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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October 20, 2012 - 3:26pm Photo: Mural Artist Geobany Rodriguez (wearing cap) oversaw work on a Community Art Center logo at the Oct. 18 celebration of the upcoming CAC mural project at Novartis's Massachusetts Avenue construction site. ------------ “Now I’m famous!” The youthful artist – one of a crowd of youngsters – was clearly thrilled to see one of her works on display in a real art show. But she didn’t have a lot of time to spend in front of her own piece; the kids with her were calling her to come and look at theirs. The occasion was a reception and exhibit October 18 to mark the start-up of an art project in this unconventional setting:  the pedestrian walkway at the Novartis construction site on Massachusetts Avenue between Albany and Windsor Street. Painting of a four-stage mural is scheduled to begin here next week. The project is funded by Novartis. For the project, artists and youth participants in Cambridge's Community Art Center program will turn the walls of the walkway into a mural with four interconnected panels, CAC Executive Director Eryn Johnson (photo, left) told guests at the reception. “This part of Cambridge – Area 4 – is one of the most diverse parts of the city; it’s like a lot... read more
October 3, 2012 - 4:06pm Photo, above: Co-founder and President Vicky I of Community Cooks welcomed guests at the September 30 dinner. "Celebrate Community Cooks:  Food and Music Under a Full Moon" took place Sunday evening at the Cambridge Boat Club on Gerry’s Landing Road just off Memorial Drive. The dinner event hailed the organization’s volunteer cooks, led by Vicky I of Somerville. They have been providing home-cooked meals for neighbors in need for more than 20 years. The cooks prepared and served the celebratory feast, loading tables with bite-sized treats from artichokes to ziti and circulating with trays of sausage, stuffed mushrooms, “chicken things,” cookies, tarts, and more.Photo, left: As promised in the event's title, the moon came up over the Charles on cue. Program coordinator Mary Todd (left) and volunteer Sarah Lee enjoyed the scene from the deck. Community Cooks began in Somerville, but it has expanded to include the Cambridge-Somerville area and other nearby cities, providing meals on a regular schedule at area homeless shelters and programs for women, families, youths, and people with disabilities. The cooks make the dishes;  other team members plan menus and organize distribution... read more
September 21, 2012 - 5:23pm Photo, above: Josh Gerber at the 1369 Coffee House in Central Square. Joshua Gerber, owner and operator of Cambridge’s 1369 Coffee Houses, will be among the table hosts September 27 at the 15th Annual Prepare For Winter Dinner at the Royal Sonesta Hotel (details below). The event will benefit On The Rise, Inc, a local day program of assistance for homeless women in Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston; members of its Board of Directors are hosts at the dinner. Gerber joined the board recently. A resident of Somerville, he succeeds his uncle, Gerry Wolf, both on the board and as proprietor of the 1369s. “It’s sobering to see how many of the people right around us are in need or very close to it,” Gerber said in a recent interview. The original 1369 coffee house (left) is at 1369 Cambridge Street in Inman Square; its sibling is at 757 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square. On The Rise sits midway between them, at 341 Broadway. “In the coffee houses and in the neighborhood, we see a cross section of street life,” Gerber said. “Some things you can’t do anything about, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care. I try to balance what I do as a business owner with what’s needed... read more
September 17, 2012 - 10:45pm Photo: Monarch butterflies, on their way to Mexico, feed on New England asters in Cambridgeport. The fall Monarch migration is in full swing here. As many as ten of the black-and-orange butterflies (Danaus plexippus) at a time hovered overhead or settled on the New England asters in a tiny Pearl Street garden on this sunny afternoon. The butterflies were choosy; they went only to the purple asters, ignoring pink ones and white ones. This week is the height of their fall migration season here in Cambridge (latitude 42.38), according to the chart published by Monarch Watch, an educational program that engages citizen scientists in research involving the butterflies. Based at the University of Kansas, Monarch Watch operates a tagging program to track the migrations. The majority of Monarchs live only up to five weeks, a National Wildlife Federation account reports, but the last generation of the summer – the current generation – may live eight months or more. In the eastern United States, these longer-lived butterflies migrate to Mexico for the winter; they will head back again next spring, stopping on the way north to reproduce. Those in the western states will winter in the San... read more
August 6, 2012 - 4:52pm Herb Stern (photo, above) reached into the cab to operate the controls of the clamshell truck parked beside the storm drain at the corner of Pearl and Allston. The special feature of this Cambridge Department of Public Works vehicle is the clamshell, which appears to be an industrial-strength version of a post hole digger (below). Stern had moved the grate away from the storm drain. Now he guided the steel-jawed apparatus down through the opening into the catch basin below, raised it back up with its dripping burden, and swung it over to unload in the bed of the truck. It was August 3, the first Friday of the month, so a city crew was busy sweeping the upper surface on the odd-numbered side of the street. Stern was dealing with what lay below. “We pick a street sweeping day to work on the storm drains – people park on the other side then, so there aren’t any cars in the way,” he said. The catch basin, a barrel-like container that sits below street level under a grating, is part of the storm water management system designed to protect the city from flooding and pollution of the Charles River, Alewife Brook and other local bodies of water. The system criss-crosses the two... read more
