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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March 7, 2013 - 12:20pm Marcos Colono, 35, of Cambridge has been found guilty of the seven charges of home invasion, assault and rape brought against him in a 12-day trial that began February 21 in Middlesex County Superior Court, Woburn. The outcome of the trial and the sentencing were reported this morning in a press release (below) from the Middlesex District Attorney. Colono still faces charges in a 2008 assault case in Brighton. According to Jake Wark, press secretary to Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, that trial will begin May 8. ------Press Release------ Gerry LeoneMiddlesex District AttorneyTHE COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS15 COMMONWEALTH AVE WOBURN, MA 01801       Tel: 781-897-8325  Cambridge Man Guilty for Cambridge Home Invasion and Rape WOBURN- A Cambridge man has been found guilty in connection with a 2010 Cambridge home invasion, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone informed the public today. Marcos Colono, 35, was found guilty by a Middlesex Superior Court Jury of home invasion (2 counts), aggravated rape of a child with force (2 counts), assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a... read more
March 5, 2013 - 1:55pm “These charges are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” A reminder of this basic premise of our justice system is routinely included in press releases from the office of Middlesex County District Attorney Gerard T. Leone, Jr. The principle of presumptive innocence, with its emphasis on proof, appeared to be the basis for Cambridge resident Marcos Colono’s defense on February 27 as he questioned the reliability of the fingerprint evidence that led to his arrest in a 2010 Cambridge home invasion and assault case. Colono is representing himself in the trial, which began February 21 in Middlesex County Superior Criminal Court, Woburn. On the 27th the prosecution presented fingerprint evidence that was key to Colono's being identified by name and arrested in October, 2010. He is accused of breaking into an upstairs apartment at 220 Pearl Street in Cambridgeport shortly after midnight on August 26, 2010 and attacking a father and son with a knife. He allegedly raped the 11-year-old boy and stabbed the father repeatedly. The charges against him were stated in a November, 2010 press release from the District Attorney's office: – aggravated rape of... read more
February 16, 2013 - 10:48am Photo, above: Young artists who worked on the historical mural at the Novartis construction site on Massachusetts Avenue were introduced at a Community Art Center reception February 13 by Executive Director Eryn Johnson (right) and Visiting Mural Artist Laura Smith (second from right). The event celebrated completion of the first phase of the mural project. So what’s it like painting a mural outdoors in the middle of winter? Half a dozen 7- to 10-year-old artists shared the story with guests at a reception at the Community Art Center (CAC) at 119 Windsor Street on February 13. They were describing work on the mural now taking shape in the construction walkway on Massachusetts Avenue between Albany and Windsor Streets. The kids are veterans of the newly completed Phase 1 of the project. They offered some survival tips. “We did jumping jacks.” “We wore warm coats.” “Hot cocoa!”   Their group leader, CAC’s visiting mural artist Laura Smith, noted a practical discovery: “Paint freezes when the temperature goes below 32 degrees,” she said. Photo, left: Mural Artist Laura Smith (r) with Novartis Community Core representatives Dwayne Quimby (l) and Kara Cournoyer (c) at the... read more
February 9, 2013 - 9:47pm This is no game - it's life or death. In this weather, house sparrows compete fiercely for a spot at a bird feeder. There's a waiting line down below on the railing at this house on Pearl Street. The need for energy to keep warm is at its peak now, just when food is hardest to find. Every house with a birdseed feeder has a mob of sparrows yelling and elbowing each other in the bushes nearby. According to a report from the Audubon Society, the kind of seed in the feeder determines to some extent whether it draws sparrows or other birds. Sparrows like millet, wheat and cracked corn. They are less attracted to the pricier mixes of sunflower and safflower seed that most song birds prefer. sparrows 2 from Mary Holbrow on Vimeo. read more
