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Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, owner of Broadway House of Pizza, was skeptical about the Chelsea Walk Revitalization Project when he was first approached about the idea.  Now, he is one of the project’s biggest proponents.

Dimitris, came from Greece in 1981 and attended Northeastern University where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering.  He and his family purchased the Chelsea locale in 1987, just a few doors down from its present location.  When the existing building became available, he bought it and opened up the thriving business he has run for the last 30-plus years. He also owns Prattville Pizza as well as locations in Revere and West Roxbury.

Dimitris comes to Chelsea twice a day and often is here until midnight or later.  He knows practically everyone in the city, quickly chatting up teenagers, adults and the elderly alike.  With a twinkle in his eye and a quick laugh, he says, “I’ve known this guy since he was practically a baby, always coming in for pizza!”

It is no surprise Meletlidis feels a strong sense of ownership and connection to Chelsea and the Chelsea Walk. He checks out the progress of the transformation daily and has donated pizza for Artist Silvia Lopez Chavez and the multitude of volunteers she’s had on hand over the past week.

Previously unsure of the project, now just like the Chelsea Walk’s transformation, Meletlidis is changing his mind and thinking it might just be nice to have the mural extend to the back of his building too.

As a proud husband and father of two Ð a son studying at Amherst and a daughter studying law at Suffolk Ð Meletlidis exemplifies the theme behind Lopez Chavez’ mural “A City of Dreams.”

The mural takes inspiration from the diverse multi-cultural background of Chelsea people, a city which has welcomed immigrants from various countries for many years, working together to promote inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.

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Police Briefs 08-09-2018

Police Briefs 08-09-2018

REMOVED FROM DAY PROGRAM

On Aug. 2, at 9 a.m., CPD officers were dispatched to 738 Broadway for the report of a female party who had been in the bathroom and refused to leave. Officers spoke to the supervisor who runs the program at the church who told the officers that the female was not welcome anymore and needed to go. The officers entered the bathroom and observed the woman with multiple packets of drugs on her person and in the toilet. She was placed under arrest.

Ashley Tyler, 30, of 92 Park St., was charged with possession of a Class A drug, distribution of a Class B drug and one warrant.

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CLIMBING THE LADDER, THE WRONG WAY

On Aug. 3, at 2 a.m., CPD officersÊresponded to a call for a report of two men who were stealing ladders off of the property at 127 Division St. Officers searched the area and observed two males that fit the description with an orange ladder next to them. They were both placed under arrest.

Jesus Palacios-Leiva, 24, of 128 Shurtleff St., was charged with larceny over $250, trespassing and giving a false name.

Salvador Pineda, 30, of Revere, was charged with larceny over $250 and trespassing.

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ASSAULTED OFFICER, WANTED BY ICE

On Aug. 5, at 12:40 p.m.,Êwhile patrolling in the area of Essex and Hawthorne streets, CPD officers observed what appeared to be a verbal argument between a male and a female. As the officers approached, the man aggressively approached the driver side door of the vehicle. The subject refused the officers’ orders to back away and pushed the officer; he then grabbed a trash barrel.ÊWhile attempting to place the suspect under arrest, he struck both officers. He was eventually taken into custody. He was charged with assaulting a police officer, malicious destruction of property. It was later determined that ICE wanted the male for federal violations.

Elias Vincente-Morales, 21, of 78 Essex St., was charged with malicious destruction of property under $250, assault and battery on a police officer and one immigration detainer.

TOSSED BEER CANS AND FLED

On July 24, at 2 a.m.,a CPD officer while on Suffolk Street observed a male while standing next to his running car throw empty beer cans on the road, then drive away at a high rate of speed. After the car was observed committing several more vehicle infractions, it was pulled over. The operator attempted to flee the vehicle and was placed under arrest.

Abraham Lopez Rojop, 24, of 1A Clinton St., was charged with speeding, failing to stop for police, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation, negligent operation, and three stop-sign violations.

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NO SERVICE           AT THE BAR

On July 24, at 6 p.m., officers responded to the Los Amigos restaurant on Broadway for an unwanted party. Management told the officers that the female entered the bar and was highly intoxicated. Officers arrived and attempted to escort her off the property when she became disorderly. She was placed under arrest.