July 26, 2012 - 8:56am Photo, above: Monarch butterflies are threatened by the invasive black swallow-wort, a deadly host plant for their larvae. The plant is spreading throughout New England and crowding out native plants. The star-shaped black swallow-wort flowers, below left, are tiny and purple. The Monarch above had a better choice in the butterfly garden at the Museum of Science.   On July 21 volunteers Helen Snively and Rebecca Ramsay of the Friends of Fresh Pond Reservation (FFPR) stacked a table in the lobby of the Cambridge Main Library with black swallow-wort vines and seed pods, informational brochures, and Pod Patrol lapel buttons promoting joint efforts by FFPR and City of Cambridge to limit the spread of black swallow-wort. Snively and Ramsay were there to talk with Saturday morning library-goers about ways to help control the noxious weed. “You’ve seen this plant," Snively said. "It’s everywhere. I pulled this piece off a chainlink fence on Cambridge Street. It’s a member of the milkweed family, which is the Monarch babies' normal food.” The female butterflies mistake the swallow-wort for native milkweed and lay their eggs on it, she explained. The plant is toxic to the caterpillars... read more
July 14, 2012 - 11:04am Photo: Documents bearing John Hancock's well-known signature were part of the July 10 Harvard University Archives exhibit during the Cambridge Open Archives tour. Revolutionary-era patriot John Hancock shared the spotlight with "Unabomber" Ted Kazcynski, local poet E. E. Cummings (e. e. cummings to some), and aviator Amelia Earhart in special displays at three Harvard libraries on July 10. It was Day 2 of “Famous and Infamous,” Cambridge’s Fourth Annual Open Archives Tour, a.k.a. the Archives Crawl. The July 9-12 Open Archives event featured displays at a dozen local libraries and collections, three on each of the four days. The Day 2 tour, reported here, included historical treasures at three Harvard sites: the University Archives and the Houghton and Schlesinger Libraries. Destinations for Days 1, 3 and 4 are listed at the bottom of the page. For a report on Day 1 of the tour, see Siobhan Bredin's article: Cambridge Open Archives City Collections Tour 2012. Her piece includes an interview with Gavin Kleespies, Executive Director of the Cambridge Historical Society, which organizes the event. Photo, below: Harvard's baseball team played the Red Sox on April 9, 1912, in the... read more
July 3, 2012 - 11:22pm Photo: Overseeing a summer art project in front of the Main Library Tuesday were Public Art Administrator Jeremy Gaucher (at left, leaning over for a close look) and Jerrie Lyndon (right) of the Cambridge Arts Council. The artist (center) goes by his nickname, Luffy. Pedestrians at the corner of Broadway and Trowbridge on Tuesday morning, July 3, paused to admire a striking scene: half-a-dozen kids of high school age were using colored chalks to create an interlocking array of images on the pavement in front of the library. Jerrie Lyndon explained that the sidewalk art was part of the Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program (MSYEP). Lyndon is active in city arts projects and served as Coordinator for the 2012 Cambridge Open Studios. Through the Department of Human Services, MSYEP offers 20-hour-a-week work opportunities for local kids aged 14-18 for six weeks in July and August. See the video (below) for a tour of the display. Summer Art - Youth Employment Program from Mary Holbrow on Vimeo. Some of the pictures on the sidewalk were done; others were still getting finishing touches. There was a wide range of subjects and interpretations, as described by the artists... read more
June 14, 2012 - 7:54am Photo: "Don't Drive Like My Brother!"  A number from Car Talk: the Musical!!! was a highlight of the annual Taste Of Cambridge on Tuesday. Cast members on stage, l. to r.: Christian Denzel Bufford, Elyse Collier, Jonathan Luke-Stevens, Edward Tolve, Scott Severance (singing), Desi Klock-Perez, Leigh Burnett. Composer/Director Wesley Savick (not shown) provided spirited accompaniment from beside the stage. The show opens June 14, at the Central Square Theater. Taste of Cambridge marked its 10th anniversary here on Tuesday, June 12. A crowd lined up at the entrance at the corner of Sidney and Franklin for the 5:30 p.m. opening;  inside, people flocked to the stands hosted by local restaurants, merchants, and brewers from Abigail’s to Zuzu — some 90 businesses in all. Strolling from hors-d’oeuvres to main-dish samples to bite-size sweets, and washing things down with local beer, wine, and soft drinks, folks could network and schmooze, hear live music and catch up on public affairs with local politicians. The weather forecast had been iffy, but in fact it was a balmy afternoon here at 42.37°N   71.13W.° In addition to showcasing local businesses, Taste of Cambridge was raising... read more
June 9, 2012 - 9:25am Photo: This charming turtle is also a rattle, created in the spring semester ceramics class at the Morse Community School at 40 Granite Street. Displays and demonstrations of after-school activities will be featured there Friday, June 15, at the Community School's Semester End Showcase and Cookout from 5 - 8 p.m., according to Director Stanley Rogers. Students in the program choose from a rich mix of classes that includes gymnastics, drum circle, sports and games, story-telling, math and science, film-making, Scouts, and lessons in art, music, dance, and cooking.   As Chair of the Citywide Community School Council, Carolyn Shipley (photo, left) has been going to bat for Cambridge’s Community Schools for more than 22 years. The city’s eleven Community Schools are not public schools, although they do use public school facilities. They are OST (out-of-school time) programs that take place after regular school hours, during school vacations, and in summer. The Community School program is deeply rooted here. In 2009 Shipley and others active in it were honored at the Glitter Gala celebration that marked its 40th anniversary. The event was reported in the 2010-2011 edition of "The... read more

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