The City’s Chelsea Prospers initiative has been working behind the scenes for months – often hinting that something fun is coming – and last week they unveiled the Chelsea Night Market, the newest, biggest plan yet to enliven the downtown district.
Director Mimi Graney has been working with Chelsea native Edwardo Chacon, of Jukebox Events, to come up with a summer gathering in the parking lot behind the Chelsea Walk – a ‘Night Market’ that would take place five times on Saturdays in the summer.
“This is going to be a reflection of the City in its first year,” said Graney. “As it grows more popular, you’re going to see the abutting cities like East Boston, Everett and Revere coming. We want vendors here to be Chelsea residents. We want artists and performers to be Chelsea residents. We do want to mix it up too. The Night Market is for the City of Chelsea and for residents.”
The idea was also championed during a Chelsea Prospers meeting on Feb. 6 by Edwardo Chacon. Chacon grew up in Chelsea and graduated from Chelsea High School. After that, he went to college in Florida and then lived in Los Angeles for many years, doing corporate marketing events with big budgets.
And every time he returned to Chelsea, he said he could picture some sort of hip, fun market taking place in his hometown.
Now, having returned to Chelsea a year ago, he decided to try to help make it happen.
“I always came back and felt like something like I was doing elsewhere could really happen in Chelsea,” he said. “I would look at the city and just feel that Chelsea had the right atmosphere to do these things too and one year ago I moved back and felt like I had to try. My goal is to do the same things I was doing elsewhere in Chelsea. I feel Chelsea is a city that’s perfectly located for this and the people deserve it. They would love it and be filled with a sense of excitement.”
The layout of the event would be in the City parking lot behind the Chelsea Walk. There would be a stage for performances, vendor booths in the middle, places for food and an art installation in the back end. In the future, next year hopefully, the initiative hopes of have a beer garden in the back end. However, Graney said they discovered that the laws against public drinking are too strict and couldn’t be changed in time to accommodate this year’s market.
Many in the audience, however, were very excited about the idea of a beer garden and talked for some time about how to make it happen. However, Graney said it is out for this year, but she did say the enthusiasm in the room for a beer garden would help for changing the ordinances so next year one could be put in the mix.
Graney said they hope to have fire jugglers, creative lighting and artists of all kinds. The entertainment would vary, with the times for the market being from 7-10 p.m.
The tentative dates are June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 21, and Oct. 5.
The first one on June 8, Graney said, would have a graduation theme since the next day is graduation.
“It’s going to be a pre-celebration for the high school senior class,” she said. “We have baby pictures of all of the kids and an artist is creating a collage . There will be performers from the class and they are really going to be our ambassadors.”
Vendors would be selling new and used items, and it would be highly curated and very unique. There would also be service oriented vendors like henna tattoo and chair massage. The food would be hot and ready to eat street food using BBQ grills and such instead of food trucks.
“It would be scaled for an intimate, community oriented atmosphere,” read the literature.
So much happens within every municipality that needs to be shared: upcoming events, new initiatives, important updates, celebrations of success. And there’s myriad ways in which each department of City Hall interfaces with the public in routine ways, from applications for parking permits to business licenses, to simple correspondence to the uniforms of Department of Public Work employees repairing the streets. Inherent in all of this communication is a message about how the municipality functions. Each represents an opportunity to say something about the City of Chelsea itself.The new Chelsea City Seal features a more appropriate figure and a consistent design.
To make the most of these opportunities, the City of Chelsea has just released a Style Guide that details the specific graphic style for all communications from the ten City Hall departments and nearly twenty boards and commissions. The goal of the effort is to establish a consistent brand identity that’s professional, clear, and attractive. The guide details typography, colors, photography and formatting that together create a distinctive look for City Hall’s print and digital materials. For administrative staff at City Hall, a suite of templates facilitate the quick creation of regularly needed materials within the established style. The refreshed documents include letterhead and envelopes, agendas and minutes, business cards and brochures, forms and flyers, reports and PowerPoint slide decks.
The underlying goal of the project is that quality, consistent design will demonstrate a unified voice whenever expressed by an agent of Chelsea’s city offices. Quality design demonstrates competence and professionalism. Through a clear graphic identity the public will be able to better recognize services provided by municipal government.
Over the past eight months, a team of City Hall staff representing a variety of departments worked with design consultant, Catherine Headen, to develop the guide. After reviews, working sessions and a special event with City Hall staff the completed Guide and templates are formally released this week.