Ana Henriquez, 47, of 174 Chestnut St., was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

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UNREGISTERED   CAR, KNIFE

On July 25, at 6:40 p.m., a CPD officer, noticed an unregistered vehicle double parked in Bellingham Square. The officer pulled the car over. The operator did not have a valid license. He was placed under arrest. The officer also seized a folding knife from his person.

Jose Rodriguez, 20, of 120 Shurtleff St., was charged with unlicensed operation, unregistered motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.

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CALLED A GANG MEMBER

On July 26, at 8:20 p.m., officers responded to the Chung Wah restaurant on Broadway for a disturbance. The officers placed a male under arrest after the subject struck a female patron with a sign. The suspect was said to be calling the victim a gang member as he assaulted her.

Edwin Ibanez, 30, of 589 Broadway, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and assault and battery.

Police Log

Monday, July 23

Carlos Rios, 46, 139 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Henrique Castillo, 67, 100 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Whitney Baskin, 33, 101 Willow St., Lynn, was arrested on warrants.

Tuesday, July 24

Abraham Lopez Rojop, 24, 1A Clinton S., Chelsea, was arrested for speeding, stop sign violation (four counts), failure to stop for police, open container of alcohol in motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and negligent operation of motor vehicle.

Ana Henriquez, 47, 174 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

Wilfredo Ibanez, 41, 46 Oliver St., Everett, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license and on a warrant.

Melvin Maldonado, 32, 25 Whitter St., Boston, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possessing a Class A drug.

Wednesday, July 25

Wendy Chirino, 28, 35 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Orlando Diaz, 62, 110 Bloomingdale St., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.

Leonides Bones, 60, 4 Fernboro St., Dorchester, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.

Fredy Lopez, 34, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Jose Rodriguez, 20, 120 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, unregistered motor vehicle and carrying a dangerous weapon.

 

Thursday, July 26

Edwin Ibanez, 30, 589 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, disorderly conduct and assault and battery.

 

Friday, July 27

Carlos Ramos, 51, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of property damage.

 

Sunday, 7/29

Nelson Moises Vasquez Rodriguez, 28, 108 Norfolk, Boston, was arrested for unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Cesar-Jose Valentin, 32, 23 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for dangerous weapon.

Mark Halloran, 19, 51 Village Hill Ln., North Kingstown, R.I., was arrested for trespassing.

 

Monday, July 30

JamieLynn Gemellaro, 36, 186 Wakefield St., Reading, was arrested on warrants.

Luiz DeFatima, 27, 37 Lawrence St., Everett, was arrested for possessing Class A drug.

Ramon Oquendo, 25, 52 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.

Tuesday, July 31

Anna Marshall, 20, 466 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Sandra Sargent, 34, 71 Winthrop Ave., Revere, was arrested on warrants.

Rosie Hurst, 56, 27 Thornly St., Dorchester, was arrested on a warrant.

Wednesday,  August 1

Justin Rich, 40, 810 Border St., East Boston, was arrested on a warrant.

Juddony Felix, 24, 40 River Rd., Somerville, was arrested on a warrant.

 

Thursday, Aug. 2

Ashley Tyler, 30, 92 Park St., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing a Class A drug, Distribution of a Class B drug and on a warrant.

Elizabeth Quinn, 35, 12 Simmonds Dr., Portsmouth, N.H., was arrested for sexual conduct for a fee.

Friday, August 3

Jesus Palacios-Leiva, 24, 128 Shurtleff St., Chelsea, was arrested for larceny over $250, trespassing and furnishing false name.

Salvador Pineda, 30, 135 Falmouth St., Revere, was arrested for larceny over $250 and trespassing.

Saturday, August 4

Ramon Pagan, 57, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage.

Elias Vincente-Morales, 21, 78 Essex St., Chelsea, was arrested for malicious destruction of property, assault and battery on a police officer and immigration detainer.

Jose Tejada, 37, 46 Hood St., Lynn, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle and immigration detainer.

