Archive for the 'Living Here' Category

Christmas Tree Recycling

Xmas tree with champWondering how to dispose of your Christmas tree?  The best option is to recycle your tree. Here’s information about Christmas tree recycling and pickup in local towns.  Timeliness is important – most towns have a short schedule for Christmas tree pickup. 

**This post was written in 2009. Here’s info about Christmas tree recyling in 2012.  (Where does the time go?!)

Trees left for recycling must be bare – free of tinsel, not bagged, and without a stand attached.

Wreaths and garlands are wrapped in wire and cannot be left for mulch pickup.  Wreaths and garlands should be disposed of with your trash.


Christmas Tree Pickup in Cambridge

Cambridge recycled over 4700 trees last year.  Trees are chipped and spread as mulch in City landscaping projects.

Cambridge will pick up trees for mulching on your regular trash and recycle day from December 28th to January 8, 2010.


Somerville Christmas Tree Recycling

Somerville picks up trees for mulching during January.  After January trees that are left out will be picked up as regular trash.  For more information call the Somerville DPW at 617-666-3311.


Arlington Christmas Tree Pickup Schedule 

Leave your Christmas tree in Arlington curbside for recycling on your regular trash day during the week of January 11 to 15, 2010. 


Watertown Christmas Tree Recylcing

Xmas trees will be picked up curbside during January and chipped for recycling.  Call the Watertown DPW at 617-972-6420 for more information.


 Medford Christmas Tree Disposal

In Medford you can put your tree on the curb on your regular trash pickup day.  Supposedly Waste Management brings trees to a compost facility. 


Belmont Christmas Tree Pickup

Unfortunately in Belmont trees are left out with the trash and are not recylced. 


Don’t see your Massachusetts town listed here or missed your local Christmas tree recycling pickup?  Here’s a link to a local landscaping company that accepts organic materials for dropoff.  I’m not sure of costs entailed – and they sell mulch too – call Landscape Express in Woburn at 781-933-3818 for more info.

It’s really too bad that some towns don’t turn Christmas trees into compost.  Some Boy Scout troops are starting tree pickup projects where, for a small donation, Scouts will come by and pick up trees for recycling.  If you can’t get  your town on board with turning trees into mulch perhaps a project by the Boy Scouts would be well received.

Categories: Living Here
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Cambridge Snow Hotline

unshoveled sidewalkWith snow in the forecast it’s time to remind everybody about one of my favorite Cambridge services – the Snow Hotline.

Cambridge homeowners are required to shovel the sidewalks in front of their properties.  Even if you weren’t liable for a $50 per day fine it’s simply the neighborly thing to do! 

Cambridge ordinances require that  property owners must remove snow from all sidewalks within 12 hours after snow stops falling in the daytime or by 1 pm when snow has fallen during the night.  Ice must be removed or melted within six hours of the time ice forms.

Nothing is more aggravating than navigating an icy, snowy stretch where a homeowner or business has left the sidewalk unshoveled. 

So turn ’em in!

The phone hotline and the online form are both anonymous.

The Cambridge snow hotline is 617-349-4903.  Or you can report an uncleared Cambridge sidewalk online.


Photo by TheeErin

Categories: Living Here
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Best Places To Buy A Christmas Tree Near Cambridge

Best Places to Buy a Christmas Tree Near Cambridge   Judging from all the trees I saw on car rooftops this weekend many people have already bought their tree. But if you’re still looking for that perfect Christmas tree here are a couple of my favorite places.

Everybody wants a bushy Christmas tree - Walgreen's in Arlington

Everybody wants a bushy Christmas tree - Walgreen's in Arlington

The Boy Scouts have a lot at the corner of Cameron Ave and Mass Ave in Cambridge.  They used to set up at the end of Day Street where Pemberton’s was eventually built.  They’ve lost that high profile site so I was glad to see they have some large signs directing people to this year’s location. They’re set up by the bike path behind the new apartments on Mass Ave next to the end of the streetcar line in North Cambridge.

There’s also a nice selection set up at the front of the Walgreen’s parking lot in Arlington center.  That’s their sign above- “bushy trees” – just what everybody is looking for. It’s the sign from 2009 – there’s a fancier version this year.  I can also attest that they sell very fragrant trees – and a Christmas tree that smells like a Christmas tree is high on my list for sure.

My tree came from “Bushy Trees” today. It is gorgeous. 

The Christmas tree lot at Walgreen’s is open seven days – Monday to Friday from 11 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9 am to 8 pm.

Last year my tree went up on December 24th. I’ve resolved to do better this year but time’s a fleeting.  See you at the tree lot!

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Primary Day In Massachusetts – Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009

Special Election Sign in Cambridge

Special Election Sign in Cambridge

It’s Primary Day in Massachusetts.  On Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009 voters in Massachusetts will go to the polls in the special primary to choose candidates to vie for the late Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat.

It’s disheartening that expectations for voter turnout are so low. Not only will our new Senator have large shoes to fill after Teddy Kennedy’s long and illustrious career but the seat has previously been held by

  • John F. Kennedy
  • Daniel Webster
  • John Quincy Adams

So – take a moment from your day and head to the polls.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

And don’t forget – the special state election is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19. 2010.  The deadline to register to vote in the Special Election is Dec. 30, 2009.