A major aspect of the work was refining of the City Seal. Over the decades numerous changes had led to an evolution of the design, drifting the illustration away from the original as detailed in the banner hanging Chelsea’s City Council Chambers. When the team began, nearly a dozen different images were in use as a City Seal across municipal departments. The design details had changed so significantly that the group was surprised to discover lost elements prescribed within the City Charter: “The following shall be the device of the corporate seal of the city: A representation within a circle of a shield surmounted by a star, the shield bearing upon it the representation of an American Indian chief and wigwams; at the right of the shield, a sailboat such as was formerly used for ferriage; at the left of the shield, a view of the city and a steam ferryboat; under the shield, the word “Winnisimmet;” around the shield, the words “Chelsea, settled 1624; a Town 1739; a City 1857.”
The unveiling of the new look with take place over time. City staff will continue to use the print materials already on hand but will use the new templates for all their future materials. The new style is intended for the main City Hall departments and doesn’t extend to the City’s Police and Fire departments or to the schools.
The pupusa is a curious delicacy – part tortilla, part cheese – and full of ‘yum.’
In Chelsea, it is an art form and nearly a dozen restaurants in the city have their own brand and take on the pupusa, and this spring, the Chelsea Prospers initiative will hold a community party dedicated for the art of the pupusa.
Mimi Graney and Edwardo Chacon unveiled the idea on Feb. 6 during a meeting of the Chelsea Prospers committee, and said it will be the opening salvo in a season that will include the recently-announced Chelsea Night Market.
“We have been reaching out to all the local restaurants, and we have seven on board so far,” said Chacon. “A lot were surprised at first. They were very surprised the City was doing this. The reaction was pretty positive though and we will have a lot of participation.”
The idea will be to bring together the best pupusa makers in the city to vie for the 2019 Pupusa Champion of Chelsea. The event will take place a Emiliano’s Fiesta and will be an inside event.
There will be judges and audience voting on who makes the best pupusa, and the City would take hints from El Santaneco Restaurant, which has a pupusa-eating contest every November.
There would also be awards for the best salsa and the most creative vendor display at the event.
Graney said they would also have a booth dedicated to the history and the culture of the pupusa, and the center of the room would feature a demonstration on how to make homemade pupusas.
An idea has been floated out to have the Police Department and Fire Department engage in a pupusa-eating contest at the fiesta, but that is still up in the air.
“The idea is to bring the community around this special food item, whether it’s a contest or an event,” said Chacon. “We want them to come out with their family and enjoy their city.”
The operators working the vertical lift on the Chelsea Street Bridge Feb. 7 have been suspended at the behest of MassDOT after a couple in a vehicle got trapped on the bridge and lifted all the way to the top.
On Feb. 7, MassDOT said, a vehicle got caught between the safety gates on the deck of the bridge. Due to apparently not following procedures, the lift operators then lifted the bridge all the way to the top with the couple still on the deck in their car.
On Friday, Feb. 8, after learning of this incident, MassDOT directed the contractor responsible for operating the Chelsea Street Bridge to suspend until further notice the operators who were on duty on Thursday evening, Feb. 7.
“While fortunately no one was injured in this incident, the failure of operators to act according to safety procedures warranted their immediate suspension,” said a MassDOT spokesman.
MassDOT said it is unaware of any other instance of a vehicle being between the safety gates when the Chelsea Street Bridge has been raised and is continuing to investigate how this could have occurred on February 7.
A parking study asked for by the City Council has had few interested takers, and the only bid on the study has come in at an exorbitant $210,000.
The Council called for a parking study to be done for the entire City late last year, and the City began work on getting a consultant in place through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.
However, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there was only one bidder, Howard Stein Hudson (HSH), and they only bid on a portion of the city rather than the entire city.
“HSH believes that a parking study encompassing the entire City of Chelsea will be too big and likely too expensive of an undertaking,” wrote Ambrosino. “Instead, HSH is proposing that, in addition to the downtown, it would identify only a few other target neighborhoods for study. I don’t know if the Council would be satisfied with that limitation.”
The other piece of the puzzle is the cost.
Ambrosino said the cost of HSH’s limited proposal was $210,780.
“That is much more than we anticipated, and I don’t know if the Council is prepared to expend that sum,” he wrote.
Ambrosino called for the Council to convene subcommittee to talk about next steps. He said they could accept the expensive proposal from HSH, or they could re-big the project and hope to get more proposals.
