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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Recently posted by mholbrow

December 14, 2011 - 11:07pm “It’s nice to know your neighbors.” In a nutshell, that comment by Janet Ghattas summarized the rationale for a small but purposeful senior network that is starting to take root in the Cambridgeport/Central Square area. Ghattas made the comment during an informal morning session in Polly Allen’s living room on December 8. (Photo, above, left to right: E. Denise Simmons, Polly Allen, Bette Denich, John Hand, Janet Ghattas) A second meeting -- hopefully with additional participants from an area that includes Riverside, Area IV, Cambridgeport, and parts of mid-Cambridge -- will take place in Central Square next week, underlining the fact that the group seeks to include residents from all sides of the Square. This upcoming meeting is set for 4-6 p.m. on Monday, December 19 at the Cambridge YWCA, 7 Temple Street (between Mass Avenue and Bishop Allen Drive). Half-a-dozen people gathered at Allen's home on Erie Street in Cambridgeport to discuss plans for the network, which would put area seniors in touch with each other in person or by mail, phone, and internet. “The underlying goal is to provide structure and occasions for people who want to enrich their connections with other people... read more
December 13, 2011 - 10:27pm  Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Nora Mann started her workday one morning in November by roasting a turkey. It had to be in the oven in her Arlington kitchen by 4 a.m. and done by 8 a.m., so she could drop it off at On The Rise in Cambridge on the way to her office in Boston. Mann is the Deputy Chief of Non-Profit Organizations and Public Charities, a division of the Business and Labor Bureau in the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. One of Mann’s duties there is to oversee the state’s more than 23,000 public charities.   So where does cooking a turkey fit into that? This fall Mann took on a personal role in one of those charities. She joined the Board of Directors of On The Rise, Inc., a non-profit day program for homeless women. “Do you remember that slogan from the 1970s – ‘Think globally, act locally’? That’s something I really believe in,” she says. On this occasion, acting locally meant helping On The Rise volunteers put on a special early Thanksgiving meal November 17 for about 60 women. This was a bigger day than most. On average some 27 women a day seek meals or other assistance, Monday through Friday and Saturday mornings, at the roomy... read more
December 12, 2011 - 2:14pm After a break-in and assault on August 26, 2010, reporters kept a vigil at 220 Pearl Street (blue house at right). The trial of Cambridgeport resident Marcos Colono, originally set for November in Middlesex County Superior Court, has been re-scheduled for April 26, 2012. Middlesex District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Cara O’Brien gave the information out in response to a phone inquiry. Colono is charged with two separate but similar crimes in two Massachusetts counties: a break-in and assault of a father and son at the Pearl Street apartment on August 26, 2010 in Cambridge (Middlesex County), and an earlier break-in and assault of two young women at an apartment on Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton (Suffolk County) back in 2008. He was arrested here by Cambridge police on October 6, 2010 – more than 14 months ago. He has been in custody since then. Somerville Attorney Benjamin Selman was initially appointed to represent Colono in Middlesex County Superior Court. However, Selman said in a November 18 email that he has withdrawn from the case. Boston attorney Stephen Weymouth has been appointed to represent... read more
November 2, 2011 - 9:27am Photo: C. H. Holbrow Runners line up for the start of Sunday’s 3rd Annual Superhero Hallowe’en 5K Run/Walk.  Front row, l. to r.: the Teenage Schoolwork Sentinels team, award-winners in the Fantastic Four category – Stephen Reilly 254, Jordan Chabot 255, Scott Kaplan 257, and Tyler Kaufman 256 of Sharon, MA. Next to them are Steve Masterson 9590 of Allston (as Lorenzo, the Ninja Turtle); John Werner 9601, David Knight 9599, and Antonio Tugores 808 (as Zorro), all from Brookline; Calin Peters 9613 of Cambridge (as Underdog); and Steven Schuler 846 of Palo Alto, CA (as Redonk). Tugores, Masterson, Werner, and Schuler finished in the top ten men overall with gun times* ranging from 17:12 to 20:36. Local Superheroes – almost 500 of them – got into their spandex on Sunday morning, October 30, gathered their mighty powers and zoomed over to the Pacific Street Park entrance on Tudor Street to compete in the 3rd Annual Superhero Hallowe’en 5K Run/Walk. Slushy snow and freezing temperatures from Saturday’s freak nor’easter couldn’t stop them. Have2Run (, the Boston company that puts on the event, had sent out the word:   the race was on. “After all, we’re superheroes... read more
October 23, 2011 - 11:24am by Mary Holbrow     Photo: A wild turkey preens and stretches his barred wings in Mount Auburn Cemetery near the grave of Harriett Lawrence Hemenway, co-founder of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. The big bird owes his comfortable existence in part to state legislation promoted by Mrs. Hemenway’s organization, which backed an 1897 measure that stopped the slaughter of wild birds for their ornamental feathers.   Ornithologist Christopher Leahy shared some good news, some bad news, and some local history about Massachusetts birds and birding in his GreenPort Forum talk at the Cambridgeport Baptist Church on Tuesday evening, October 18. Coordinating the event for GreenPort were Steve Morr-Wineman, Randy Stern, and Sally Watermulder. GreenPort is a Cambridgeport neighborhood group formed in 2006 to promote strategies for sustainable living. Leahy (left) holds the Massachusetts Audubon Society’s Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology. A conservationist for more than thirty years, he served as Director of Mass Audubon’s Center for Biological Conservation. In a fast-paced hour, Leahy discussed highlights of the organization's newly published report, “State... read more
