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CHS Class of 2019: Deedee Hernandez is 2019 Valedictorian; Salutatorian is Jocelyn Poste

The surf is up for Chelsea’s Deedee Hernandez, who might be the first and only Chelsea High valedictorian that doubles as a surfer, a trumpet player and Ivy League student.

Hernandez has been very active in the school and community over the last four years, but being at the top of her class wasn’t something she thought would happen.

Valedictorian Degree Hernandez with Salutatorian Jocelyn Poste after graduation on June 9

“Honestly, I wasn’t aspiring for the valedictorian of the class,” she said. “My only goal was just to get into a college. That was a goal since I entered middle school. My mother always told us that we had to go to college. That was always a goal we were reaching for.”

And not only did she reach it, but she grabbed onto a great school in the Ivy League Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.

Hernandez, 18, said she was drawn to the rural landscape – being interested in the outdoors and hiking – but was also impressed with the alumni network.

“I was really drawn to the alumni network they have,” she said. “A lot of them come back to the college and have relationships and share their experiences with students. I thought that was very unique. The college is very small and it felt like a family and people were friendly.”

At Dartmouth, Hernandez hopes to major in environmental science – something she was drawn to by her swim coach, Traverse Robinette, at the Jordan Boys & Girls Club.

In addition to swimming twice at the National Championships in Florida, Hernandez and several other Chelsea kids joined Robinette’s surf club. When surfing in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the students learned about the various animals in the ocean.

“My swim coach was passionate about the environment and pointed out the animals we saw,” she said. “I did research on it and was drawn to the idea of preserving these animals. I love nature and being outside, so it’s something I’m very interested in.”

In addition to those pursuits, Hernandez is well known for playing the trumpet in the band – having been the designated performer of ‘Taps’ for the City and the Soldiers’ Home for four years.

She said she started playing in fifth grade when her former band teacher, Mr. Thomas, picked up a trumpet and played ‘Reveille.’

“I heard him play that and I knew I had to play the trumpet,” she said.

She does plan to pursue the trumpet in college and hopes to play in their orchestra.

Hernandez has gone to Chelsea schools her entire life, starting at the Silber ELC, moving on to the Kelly School, then to the Clark Avenue Middle.

Hernandez credits her mother, Ana Moscoso, for always pushing her to reach higher.

“My mother was always the type of person to asked me what I would do next after I had accomplished something,” she said. “I’ve found that to be useful because you see what else you’re capable of doing and don’t get satisfied with one thing.”

Hernandez has two brothers, Mike, 16, at Chelsea High; and Akanni, 10.

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First ‘Night Market’ Draws Manageable, Excited Crowd

The first Chelsea Night Market is being deemed a success, bringing a good crowd to Luther Place for the music, vendors and excitement in the downtown.

“It was great,” said Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney. “We had a decent, manageable crowd. The attendees and vendors were all really pleased. We had lots of neighbors attend, which was great. There were no major technical snags and the fire performance was a hit.”

The Night Market blocked off the City parking lot behind the main business district, using the refurbished Chelsea Walk as an entry point. On the lot were vendors with all kinds of wares, food servers and a stage. Musical acts were popular, but the hit of the night was the Boston Circus Guild’s fire-breathing and juggling performance.

The next Night Market will be on July 13, and coordinators said to look for some new and different things to be on the docket.

The next event for the downtown, however, is the Fiesta Verano – a great Latin music themed event that was cancelled last year three times due to rain. This year they hope to find some better luck.

They will have the Fiesta on Second Street and in collaboration with the Chelsea Cooperative.

Look for a cowboy them, Graney said.

“We’re embracing a rodeo theme this year with pony rides and a bounce house for little ones,” said Graney. “A ‘bike rodeo,’ presented by the Chelsea Bike and Ped Committee and MassBike, is an obstacle course and games for all ages so bring your bike or trike. Over on the big lawn a mechanical bull will be bucking and kicking all riders for your merriment.”

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Mike Morin Delivers a Strike

Author’s inside look at TV candlepin bowling is a must-read for fans

Chelsea was once home to two candlepin bowling establishments, Broadway Lanes owned by George Michelson, and Chelsea Square Alleys, owned by Chet Pawlak.

In addition to each man being beloved in the Chelsea bowling community, Mr. Michelson and Mr. Pawlak shared another distinction: George and Charlotte Michelson and Chet and Carole Pawlak each had two children who bowled on television. Bonnie and Robert Michelson and Kathy [Finklestein] and Christine Pawlak earned their places among the ranks of the world’s best bowlers by appearing on Channel 5 bowling shows.