A date is being set for the committee meeting.
•City Manager Tom Ambrosino is recommending against taking the trash collection operations in-house, a proposal floated by the Council last month.
He said the City’s Department of Public Works had made some initial calculations that showed it would be about the same costs to bring it in-house as it would be to continue using its contractor, Russel Disposal.
“The (figures) make clear that there are no obvious savings by taking the work in-house,” he wrote. “Our best estimate is that annual costs would probably be somewhat greater than what we pay to Russell.”
However, many of the concerns of the Council, including Councilor Enio Lopez, came from the mish-mash quality of pickup.
Ambrosino said he understood those concerns, but didn’t believe taking the operations in-house would improve the mistakes that are made.
“It is my opinion that, given the nature of the trash business, where litter, rough handling of barrels and occasional missed deliveries are inevitable no matter who is performing the work, bringing this work in-house would not demonstrably improve quality, at least not to the extent where any improvement would be noticeable to our residents.”
He said he would not recommend any change.
However, he did not close the door on taking other functions in-house.
He said he isn’t opposed to bringing things like some water and sewer work back in-house.
“I feel strongly that we should probably take in-house certain water, sewer and drainage work that we currently outsource,” he said. “But, in the case of that utility work, I can definitively show that the City will save substantial money doing the work ourselves, and I do believe the quality will be a noticeable improvement to our residents.”
However, he said he doesn’t believe the same to be true for the trash realm.
Julio Henriquez was a youth baseball phenom growing up in Chelsea. His skills were so advanced that he became a starting varsity player at Chelsea High as an eighth grader. He played one more year of varsity baseball before he chose not to continue his career.Julio and Gina Henriquez, with their son, Jordan, at the first anniversary celebration of The Dugout baseball training facility in Lynn.
Every day I regret that decision,” said Henriquez. “I’m not looking for excuses, but I didn’t have anybody driving me to continue playing the game.”
Henriquez tells that story of a dream unfulfilled to the many baseball players who train at The Dugout, his baseball facility located at 71 Linden St., Suite 202B, in Lynn. The Dugout is celebrating its first anniversary this month. Committed to helping players improve and grow as baseball players and student-athletes, the Dugout’s mission is: Act On Your Dream.
“We’re here to help players take their game to the next level,” said Henriquez. “It’s been a great first year. I feel I’ve grown as a businessman, a trainer, and a mentor. I’m inspired by what we’ve accomplished here, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”
Henriquez and his coaching staff offer individualized and group instruction to youth baseball players. They give hitting lessons in the batting cages, along with pitching, fielding, and catching clinics.
Henriquez has been a coach himself for 20 years. His oldest son, Jovan, played in the Malden Little League and for the Boston Astros before Julio founded the Angel Baseball Giants travel teams that have won two state championships. The teams compete in the annual Lou Tompkins Tournament of Champions.
Players from Lynn, other local communities, and as far away as Portsmouth (N.H.) have been traveling to the Dugout in preparation for the 2019 baseball season. In addition to the baseball skills clinics, there are also strength, agility, and conditioning sessions.
“I’m happy to say we’re getting a lot of Lynn’s high school baseball players training here,” said Henriquez. “They also love my Manimal Camp (for strength and conditioning).”
Jason Harper, a former independent league baseball player, is the pitching coach at the Dugout. Other coaches are Dustin Voss and Sharom Urdaneta.
Henriquez said the Dugout is expanding its instructional program to include softball. He is in the process of hiring a pitching coach.
The reviews from parents have been positive. Henriquez is optimistic about the increasing enrollment at the facility and proud of the players’ improvement in all facets of their game.
“The athletes tell me they love being in a baseball environment during the winter,” said Henriquez. “One player told me, ‘when I walk in to this space, it’s like it has its own heartbeat.’”
One of the well-known local athletes who works out at the Dugout is Ryan January of Swampscott, a player in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
The Chelsea Cultural Council has announced the awarding of grants totalling $20,809 to 18 local artists, schools and cultural organizations.
The grants were awarded from a pool of funds distributed to Chelsea by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency that supports public programs and educational activities in the arts, sciences, and humanities.
“We are very grateful to Governor Baker and the Legislature for their continued support of the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the funding that directly benefits cultural activities here in Chelsea, said Marlene Jennings Chair. Our city has its own unique identity and in these sponsored events we get to really experience the spirit of Chelsea.”
