Archive by category Uncategorized

Baker Visits CHS

Baker Visits CHS

Supt. Mary Bourque explaining CHS’s five-year vision during a panel discussion and visit from Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration last Weds., Sept. 5. Baker came to CHS to review and hear about Chelsea’s innovative college credit program in association with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC).

Read More

Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Chelsea Supporters Showed Resolve for Pressley from Day One

Boston City Councillor Ayanna Pressley enjoyed tremendous support in Chelsea from a wide array of residents and City officials in the Seventh Congressional District race.

Chelsea’s Saritin Rizzuto is shown on Sept. 4 at Ayanna Pressley’s
campaign watch party shortly after it was announced that Pressley won.

Pressley recorded one of the biggest upsets in Massachusetts political history when she defeated Congressman Mike Capuano in the Democratic Primary on Sept. 3, and nowhere did she find a warmer welcome than from supports in Chelsea. Here supporters here, in fact, were some of the earliest to join her campaign this year.

One of Pressley’s most visible supporters in Chelsea throughout the campaign was Saritin Rizzuto, a well-known community organizer.

Rizzuto organized the largest local fundraiser of the campaign when more than 180 supporters came to the Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway for a meet-and-greet with the candidate.

Pressley, who was introduced by Rizzuto at the event, did not disappoint her supporters, delivering a rousing, inspirational address that had the crowd on its feet cheering.

Rizzuto and Pressley have been friends for 15 years. They have worked together on various issues through the years. Rizzuto served as a board member at Casa Myrna and Pressley was very supportive of the organization that seeks solutions to end domestic and dating violence.

“Because I knew her background, I had seen her in action, and I had seen her be a fierce advocate for people, I wanted to be involved in her campaign for Congress,” said Rizzuto. “Ayanna asked for my help and I said, ‘I’m with you, 100 percent.’’’

Council President Damali Vidot was one of the first elected officials to endorse Pressley many months ago, and campaigned vigorously for her in Chelsea and beyond.

“I stood proudly with Ayanna as gatekeepers questioned her viability and intentions, from the beginning,” said Vidot. “It wasn’t just her impassioned speeches about real issues affecting us locally that drew me to her. It was the depth of understanding in which she spoke about Immigration, transit justice, and other inequities in the district. It didn’t take much convincing for people to join the A-Team. Our local grassroots efforts proved to be successful in drawing out more people than the last similar Congressional race in 2014, despite going up against establishment politicians  and organizations.”

Marisol Santiago was also a major force for Pressley in Chelsea, having worked on many campaigns in the past. She said Pressley gave everyone a choice, and also caused her to think about her community.

“Ayanna Pressley gave us a choice,” she said “This campaign was an opportunity to look closely at our shared values and ask ourselves what we could accomplish if we were to push ourselves further. Being complacent has never been an option, nor being a good vote was ever enough. Ayanna spoke to these truths and her campaign for Congress brought to the surface the deep differences between what people were used to and the push for more. Her voice amplified our resolve. Our organizing required us to ask these questions of ourselves and our communities.”

Rizzuto said Pressley’s experience as a councillor-at-large in Boston, coupled with the personal challenges she has confronted in her life, set a strong foundation for her run for the congressional seat.

“Ayanna can relate to the situation of people who have struggled, who have been homeless, who have victims of sexual assault,” said Rizzuto.

Rizzuto said the campaign event at Tu Casa in Chelsea drew a substantial crowd even though there was a last-minute change in venue. “There was an issue with a local venue that wasn’t unionized, so we moved the event to another location,” said Rizzuto. “We pulled it together with her team on 24-hour notice.”

Pressley’s speech that night rallied the troops and kept the campaign momentum going in Chelsea.

“With Ayanna, when you hear her speak, that’s when you know you’re going to vote for her,” said Rizzuto. “I knew she was powerful in communicating with the voters. The voters understood that Ayanna was someone who would fight for her constituents every day. I’m confident that she will be a great congresswoman.”

Read More

Trash Talk:City Manager Calls for Consideration of Universal Trash Fee as Rates Rise for Water, Sewer and Trash

Trash Talk:City Manager Calls for Consideration of Universal Trash Fee as Rates Rise for Water, Sewer and Trash

City Manager Tom Ambrosino told the City Council he believes it might be time to start a discussion about charging everyone a trash fee in the coming years as costs continue to rise for rubbish collection and recycling.

This came at the same time that he announced water and sewer rates would increase by 7.95 percent this year and the existing trash fee would climb 10 percent over last year.

Currently, trash fees are only charged to properties that are not owner-occupied. However, Ambrosino said it might be time to change all that.

“This new trash fee represents an increase of 10 percent,” he said. “Residential owners will pay an additional $32.88 annually as a result of this increase. I recognize that annual increases of 10 percent are painful, but even with this increase we will not cover the cost of our trash system with our fees. I have mentioned for some time that the City should consider changes to our current rate structure for Solid Waste Disposal. Specifically, I suggest we start the discussion of at least some nominal fee for owner occupied units. Otherwise, 10-plus percent increases will be the norm for the foreseeable future.”