Mike Morin, a New Hampshire radio celebrity and a long-time candlepin bowler himself, has written a book that will surely warm the hearts of the Michelson and Pawlak families and candlepin bowlers everywhere.

And yes, Hall of Fame bowler Richie “Hawk” Halas and the great Max Valentin, who launched their pro careers at Broadway Lanes (atop Slaton’s Furniture Store) would also take pride in reading Morin’s work.

Morin has authored, “Lunch With Tommy and Stasia: TV’s Golden Age of Candlepin Bowling,” a look at all the candlepin bowling TV shows that once graced the airwaves.

And in another Chelsea connection to the book, Charlie Sherman, a former Shawmut Street resident and highly acclaimed New Hampshire TV personality, wrote the foreword for Morin’s book.

Anyone who ever watched Don Gillis’s “Candlepin Bowling” will appreciate Morin’s behind-the-scenes stories, interviews and warm memories of the game’s greatest bowlers, including Tommy Olszta, who now resides in Florida, and the late Stasia Czernicki, whose names appear in the book’s title.

The book was two years in the making. Writing about candlepin bowling was a natural fit for the 68-year-old Morin.

“I felt I had some inside knowledge because I did some work for the ICBA, appeared on the TV show (Candlepin Stars and Strikes on Channel 50) for nine years, and on radio (his broadcasting career spanned 48 years) – I felt I had the right combination of interest and skill to do the book,” said Morin.

The author grew up in Detroit and was a ten-pin bowler for 30 years. When Morin moved to New England in 1984, he began bowling candlepins and still competes regularly at Park Place Lanes in Windham, N.H.

“The book was something I had been thinking about for ten years, but I finally had the opportunity to write it when I retired from my radio career,” he said. “I was honored to do it.”

Morin said the first bowling show was televised on Channel 5 in 1958 and continued until January, 1996. “The initial host was Jim Britt and about three years in, Don Gillis took it over and rode it all the way to the end,” noted Morin.

A former champion on the Amateur Candlepin Tour (ACT), Morin places his focus on the Channel 5 (WCVB-TV) show in the book.

“That’s where the biggest stars and the biggest names came from, and it was on for the longest number of years – and had the most viewers, over 200,000 people every week,” said Morin. “Very often the Channel 5 show had ratings higher than any other sports show on any given weekend.”

Bowling fans will be delighted by Morin’s interviews with more than 75 bowling stars including Dan Murphy, Charlie Jutras, Jim Putney, Hawk Halas, Chucky Vozella and of course, Tommy Olszta, whom Morin considers the best of all time.

“Tommy did it when he had to – he had more appearances on the Channel 5 show than anyone else,” said Morin. “He was a gentleman, a fierce competitor.”

Other “phenomenal bowlers,” according to Morin include Chris Sargent and his father, Mike Sargent, Charlie Jutras, and Jeff Atkins.

Three of bowling’s currents superstars, Jonathan Boudreau, Jeff Surette, and Dave Barber, are also featured in the book.

“Jonathan is phenomenal,” said Morin. “I feel badly because he was born too late to take advantage of all the television opportunities that the other guys had.”

The book is generating positive responses in the bowling community and beyond. Bowling center owners and the bowlers themselves are thankful and grateful to Morin because there has not been a book written about candlepin bowling since 1980.

“This book covers all the people who were on TV,” said Morin. “And I got a lot of the behind-the-scenes stories that people never heard before.”

Morin also did some research and met with the children of Arthur Terlemezian, the gentleman who sat in the front row during Channel 5 shows and wore his traditional glasses and cardigan sweaters.

Morin has done several book signings at bookstores, libraries, and bowling centers. “I get the best results, no surprise, when I go to bowling centers,” he related.

As for the book’s unique title, Morin explained, “Because candlepin bowling was such a tradition on Saturdays at noon, people would sit down with their lunch trays or tray tables in front of the TV, and they would have lunch with their favorite bowling stars, who I felt were Tommy and Stasia. So that’s why I called it “Lunch With Tommy and Stasia, because that’s what people did every Saturday for 38 years.”

(Mike Morin’s book is available for purchase on Amazon.com and at independent bookstores in New Hampshire or by sending an email to mikemorinmedia@gmail.com.)

