Trash boom and volunteers keep Malden River cleaner

By  Karen Buck “Welcome to my office,” I recently told Malden city councilors and officials when I took them on a canoe tour of the Malden River, a waterway I cherish. I was happy to tell them that, thanks to the installation of a trash boom on the river and the hard work of volunteers, “my office” was getting cleaner. Consider the math: Since midsummer, the Trash Free Malden River Project, funded by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust (MET), has recruited 74 volunteers who donated 316 hours for clean up. We collected 1,120 single use plastic bottles, 976 alcoholic “nips,” 57 pounds of dry polystrene (Styrofoam), and 300 pounds of miscellaneous trash from the river. Some of this trash would have flowed down the Malden River into the Mystic River and may have continued into the Boston Harbor. Some of this trash would have been caught by the vegetation along the shoreline, disrupting the balance of nature. Without any cleanups, all of the plastic trash would have degraded into microplastics in the water, ruining our ecosystem […]


Cruising and Cleaning the Malden River

, By Karen Buck Photos by Anne D’Urso Rose and Kelsey Menon On the eve of the 2018 Autumnal Equinox during the mystical moment of twilight, two launch boats from the Gentle Giants Rowing Club (GGRC), towed 10 canoes from the Blessing of the Bay up the Malden River. Aboard were Pastor Edwin Menon of Highrock Malden Church and his wife, Kelsey Menon. They were preparing for what would be one of the largest community cleanups in Malden River’s recent history on the next day. The mostly obedient canoes snaked behind the motor boats as Rich Whelan of GGRC  told stories of his youth teams traversing  the Mystic River and the Malden River. The return trip to the Blessing of the Bay Boathouse was under a waxing gibbous moon and guided by city lights. At the end of the ride, Menon said, “Now, I really know why you love this river.” By 8:15 a.m., Sept. 22, more than 71 people mingled in the parking lot of 188 Commercial St. in Malden. The group was organized by the Menons. […]


Bike, Zip and More: How Malden can share the road for smarter transportation 

This is another in a series exploring the future of  development in Malden. Read part one, two and three here.  By Karen Buck Can the United States break its addiction to automobiles? Many Americans have, in part by turning to that trusty two-wheel vehicle — the bicycle. The Boston area, in fact, has been in love with biking since 1877. Today, many cities, particularly in Europe, have made a push for bike-friendly communities.  Some areas are turning to  bike-sharing programs and some even see this as a great investment opportunity. During the fall of 2017, the City of Malden instituted a pilot bike share program by allowing two bike share companies, LimeBike and Ofo, to trial their bike-system in Malden. Shortly thereafter, our city was punctuated by 200 lime green and 200 yellow bikes. Why a bike share? Many Malden residents don’t own bicycles due to lack of storage or the ability to maintain personal bikes.  Many bike share programs, such as Hubway Bikeshare in Boston, offer to municipalities docks of bikes at around $40,000 per dock. LimeBike and […]


Can Malden’s Transit Woes Be Eased with Smart Planning?

This is the third in a series for Neighborhood View exploring the future of  development in Malden. See part one and part two.  By Karen Buck Social media encourages us to share — share our photos, share our posts, and share our favorite memes. Social media connects us. What about social transit? What about sharing the road?   As our cities expand and the population grows,  many Americans are questioning a life centered on the automobile. In 2017, drivers in the Boston area spent an average of 60 hours in traffic during peak periods, according to an annual scorecard from the transportation analytics firm INRIX, as reported by WBUR. That makes Boston the seventh-most congested urban area in the country. (Los Angeles, at an average of 102 hours in traffic , and New York City, at 91 hours,  top the gridlock list.) Consider this:  Millennium Partners is proposing a $100 million gondola to fly workers over the clogged streets of the Seaport. Yet many believe that easing transportation congestion may not require flying cars. The concept of […]


City Nature Challenge shows Mother Nature isn’t camera shy

By Karen Buck The Malden River showed off its natural attributes on April 29 as Malden and Medford residents took on the worldwide City Nature Challenge, a citizen-scientist contest that included 65 participating cities in 17 countries and five continents. The Friends of the Malden River were joined by National Park Service Ranger Andrew Petite de Manage, a naturalist with a background in urban planning and a ranger on the Boston Harbor Island, to document plants, animals and birds found in our area. As part of the City Nature Challenge from April 27- April 30, urban residents photographed wildlife in their surroundings.  Yes, our urban environments are full of wildlife and all kind of surprises that show biodiversity. They used iNaturalist, a free application for cell phones, which uses photo recognition software to identify what they discovered. If the subject can’t be identifed, it will be reviewed by one of the thousands of naturalists who work with the application. This information is entered into a database which is used by scientists around the world to determine […]


Malden residents willing to go green for green.

