LETTER: A Fitting Way to Honor Watertown’s Retiring Library Director

Watertown Free Public LibraryThe Watertown Free Public Library. A Fitting Tribute To A Local Superstar

After 27 years, Leone Cole, Our Library Director is Retiring, Here’s An Idea to Thank Her for Her Service to Watertown

Dear Watertown,

Under Leone’s innovative and forward-thinking leadership, our library has become the heart of our community – welcoming, serving, and educating people of all ages and from all walks of life, through even the most challenging of times. Our library has had such a positive influence − in ways we can only begin to imagine − on the lives of so many who have entered that building on 123 Main Street. Book groups, films, music, our History Room, research assistance, the Hatch Makerspace, storytelling, community talks/events, Project Literacy, the Library of Things, courses in finance, exercise, citizenship, and more have brought our community together. As many residents of Newton, Belmont, and Waltham will tell you, our library is their library of choice.

LETTER: Wayside Thanks Generous Donors During the Holiday Season

Social Service Resource Specialists/Wayside staff preparing holiday gifts and gift cards for families to pick-up. The holiday season is upon us and it’s the most wonderful time of the year for many. Yet for some, it can be challenging to afford gifts for their loved ones. Each year, Wayside Youth & Family Support Network’s Multi-Service Center works with local churches and businesses, to provide holiday gifts for families. Once again this year, families served through Watertown’s Social Services Resource Specialist Program were recipients of these generous donations.

LETTER: Make COVID Rules More Clear This Time Around

The immediate spur for this letter is the board of health’s new order reinstating the indoor mask mandate. I have found it a big source of frustration this entire pandemic that it has often not been all that clear what the rules actually are. I appreciate that the town’s website currently has on the front page the new mask mandate, but how long will this stay up there? Given that a mask mandate is such a sharp difference from everyday life as of 2019, whatever rules we want everyone to follow we should be shouting from the proverbial rooftops. Why can’t we have a permanent feature on the homepage, as well as on any interactive town signage and posted all over town, something like the following:

The “Last Update” part is important, because I found it just as frustrating to discover when requirements were removed as to confirm when they were still in place.

LETTER: Watertown Group Concerned About Loss of Trees on Private Properties

Dear fellow Watertown citizens:

The recent removal of multiple mature trees on Olcott Street raises significant issues about the proper balance of public and private interests here in Watertown. While a private landowner has a right to dispose of trees as they see fit, Watertown must recognize that the benefits of mature trees extend beyond the lot they sit on and are an asset to the community as a whole. Watertown is expending considerable resources to combat climate change and improve the community’s quality of life. Major investments have been made in street trees and in enhanced storm drainage systems designed to protect the city from climate-related extreme storms. Yet these efforts cannot succeed if they are at odds with actions on private land where 80 percent of the city’s tree canopy sits. The rights of private landowners are fundamental to our system.

LETTER: Watertown Community Fridge Fulfilling Important Role in the Community

I first heard of the community fridge concept last year, after they began to appear in the Boston area in response to the pandemic illuminating and exacerbating the amount of people experiencing food insecurity. The one recently established in Watertown — in the parking lot of Francis Market, 1084 Belmont St. — is an accomplishment for which we should all be grateful to its founders and be proud as a community. A community fridge not only plays a direct role in addressing food insecurity and food waste, but also teaches us so much about what it means to be neighbors. The motto you’ll find on the Watertown Community Fridge’s posters and postcards says it all:“Take what you need, give what you can.” The purpose of a community fridge is to provide free food 24/7 to anyone who visits.

LETTER: Westside Resident Upset by Loss of Trees on Recently Sold Property

Linda ScottStumps remaining after several trees were taken down at a property on Olcott Street. An Open Letter to the Watertown Planning and Zoning Boards:

There’s a war on trees on Olcott Street. On a one block street where the only major street tree is dying, it was a terrible shock to me and my neighbors when we returned home from our work and chores to find that a developer who bought 45-47 Olcott St., had, in one day, chopped down at least five trees on this private lot … five mature trees that were homes and roosts for wildlife; provided shade on those extremely hot days that have become so prevalent; provided privacy, a commodity hard to come by in this dense neighborhood; and served as a sound buffer for traffic and neighborhood noises. The trees that remained were “pruned” to within inches of their lives. Trees which, in short, made Olcott Street a much more pleasant and livable place were felled without any thought for how this would Impact this neighborhood.