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Legislature Approves Chapter 90 Funds

The Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill authorizing $200 million for Chapter 90 funding to help municipalities complete road, bridge and infrastructure improvement projects. The bill also facilitates the financing of $1.5 billion for highway projects and $200 million for rail projects at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“Not only will these funds provide critical resources to cities and towns across the Commonwealth and fortify larger regional transportation projects, they will create jobs and spur economic growth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “These investments support our vibrant economy by improving our transportation infrastructure.”

“Each year, the Legislature invests in Chapter 90 funding to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth with critical improvements to roads, and I am once again proud to support this legislation which will help cities like Revere,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “I thank Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Strauss, Boncore and the entire Transportation Committee for their work in crafting this bill that provides needed dollars to help municipalities with roadway infrastructure.”

“The Commonwealth’s roads, bridges and arteries are our economy’s life blood,’ said Transportation Committee Chair Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). These appropriations approved today will go a long way toward providing our municipalities with the financial resources they need to ensure our infrastructure is building toward state of good repair.”

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Jocelyn Poste a Graduate With Many Titles

When one addresses Chelsea High graduate Jocelyn Poste, they wouldn’t be incorrect to call her ‘Madame President,’ yet they could also refer to her as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2019, or for another angle, as the best female athlete of the year.

Or if none of those are of interest, she could certainly be called a passionate community activist.

It’s hard to find one title to pin on Poste, 18, but that is what defines her time at Chelsea High.

This year, Poste was one of the handful of students that fought hard to get the graduation exercises back outside at the Stadium. And even in the face of adversity, they continued.

Poste said it was an experience that will shape her after high school.

“I never really got involved with politics until that happened,” she said. “There were plenty of people who said we couldn’t do it. We kept at it and it worked. I talked with Damali Vidot (Council President) about it and she said we had to come back and take her seat when we’re older. I don’t know if I would get into politics, but I want to be a voice for the people certainly.”

Poste began her career at the Silber ELC and then went to the Kelly School and the Clark Avenue Middle School.

She will attend Union College as a Posse Scholar, meaning she will have a full ride to the New York school as well as a support network. She said she was not sure about going out of state to college at first, but the Posse Scholarship was too good an opportunity to pass up.

There, she will focus on biology so she can pursue her goal of being a dermatologist.

That dream stems from a video that was popular in middle school that went viral. It was called Dr. Pimple Popper and it was something she said pointed her in that direction.

She said she wanted to thank her parents, Steven Poste and Angela Burgos, for supporting her through high school.

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Class of 2020 has Personality, President Says

Lisandra Molina said her class is yet another that should make an impression next year when they become seniors.

Molina, the junior class president, said they have learned a lot from the Class of 2019.

“I feel I learned a lot from the senior class, especially in NHS,” she said.

The class has already shown an acumen for raising money, and has quite a bit saved to help with the prom and other events. That has come through being a bit creative.

One thing they did was raise money by cleaning the classrooms of teachers for the end of school, and selling Pupusas to teachers to raise funds as well.

Certainly, she said, they will have a voice.

“We all have a lot of personality,” she said. “If you put us all in a room, there is no quiet person in there, especially when it comes to history. Our personalities don’t clash. They complement one another.”

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Chelsea Gang Member Pleads Guilty to Drug Trafficking

A Chelsea man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute.

Adres Perez, 26, pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine base with intent to distribute and is scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 10, 2019 before U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns. In December 2017, Perez was indicted along with Cesar Alicea, who was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The charging documents allege that both men were members of the East Side Money Gang.

On Oct. 31, 2017, police in Revere observed what they believed was a drug deal happening from a car. The officers stopped the car, which was driven by Perez – with Alicea in the passenger seat –removed Perez from the car, and pat-frisked him. At the same time, Alicea ran from the car and threw an item, which was recovered and determined to be a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol. Police later recovered crack cocaine from the car and heroin on Perez.

Alicea previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced in January 2019 to 48 months in prison.

The charge of possession with intent to distribute provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, a minimum of three years and up to a lifetime of supervised release and a fine of $1 million.

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Mystic Valley Elder Services Awarded $100,000 Grant

Mystic Valley Elder Services (MVES) was recently awarded a $100,000 sustaining grant over a 4-year period through Cummings’s Foundation “$100k for 100” program. The grant was awarded to MVES in support of its Elder Independence Fund, a 21-year program that makes it possible for low-income older adults or adults living with disabilities to receive an urgently needed item or service that helps them remain independent and for which there is no other resource or way to obtain the needed item or service.

“This grant will be a tremendous help in maintaining our Elder Independence Fund and we are truly grateful for the Cummings Foundation’s support. Through their generous gift, this award will make positive impacts on the lives of people in need,” said MVES CEO Daniel O’Leary.