Categories: Living Here
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Turn Your Cambridge Yard Into a Wildlife Habitat

Certified Wildlife Habitat in Cambridge

Certified Wildlife Habitat in Cambridge


When I spotted this sign in the Agassiz neighborhood during our weekly tour of new Cambridge real estate listings I couldn’t help but be intrigued. How did this city yard become a Certified Wildlife Habitat?

Turns out it’s a program from the National Wildlife Federation, which I know best as the publishers of Ranger Rick, my brother’s favorite magazine when he was a kid and nature buff.

To qualify your yard – no matter how small – as a Certified Wildlife Habitat you’ll need:

  • Food sources
  • Water sources
  • Places for cover
  • Places to raise young
  • Sustainable gardening

Read more about the Certified Wildlife Habitat program.

It sounds like a fun and rewarding project for the whole family.  I’m planning on adding a bird bath to my yard as I work my way through the steps.

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TROMP – Cambridge Transportation Program

trompMaybe you noticed the TROMP banner outside Harvard Square and wondered what the heck is TROMP? I know I did when I spotted the button at right at Cambridge City Hall.  Turns out it’s a new Cambridge transportation program.

TROMP stands for Travel Responsibility Outreach and Mentoring Project. It’s a collaboration of city departments, local organizations and citizens. The aim of the year-long project is to educate all who travel in and through Cambridge – by foot, by bike, and by car – about how to do so responsibly.

Getting around Cambridge can be a challenge.  Jaywalking gets worse and worse, bicycles can be both a menace and a vulnerable target of careless or aggressive drivers, and when not stuck in traffic cars sometimes drive as though Cambridge’s streets are a raceway. Everybody’s got stories including my family – my dad was hit by a bike on the sidewalk, my mother knocked to the ground by a car in Porter Square.

Cambridge is always working on improving travel in the city. Traffic calming street modifications, marked bike lanes, newly modified crossing signals.  TROMP hopes “to alter the culture of traffic in Cambridge Massachusetts” according to the group’s website (hint: click the letters on their homepage) through four phases – orientation, education, warning and enforcement.  They’ll be meeting with community groups, talking to school kids, distributing flyers, and encouraging participation.  Let’s hope they’re successful.

Here’s a video about TROMP:

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New Cambridge Youth Center on Huron Ave

New Youth Center on Huron Avenue

New Youth Center on Huron Avenue

New Cambridge Youth Center  When my coworker and I drove by 680 Huron Ave – the VFW post across from Fresh Pond – we marveled at the dramatic renovation.  Sure seemed like an expensive redo for the VFW.

Turns out it’s the new Mayor Sheila Doyle Russell Youth and Community Center.  It was completed this June and programs began at the youth center in July.  Features of the new facility include:

  • Full size gym with an NCAA sized basketball court
  • Fitness room
  • Teaching kitchen
  • 20 station computer learning and homework center
  • Performance room with stage
  • Arts and crafts room
  • Community meeting room
  • Open lounge areas
The center is named for Sheila Doyle Russell, former Cambridge mayor and advocate for youth.

The center is named for Sheila Doyle Russell, former Cambridge mayor and advocate for youth.

Sure doesn’t resemble the youth center of my teens!  That building, now condos actually, was old, dark and unrenovated.  Its biggest claim to fame were the foosball tables.  And the lack of lights.

There’s a Dedication Ceremony for the new West Cambridge youth center scheduled for Friday, September 25, 2009 from 6 to 8 pm.  At the ceremony you’ll get a chance to view the permanent art installation by Michael Oatman, The Cantabridgians.  Oatman created video portraits of 23 West Cambridge residents that can be viewed on three large monitors on the second floor.  I remember seeing a flyer in Armando’s seeking subjects for the videos so it will be fun to see how it turned out.

The new West Cambridge Youth Center is located at 680 Huron Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138.

Categories: Area Events, Living Here
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Hazardous Waste Disposal in Cambridge

What to do with all these household chemicals?

What to do with all these household chemicals?

Several times a year the Cambridge DPW holds Hazardous Waste Days where Cambridge residents can bring household hazardous waste for disposal. 

I’m always impressed with the job the Public Works Department does during these collections.  Hazardous Waste Days are held at the National Guard Armory near Fresh Pond rotary on Concord Ave and are very well attended. 

The last collection was held in June and there isn’t another one scheduled until October 3, 2009.  What to do in the meantime?  If you’re moving and need to get rid of those old paint cans, the discarded tires in the garage, or the propane tank from the barbecue what’s the answer?

Well, luckily there is another option if you can’t wait until October.  The Minuteman Hazardous Products Regional Facility at 60 Hartwell Avenue in Lexington MA is open to residents from other towns for a fee.  In fact, some local towns have arrangements for residents’ use of the Lexington facility without charge.  Check the website for details.

Time to rethink our dependence on chemicals

Time to rethink our dependence on chemicals

Future collection days in Lexington:

  • Sunday, September 20, 2009
  • Saturday, October 17, 2009
  • Saturday, November 7, 2009

Be sure to check out both websites for directions on what to bring, how to bring it, and what not to bring.  Hazardous waste disposal is tricky – the more hoops you jump through the more you realize that the sign on the right sums it up – it’s a lot easier to not accumulate these hazardous chemicals to begin with.

Categories: Living Here

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