July/August 2011 Editors Note

Ever since Somerville Scout launched in early 2009, our readers and advertisers have told us: We love the magazine. We just wish it came out more often.

Starting this issue, you’ll see a whole lot more of us. After nine editions as a quarterly, we’ve gone bimonthly. Now you’ll get your Scout six times a year instead of four. We have a sharp new logo and a sleek, redesigned interior. We’d like to thank our partners for making our two-plus years in Somerville more special than we ever could’ve imagined.

While our look and our frequency have changed, there’s plenty that hasn’t. We still feature the same mix of upbeat content and in-depth reporting. In this issue, Carmen Russell explores the campaign finances of every Alderman (p. 13). When he began looking into the matter, Carmen wasn’t sure what he’d discover. What he found was a humorous, incisive window to the world of local politics. Paired with his second story – an analysis of Somerville’s population based on the 2010 census (p. 26) – Carmen’s articles provide a glimpse of the city that’s both familiar and surprising.

Our cover story is Nancy Bernhard’s feature on Blanca Alcaraz (p. 18). Alcaraz is the founder of the Be in Union yoga studio (11b Bow St) and a lieutenant with Engine 3 of the Somerville Fire Department (only the second female lieutenant in its history). She is also a multilingual immigrant and a working parent. A migrant worker as a young girl, she came to Somerville in 1992 to pursue her PhD at Harvard. Nearly 20 years later, she’s still here. If you’re looking for inspiration – vocational and otherwise – we suggest you read her story.

Had she stayed at Harvard, Alcaraz would’ve written her dissertation on Emile Zola’s La Faute de l’Abbé Mouret. Like many Somerville residents, she can appreciate a book store. We have the scoop on Ball Square’s new book store (The Book Shop, 694 Broadway) in our What’s New section (p. 28). As it happens, The Book Shop is only blocks from a sci-fi publisher of national renown. In fact, the imprint of the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA, 504 Medford St) has worked with literary legends Isaac Asimov, Neil Gaiman, Frank Herbert and George R. R. Martin. Writer Dan Kimmel has the NESFA story (p. 22), including a quote from the one and only Martin, whose Game of Thrones has titillated HBO viewers all spring.

If all that sounds too sobering for summer, fear not – we’ve got your good times covered with a visual roundup of outdoor biking activity. In his extensively researched story, Jason Rabin maps out the best routes to ride in Somerville (p. 15). There are trips here for all occasions: time with the kids, city tours, plain old exercise and getting out of town. Jason also asked the helpful folks at Ace Wheelworks (145 Elm St), Arc-en-ciel Bicycle Studio (21A Union Sq), Park Sales Bike Shop (510 Somerville Ave), Paramount Bicycle (104 Bristol Rd) and Independent Fabrication (86 Joy St) how best to prepare your bikes – and your body – for the rides. –Ilan Mochari

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