February 1, 2013 - 2:48pm The 1369 Coffee Houses at Inman Square and Central Square celebrated 20 years in business on January 26 with an all-day open house at both shops and an evening party at the Middle East Restaurant. Party guests included friends, colleagues, neighbors and former employees of the businesses as well as supporters of two local charities, On The Rise and Food For Free. The celebration included a benefit for the two programs, bringing in donations of some $10,000 that will be shared between them, according to 1369 owner/manager Joshua Gerber. read more
January 25, 2013 - 11:23am Local First of Cambridge wrapped up its annual charity drive, Think Local Thank Local (TLTL), with a party this week. Taking part in the benefit presentation at Christopher's in Porter Square were (standing) TLTL Chair Rachael Solem (l) and Local First's Executive Director Jaclyn Sinay (r). Seated in front, l. to r.: Martha Sandler, Executive Director of On The Rise, Inc.; Joshua Gerber and Gerry Wolf of Local First. The event, known as the Wrap Party, took place at Christopher’s Restaurant in Porter Square on Tuesday, January 22. “Here's how it works,” said Rachael Solem, the project’s chair. “Think Local Thank Local happens in November, during the Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas season. About three dozen businesses took part this year. They pledged a percentage of what they took in during that time, and tonight we’re turning that money over to a local charity, On The Rise.” Solem presented an envelope containing the donations. The label read: “On The Rise! $8,000.” “The recipient varies from year to year, but they're all nearby,” Solem said. “This year it's On The Rise; in other years we’ve supported the Cambridge Housing Assistance Fund and Food For Free.” Martha Sandler... read more
January 18, 2013 - 11:06pm The mockingbird perched boldly in a small tree at the corner of Putnam and Magazine, eyeing the photographer just a few feet away. In warmer weather mockingbirds look slender, but this one had its feathers fluffed up because of the cold. The time was a few minutes before noon on January 18; temperature was in the 20s. The sexes are similar in appearance; this bird has quite a big white patch on its wing, so it's probably a male. A few decades ago the mockingbird – officially Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) – was a southern resident. Now they’re here year-round, and in summer we hear them even oftener than we see them. The summer song is almost infinitely variable. Usually a theme is repeated several times and then dropped in favor of a new one; sometimes it’s an imitation of another bird’s song. However, at this time of year the call is likely to be just an occasional “chat . . . chat . . .chat.” Their accomplished singing has been a disadvantage to them in the past. According to the Cornell Ornithology Lab website, mockingbirds became very scarce in some places during the 19th century because they were trapped and caged as songbirds. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/... read more
January 11, 2013 - 7:05pm Photo: A customer (“Just call me Tom”) enjoyed his coffee and checked out the anniversary poster in front of the 1369 Coffee House on Massachusetts Avenue earlier this week. Cambridge’s two 1369 Coffee Houses will mark their 20th anniversary on January 26 with an all-day celebration at both of their locations:Inman Square: 1369 Cambridge Street Central Square: 757 Masssachusetts Avenue The popular meeting places will have live music all day. Refreshments will be offered at no charge; instead of payment, donations are requested for two local charities that the 1369s have helped support over the years: --- On The Rise, 341 Broadway: an assistance program for women who are homeless or in crisis in Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston --- Food For Free, 11 Inman Street: collection and distribution of free food for people in need within the local emergency support system For more information about the event and the 1369 Coffee Houses: Phone: Inman Square 1369: 617-576-1369 Central Square 1369: 617-576-4600 read more
