Thursday, May 23, 2024

City Council candidate Larry Ward, Eva Martin Blythe, executive director of the Central Square YWCA, and ink recycling manager Jim Cusack as Ward announces how a printer cartridge recycling program can benefit the YWCA.

Former city councillor and community leader Larry Ward is running for office again, he announced today. (Although of course his profile is already up as a candidate on the Cambridge Civic Journal.)

Ward joined the council by special election in February 2009, filling the seat Brian Murphy opened by leaving to work for the state. After getting 699 first-round votes in the elections two years earlier, 132 fewer than first runner-up for council Eddie Sullivan, he was the top choice in replacing Murphy, with 339 votes to Sullivan’s 112. Ward was defeated in a regular election in November 2009, though, and Leland Cheung joined the council.

Ward, a Cambridge resident for a quarter-century, has a bachelor’s degree and doctorate in counseling from Boston University and a master’s in education from the University of Maryland. He’s a parent, volunteer with youth soccer, basketball and the Peace Commission and works as a guidance counselor. But his latest project — launched six months ago — is a spent-ink cartridge recycling program, proceeds of which go to Cambridge Public Schools and local nonprofits. In a press release today he highlights the program’s benefits to the Cambridge YWCA.

It was in the e-mail bearing the program press release that he said, “Finally, I have decided to again run for City Council this fall,” acknowledging what many around City Hall have considered a foregone conclusion.

Ward hasn’t been as constant a presence in civic life as some other 2007 and 2009 council candidates; Minka vanBeuzekom and Charles Marquardt, who have long made clear their intentions to run this year, are frequent attendees and speakers at meetings ranging from council to Planning Board and environmental initiatives. James Williamson, who hasn’t said he is running again, also continues to be a frequent speaker on public issues.

Ward has been less visible in public meetings, although he hasn’t stopped working on community issues. Last year his program was responsible for recycling nearly 700 ink cartridges, redeemed for some $1,500 in school and art supplies that went to the Cambridge Community Center, Margaret Fuller House, Salvation Army, Massachusetts Avenue Baptist Church and Martin Luther King Jr., Peabody and Cambridgeport K-8 elementary schools, Ward said.

The money comes from local corporations donating spent cartridges for redemption at office supply stores. Each returned cartridge brings a $2 store credit, and the credits are used to buy arts and crafts supplies and school supplies to support local youth educational and recreational programs. Ward said he sought out small businesses for cartridge donations.

“This program would not be the success that it is without participation from key community-minded organizations and corporations, including InterSystems Software, the Central Square post office, Cubby Oil and the Picante Mexican restaurant in Central Square,” Ward said.

There’s also an environmental benefit, of course. Ink cartridges take more than 1,000 years to decompose in a landfill, he said.

Collection bins are in all the participating nonprofits and elementary schools, he said.  To donate a cartridge, one needs only to wrap it in a paper or plastic bag and place it into one of the collection bins.

This post took a significant amount of information from a press release.