Mary Holbrow

Cambridge MA
I'm a retired journalist, mother of 5, grandmother, birdwatcher, garden lover. I live in Cambridgeport, work as a free-lance editor.
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July 11, 2014 - 10:19am Marcos Colono “will never walk a step or take a breath in freedom again.” Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley made that announcement yesterday following sentencing of Mr. Colono, who was tried June 27 in Suffolk County Superior Court on charges stemming from a 2008 break-in and assault of two women in Allston. Yesterday's procedure included testimony by victims on how the crime has affected them. The report comes via a release (below) from Suffolk County DA Press Secretary Jake Wark. Mr. Colono grew up in Cambridgeport and went to local public schools, reportedly dropping out of Cambridge Rindge and Latin before graduating. He was convicted last year in Middlesex County of a 2010 break-in and assault at 220 Pearl Street (left) in Cambridgeport. Sentences in that case amounted to 74-85 years. With yesterday’s addition, the sentences now add up to well over a lifetime, as noted by DA Conley. The arithmetic: ● Previous sentence in the Cambridgeport case: 74-85 years ● Yesterday’s additional sentences on the Allston charges:       • two consecutive terms of 25 - 30 years for the assaults on the two victims (only this one counts in the new total).       • a... read more
July 6, 2014 - 10:25am Our idea of crime has changed dramatically in the last few centuries. Recently I’ve reported on a gory case that took place across the street from me in Cambridge in 2010 – home invasion, sexual assault of a child, attempted murder. Crimes have changed. In the 17th century, just six years after Cambridge was founded, it was the scene of a sensational sex crime trial. This crime consisted of having men and women meet together – sometimes in the same room! – for religious discussions that allegedly contradicted beliefs sanctioned by the church. Even worse – or easier to prove, at any rate – was the fact that the leader of some of the discussions was a woman, Anne Hutchinson, who talked back when she was reproved by the men in authority. Those events are viewed from quite a different perspective today. Morally, of course, our ideas have changed. Practically speaking, the trial is seen as an important factor in the decision by the colonial government to make this the location for Harvard College. That decision created the first major local industry and put Cambridge on the path to becoming the center of higher education that it is today. Back story: Cambridge begins as... read more
July 2, 2014 - 4:12pm A benefit party for the Magazine Beach State Park Sunday night, June 27, drew about 100 guests to the Riverside Boat Club on Memorial Drive. In addition to refreshments and socializing, the program included remarks by those who took part in efforts, led by the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association (CNA), to revitalize the 15-acre park and restore its central architectural feature, the historic powder magazine. The 1818 granite structure was originally built to store gunpowder. At the end of the 19th century the building was converted to a bathhouse, later becoming a utility garage for the parks department. In recent years it deteriorated and became a target for vandalism; restoration efforts are expected to begin soon. Anthony Petruccelli (lead photo, above right), Massachusetts state senator for the First Suffolk and Middlesex districts, and State Representative Jay Livingstone jointly sponsored Massachusetts Bill S.1966, permitting the publicly-owned structure to be leased. The measure makes it possible to proceed with stabilization, restoration, and longer-term commercial ventures to provide income and facilitate upkeep. CNA Board President Bill August (right)... read more
June 25, 2014 - 7:12pm Marcos Colono, 36, of Cambridge, was found guilty today in Suffolk County Superior Court on charges stemming from a 2008 Allston case of aggravated rape, assault with a dangerous weapon, home invasion, and armed burglary. DNA evidence from a 2010 break-in at a Pearl Street apartment here in Cambridgeport (photo, right) had linked him to the Allston case. Sentencing will be July 10, according to a press release from the Suffolk County District Attorney's office (see below). Mr. Colono is currently serving sentences totaling 74 to 85 years in the Cambridge case, tried in Middlesex County last year. Press Release from Suffolk County DA Press Secretary Jake Wark “Vicious” Serial Rapist Guilty on All Counts BOSTON, June 25, 2014—A Cambridge man has been found guilty on all charges following his trial for raping two women during a 2008 home invasion in Allston, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley announced. A Suffolk Superior Court jury deliberated for one day before finding MARCOS COLONO (D.O.B. 11/21/77) guilty of four counts of aggravated rape, two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, and single counts of home invasion and armed burglary. "This vicious attack... read more
June 20, 2014 - 5:23pm A Boston Herald article by columnist Jessica Heslam reports on yesterday's start-up of the trial of Marcos Colono in Suffolk County Superior Court. Mr. Colono was convicted last year in Middlesex County of a 2010 Cambridgeport break-in and assault; the current trial is on charges in connection with a break-in and rape of two women in Allston back in 2008. According to the Herald account, Mr. Colono is representing himself and cross-examining in detail the two women who were the victims in the Allston case. He continues to maintain that he is innocent of the charges. He also repeats his claim that he was wrongfully convicted of the Pearl Street charges and states that he was himself attacked on that occasion. (Photo, left: 220 Pearl Street, scene of the 2010 break-in.) The Suffolk County trial was originally set to begin Wednesday, but according to an account yesterday by Evan Allen of the Boston Globe, the procedure was delayed because Colono said he had not had time to prepare his case. Assistant District Attorney Holly Broadbent called his refusal to come to court as originally scheduled “an intentional delay,” and Judge Janet Sanders said the trial would continue whether he... read more
