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When Melissa King was diagnosed with ALS in 2014, there were a lot of things the professionally-trained chef thought she would have to give up as time went on.
Slowing losing her ability to walk and talk, when she moved into the Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2018, she thought her life-long love of gardening and growing fresh produce had long been gone from her life.
However, as she toured the grounds, she noticed a few unused planting areas on the patio, and with the help of other residents and staff, she has re-ignited her passion for gardening and reaped a bountiful harvest.
“I thought of the idea and decided to talk to Coty Miller about it,” she said. “He brought it to the administration and they said ok. I noted the beds when I took my tour before I moved in. My grandparents passed down the rich tradition of gardening to me. I thought that part of my life was behind me. Thankfully, I was able to continue planting in this rich tradition that I had passed down to me. It makes me very happy to see visitors and residents getting really interested in the garden.”
Miller, who handles programming and resident services at the Leonard Florence, said the initiative was all on King.
“She came to me and to Mr. (Barry) Berman and asked if we could have a garden,” he said. “We were 100 percent behind it and moved forward quickly to get it started. She’s the first resident here to start her own garden, and it’s been exciting.”
The garden was planted in June and is just now bearing fruit.
In the garden, staff have taken to using King’s produce in food for the residents, including parsley, sage, cilantro and basil. They have also used the tomatoes, which King says are her favorite and have been a pick-me-up.
“I like making sauce, eating plain tomato and mayo sandwiches, or BLTs,” she added.
King said they will be giving first-dibs on the harvest to those that have helped to water or weed the garden. The rest will go on a table for anyone to choose.
If folks are lucky, there might be something left by next month, when the annual Walk for Living takes place.
The garden has been bringing quite a bit of excitement and publicity for the upcoming Walk for Living on Oct. 6, and King is preparing her garden for everyone to see.
“I’m doing the walk under Team Melissa’s Muscles,” she said. “I have a lot of people signed up. Last year, I had just arrived and I had no idea how big it was. So, I’m rolling for the first time this year. My dog Chi-Chi is going to be walking too. I’ve been out doing the walking route everyday training for the big day. Ha Ha.”
Special to the Record
Sarah Harrington, English Language Learner (ELL) teacher at Chelsea High School, was the recipient of the first-ever Butterfly Award during the Convocation program Aug. 26 at the school.
Deputy Supt. Linda Breau and Assistant Supt. Sarah Kent, who are both former ELL teachers, presented the award to Harrington.
Award for her creative ideas, innovative instructional practices, and strong support of her colleagues. The award is given in memory of former educator Carolyn Arond. Taking part in the presentation are School Committee Chair Jeanette Velez, Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque, Deputy Supt. Linda Breau, Assistant Supt. Sarah Kent, and Supt.-Elect Dr. Almi Abeyta.
The Butterfly Award is given by the family of Carolyn Arond in her memory each year to a teacher who exemplifies the qualities and attributes that Carolyn brought to her professional practice. Namely, creative ideas, innovative instructional practices, and strong support of colleagues.
“Carolyn Arond exemplified the Chelsea Public Schools’ motto, ‘We welcome and educate’,’’ said Kent. “Throughout her professional career, Carolyn believed in creating a welcoming, safe and nurturing environment for her students.”
Kent related that “Carolyn was also a creative teacher, one who took initiative and, as a result, brought joy to children in the classroom and the school.
“Carolyn was a nature enthusiast and integrated her passion in to her work,” said Kent. “She initiated the idea of a Butterfly Garden at the Mary C. Burke Complex, hence the name of this honor.”
“The contributions Carolyn made to her students and to the Chelsea school community made a difference,” continued Kent. “Those who knew Carolyn know this to be true. Like the “Butterfly Effect,” Carolyn had, and continues to have a positive impact on all.”
Breau told the gathering of educators that there were 12 “outstanding nominations” for the award from all grade levels.
“Sarah was nominated by both an administrator and a teacher,” said Breau. “Some of the things her nominators said: a great and positive effect on the school community…like Carolyn Arond, Sarah made students feel they belong here..she is a pioneer in developing discussion routines for ELS…she works tirelessly to revise and improve her lessons embedding language development into her content…and she supports teachers offering her time to educate them on the needs of ELs.”
