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Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

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Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

Brass Tax: some residents will see a decrease in property taxes this year

The Chelsea City Council unanimously set the property tax rates for residential and commercial properties on Monday night, instituting an increased 27.5 percent owner-occupant exemption that will lead to a reduction in taxes for most single-family homeowners.

“(These tax rates) will result in a reduction in the average tax bill for owner-occupied single family homes, and a modest tax increase to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

The new residential tax rate is $14.17 per $1,000 of value, and the commercial tax rate is $29.75 per $1,000 of value. Both tax rates are still pending state Department of Revenue approvals – which could result in minor adjustments, if any adjustments.

With that, the average owner-occupied single family home will see a decrease in their bill from $2,723 last year to $2,654 this year. There are 843 single-family homes in Chelsea.

Condos will see an increase from $1,893 to $2,100, while two-families will see a very small increase compared to previous years – going from $3,657 to $3,781 on the average bill.

Three-family homes will also see a much smaller increase than in previous years, going up 3.8 percent over last year ($4,927 to $5,114).

The largest tax bill increase came on the condo properties, which will rise 11 percent over last year. Condos also are the most prevalent properties in the city, with 1,839 properties units.

The Council does have the option to increase the owner-occupant exemption to 35 percent, but instead continued to keep with the incremental increase towards that higher number. Last year, after first having the ability to go from 20 percent to 35 percent, the Council chose the conservative approach, ratifying a 25 percent exemption.

This year, they chose the 27.5 percent exemption.

“By selecting the 27.5 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over several additional fiscal years,” Ambrosino wrote.

The Council did not debate the matter much, but voted 11-0 the tax rates and other related measures.

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Bishop Ready to Head Back to City Council for Prattville

Bishop Ready to Head Back to City Council for Prattville

By Seth Daniel

Councillor-elect Bob Bishop said it feels good to return to City Hall to represent Prattville on the Council. He will be taking office in January, but has been attending meetings to get up to speed on matters.

Councillor-elect Bob Bishop said it feels good to return to City Hall to represent Prattville on the Council. He will be taking office in January, but has been attending meetings to get up to speed on matters.

The halls of City Hall haven’t changed tremendously since former City Clerk and former Alderman Bob Bishop retired, but things have changed a bit and now Bishop will rejoin the team as a member of the City Council.

On Nov. 7, Bishop one a heavily contested race Prattville’s District 1 over Planning Board member Todd Taylor, gaining the right to represent the district on the Council come January.

“I worked very hard and had a lot of support,” he said after attending Monday’s Council meeting. “Many of my voters came out and I’m grateful for that. My opponent worked very hard too and is a good man. I can’t say one bad thing about him.”

Bishop was an Alderman in the old form of government prior to the receivership era, and also served as City Clerk for 25 years, retiring as the Purchasing Agent in 2010.

“It feels really good to be back up here,” he said. “I was first elected when I was 27 and that was some time ago. I have a good idea of what I’m doing and what I need to do to represent District 1.

Bishop said the district has changed, and that’s something he saw when he went out frequently during the campaign. Many of his long-time voters are gone, he said, and many new people have moved in. He said he did his best to meet as many as he could.

In doing that, he said he learned the biggest concern in the district is rats.

“I have to say the number one concern out there is rats – that’s all across District 1,” he said. “That will be at the top of my list. We’re going to really see what the City offers to help with this and then see if we can’t do more.”

He also said a concern is the dangerous crossing at Revere Beach Parkway, as well as the traffic pattern and configuration at the Parkway and Washington Avenue.

Another thing he wants to do is to find out ways to help the City’s code inspectors – whom he believes are overwhelmed.

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What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

What to Do about the Logan Noise Study? Some Ready to Bargain, Some Ready to Fight

By Seth Daniel

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study

Councillor Dan Cortell questioned the creators of the noise study on Monday night. Cortell represents Admiral’s Hill, which has a terrible time with jet noise. He and other councillors are debating next steps after seeing the favorable study.