October 17, 2011 - 12:34pm by Mary Holbrow - On Friday evening, October 14, Harvard University staged an outdoor birthday party for students, faculty, friends, alumni, and visiting parents in honor of its 375th anniversary. Despite pouring rain that swamped Harvard Yard, guests crowded under umbrellas or just went with the flow – quite literally – amid colorful, history-linked events, refreshments and displays. Some 15,000 people were there at the peak of the event, according to an estimate from the Office of Public Affairs and Communications. A living-statue version of the university’s iconic John Harvard sculpture greeted visitors under one tent. The bronzed image was flanked by two women representing trees – apparently elms, the traditional trees of this historic enclave; they waved their leafy branches in slow motion about the statue. His right hand lay on an open Bible. From time to time he turned his head a few degrees, gave a reserved smile, and raised the other hand in a wave so slow that it was barely discernable. Authenticity note:  yes, his left foot was shiny – as it is on the real statue of the Puritan clergyman and college benefactor – from the good-luck rubs administered by generations of... read more
October 7, 2011 - 11:29am by Mary Holbrow -   Andrew Diebold (above left) and Frank O’Leary (right) of the Riverside Boat Club looked on as an eager youngster tried out a rowing machine at the Third Annual Cambridgeport History Day in Dana Park. “Once that handle goes ahead, it takes a lot of strength to pull it back,” he observed. His mother identified him for the photo. “Call him Jedi Knight – that’s the name he likes best,” she said. The rowing machine was one of the activities sampled by area residents at the Third Annual Cambridgeport History Day celebration at Dana Park on Sunday, October 2. The event was sponsored by the Cambridgeport History Project and co-chaired by Vice-Mayor Henrietta Davis and Michael Kenney. Originally scheduled for the previous day, it was moved to Sunday because of rain. The Riverside Boat Club, situated on the Charles River at 769 Memorial Drive, was established in 1869. Rowing was becoming popular then, but most rowing clubs were exclusive and had stiff fees. Riverside welcomed workingmen and immigrants. A special feature of this year’s History Day celebration was the Pop-Up History Performances series, in which passers-by became on-the-spot observers of reenacted local... read more
September 1, 2011 - 9:13pm by Mary Holbrow    Singer/songwriter Randall Kromm of Winchester has two very different kinds of shows in Cambridge this month. Labor Day weekend is Campfire weekend at Club Passim, 47 Palmer Street, Harvard Square; Kromm is one of about 100 folk musicians from all over the U.S. -- and some from abroad -- appearing informally in the historic basement folk-music venue September 2-5 to share tunes and stories. He was onstage on Saturday, September 3 from 12:45 to 2:05 p.m. with Susan Cattaneo, Tom Smith, and Addie Brownlee. . Later in the month he’ll be onstage in Cambridge again -- this time as the sole musician in the spotlight. As a gesture of support, he will perform his own song, titled “On the Rise,” at the Prepare For Winter Dinner given by On The Rise, Inc., a Cambridge-based assistance program for homeless women. The annual fund-raising event is at 6 p.m. on Thursday, September 22 in the Royal Sonesta Hotel on Edwin Land Boulevard. Martha Sandler is director of the non-profit women's program, located at 341 Broadway in Cambridge. Earlier this year she learned that there was a song with the same name. “My sister heard Randall sing 'On... read more
August 19, 2011 - 5:25pm “The city plants about 300 to 600 trees each year, which helps lower the carbon dioxide concentration that we have from heavy traffic and urban activities. The trees have to be watered and taken care of, but that doesn’t always have to involve big trucks,” Sidia Escobar said. As she spoke she was weeding around a flourishing ginkgo tree planted in a sidewalk well at the corner of Putnam and River Streets. Her bike was hitched to a two-wheeled cart with Cambridge’s "The Works" logo on it. The cart held a long hose and assorted tools. Ms. Escobar is part of an innovative city program that sends workers out with bike-drawn carts to water and maintain the urban forest. The hose in Ms. Escobar’s wagon was long enough to reach the fire hydrant at the corner, and she uses it to water the trees. On this particular morning the ground was damp from recent rains; she didn’t think the ginkgo needed water, but it did need weeding. “This is a good place to do the work with a bicycle cart – there’s a lot of traffic at this intersection, and the street isn’t very wide. Parking a truck to work on this tree would really be a problem,” she said. Ms. Escobar handed out a brochure, “Working... read more
July 30, 2011 - 4:12pm by Mary Holbrow    On Sunday afternoon, July 31, a free outdoor concert titled “Arias and Songs from the 18th Century” will be presented on the side lawn of the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters National Historical Site in Cambridge from 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The event is part of the Summer Festival series on the grounds of the noted landmark at 105 Brattle Street. Singers who will perform at the event are, below, left to right, sopranos Beth Grzegorzewski and Stephanie Mann; mezzo-sopranos Angeliki Theoharis and Jacque Eileen Wilson;  and bass-baritones Thomas Dawkins and Bülent Güneralp. Their accompanist will be James Hay. The program features selections from two operas by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Le nozze di Figaro and Così fan tutte. Music by Georg Friedrich Händel will also be presented. For information see The Longfellow-Washington site is the perfect spot for listening to music from that era. The 18th-century Georgian-style building dates from 1759, so its construction spans the period from the end of Händel’s life (1685 – 1759) through the early years of Mozart’s... read more