The trash rate will increase to $30.09 monthly for residential property and $141.96 monthly for commercial units in mixed buildings.

Meanwhile, for water and sewer rates – which affect every homeowner – the combined rate increase will be 7.95 percent over last year. The average water user can assume a bill of $1,776 annual for water and sewer charges.

The water rate alone will go up 6 percent, and the sewer rate alone will go up 9 percent. Together, they arrive at the combined rate increase of 7.95 percent for residential users.

For Tier 1 users, the combined rate is $14.80 per hundred cubic feet.

The rates went into effect on July 1, but a Monday’s Council meeting Councillor Bob Bishop was quick to criticize.

“The water and sewer rates in Chelsea are too high,” he said. “I think we should be doing everything we can to hold the line or decrease these rates every year. Other cities and towns aren’t charging the rates we charge…It seems to be a feeding trough at the water and sewer department. I don’t like it.”

Read More

Chelsea Cultural Council Grants to Support Art and Cultural Projects

Chelsea Cultural Council Grants to Support Art and Cultural Projects

Chelsea Cultural Council has received $21,900 from the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) a state agency, to assist public projects that promote access, education, diversity and excellence in the arts, humanities and sciences.

Council members will be available to discuss grant procedure and guidelines on Monday, September 24 from 2-6 p.m. in the lobby of the Williams Building, 180 Walnut Street.

Organizations, schools, individuals are encouraged to apply for grant funds that can be used to support a variety of artistic and cultural projects that benefit citizens in Chelsea – including field trips, exhibits, festivals, short-term arts residencies or performances in schools as well as cultural workshops and lectures.  Projects awarded must be implemented between January, 2019 and December 31, 2019.

The deadline for completed Online Application must be received by October 15, 2018.

Online Application is available at  www.mass-culture.org/chelsea.  Guidelines can be picked up at Chelsea City Hall, Dept. of Health & Human Services, Room 100 or find it at  www.chelseama.gov/ccc.  For additional information call (617) 466-4090 or email  culturalcouncil@chelseama.gov.

Read More

Community Meeting Scheduled for Marijuana Proposal at King Arthur’s Site

Community Meeting Scheduled for Marijuana Proposal at King Arthur’s Site

A proposal for a marijuana cultivation and retail establishment has been proposed for the former King Arthur’s strip club site on Beacham Street adjacent to the New England Produce Center.

GreenStar Herbals has scheduled a community outreach meeting for Sept. 20 at 6 p.m. in City Hall. The proposal would be for 200 Beacham St., and the meeting would be for questions and a presentation.

The community outreach meeting is the first step in the long process to get a license for selling and/or growing marijuana in Chelsea. By state regulations, Chelsea would likely have to award at least four licenses throughout the City in the designated zoning areas. So far, three community outreach meetings from three separate companies have taken place.

Attorney Jay Paul Satin, of Revere, will be representing GreenStar.

Read More

Council Seeks Further Study of Two-Way Broadway

Council Seeks Further Study of Two-Way Broadway

Facing many critics from the public that showed up to speak against two-way Broadway, the City Council on Monday decided to defer any vote and, instead, hold a Committee on Conference to review the matter.

In August, the Traffic Commission voted 5-1 to approve the two-way plan, as well as a spate of many other non-controversial changes to Fay Square, Chelsea Square, Bellingham Square and City Hall Avenue.

Council President Damali Vidot called for the committee, and the Council approved the move. She said they had until Oct. 6 to hold the meeting and to have a vote of the full Council. The City Council must approve all actions of the Traffic Commission, but if they do not do so by Oct. 6, the Commission’s approval will become law.

Many on the Council have not made their opinions known yet, but some have, and ultimately the fate of two-way Broadway will fall on the votes of 11 members of the Council.

Council President Vidot has been critical of the idea, and has particularly disagreed with the planning process that has unfolded over the past two years. In the past, she has been against the change.

Councillor Leo Robinson, however, said this week he is in favor of two-way Broadway.

“I’m a two-way Broadway guy,” he said.

Councillor Joe Perlatonda has also spoke in favor of the plan, and said the one-way plan is dangerous because it calls for cars to park outside of the protected bike lane. He said that would leave those exiting their cars in a dangerous position with oncoming traffic and with oncoming bicyclists.

Meanwhile, Councillor Bob Bishop said he doesn’t buy the idea of two-way Broadway. To this point, he said he isn’t convinced it’s a good change.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes are some of the biggest advocates, and though they don’t have a vote, they have strongly called for the change for months.

Resident Sharleen McLain, however, was one of several residents who said the plan is flawed and has been forced upon the public.

“From the very first it was clear the City Manager and the planners have been pretty bent on getting two-way Broadway,” she said. “They’ve been pretty manipulative in moving forward on this two-way plan. None of these meetings have allowed for meaningful input. It wasn’t until the July Traffic Commission meeting that members of the public were able to speak directly to the plans.”

