thousands of commuters on Mount Auburn Street and on Fresh Pond Parkway had a very rough ten days starting on Monday, November 5. That is the day that a contractor swapped in a new controller for the traffic signals and failed to properly program it. The new Siemens 60 signal controller is so sophisticated that only a few engineers have the expertise to properly program it. Commuters endured ten days of bad timing until the right specialist was able to get it working as intended. As of Thursday, Nov.

LETTER: Councilor Concerned About Impact of Mt. Auburn St. Project on Coolidge Square

(The following is an open letter sent by Town Councilor Angeline Kounelis to the team designing the Mt. Auburn Street Renovation)

Dear Mt. Auburn St. Team, et al,

Many thanks for your response that has been 3.5 months in the making. I echo the sentiments of local residents, who at my suggestion, have written to the Team, only to receive a response focused solely on the scripted design plan. 

Please do not insult me in a condescending manner by stating: “we would encourage you to view this video about implementing Road Diets in New Jersey.”

LETTER: Town Councilor Shares Questions, Concerns on Mt. Auburn St. Received from Residents

The following is an open letter from Town Councilor Lisa Feltner to Town officials:

Of the three Mount Auburn Street redesign concepts presented on October 16, 2018 (focus primarily between Patten and Walnut streets), many constituents in District B would like me to reiterate that concept #3 “adds four legal parking spots” to Mount Auburn. Please accept my attempt to summarize many concerns shared with me around this meeting and the concepts presented to date. Other alternatives and questions to consider, including a fourth and fifth concept follow below: (see plans below, or go to the document page of the project website here.)

Alt concept 4: Modify concept #1 to retain the sheltered Historic District Franklin St. bus, and Russell Ave. bus stops, thereby not reducing MBTA access.