June 18, 2014 - 10:15am The trial of Marcos Colono on charges relating to a 2008 home invasion in Allston was scheduled to open at 10 a.m. today in Suffolk Superior Court, but it has been postponed until tomorrow morning, June 19, according to Jake Wark, Press Secretary to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. Mr. Colono is charged with four counts of aggravated rape and other offenses for allegedly assaulting two women in their Allston apartment, according to the information from Mr. Wark. Cambridge readers will recall that Colono has been in custody since 2010, when he was arrested on charges of home invasion, assault and rape following a break-in at 220 Pearl Street (photo, right) in August of that year. The Pearl Street event was described by then-Middlesex DA Gerald Leone as a “random crime of extreme violence," and the neighborhood was under intense police and media surveillance. Last year Mr. Colono was found guilty of those charges in Middlesex County Superior Court, and has since been awaiting trial in Suffolk County on the 2008 charges. DNA evidence from the Pearl Street scene provided a key link to the Allston break-in – the subject of Mr. Colono's current Suffolk County... read more
June 10, 2014 - 10:11pm Peter Valentine’s painted wooden fence at the corner of Brookline and Franklin is titled “Cosmic Moose and Grizzly Bear’s Ville.” Walking past it is a new experience every time – it can be a meditation session or a call to political action, a martial arts exercise, maybe a fairy tale, an aesthetic hit, a word game, or something else altogether. It all depends on your point of view. (Lead photo, above, shows Valentine on his front porch. The slide show below has views of the fence.) The fence was a feature of Cambridge’s Central Square River Festival on Saturday, June 7, and visitors could discuss it in person with its creator. Valentine avoids interviews in general, but for this occasion he sat on his front steps and welcomed visitors. He was cheerful and communicative, and also deeply serious. “I have three words that are important:   ‘Information.’ ‘And.’ ‘Relentlessness.’” he said. “We must have accurate facts on which to base our ideas, and we must always – always, no exceptions – base our actions on that information.” The fence is his way of helping people to find out what he feels they need to know. He described it this way for the printed River Fest program: “… a... read more
May 26, 2014 - 5:56pm The Cambridge Veterans' Organization and Cambridge Veterans' Services observed Memorial Day with the traditional parade followed by ceremonies at the Cambridge Cemetery at 76 Coolidge Avenue. The holiday honors men and women who died while serving in the country's armed forces. Formerly known as Decoration Day, the holiday originated after the American Civil War to commemorate soldiers -- both Union and Confederate -- who died in the war. It was later extended to honor all Americans who died in military service. Video: Students from the Amigos School march to the familiar strains of "The Marine's Hymn." Parade participants included veterans’ groups, elected officials, police and fire personnel, color guards, bands, drill teams and youth organizations. read more
May 22, 2014 - 11:53pm Andrea C. James (lead photo) has been an advocate for prisoners – women prisoners in particular – since she got out of jail herself in 2011 after serving a two-year sentence in the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut. She was married, a lawyer, and the mother of four when she was convicted of wire fraud in connection with her work in real estate. Her experiences in prison are the basis for her book, Upper Bunkies Unite, published last year. She spoke Wednesday night, May 21, to about 70 attendees at a special program titled “Women and Prison: A Cambridge Conversation” at the Cambridge Senior Center on Massachusetts Avenue. The event was presented jointly by several local organizations including the Cambridge Women's Commission, Cambridge Restorative Justice Circles Working Group, YWCA Cambridge, and On The Rise, Inc. Ms. James detailed the alarming increase in the prison population in recent years, especially among women and minorities, and cited some of the ill effects. She said poverty and the war on drugs were responsible for much of the increase. “We have the highest incarceration rate of any country. . . We have criminalized poverty and addiction,”... read more
May 16, 2014 - 3:51pm The May 15 meeting of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association was held at the Central Square branch of the Cambridge Public Library at 45 Pearl Street. After the meeting, attendees toured the recently re-opened library with Branch Director Jason Yee; a photo from the tour is at the bottom of the page. Recent CNA meetings have featured appearances by newly elected members of the Cambridge City Council. This time President William August introduced Councilor Nadeem Mazen, who was elected last November. (In the lead photo, above, Mazen is standing at left; August is on the right. In the middle, taking notes, is board member Colleen Clark.) Mazen has been impressed by how well the council and city officials are working together. “I’m seeing some traction,” he said. Attendees questioned him about a number of topics, including parking issues associated with proposed new developments; MBTA Red Line prospects; plans for a medical marijuana dispensary in North Cambridge; and the future of the city-owned Foundry (left) building at 101 Rogers Street. Foundry options have included possible sale or development as a center for community programs. Mazen said he favors using... read more

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