The City Council publicly unveiled the recent Airplane Noise Study done by Boston University at a Committee on Conference meeting Monday night, Nov. 13, and the consensus is that there are two different paths – fight in court or use the favorable study as leverage.

The noise study was performed by the Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).

That report showed that flights over Chelsea have nearly doubled between 2011 and 2015, and that certain health effects associated with airplane noise are very high in Chelsea.

On Monday, Councillors and City Manager Tom Ambrosino met with the study creators and the public to talk about next steps.

Ambrosino explained that the City has had an agreement with MassPort to have a $600,000 annual payment to mitigate the airport uses and airport operations in Chelsea. That agreement ran out in 2015, but he said MassPort has “begrudgingly” continued to pay – but may not renew the deal.

He has asked that they pay $700,000 annually and that they contribute a one-time $3 million payment to create a waterfront park.

Many in the audience, including Ambrosino and GreenRoots Director Roseanne Bongiovanni, are of the opinion that the study should be used as leverage to bring MassPort to the table to agree on mitigation.

“It took us two years just to get a meeting with them about the airport, and then another 18 months to say they would consider doing something,” said Bongiovanni.

Ambrosino said he is a great supporter of the mitigation and park concept – as it would serve the most people – and the report could help make that happen.

“I am a great supporter of the waterfront park,” he said. “That is a piece of mitigation that generates benefits to the most residents of Chelsea and not just a small that will get soundproofing. It won’t be Piers Park in East Boston. That’s a $20 million park, but a $3 million park with the City kicking in $1 million to make it a $4 million park is something that could create a very wonderful waterfront park for everyone.”

Meanwhile, Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he was of the opinion that it might be best to look at using the study to fight MassPort in court.

“We’re going to get to a point where we have to make a decision about this on behalf of our residents,” he said. “We can squeeze them for $700,000 and a park like the City Manager wants to do, or we do a real noise study with proper equipment and prepare to say we have proof that our community is impacted and possibly prepare to embark on a lawsuit against MassPort and the FAA…My preference will be to do a proper sound study and fight. I can’t go to residents and say that I got them a park and they are still suffering from the noise.”

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No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

No Debate Necessary:Strip Club Application Dismissed by ZBA, New Owner Might Look to Other Things

By Leah Dearborn and Seth Daniel

In what has been one surprise after another with the Phantom Ventures suit-and-tie strip club proposal, Tuesday night’s events perhaps took the cake – with a new owner of the club now coming into play and the proponents withdrawing their three-year-old proposal at the last minute.

That came, however, after the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied the application due to lack of standing.

It was a surprisingly quiet meeting on Tuesday night, despite all the behind the scenes excitement, with representatives of Phantom Ventures failing to make an appearance. The controversial application concerned a Special Permit to establish a nude cabaret and sports bar at 200 Beacham St. – the former site of the King Arthur’s Strip Club.

After addressing the room several times to ask whether a representative of Phantom Ventures was present, Chairman John DePriest announced that the board had received an email earlier in the afternoon requesting withdrawal of the application.

DePriest said the board also received an affidavit from the owner of the property, Demetrios Vardakostas, stating they had been unaware the proposal for the site was submitted. The affidavit clarified that the applicants are no longer tenants of the address at Beacham Street, and that they had been evicted in Chelsea Court last month for non-payment of rent and taxes.

Citing a lack of proper authority to come before the board in the first place, members of the ZBA dismissed the case without further debate from the public.

Another twist in the affair came in that the building was sold late last week, with Everett’s Greg Antonellli now being the new owner.

Antonelli, who owns GTA Landscaping Co., hasn’t revealed what his plans are for the site, but the real estate arm of his business has been buying up a lot of property in the industrial areas of Everett – some of them just on the other side of the Produce Center.

Some in the City said Antonelli may be willing to work with the Phantom proponents to re-apply at his new property, while others said he is considering a different use altogether.

Antonelli said it is too early to discuss any plans for the property, as he has just taken ownership.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he hopes the new owner will consider something different than the nude dancing use.

“I’m pleased that the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected the application,” he said. “Hopefully, the new owner will propose a better use for that site.”