Harrington was also credited with creating student-led Spanish classes for educators that celebrates and affirms the language skills of our students while meeting a clear need in our schools.
“This has been a successful program for several years now and is having a true “butterfly effect” in our district and beyond,” said Breau.
In addition to the plaque, Harrington also received a $500 award that can be used for professional development opportunities or for materials and activities that will enhance and support student learning.
Harrington received a tremendous ovation from her colleagues as she left her seat in the CHS bleachers and walked to the podium in the packed gymnasium to accept the award.
With a pilot round of projects approved by the City Council, the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) is moving forward with plans to fund bigger preservation, open space, and housing projects.
But first, the CPC will need to continue the search for a consultant to help with the process as it becomes more time consuming for the committee volunteers and City staff.
Earlier this summer, the CPC put out a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for administrative services to help manage the Community Preservation Act (CPA) projects, funds, and proposals, but no one replied to the RFQ.
“The summer tends to be a tougher time (to get responses),” said Karl Allen, the city’s economic development planner. “But we can renew it.”
While no one filled out an RFQ, Allen said there were about two dozen people who retrieved a copy from the city’s website. He also noted that there was one potential applicant, but she said she would not be able to begin work until around Thanksgiving.
Chelsea voters approved the adoption of the CPA in November 2016. It will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation. The CPA trust fund currently has a balance of just over $2.2 million before any money was spent on the recent round of pilot projects.
CPC Chair Jose Iraheta noted that the committee was looking to bring another round of CPA projects forward to the council by next March. Pushing back the acquisition of administrative services could delay that timeline, unless the CPC is willing to take on more work, Iraheta said.
“We are already in a tight timeframe to begin with,” he said. “We need a willingness to take on some of the work if we want to meet the timeline.”
Several CPC members said they were willing to take on more work to help push forward with a more aggressive timeline, including working on public outreach and holding a public hearing on CPA progress later in the fall.
“I think some of the outreach we can do in advance,” said Allen.
If eligibility forms for projects are available by January, Allen said they could be reviewed in time for applications for projects to be filled out in February, and still meet the goal of having the projects before the City Council in March for funding approval.
CPC members agreed that the RFQ for administrative services should be reposted, with Allen reworking the timeline to get projects before the council next March.
In other business at last week’s CPC meeting, the committee discussed finalizing the committee’s bylaws. The committee also held off on the election of officers until those bylaws are finalized.
The committee also approved using some administrative funds for the design and production of promotional materials.
MSF stands for Music Special Forces, but they are also the initials for Michael Salvatore Firicano, the leader of the band that he founded in 2010.
The band has had personnel changes through the years but has maintained a loyal and enthusiastic following, performing almost every weekend throughout Massachusetts and New England.
One of its recent performances at Eastie Pride Day at Pier’s Park was a homecoming for Firicano, an East Boston native who is the band’s lead vocalist and a guitar player.
MSF energized the crowd in a wide-ranging two-hour set on a beautiful summer day.
“That park is beautiful with a view right on the water,” said Michele DeForest, who joined the band two-and-a-half years ago as a lead vocalist. She has since added keyboardist to her resume.
The other members of MSF are Cliff Goodman, drummer, Roy Turner, guitar, and Ray Kelly, bass guitar.
“We’re a multi-genre band – we do everything: rock, pop, disco, dance, country, and it’s by both male and female artists. We do stuff like Heart, Whitesnake, Led Zeppelin, Bruno Mars, Taylor Swift,” said Firicano.
Each MSF performance is known for its concert-style intensity and high energy that gets the crowd rocking from the opening song. It is not uncommon to see band members going out in to the audience.
“We really take people on a musical journey,” said Firicano, who began his lifelong affinity for music at the age of 12. “I loved music and my family had a giant collection of all kinds of records. And I would just put them on and discover. And my older brother, too, would be getting me in to classic rock and things like that. I was definitely a Beatles fan and became a classic rock fan.”
In the 1990s, Firicano became a member of a cover band and then expanded his repertoire to other genres, eventually working alongside female singers.
Michele DeForest brings another dimension to MSF
Michele DeForest attended Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), one of the best engineering schools in the country. She received her degree in Electrical Engineering and currently works in the scientific field. She has lived in the Boston area for ten years.
