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 31, 2011 - 5:22pm A  nucleus of Cambridge residents shared ideas for a proposed new senior network around Central Square at a meeting December 18 at the YWCA on Temple Street. Present for the photo were (l. to r.) Janet Ghattas, Officer Matthew Mahoney, Lita Newdick, Officer Daniel Burroso, Polly Allen, Bette Denich, Bob Woodbury, Sarah Boyer. (Also at the meeting but not shown: John Hand, Mary Holbrow, Marian Darlington-Hope.) This was the second exploratory meeting to be organized on behalf of the project by Polly Wynn Allen and Janet Ghattas. A preliminary meeting in Cambridgeport ( took place earlier this month. A third meeting is tentatively set for sometime in January to accommodate those who could not attend the December meetings. The group at the Y included seniors from Riverside, Area IV, and parts of mid-Cambridge as well as Cambridgeport. They discussed what a senior network could do to promote a healthy, active and productive lifestyle for members. Organizer Polly Allen recalled the neighborhood that she was part of as a child in Texas: her grandmother, two aunts and a playmate cousin all lived within walking distance. “I think it’s a... read more
December 20, 2011 - 11:26am Photo: Cambridge Action Forum officers David Lewis and Karen Carmean “Every year we look forward to hearing what are the most important changes since last year,” Karen Carmean said as she opened the annual Cambridge Action Fund Forum on December 8. “What are you doing now, and what have been your biggest issues?” Cambridge Action Fund, Inc. (CAF) is an organization of local businesses and individuals that contribute funds and volunteer services to help homeless people in the community. At this year’s Forum, four charities that receive money from CAF reported on the past year’s activities and their plans for the future. The presentations took place around a table in the parish hall of Christ Church Cambridge, the historic Episcopal church at Zero Garden Street, Harvard Square. Four organizations were represented: the Harvard Square Churches Meals Program, Food For Free, On The Rise, and CASPAR (Cambridge and Somerville Program for Alcohol and Drug Rehabilitation. “Hopefully you’re going to get ideas from this program tonight on what you can do to make a difference,” Carmean said as she opened the meeting. She was talking both to listeners around the... read more
December 15, 2011 - 2:55pm As Christmas trees go up, summer flowers blossom in local dooryards. A flowering crabapple is in full bloom at the corner of Pearl and Hamilton. Forsythia, geraniums and roses are opening nearby. A weather headline today in says mild weather is expected to continue, with temperature as much as 15 degrees higher than normal today. This month has run about 6 degrees above normal, according to Charlie Foley, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Taunton. read more
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