The $100k for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings aims to give back to the communities where its commercial buildings are located, all of which are managed at no cost to the Foundation, but its affiliate Cummings Property. MVES was chosen from a total of 574 applicants during a competitive review process.

“By having such a local focus, we aim to make a meaningful, positive difference in the communities where our colleagues and leasing clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are grateful for the nonprofit organizations that assist and empower our neighbors, and we are proud to support their efforts.”

This year’s diverse group of recipients represents a wide variety of causes. The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

Located in Malden, Mass., Mystic Valley Elder Services is a non-profit agency that provides essential home- and community-based care and resources to elders, adults living with disabilities, and caregivers who reside in Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Medford, Melrose, North Reading, Reading, Revere, Stoneham, Wakefield and Winthrop. Agency services include coordination of home care, transportation, Meals on Wheels, and information and referrals. For more information, please call (781) 324-7705 or visit www.mves.org.

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Police Briefs 06-13-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian


Missing Child Reunited with Parents

On June 4, Chelsea Police reunited a missing 10-year-old Chelsea girl with her parents on after the Kelly school student told officers she fell asleep on the MBTA bus she takes home from school. The juvenile told officers she ended up at the Maverick Square MBTA station where she became confused and proceeded onto another MBTA bus that she was unfamiliar with. At some point, she left the bus in the area of North Shore Road in Revere where she began to walk on the busy road. During this time, the parents responded to the police station to report their daughter missing. Officers used the young girl’s cell phone to “ping” her location in Revere. While Chelsea, Transit and Revere Police were searching the area the young girl was located by an MBTA bus driver who transported her to the Wonderland “T” Station in Revere. She was then reunited back with her parents at Chelsea Police Headquarters. Chelsea officers are working with the parents and the school in addressing future transportation options for the young girl who was unharmed in the incident.

Struggle Without a Shirt

On May 27, at 1:20 a.m., officers responded to the area 176 Clark Ave. for a report of a disturbance. The report to officers was that witnesses were reporting they saw a male who appeared drunk, with no t-shirt on, fighting with a female who was preventing him from getting into the home. Officers struggled with the male in attempting to calm him down. After a struggle to restrain him, he was placed into custody. The male was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation prior to being booked at CPD.

Eber Orantes, 33, of 176 Clark Ave., was charged with disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon and resisting arrest.

Threated With Strange Weapon

On May 30, at 9:20 p.m., officers responded in the area of Normandy Road at Garfield Avenue for a report of a road rage incident involving a firearm. Officers were given the description of the vehicle in question. It was said to be a black Honda Accord operating on Normandy Road. CPD officers located the vehicle and found the subject to have a modified instrument that resembled a firearm. The victim in the other vehicle provided other information that led to the male being arrested.

Tanvir Zahir, 21, of Stoneham, was charged with violating the motor vehicle ordinance, violating the dangerous weapons ordinance, and two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swallowed Bag of Crack

On May 31, at 9:30 a.m., Officers observed a male party known to them from previous drug offenses walking with an unknown male on Chestnut Street near Fourth Street. The officers believed they then witnessed a drug transaction between the two. The subject admitted he swallowed a bag of “crack “ when he was approached by the officers. A search of his person uncovered more drugs and he was placed under arrest. The second male was identified and placed under arrest on the scene. The subject who ingested the narcotics was transported to CHA Everett for evaluation.

Argenis Felipe, 33, of East Boston, was charged with possession to distribute a Class B drug (crack), conspiracy, and distribution of a Class B drug.

Box Cutter

On May 31, at 11 a.m., officers were dispatched to the parking lot of 260 Clark Ave. for a fight in progress. Officers observed two tenants of the building in an argument. One tenant accused the second of threatening him with a box cutter. That item was retrieved and that male was taken into custody.

Jody Robinson, 59, of 260 Clark Ave., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.

Swerved at Pedestrian

On June 1, at 9:10 a.m., an off-duty CPD officer was traveling on Hawthorne Street towards Chester Avenue when he saw a male party crossing the street. The officer noticed a Toyota Corolla laying on his horn and then began to intentionally drive towards the male party that was crossing the road. The victim had to jump four to six feet to his rear to avoid being struck by the vehicle.

The officer believed the operator swerved in his direction deliberately trying to strike the victim, which could have resulted in serious injuries. CPD officers responded to assist and the male operator was placed in custody for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Eduardo Garcia, 35, of East Boston, was charged with failing to slow, reckless operation, and assault with a dangerous weapon (car).

