Library Fines Eliminated in Watertown, Current Fines Removed

The Watertown Free Public Library will no longer be charging fines for late materials. The following announcement was provided by the Watertown Library:

The Watertown Free Public Library has abolished overdue fines for most materials. At their May 5 Board Meeting, the Library Board of Trustees voted unanimously to recommend Town Manager Michael Driscoll eliminate library fines. As a result, fine elimination was included in the FY21 budget which was approved by Town Council on June 29, 2020. 

Beginning July 1, fines will no longer be charged for items that are returned late. This applies to any Watertown or Minuteman Library Network (MLN) item checked out at the WFPL.

This Week at the Watertown Library: Online Events, Curbside Pickup Poll & More

The historic facade of the Watertown Free Public Library. The following information was provided by the Watertown Library:

This Wednesday at 7 PM, join us in welcoming Erik Edstrom for an author talk and Q&A session via Zoom. Edstrom’s memoir, Un-American: A Soldier’s Reckoning of Our Longest War, tells the story of his military service Afghanistan while probing his eventual disillusionment with the War on Terror. 

Also this week, Aimee is hosting Living Room Trivia via Zoom and our popular “read/watch” group will explore the world of My Antonia. Do you know a teen with a creative streak? Starting today, we’re offering free “take and make” project materials for students in grades 6-12, available for pickup at WFPL. Keep scrolling for a full list of virtual programs…

See the Rules for Using Watertown’s Basketball Courts, Playgrounds & Picnic Areas

Watertown’s basketball courts, like this one at Casey Park, have reopened with COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. The Watertown Recreation Department reopened basketball courts, playgrounds and picnic tables in public parks on June 24, but social distancing rules and other requirements apply to users. Playgrounds and basketball courts are limited to Watertown residents only. Playgrounds

Face coverings must be worn at playgrounds and tot lots, unless a person has an underlying health condition preventing them from doing so. Users must remain at least 6 feet apart.

Senior Center Offering Exercise, Art and More Classes Online

Watertown Senior Center

The Watertown Senior Center remains closed as part of the COVID-19 shutdown, but classes are still available online, including exercise and art classes. The following information was provided by the Senior Center:

The Watertown Council on Aging/Senior Center has been offering fitness, art and discussion programs via Zoom! Please call the Senior Center at (617) 972-6490 for program information and Zoom access. UPDATED Link to Watertown Senior News:  https://www.watertown-ma.gov/150/Activities-during-COVID-19

Week of June 29-July 3, 2020

Monday, June 29

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM, Chair Yoga with Diane

2:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Art Class with Dawn Scaltreto                                                            

Tuesday, June 30

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM, PRIDE Month Discussion with Tracy McKay of PFLAG. All are invited to discuss PRIDE month, older adults and allies of the LGBTQ community.

Drivers Can Renew Licenses Online, Upgrade Free to REAL ID

The following announcement was provided by MassDOT:

The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is encouraging all eligible customers to renew their standard Massachusetts driver’s license or Massachusetts ID card online at Mass.Gov/RMV any time between now and August 12, 2020, in order to qualify for a free upgrade to a REAL ID credential in 2021. This one-time, time limited offer is available to most customers who have an expired or expiring license or ID card dated between March 2020 and August 2021, as renewals are allowed up to two years after expiration, or up to a year in advance of the expiration date printed on their license or ID. “The RMV is encouraging all of our customers to stay safe, save time, and go online during the COVID-19 pandemic to renew their license or ID card, rather than attempting to come in to get a REAL ID,” said RMV Registrar Jamey Tesler. “Over 500,000 people have a license or ID credentials that expires this summer that can be renewed online, and we hope they will all take advantage of this one-time offer for a free, future upgrade to allow the RMV to prioritize ‘social-distancing’ and other essential transactions that may only be completed in-person.”

Qualifying customers who complete their renewal online prior to August 12th and wish to upgrade to a REAL ID for free, will have to wait until at least February 2021 to visit an RMV Service Center. At this time, customers will not need a federally-compliant REAL ID for the purposes of boarding domestic flights prior to October 1, 2021 because the federal government delayed the compliance effective date by one-year. The fee for obtaining a standard or REAL ID license is $50, while the fee for obtaining a standard or REAL ID card is $25.

Watertown Library’s Pride Month Reading Picks & This Week’s Virtual Events

Watertown Free Public Library

The Watertown Library provided the following announcement:

If you didn’t make it to the Summer Reading Drive-Thru last week, don’t worry. It’s easy to participate in the Library’s Summer Reading programs from home. Head to watertownlib.org/summerreading to learn more about our programs and prizes for children, teens, and grown-ups. To commemorate Pride Month and the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising, we asked WFPL staff to choose books that helped shape their views on queer politics/culture, assisted them in their process of coming out, or affected them in another way. We hope you enjoy these Staff Picks for Pride: watertownlib.org/pride

Want to stay up-to-date with everything that the Library has to offer during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Public Invited to Help Create Principles for Watertown’s Community Preservation Process

The Community Preservation Committee is determined not to let the COVID-19 pandemic slow progress toward awarding the first set of projects, but before that can happen they have some work to do and are seeking the public’s help to do so. The next step is a Webinar on Tuesday, June 30 from 6-7 p.m., which is being held in lieu of the second public forum. (See more information about the webinar and how to register below). In January, the group had a public forum to hear what types of projects residents want to see the Community Preservation funds used on. They also did an online survey and held focus groups in March just before for the shutdown, and had planned a second public forum in April but that had to be cancelled, said Lanae Handy, the Community Preservation Coordinator.

Mutual Aid Program Has Linked Dozens in Watertown to Help Each Other During COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown began, a new program paired up people who needed help doing things like going to the grocery stores or getting masks with Town residents who could help them. So far, the Mutual Aid Network in Watertown has had 50 people reach out for assistance and nearly double that number offer to help, with 65 of those being matched with someone, said Program Coordinator Sophia Suarez-Friedman. The program is run by the Wayside Youth & Family Support Network and is funded by a grant from the Watertown Community Foundation. Recently, the Foundation provided enough money for Mutual Aid to run through the end of the year. 

Positive Feedback

Suarez-Friedman has collected “success stories” from some of the people who have received assistance through Mutual Aid or volunteered to help out. A person who feared going to get groceries when the cases of COVID-19 were surging was able to get help going grocery shopping.