While a student at RPI, the Long Island (N.Y.) native became a member of an a cappella group, the Rusty Pipes, who twice made it to the Northeast ICCA semifinals.
DeForest met Firicano through an online advertisement and the on-stage chemistry has brought the band to another level.
“Michele has been amazing,” said Firicano. “I think out of all the musical combinations I’ve been part of – she’s made it the best combination.”
Firicano said Michele stood out in the auditions for the band. “One of the other candidates was very, very good and she had been in a band and played the guitar, but there was something that I saw in Michele that made me go with Michele over someone with more band experience and I was really glad I went that way.”
Though this was her maiden voyage in to a band, DeForest has developed in to “a total natural,” according to Firicano. “If you see Michele perform, you think she’s been doing it for 25 years.”
Michele is enjoying her association with the
band. “They’re great – they put up with me always wanting to do the pop and
dance songs – that’s my wheelhouse,” said the attractive and personable singer.
“That’s what I bring, as far as diversity, to the band. With Ray (Kelly) coming
on and doing some keyboards – I took
piano lessons when I was younger – I’ve started to dabble a little bit with
keyboards, and the band has made me a little bit more confident.
“And Michael has been really supportive, whether it’s working with my schedule or finding gigs,” added DeForest.
A busy schedule
MSF followed up its Eastie Pride Day performance with a gig that very night at Brodies Seaport in Salem.
They have been averaging 4-5 appearances a month, recently appearing at Fort Revere Bastille Day in Hull. They were also a featured band at the International Sandsculpting Festival on Revere Beach.
They performed at Bill Ash’s on Revere Beach Friday.
“We always have a really great time and that’s like my home base,” said Firicano. “Growing up in East Boston there were never really any venues for bands, so I would go over to Revere, and Bill Ash’s was where I started playing my first cover shows in 1990 – and I’ve been playing there ever since.”
The band is also receiving gigs for private parties and weddings.
Lauding his bandmates
Firicano said in addition to Michele’s stellar contributions to the band’s increasing popularity, he is proud of the other members’ work.
“Roy Turner is from Gloucester and he’s a phenomenal guitarist, totally dedicated to his craft and lives for playing,” said Firicano. “When he’s not playing shows, he’s home practicing or making music videos to post on Facebook.”
Also getting a shoutout is Cliff Goodman of Salem, “a very talented drummer who plays all around the North Shore.”
“You’ll find Cliff at the local blues jams all the time,” said Firicano. “He’s totally dedicated to playing music.”
New band member Ray Kelly of Dudley started string bass at the age of 10. He played in the Greater Boston Youth Symphony from 1980 to 1984 and majored in Music and Sound Recording Technology at UMass Lowell.
“He used to work at Bose Corporation for many years,” said Firicano. “He’s a very qualified guy.”
(To learn more about MSF, please visit MSF Band Facebook).
With most of their brands growing significantly with local beer drinkers this year, Night Shift Brewery announced late last week that they plan a major expansion at their Everett brewery immediately and an even larger expansion into Philadelphia in 2020.
Night Shift’s corporate headquarters and coffee division are located in Chelsea on Second Street.
Night Shift has been growing at such a rapid pace over the last two years in particular that volume and brewhouse space has been a major issue for them, and now they’ve unveiled their plan to take them to the next level of production.
First and foremost, that plan includes a huge brewhouse expansion at their Everett brewery on Santilli Highway.
“In Everett, we are expanding and upgrading our brewing system from the 20 barrel brewery we started with in Everett and upgrading it to a 60 barrel system and it’s going to really change how much we can produce here,” said Michael Oxton, co-founder of Night Shift. “It will give us a lot more volume in Everett.”
A barrel is around 30 gallons, and the new Everett system will mean a 50 percent increase in production here.
That, he said, will mean more availability locally on tap and more beer in liquor stores, as the company has not been able to keep up with demand for several years – producing as fast as they can.
“We’re going to produce about 30,000 barrels with the new system,” he said. “It will be about a 50 percent increase in what we’re producing in Everett right now.”
He said that expansion was achieved by re-purposing storage space at the brewery and converting that unused space into a new brewhouse with significantly more space than before – though it does put them at the end of the expansion rope in their Everett building.
That’s why the second piece of their expansion includes building out a huge brewhouse and tap room in Philadelphia.