December 12, 2012 - 10:07am by Mary Holbrow and Joan Squeri In the Dr. Seuss fable, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the sourpuss Grinch is determined to stop the joyful holiday from coming to the town of Whoville. He dresses up as Santa on Christmas Eve, sneaks into every house, and steals or trashes the presents and goodies. (Photo, above: Poet Populist Toni Bee as the Grinch in the Central Square Library reading) But not to worry – his mean-spirited stunt is a flop. On Christmas morning the Grinch tunes in to Whoville expecting to hear everybody wailing “Boo-hoo!” Instead, they’re all singing! Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!       “Maybe Christmas," he thought, “doesn't come from a store.        Maybe Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!" Local youngsters joined the action with Cambridge's 2011-2013 Poet Populist Toni Bee as she performed a dramatic reading of the classic tale on Saturday, December 8, at the Central Square branch of the Cambridge Public Library. Like two-year-old Cindy Lou Who in the story, this young attendee (left), Julia, was curious about the Grinch. The story offers a counterweight to the commercialism of the holiday season. Toni Bee reinforced the... read more
December 9, 2012 - 8:53pm Photo, above: On December 6 at MIT a panel discussion titled "Occupy the Future" offered a retrospective look at the 2011-12 Occupy movement. Above, left to right:  Moderator Sally Haslanger of MIT;  Debra Satz of Stanford University; local entrepreneur Nadeem Mazen;  author/activist Christopher Hedges;  J. Phillip Thompson of MIT.Photo: C. H. Holbrow “We … are … the ninety-nine percent!” The rhythmic chant was first heard at Occupy Wall Street in New York’s Zucotti Park in September, 2011. Its message was disturbing:  the lion’s share of income and wealth in this country is controlled by 1% of the population, while the other 99% scramble for what’s left. Last Friday the movement was revisited in Cambridge at "Occupy the Future," a panel discussion held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Sally Haslanger, Professor of Linguistics and Philosophy at MIT, introduced the program and speakers on behalf of the Boston Review and the lecture series “Ideas Matter,” which it sponsors jointly with MIT’s Political Science Department. About 75 people attended. Photo, left: Chris Hedges (center, wearing scarf), one of the speakers on the December 6 MIT panel pictured above, was... read more
November 19, 2012 - 12:10am Holiday programs by the Cambridge Community Chorus this year will bring the audience into the action at two special events in December. The first is the annual Winter Concert on Sunday, December 9 at 3:00 p.m., when the chorus and Music Director Jamie Kirsch hail the season with works by Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, and Jonathan Dove at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The Britten work, Saint Nicolas (see calendar item), includes hymns sung by the concert audience. A week later, on December 16 at 3 p.m., chorus and audience team up again in a free sing-along of George Frideric Handel’s Messiah (see calendar item) at St. Bartholomew’s Church on Harvard Street. Britten’s Saint Nicolas (1948), a cantata for soloist, orchestra, chorus, and children’s chorus, is a highlight of the December 9 concert. The work was composed for the centennial celebration of Lancing College in Sussex, England. The libretto by Eric Crozier recounts legends from the life of Saint Nicolas, fourth-century Bishop of Myra and the forerunner of our Santa Claus. Featured performers are Lawrence Jones (tenor), as Saint Nicolas, and the South Hadley Children’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Catharine Melhorn... read more
November 18, 2012 - 10:20pm Handel's Messiah: Free Singalong with Cambridge Community ChorusJamie Kirsch, Music DirectorSunday, December 16, 2012   3 - 6 p.m.St. Bartholomew's Episcopal Church237 Harvard Street, Cambridge The event is free, and scores will be available for those who don't bring their own. Doors open at 2:30; seating is limited, so it's a good idea to come early. St. Bartholomew's is near the corner of Harvard Street and Prospect Street, and a short walk from the Central Square MBTA station. For more information visit our website or call (617) 517-3169. To receive updates on this and on future chorus events, “like” us on Facebook. From Susan Turner for Cambridge Community Chorus --------------------------------- Photo by Paulo Ordoveza (brownpau) via Creative Commons on Flickr read more