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Summertime — and the Livin’ Is Easy

Summertime — and the Livin’ Is Easy

With this past week’s high temperatures and high humidity, those of us who work and live in air conditioned buildings have had a lot to be thankful for.

Even a sojourn to the beach offers no relief from the heat, thanks to the prevailing southwest winds that blow hot air across the sand toward the ocean along our East-facing coastline of the Boston areaÊ

Still, as unbearable as this stretch has been for many people — and let’s not forget that hot weather kills more people than cold — does anyone doubt that in January, all of us will be pining for the heat of early August?

With just three weeks left until the Labor Day weekend, we do not have many more days of summer left. So let’s enjoy our Triple-H weather (hazy, hot, and humid) while we can. In the words of the early-’60s song by the great Nat King Cole:

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

Those days of soda and pretzels and beer

Roll out those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer

You’ll wish that summer could always be here  

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Obituaries 08-09-2018

Obituaries 08-09-2018

Marion Terese Decowski

September 15, 1930 – July 31, 2018

Marion T. (McLaughlin) Decowski passed away on Tuesday, July 31, in the peaceful surroundings of her son’s Rochester, N.H. home.

She was 87 years old.

Born and raised in Chelsea, a daughter of the late John F. and Margaret G. (Coleman) McLaughlin.

Marion attended St. Rose Parochial School and graduated from St. Rose High School.       She worked as a librarian at the Chelsea Public Library and as a long-distance operator and telephone repair associate for NE Telephone  Co.

In 1952, she married Raymond J. Decowski and the couple raised their family in Chelsea. She also resided for several years in No. Andover and spent time between Alton Bay, NH and “Swiss Village” in Winter Haven, Fla.

Marion was widowed in 1991after sharing 39 years of love and devotion with her beloved Raymond.         More recently, she lived with her daughter in Derry, N.H. and continued to winter at “Swiss Village”.

She lived an independent and active life style all of her life. She enjoyed bowling and playing cards with her friends in Winter Haven. She was a talented knitter and an avid reader, a past member of the former PAV Post 13 Ladies Auxiliary in Chelsea and a proud Irish lady who enjoyed Polka dancing.

In addition to her parents and husband, she was predeceased by her dear sister, Eleanor (McLaughlin) Woodward Ellard.

She was the devoted mother of Patti Hughes and her husband, Robert of Winter Haven, Fla. Jack Decowski and his wife, Patty of Rochester, N.H., Tom Decowski and his companion, Karen Welsh of Alton Bay, N.H., and Eileen Viens and her husband, Daniel of Derry, N.H. She was the sweet “Irish Babci” of Raymond Hughes, Christopher Hughes, Thomas Hughes, Jennifer Cormier, Eric Gianatasio, Robert Gulizia, Jonathan Decowski, Mark Decowski, Noelle MacDonald, Nicole Tusi, Samantha Wright, Raymond Decowski,

Thomas Decowski, Jr., Jessica Decowski, John Decowski, Shawn Viens and Stephanie Viens and the cherished great-grandmother of 16.

A Funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday in Our Lady of Grace Church, followed by Marion being placed to rest in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.

Funeral arrangements were by the Anthony Memorial – Frank A. Welsh & Sons, Chelsea.  Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to Good Shepherd Hospice, 218 S.Dixie Drive, Haines City Fla., 33844.  For online guest book or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit   www.WelshFuneralHome.com.

Gertrude Ciarlone

Of Chelsea

Gertrude A. Ciarlone of Chelsea died on July 26.

She was the devoted wife of the late James A., beloved mother of James Ciarlone of Chelsea, Robert Ciarlone of Everett and Donald Ciarlone of Billerica; sister of Doris Davis of Franklin, Mildred Nickerson of Malden and the late Anna, Elizabeth, Theresa, Helen, Ralph and Alfred and cherished grandmother of Lisa Ciarlone, Terri Walsh, Kristin Fulton and Gina Bauer. She is also lovingly survived by her great-grandchildren, Dylan, Jordan and David as well as by many nieces and nephews.

Funeral arrangements were by the Smith Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment was at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.

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Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

If Bellingham Square is going to be fully returned to the community, then let that return be led by dominoes.

Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez checks his dominoes during Game Night on Tuesday, July 31, in Bellingham Square. Game Night is slowly gaining popularity, and the City initiative takes place every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.

It was slow going at first for the introduction of an outdoor Game Night on Bellingham Square – which is sponsored by the City’s Chelsea Prospers initiative. A few would trickle in and out, but the hard-scrabble Square had gained a reputation that many Chelsea residents hadn’t yet forgotten.

But now with about a month under the belt, momentum for the simple fun in the Square has begun to form with about 10 or so regulars – and that momentum has everything to do with something as simple as a domino.

“For me, this is the most popular game in Puerto Rico,” said Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez, who moved to Chelsea from Puerto Rico seven years ago. “It makes me feel great because I feel like I’m right at home in my hometown. I’m meeting people in Chelsea and talking to people I don’t know. It makes me feel welcome.”

As the group enjoys their game, salsa music plays in the background and many observers pass by – seemingly wanting to join in, but not entirely certain why people are playing games in Bellingham Square.

“It’s very comfortable here now and that’s surprising,” said Sheila Rohena. “I grew up here, so begin able to come out of my house and sit here in the Square is great. I used to be scared to come out of my house because of all the things that happen here. Now, I’m sitting here and enjoying myself in the Square. That’s pretty amazing because there was a lot of bad stuff happening here. Did I think this would happen? Not for the life of me.”

But certainly it was, and Rohena and others who participate in Game Night found a peacefulness in the Square on a sunny, warm summer night that hasn’t existed there for a long time.

“I really like that it’s right here in this spot,” said Tina Rivera. “I like it being here at City Hall because it’s had a very bad reputation for so long. There used to be game tables here permanently, but they had to take them down. A lot of people were hesitant to bring them back, but we did it in a very low-cost, low-key way. It’s going well. There are now problems. You see from this that we can have nice things. You have to just trust people sometimes.”

Rodriguez has even brought in some converts like Jen Matheson, who is new to downtown Chelsea and was taught how to play dominoes. Now she’s a regular.

“I live right here and it’s so great to be able to come out here and meet new people,” she said. “They taught me how to play dominoes. I didn’t even know, and now I’m winning a lot of the time.”

Rivera said she has hoped for community building events like a Game Night for a long time because it promotes stability and familiarity. Without that, there is no community, she said, and that makes the people vulnerable.

“If we don’t get back to being a community, it makes it even easier for another community to replace us without us knowing,” she said.

There is no end date in sight for the Game Night, and organizer Mimi Graney said they will likely go until it gets too cold.

For now, the goal is not to get the ‘Chiva’ – which is Spanish for ‘female goat’ and is slang for getting no points in a game of dominoes.

But for the future, the goal is to have several more tables full of people from the community functioning normally and having fun together.

Certainly in Chelsea, if anything, a domino game is good first step.

Cutline –

1 –

Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez checks his dominoes during Game Night on Tuesday, July 31, in Bellingham Square. Game Night is slowly gaining popularity, and the City initiative takes place every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.

2 –

William Molino celebrates a win in a game of dominoes during the Chelsea Prospers Game Night on Tuesday. Watching him enviously are Raul Melendez, Alex Garcia and Mike Vega.

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School Funding Meltdown:Legislature Fails to Pass Education Funding Fix

School Funding Meltdown:Legislature Fails to Pass Education Funding Fix

The last second ticked off the clock on Beacon Hill Tuesday night, and when the score was settled, education funding for Gateway cities like Chelsea was the big loser.

School Supt. Mary Bourque and Chelsea’s State Sen. Sal DiDomenico voiced extreme disappointment on Wednesday that the Legislature could not come to a compromise on fixing education funding – an issue that has dogged Chelsea, Everett and Revere in particular for the last three years. The compromise committee, made up of members of the House and Senate, failed to reach a compromise between their separate bills, essentially killing the plan that would bring more dollars to Chelsea.