Oxton said his two partners, Rob Burns and Mike O’Mara, are from Philadelphia, so part of the story there is a return to home with their award-winning product.
Still, another piece is slowly creeping into a new Northeast market.
“The plan is to start building a huge production facility and tap room in the Philadelphia area,” he said. “We are hoping to open it as soon as we can in 2020 and ultimately build something that could produce a lot of volume and a new market for us to expand. We really began the search four years ago for a second facility.”
Oxton said Philadelphia is a logical next step for the company, and they have slowly edged out to New Hampshire, Maine and Connecticut. They also believe that Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are good beer markets for their local flavor and customer-oriented style.
He said the space was not easy to come by even though Philadelphia has a lot more warehouse/industrial property than Greater Boston.
“Even with the abundance of warehouses down there, there wasn’t anything that met our needs initially,” he said. “We really found the perfect location.”
Both of the expansions, he said, are based on the frenetic demand for their product, and a philosophy to not “push” their beer on consumers, but have consumers “pull” it into the marketplace.
“We’ve focused significantly on the local drinker,” he said. “We’re tried to grow out brand deep and not wide. Massachusetts is a focus. Our focus on being local has really made us a really well-liked beer amongst local beer drinkers. We consistently try to have our growth drawn by demand by our drinkers and not an internal target. It’s a pull and not push relationship.”
While their tried and true labels like Santilli and Whirlpool are still selling fast, the greatest demand lately has been their ‘Lite’ beer offerings – both Nite Lite and Lime Lite. That demand is a departure from the traditional preferences of local craft brew drinkers who often are seen as preferring strong, hoppy beers.
On Aug. 26, Dr. Carol Kauffman, the Founder and Executive Director of the Institute of Coaching at Harvard Medical School and the Director of Faculty Coach Training at Massachusetts General Hospital, gave a leadership presentation to Malden Catholic’s faculty and staff. Dr. Kauffman has been a leadership coach for over 25 years and was excited to help the Malden Catholic staff become better leaders, both professionally and personally.
Dr. Kauffman says she was drawn to Malden Catholic because of her interest in developing leadership programs for millennials and younger people.
“A coach approach is very powerful for leaders at every stage in development” Dr. Kauffman said. “We have a much more complex, fast-moving, unpredictable world…so if we have a group of people who have an idea of where they want to go then they can have a much greater impact.”
When asked why learning leadership skills at a young age are so important, Dr. Kauffman said they are crucial because these are skills that will be used throughout life.
“Learning to lead when you are a young person is crucial, and one of the people you are learning to lead is yourself” Dr. Kauffman said. “If you can begin to get a sense of what actually matters to you and to other people…then you will be able to guide the direction of your life much better than if you don’t have that.”
Presenting alongside Dr. Kauffman was Julie Carrier, a bestselling author, leadership mentor, and former Senior Management Consultant in leadership training and development for the Pentagon. Carrier was featured on MTV’s #1 hit positive show, MADE, to share her message about how girls can improve their self-confidence through coaching.
Carrier followed up Dr. Kauffman’s answer about the importance of leadership by saying, “We are all aware of how powerful leadership development is for adults, and it’s even more powerful when we take those principles, ideas, and practices and we teach them to young people.”
Carrier continued to add that by taking these ideas and mindsets that they are learning important skills before they face other challenges in life as they get older. Carrier took an educational approach to learning these ideas at a young age.
“They are saving a lot of baggage in relearning because they are learning it the right way first” Carrier added. Carrier continued to stress the importance of teaching leadership in an academic setting.
In attendance was Lisa Cenca, Principal of the Malden Catholic School for Girls, who raved about Dr. Kauffman’s coaching approach and how teachers can bring this into the classroom.
“Carol helped us to think about coaching our students rather than just teaching them. She challenged us to work on how we get our students to recognize their talents and live them out.”
Theology teacher Deirdre Foley was very fortunate to have Dr. Kauffman at Malden Catholic, and is excited to use the skills she learned moving forward.
“Her method of Coaching by Numbers will benefit both the staff and students here at MC immensely” Foley said. “I am excited to use these skills moving forward to enhance my career here at Malden Catholic.”