By Karen Buck Malden residents not only want more open space but a city survey indicates they are willing to open their wallets to help. The Open Land and Recreation Survey was presented  by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and Malden officials in a May 3 public forum at the Malden YMCA. The survey  is another step in a process that began in January. That’s when Mayor Gary Christenson announced the creation of an 11-member committee to assist the MAPC in updating the city’s Open Space and Recreation Plan (OSRP). The plan was last updated in 2009 and covered the period of 2009-2016. The committee was tasked with determining the City’s park and recreational assets and gathering feedback to help guide the City in its future actions regarding open space and recreation planning. From January to Mid-April, an Open Space and Recreation Plan survey was posted on the city’s website and promoted through social media, local community groups, youth sports, and word of mouth.  Additionally, two public forums were held for comments, one in March […]


What will be the future landscape of Malden?

What will  the city of Malden look like in 10 years? The city and its citizens are making decisions today that could shape the city for years to come. They are continuing a process that began in November of 2015 and was explored in a study done by the non-profit group, the  Urban Land Institute, in June, 2015. Since January of 2017,  Malden residents have been working with Malden city officials to evaluate current zoning, the moratorium on new construction, green spaces, and recreation space. Residents have submitted surveys and attended public forums.  In March, the Community Opportunities Group, Inc., a Boston consulting firm, released a Growth Management Study for the city of Malden based on  the surveys, public meetings, and data provided by various department heads of the city of Malden.   This is a fact finding study with a public engagement process. Concurrently, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council has been working with an 11-member committee and the Malden Redevelopment Authority to update of the existing 2009 Open Space and Recreation Plan.  The committee is comprised of […]


Maldonians take part in Boston Women’s March

The day after the inauguration, Maldonians recognized each other as they traveled the subway to congregate with an estimated crowd of 175,000 at Boston Common followed by a march for unity, in protest of the new president and anticipated policy changes. On Jan. 21, 2017, many Maldonians rallied at the Boston Women’s March for America, representing their families and community groups.  People packed the MBTA Orange Line cars at Oak Grove and Malden Center.  They admired each other’s signs, took photos, shared smiles and geared up for the day. On the train platform, Helen Weitz said she was there to march against President Donald Trump’s disrespect towards women and other cultures.  She expressed shock at the electoral results and that attending the march was for self-healing. Maria David, another protester, agreed with Weitz’s comments. “I don’t agree with his politics or rhetoric. That has angered me.  But, I don’t want to be angry.  I want to move past that. I am hoping that this march helps us to unite and become more of a healing […]


Malden High School welcomes Principal Ted Lombardi

During the early spring of 2015, Lawrence High School Principal Ted Lombardi was strolling down his school’s empty hallway when his phone received a SchoolSpring alert of a high school principal opening. Lombardi appreciated these alerts not as a job search, but as an administrator’s news feed of job transitions in the state. This alert plucked a familiar chord since Lombardi vaguely knew Malden High School’s Principal Dana Brown.   Lombardi flagged a fellow educator who knew the Malden School District very well.  “Did you know that Dana Brown is leaving Malden High School?” The quick reply, “yes, he decided last year”, resonated with Lombardi. Lombardi continued on for another thirty feet down the hallway, when he heard the fellow educator banter,  “You are going to apply for that position, right?” Lombardi stopped in his tracks and spun around,“I don’t know. I haven’t updated my resume in a decade.” Lombardi thought to himself, “ I love Lawrence and plan to continue working here for years.” Lombardi has been teaching or leading at the Lawrence Humanities […]


Somerville’s Groundwork spreads its roots in Malden

I dash into the Cha Shu Coffee and Bubble Tea shop on Summer Street to meet Clay Larson of Groundwork Somerville and Lawrence and the Bike to the Sea Organization. Rush is playing in the background. The lyrics of Natural Science spin in my head. Wheels within wheels In a spiral array A pattern so grand And complex Time after time We lose sight of the way Our causes can’t see Their effects We cupped our coffee to warm our hands, kicked back in comfy chairs and talked. The Orange Line brought Clay and his wife, Naomi to Malden in 1997. From this vantage point, they have loved the contrast of venturing in the nearby woods of the Fells to frequent Malden downtown jaunts. Larson smiles, “We liked the downtown area and we wanted a walkable urban environment. We are happy that seventeen years later Malden Center is becoming a destination. And now we have a coffee shop that serves great lattes, just a five minute walk from our house!” Larson reflects, “Changing city hall is […]