“We’re leaving another generation of kids behind by not addressing the issue now,” said Sen. DiDomenico, who had helped to pass a comprehensive funding revamp bill in the Senate earlier this year. “The districts that lost the most are the ones that need the most help. It was our responsibility to step up for communities who are continuously doing more with less and in these circumstances we have failed them. I was willing to go the extra mile to make that happen. To not be able to make a deal is extremely disappointing. We can’t keep kicking the can down the road. This bill would have seen substantial funding increases to our low-income communities like Chelsea and Everett – indisputably.”

Supt. Bourque said she was very angry when she heard the news that there hadn’t been a compromise.

She said that the time for waiting and watching for the state to take action is over.

“I just think it’s unconscionable that we aren’t putting student first and foremost in the budget,” she said. “We’re concerned about the economy and this is the next generation that will bolster that economy. It’s extremely short-sighted of our leaders to do this.”

She said that there should have been a compromise, as there were so many people willing to work out a solution, including Gov. Charlie Baker – who is a Republican.

“The House and Senate bills were so close in many ways,” she said. “It only required leaders to compromise at a certain point and they didn’t. It’s going to call on all of us for stronger advocacy moving forward. That’s what you’re going to hear from us. We have balanced our budget for this year. We made the difficult cuts this year and last year. We cut $2.7 million last year and $3.1 million this year. The greater implications and my concern is for the fiscal year 2020 budget. The situation will be much more difficult and we’ll be facing a third year of cutting $3-$4 million. Where do we cut? We’re already at class sizes of 30 students. We’ve eliminated all of our after-school programs.”

For those looking for answers within the inside baseball of the State Legislature, one clue came from a statement by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, who was the lead sponsor of the Senate’s wide-ranging education reform fix.

In a statement on Wednesday, Chang-Diaz indicated that the House leadership was not willing to compromise. She said the House put forward their “deal,” and with time the Senate agreed to that deal – only to be told that the House was rejecting its own deal.

“This bill shouldn’t have been difficult to negotiate,” she wrote in a statement. “[The Senate] offered multiple versions of major concessions – on structure, on content, on money. I have only good things to say about the House conferees, who I believe really wanted to get to a deal. Yet, in the end House leadership rejected all our offer, moved the goal posts, and then killed the bill completely – stunningly, by rejecting one of their own proposals. I’ve seen a lot in my 10 years in [the State House], but I’ve never seen so many rationalizations and double-standards employed to avoid doing what’s right for kids.”

Chelsea has made numerous difficult cuts over the past two years especially. They have cut librarians, special education teachers at the middle school level and have not replaced positions.

Sources indicated that the compromise bill could have delivered along the lines of $10 million to Chelsea.

Other sources in line with Chang-Diaz’s comments said that the meltdown in the education funding fix came from the top of both houses.

Talk on Beacon Hill now is that the relationship between the Senate and the House – in particular their two leaders – is at an all-time low.

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Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea announced this week that it’s partnering with  OpenGov – a leader in government performance management – to further increase its effectiveness and accountability.

“Our new open data portal is a valuable resource for residents and businesses interested in understanding how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and learning more about the various projects that the City is engaged in,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We hope it will also help City officials to make data-driven decisions by giving them access to information that was previously in silos.”

The portal, which can be accessed at chelseama.ogopendata.com/ already features showcases on property values, demographics, crime and Narcan information, and expenditures.

The OpenGov Cloud™ is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution for budgeting, operational performance, and citizen engagement. OpenGov’s open data portal aggregates, organizes, and visualizes various data sets (like budgets, permits, and citizen requests). It’s powered by CKAN – the open-source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data. It also includes tools like APIs that developers can use to build applications.

“Our open data portal is a win-win for Chelsea and the community,” said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. “On average, governments receive 20 percent less requests for information after they launch their OpenGov open data portals. That means citizens are getting the information they need, and it saves governments time and energy that can be spent elsewhere.”

Chelsea joins over 1,900 city, county, and state governments, special districts and schools that rely on OpenGov to be more effective and accountable, including the City of Boston.

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Chelsea Walk Paint Days This Friday, Saturday

Chelsea Walk Paint Days This Friday, Saturday

Prepare for a little color on the Chelsea Walk.

But only if residents turn out to help paint the newfound oasis in the middle of the Broadway business district.