Malden Catholic was incredibly honored to have Dr. Kauffman working with its faculty and staff on increasing their leadership skills. Headmaster John Thornburg believes Dr. Kauffman’s presentation was crucial, because of its importance in leadership skills to both staff and students.
On Aug. 25, at 1:08 a.m., officers responded to the area of 43 Central Ave. on the report of a Shot Spotter activation. Upon the officers’ arrival, they heard a second gunshot and responded to 18 Maverick St. Officers observed a male that fit the description of the male firing the gun and placed him under arrest. CPD Detectives responded and executed a search warrant at 18 Maverick St. and seized the firearm and other evidence.
Carlos Rodriguez, 37, of 18 Maverick St., was charged with disorderly conduct, intoxicated licensee carrying a firearm, improper storage of a firearm, and five counts of discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building.
Ran a Stop Sign, Class B Drugs
On Aug. 19, at 4:36 p.m., while on patrol on Grove Street, a CPD officer observed a white vehicle traveling down Grove Street and proceeding through a stop sign.
The car was pulled over.
The operator was found to be operating the vehicle with a suspended license. While in custody, the officers uncovered illegal prescription drugs in the man’s possession.
Jonathan Arce, 32, of Revere, was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, stop sign violation and possession of a Class B drug.
On Aug. 19, at 10:43 p.m., a CPD officer noticed two parties fighting in the middle of the Street on Hawthorne in front of the Phoenix Academy. Both males involved were placed under arrest.
Jose Flores, 32, of Lynn; and William Rivera, 46, of 643 Broadway, were both charged with assault and battery.
On Aug. 24, at 4:33 p.m., a CPD officer while in the area Bellingham Square observed a female party that was shouting at a male in the area of McDonald’s. The officer warned both to stop their behavior and to move on. The female continued her behavior and was placed under arrest for being a disorderly person.
Bianca Cabral, 18, of East Boston, was charged with disorderly conduct.
Whenever a mass shooting occurs — which is to say, fairly regularly somewhere in America these days — investigators scour for clues as to the “motive” of the gunman.
Often, as was the case in El Paso two weeks ago, the shooter espouses some sort of political ideology, whether it be homegrown white nationalism or foreign-based anti-Americanism.
On occasion, individuals with mental illness are the perpetrators.
But just as often, as was the case in the country music shooting in Las Vegas two years ago, there is no discernible motive, other than that the shooter simply is unhappy and frustrated with his lot in life.
That appears to have been the situation with this past weekend’s shooting spree in Texas by a 36 year old man who was fired from his job and who was described by his neighbor as a loner.
In short, the shooter fit a certain profile — a young, white male with no money, no wife or girlfriend, no children, and no prospects.
However, each and every one of these shootings, regardless of the perpetrator’s motive, have two things in common: Innocent Americans are being shot while going about their daily lives and the shooter had military-style weaponry that allowed him to kill and maim dozens of Americans with a single pull of the trigger.
About 13,000 innocent Americans are slaughtered by guns every year in this country. (There also are about 26,000 suicides by guns each year).
To put that 13,000 figure into perspective, that is almost twice the number of American soldiers who have been killed in the entirety of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Cumulatively over the past 15 years, 7000 American soldiers lost their lives in our Mideast wars, while 200,000 innocent Americans have been killed by gunfire right here in America. In addition to those who died, more than one million Americans have been shot and wounded in the past 15 years.
When President Trump used the term, “American Carnage,” in his Inaugural Address, it was not entirely clear what he was referring to.
However, given that more Americans are shot, killed, and maimed by guns every year on their home soil than anywhere else in the world, our American Carnage is indeed, very real.
Hurricane Dorian, the fifth Category 5 hurricane to hit the U.S. in the past four years, has captivated many of us for the past week as we watched the latest forecasts to see where it would strike the American mainland.
The increasing intensity of tropical storms has been predicted for decades by those who have studied the effects of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels that is heating up the planet.
Superstorm Sandy was an example of the catastrophic effects that can occur when a huge storm strikes our heavily-populated urban areas in the northeast. The Boston area was largely spared from Sandy’s wrath (though we did have extended power outages), but we have to face the reality that given the acceleration of the effects of climate change and rising sea levels, it will be our turn, sooner rather than later, for a catastrophic weather event to visit us with devastating force.