Awardees for this year are:
•Browne Middle School: Speaker – Lost Boy of Sudan, $250
•Chelsea Black Community: Black History Month, $1,800
•Chelsea Community Connections: Chelsea Fun Bus, $1,000
•Chelsea Public Library: A Universe of Stories, $1,500
•Clark Avenue Middle School: Zumix Mini-Series, $979
•Comite de Hondurenos Unidos de MA: Central American Parade & Cultural Festival, $1,500
•Eliza Gagnon: Chelsea Zone Time Map, $800
•Ellen Rovner: The Chelsea Gateway Project, $720
•Governor Bellingham-Cary House Association: Photographic Documentation Project, $959
•GreenRoots: Bringing Community to Revel at the Revitalized ChelseaWalk, $800
•Lewis Latimer Society & Museum: Chelsea Science Festival, $800
•MUSIC Dance.edu: Hip Hop Around the World, $380
•Stacy Amaral: We Are Here/ Aqui Estamos, $600
•TheatreZone, Inc. DBA, Apollinaire Theatre Company: Apollinaire in the Park 2019, $1,500
•The Musary, JRP Inc.: Musical instruments Lending Acquisitions, $800
•Veronica Robles: Serenara a Chelsea by Veronica Robles Female Mariachi, $1,500
•Walnut Street Synagogue: A Photo Documentary of Chelsea Life in the 1970’s, $1,800
The Chelsea Cultural Council (CCC) has also set aside an additional $3,121 to complete a public mural project in collaboration with Chelsea Public School Art Department that began in the fall of 2018. The CCC is one of 329 local councils that serve every city and town in the state. The state legislature provides an annual appropriation to the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which then allocates funds to each local council. Decisions, about which activities to support, are made at the community level by the council.
The members of the Chelsea Cultural Council are: Marlene Jennings, Chair; Dakeya Christmas, Co-Chair; Devra Sari Zabot, Recorder; Juliana Borgiani, Treasurer; Sharlene McLean, Angelina McCoy, and Carolina Anzola. The CCC will seek applications again this fall. CCC Guidelines will be available online as well as the 2020 application beginning Sept. 1, 2019 at www.mass-culture.org/chelsea.
The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Oct. 15.
Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.
Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.
“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.
One of the first orders of business was selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”
“I think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.
Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the Cottage Park Yacht Club.
Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop their home.
There have been some noticeable changes made in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other state-of-the-art equipment.
Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental care and hospital-based dental care.
“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the area,” said Dr. Maarouf.
She became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of having her own practice.
“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility, so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”
Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.
“We do a variety of fillings, crowns, fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework, implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals and implant placement.”
Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.
She has begun a series of educational visits to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care. “Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”
Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7 p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).
And she is also expanding her knowledge, keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars throughout the country.”
Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop and excited about her future here.
“There are challenges that you don’t anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf concluded.
For the first time, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are combining forces to conduct a comprehensive regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and design a Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP). Major hospitals, along with health centers, human services providers and non-profits that serve area residents, are working with municipal leaders, health departments and the boards of health of each community to develop the plan. Residents of the three communities are being urged to go online and fill out a survey that asks about local health issues and other aspects of community life.
The effort is being co-coordinated by the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative and the Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) with the ultimate goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent health needs faced by each community and the region. Such assessments are often used to apply for targeted funding to help address community needs.
Every three years, most hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment to meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General also requires such a report and is encouraging regional collaboration among stakeholders, including among healthcare systems who share the same service areas. “This is one of the first regional assessments of its type in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Stone, Director of the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative. “Mayor Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison realize that public health conditions don’t respect borders, and, working together we can solve some of our health challenges more effectively.”
“The North Suffolk Community Health Needs Assessment is critical for the City of Chelsea,” said City Manager Ambrosino. “Not only will it provide the information necessary for Chelsea to better understand our residents’ public health needs, but it will also enable us to properly prioritize resources to better address those needs. We encourage all of our residents to participate in upcoming surveys, forums and interviews.”
The collaborators have set an ambitious timeline. The CHNA and CHIP will be completed by Sept. 30, 2019, and will result in a guide for a three-year community health improvement plan that all providers can use. The process includes intensive data collection–hundreds of resident surveys, interviews and focus groups as well as collecting data from other agencies such as the MA Department of Public Health and the US Census.
A website has been created, www.northsuffolkassessment.org, to provide information to anyone who may be interested. People who live or work in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are encouraged to complete a survey. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the languages most frequently spoken in the communities.