GreenRoots and Chelsea artists Sylvia Lopez Chavez will host two Paint Days of the Walk on Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We hope everyone will join GreenRoots and artist Silvia Lopez Chavez to transform the Chelsea Walk into an area we will all be proud of,” said GreenRoots Director Roseann Bongiovanni.

Phase II of the Walk transformation will begin later this summer with furniture and lighting installations, to be followed by Phase III consisting of art installations on the ceiling of the Chelsea Walk.

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Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

Chelsea Schools Get Raw Deal in ‘Pothole’ Account This Year

The Chelsea Public Schools have had a life-line in the State Budget the last few years as finances have gotten more difficult.

That life-line is known as the ‘Hold Harmless’ provision, or more popularly the ‘Pothole’ account. This year, that account is little to no help for Chelsea as the district saw their funding slashed in half.

Last year, Chelsea got an additional $1.214 million from the Pothole account funding – a fund that seeks to help districts who are not getting a proper count of their low-income students due to changes three years ago in the way they are counted.

However, this year Chelsea will only get $296,000, nearly $1 million less than last year.

“The whole idea of the account is to hold us harmless for the change in the way they calculate the funding, which has taken dollars away from us,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “Come to find out, it was slashed this year at a rate of about 56 percent, so we are not held harmless because that would mean you are at 100 percent. By their own admission, we aren’t held harmless at 100 percent.”

State Sen. Sal DiDomenico said he was disappointed in the funding allotted to Chelsea for the Pothole account, and the ability not to be able to fix the funding for the long-term. That was something he had proposed in the education funding bill.

“I’m disappointed that was also not addressed within this session,” he said. “It would have been addressed with (the education) bill and it’s another reason I’m disappointed with how all of this happened.”

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And They’re NOT Off:Horse Racing, Simulcasting is Suspended as Legislature Fails to Act

And They’re NOT Off:Horse Racing, Simulcasting is Suspended as Legislature Fails to Act

Live racing and simulcasting have been suspended at Suffolk Downs and all other horse tracks and betting facilities in the state due to the fact that the State Legislature did not act to renew the Simulcast Bill before the end of its formal session at midnight on July 31.

The renewal has been routine for several years.

The news came out of Beacon Hill early Wednesday morning that horseracing and simulcasting had suddenly become illegal in Massachusetts overnight. It seemed like fantasy, but soon the news was solidified.

In order for horse tracks like Suffolk Downs to operate live racing and simulcasting, the annual bill has to be renewed by the House and Senate by July 31. The Legislature did not do that this year.

There were few comments from legislators on the matter, but Suffolk Downs had its placard off Wednesday morning, a placard that usually advertises simulcast betting on Saratoga races for that day.

Later in the morning, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) put out a letter of direction to Suffolk Downs, Plainridge Park and Raynham Taunton Greyhound Park.

The letter said that the Commonwealth’s legislation for live racing and simulcasting had expired on July 31 at midnight and no action had been taken to renew or replace it.

“As of today, there is not statutory authorization for live horse racing or simulcasting in the Commonwealth,” read the letter. “Please be advised that until further notice from the Gaming Commission, simulcasting in all forms under any license at your facilities is suspended. Further, live racing at Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Park is also suspended until further notice.”

The MGC added the item as an emergency agenda item for its meeting today, Aug. 2, in Springfield.

The news complicated things tremendously for Suffolk Downs, which had planned and proceeded with a weekend of live racing for Aug. 4 and 5. That event is now in great doubt as there is no law allowing live racing in the state.

Reportedly, many of the horses and support personnel had already begun the trek up to Massachusetts from other states for the live races.

Many were left to ask why it had happened without warning.

There were no official comments on Wednesday from the Legislature, but numerous sources near the situation indicated it revolved around a growing rift between the leadership of the House and Senate.

It was believed by those sources that when a very important priority item for the Senate leadership didn’t pass the House – the gender equity bill – then the Senate in turn blocked the action on the renewal of the Simulcasting Bill.

One course of action to fix the matter is to address it during an informal session this week. However, during an informal session, rather than with a roll call vote of everyone, only one objection to any matter by any member can kill it under the rules of the body. That makes restoring the bill even more difficult, especially if there is a political rift between the two houses.

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