MS-13 Member Sentenced for Unlawful Possession of a Firearm

An MS-13 member was sentenced last week for being an illegal alien in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Nery Rodriguez Diaz, 19, a Salvadoran national who resided in Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 14 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Diaz will also be subject to deportation proceedings upon completion of his sentence.

On May 22, 2018, Diaz and another MS-13 member, Elmer Alfaro Hercules, were arrested in possession of loaded firearms in Bremen Street Park in East Boston, a location where numerous MS-13 gang members have been observed and where gang-on-gang violence frequently occurs.

The investigation revealed that Diaz and Hercules each separately and unlawfully entered the United States in 2014 as unaccompanied minors. Both Diaz and Hercules were charged federally for being aliens in possession of a firearm and ammunition.

Hercules previously pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 13 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Hercules will also be subject to deportation proceedings after the completion of his sentence.

Chelsea Gang Leader Sentenced to Over 15 years in Prison

A leader of the East Side Money Gang (ESMG) was sentenced last week in federal court in Boston on racketeering, drug trafficking and firearms trafficking charges.

Angel “Stackz” Mejia Zelaya, 24, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 188 months in prison and five years of supervised release. In January 2019, Mejia pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base, and one count of engaging in the business of dealing in firearms without a license.

Mejia was a leader in the ESMG, a violent, Chelsea-based street gang, which was responsible for various violent crimes, including multiple shootings, and drug distribution in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia, as well as other members and associates of the gang, were also actively involved in illegally selling firearms, including handguns and shotguns, in and around Chelsea.

Mejia participated in multiple, gang-related shootings.

On July 5, 2015, Mejia was involved in a shooting targeting a rival gang member on a public street in Chelsea, which did not result in the rival gang member being injured. On March 29, 2016, Mejia and his lieutenant, Josue “Superbad” Rodriguez, agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ESMG member, Brandon “Big Baby” Baez, so that Baez could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ESMG. On April 3, 2016, in Revere, Baez used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang as they sat in a vehicle. Both men were wounded, but not killed. Baez called Mejia immediately after the shooting to inform Mejia that Baez had just shot two men. Mejia further admitted to supplying other ESMG gang members with firearms, including a juvenile who then accidently shot another person.

While Mejia was the leader of the ESMG, the gang dealt substantial quantities of drugs, including cocaine and cocaine base (crack), in Chelsea and surrounding communities. Mejia was responsible for the distribution of at least a kilogram of cocaine base. Mejia and his gang subordinates stored drugs at and distributed drugs from a residence on Tudor Street in Chelsea and another residence in the Chelsea area. The gang kept handguns at both locations to protect their drug operations, as well as for other gang activities.

The prosecution of Mejia arose out of an investigation of various street gangs, including the 18th Street Gang, ESMG and the Boylston Street Gang, which were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.

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Congratulations, Brian Sullivan

We have been remiss for not having offered our congratulations to Chelsea native Brian Sullivan upon his recent appointment by Gov. Charlie Baker, and subsequent confirmation by the Governor’s Council, to the position of Clerk-Magistrate of the Lynn District Court.

Brian’s ascension to the clerk-magistrate’s position culminates a long career in the court system that began as a Probation Officer in the Chelsea District Court in 1986. He became an assistant clerk-magistrate in that court and then the Salem District Court before being named the Acting Clerk Magistrate of the Cambridge District Court prior to his appointment to the Lynn District Court.

Brian is a Chelsea guy through-and-through. His dad, the late Vincent Sullivan, who was the long-time Assistant Commandant of the Chelsea Soldiers Home, and his mom, Eleanor, raised their four children in the Mill Hill section of the city, where they were one of the most-respected families in Chelsea.

Brian attended St. Rose grammar school before going on to Malden Catholic and Northeastern University. He was a member of the Chelsea Knights of Columbus and was well-known as a member of the K of C’s softball team in the heyday of the Chelsea Modified Fast Pitch Softball League when that league drew huge crowds to Highland Park in the early 1980s.

Brian married the former Paula Hansbury, who also is a Chelsea native and well-known Chelsea High grad, and they have raised their family in Swampscott.

If we were writing this column in another era, it might have been titled, “Local boy makes good.” We know we speak for all of those who have been friends and acquaintances of Brian Sullivan and his family through the years in offering our congratulations to Brian upon his appointment and in wishing him continued success in his outstanding career in the Massachusetts judicial system.

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