November 16, 2012 - 1:37pm The Cambridge Community Chorus invites you to celebrate the season with works by Benjamin Britten, Felix Mendelssohn, and Jonathan Dove, on Sunday, December 9, 3:00 p.m. at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium. The focal point of the concert will be Benjamin Britten’s Saint Nicolas, a cantata for soloist, orchestra, chorus, and children’s chorus (1948). Written for the centennial celebration of Lancing College in Sussex, England, the piece blends Britten’s distinctive musical style with Eric Crozier’s libretto to present a vivid picture of legends and myths surrounding the 4th century saint. As shown in the stained glass window above, he is credited with saving three students threatened by a wicked innkeeper. The performance features Lawrence Jones (tenor) as Saint Nicolas and the South Hadley Children’s Chorus conducted by Dr. Catharine Melhorn. Two other compelling pieces round out the concert: Jonathan Dove’s spirited Ring Out, Wild Bells (2000) and Felix Mendelssohn’s lyrical Jesu, Meine Freude (1828). Based on the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson, "Ring Out" features a double chorus and virtuoso piano accompaniment of rich, polyphonic layering. By contrast, Mendelssohn drew inspiration... read more
November 2, 2012 - 9:24pm Photo, above: Aaron Ladd #151 and Cullen Roberts #7519 came in first and second, with Brian Klein #7505 (photo, left, in orange suit) close behind them in the October 28 Superhero 5K Run/Walk in Cambridge. The three are already ahead; they have gone around Central Square and are headed back along Massachusetts Avenue to Pacific Park. Runners in the background above are going the opposite way because they haven't circled downtown yet. The event is organized by Have2Run Productions of Boston. Everybody involved felt super lucky to miss the onset of Hurricane Sandy, which was already shutting down the city for the following day. The three fastest runners in Cambridge’s 4th Annual Superhero 5K race on Sunday, October 28 were: - Aaron Ladd of Lexington, with a total time of 16:49.9 (pace 5:24 per mile) - Cullen Roberts of Boston, with a time of 16:57.2 (pace 5:27/M) - Brian Klein of Cambridge, with a time of 17:07.2 (pace 5:30/M) The three top finishers for women were: - Natalia Gaerlan of Cambridge, with a time of 18:57.7 (pace 6:06/per mile) - Amanda Watters of Medford, 19:47.2 (pace 6:22/M) - Emma Payne of Cambridge, 19:48.7 (pace 6:22/M) Superhero 5K Race Takes Off: Cambridge,... read more
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 18, 2012 - 12:38pm Photo: a Central Square scene from the 2011 Superhero race. The Fourth Annual Superhero 5K Run/Walk starts at 10 a.m. Sunday, October 28 in Pacific Park, located on Sidney Street between Pacific and Tudor in Cambridge. The event is produced by Have2Run of Boston. On-line registrations are now closed. Limited day-of-race registration: $35 Individual; $70 for Hero vs. Villain pairs; $120 for Fantastic 4; $200 for Magnificent 7. Details at http://www.have2run.com/SuperheroRaceInfo.html. Runners will circle Central Square and return to park for finish line, reception and party. In addition to recognition for race winners there are cash prizes for costumes in several categories: Best Male; Best Female; Two-Person team (Hero vs. Villain); Fantastic 4 team; and Magnificent 7 team. This fun family event welcomes observers in costume as well as runners. Entry to the park is free, and so is a 50-yard dash for kids under 10, which starts at 9:40 a.m. in the park, just before the main event; parents can sign kids up for the dash on the day of the race. The Halloween Superhero Run/Walk benefits On The Rise, Inc., a Cambridge nonprofit day program that provides safety, community, and... 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 24, 2012 - 12:22pm Royal Sonesta Hotel, 40 Edwin Land Boulevard, Cambridge Event Chair: Denise Jillson, Executive Director of the Harvard Square Business Association The dinner is a benefit for On The Rise, Inc., a day program of assistance for homeless women and women in crisis. On The Rise is located at 341 Broadway in Cambridge; it serves women from Cambridge, Somerville, and Greater Boston.----------------------- Menu: classic filet mignon with pinot noir reduction sauce and onion strings, served with mushroom risotto, asparagus, and tinker bell peppers; OR a Vegan–sweet chili and soy tofu entrée with panko crusted sweet potato and eggplant on basmati rice with ultimate greens and wasabi ginger drizzle. Discounted event parking at the hotel: $10. Parking across the street at Cambridge Side Galleria: $4 after 5pm. Information: Jennifer Tsolas at 617-497-5757; jennifer.tsolas@ontherise.org. 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

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