Said Barbara Richard, “I think two-way Broadway is spot-on dead wrong. Businesses will go under. I also think it hasn’t been a good enough outreach to the community.”

Ambrosino said he is in favor of the two-way plan, but he implored the Council to consider the plan is much more than just the two-way Broadway situation. He said there are many, many more non-controversial changes in the package that people do want universally.

“Much of what is before you is non-controversial,” he said. “Whether it’s Fay Square, Bellingham Square or City Hall Avenue, these provisions have no opposition to the changes.”

The Council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 24, and the Conference Committee will likely take place next week.

Read More

Council Approves Resolution Supporting Locked Out National Grid Workers

Council Approves Resolution Supporting Locked Out National Grid Workers

The City Council unanimously passed a resolution supporting the locked out National Grid gas workers in a vote of 8-0 on Monday night, adding to the numbers of elected officials now supporting the workers – who have been locked out in a contract dispute for 12 weeks.

Ray Bell of Chelsea – who has lived here for 45 years – came before the Council as one of the locked out workers. He said it’s a matter of public safety, as the replacement workers are not trained or experienced enough to carry out the work they’re doing.

“This is a matter of public safety,” he said. “That’s what it comes down to. This is not a labor issue. The workers trained and experienced need to be in the ground fixing our pipes. This is a no-brainer. It’s putting Chelsea people first…They’ll bury their mistakes. It may not go off now. Maybe it goes off in two months or two years. It could be a disaster. I’m telling you they don’t have experienced and trained people working on these gas pipes.”

Former Councillor Paul Murphy – whose brother is currently locked out – said he doesn’t want to see a disaster either.

“Knowing the work they’re doing on our streets, there could be a disaster here,” he said. “It is a labor dispute, but a different one because they’re locked out. They want to work.”

Councillors were very much in support of the measure despite a miscue last month at a special meeting when the matter didn’t pass due to Councillor Bob Bishop objecting to it. At a special meeting, one objection to a matter can kill it.

On Monday, Bishop said he didn’t oppose the matter, but had concerns last month due to the fact that it conflicted with the charter. Now, he said, the new draft of the resolution was free of any such conflicts.

Read More

BHCC Receives $2.4M in Private Grant Funding

BHCC Receives $2.4M in Private Grant Funding

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation awarded $2.4 million to Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) to establish the Early College program at BHCC, marking the largest private grant awarded in the College’s history.

The announcement was made in Chelsea Wednesday afternoon at an event celebrating the early college designation to Chelsea High School’s Early College program by the Baker-Polito Administration. Board Members from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation joined Governor Charlie Baker to see firsthand the impact of Early College. At the event, Governor Baker and the legislators in attendance heard from four Chelsea High School students who shared how their experiences in the program influenced their decision to pursue a college-level program.

  • Transformation to a Consolidated Early College Model

The funding from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation allows BHCC to consolidate its Early College efforts into a core model that anticipates growth in scale and performance, as well as distillation and dissemination of its promising practices to the field. The $2.4 million grant covers a three-year project horizon, and will serve more than 500 high school students, coming from a portfolio of partnerships with high school and community-based organizations in Greater Boston.

“We are so thankful to the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation for this extraordinary grant. It allows us to consolidate and scale our early work, to gather data and evidence of success and to make a strong case to the leaders of the Commonwealth that Early College is a viable and scalable solution to talent and economic development,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger.

An early adopter of Early College, BHCC currently collaborates with seven high schools and community-based organizations, serving nearly 500 early college students in addition to almost 400 participants in dual enrollment. Increasing demand and initial successes with traditionally underserved students and the potential for greater educational equity and student achievement pressed the College to consolidate the Early College efforts into a core model and make it central to the College’s Mission. The grant supports the Early College effort exactly at this important inflection point and gives the College the financial and structural lift to reach the next level of success.

“The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is pleased to be partnering with one of the Commonwealth’s leading community colleges to bring a transformative model proven in other states to Greater Boston. By bridging high school and college experiences, Early College will help many students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and enjoy the benefits of the Commonwealth’s strong economy,” said Lynne Doblin, Executive Director of The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.

  • Early College: A Cross-Segment Convergence in Education Strategy

This important work signals a convergence of new thinking from education leaders and policymakers around the State.

“An important goal of the Early College program is exposing students to college-level work while they are still in high school so they can envision themselves on a track toward a college degree,” said Governor Baker at Wednesday’s event. “The college-level experience, combined with the credits they earn in the courses, sets many students up for success by the time they arrive on a campus.”

The Secretary of Education, the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education all support the effort to recognize Early College work by awarding designations to strong partnerships around the Commonwealth, with the promise of sustainable funding in the near future. These designations, of which BHCC is a part, will stimulate experimentation, document effective practice and demonstrate impact.

The standard-setting work of BHCC’s Early College will be a powerful proof point, and the data to be gathered over the next three years will provide strong evidence as to the efficacy of Early College as a way to increase high school graduation and college completion and broaden career exploration.

Read More