City Councillor Dan Cortell has organized major opposition several times regarding the Phantom application, and he said he was pleasantly surprised by the outcome Tuesday – which was somewhat unexpected.

“A lot of hard work went into this fight that included not just of our City Manager, City Solicitor and staff, Department of Planning and Development and Inspectional Services, but also our volunteer Zoning Board of Appeals, Planning Board, Economic Development Board and Licensing Commission as well as the literally hundreds of residents I called upon to support the fight all whom were looking out for the best for the city and its future,” he said. “Some football games end in a spectacular interception or last second score. Others end with a run out the clock ‘kneel down.’  Last night’s ZBA meeting ended with the latter. A win is a win and last night Chelsea put the notorious history that is King Arthur’s behind us. Chelsea is a better and more desirable city for it.”

Member Janice Tatarka said Phantom Ventures could still theoretically re-apply for the permit since the original application never went to a vote.

“They could come back,” said board member Janice Tatarka. “It’s possible.”

What is certain is that the controversial Phantom Ventures application – which resulted in numerous hearing and a Constitutional Court case in federal court – is currently dead. Phantom Ventures had re-submitted their application for Tuesday’s meeting after a Federal Court ruling declared the City’s adult entertainment ordinance unconstitutional earlier this year – a case that resulted from the ZBA denying Phantom’s original application in 2015.

Currently, the ZBA said any nude dancing application had to be fit under the ‘theatre’ use. Phantom Ventures had planned to apply on Tuesday under the ‘Theatre’ use provision – that is until it was learned they had no standing with the owner and the new owner.

Phantom’s ownership, which did not appear before the Board, had no comment on the matter immediately.

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Police Briefs 11-16-2017

Police Briefs 11-16-2017

SUSPICIOUS CHARACTER

On Nov. 5, at 3:15 p.m., a CPD officer, while parked across from the Chelsea Police Headquarters, was approached by a young male. The officer reported that the male seemed to be out of breath and in a panic.

He told the officer that he was riding his bicycle on Central Avenue by the cemetery and observed a truck drive past him four times, and each time the operator made comments to him that made him feel uncomfortable. The officer gave a description out to all Chelsea units to BOLO for a black Dodge Ram truck as reported by the young male. A short time later Chelsea officers observed the truck after it hit a vehicle near Chestnut and Fifth streets. Other Chelsea Units responded and stopped vehicle and placed operator under arrest. The vehicle was reported to be stolen out of Reading.

Michael Valentin, 17, of Revere, was charged with unlicensed operation, reckless operation, leaving the scene of property damage, and receiving a stolen vehicle.

STOLE CELL PHONE

On Nov. 5, at noon, a CPD officer on walking patrol in uniform observed from a distance of 100 feet a known female. The officer observed the female approach the victim, who was sitting against a wall by Cherry Street at Everett Avenue. The officer observed the female grab the victim with both hands and start to push him. The officer then observed female take a cell phone from victim. She was placed into custody on scene.

Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.

UNLICENSED LIVERY DRIVERS

On Nov. 6, at approximately 6 a.m., a traffic officer was monitoring the intersection of Crescent and Eastern avenues. At that location, the officer observed a vehicle take a right hand turn from Crescent Avenue onto Eastern Avenue without stopping. The operator was discovered to be unlicensed and was allegedly employed by Nunez Livery of East Boston.

The Traffic Division has been monitoring the practice of this livery company hiring unlicensed drivers. The operator was placed into custody and the vehicle was impounded.

Osmin Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, of 743 Broadway, was charged with unlicensed operation and failing to yield at an intersection.

HIGH COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION 

The state’s highest court this month upheld a Suffolk Superior Court jury’s murder verdict in the 2006 homicide of Yolande Danestoir by her son.

The 33-page unanimous decision affirms the conviction of Norton Cartright for first-degree in his mother’s slaying inside the Reynolds Street home they once shared – where Cartright had continued to live in a crawlspace after being ordered to stay out of the residence. Evidence at trial established that Cartright beat her with a hammer, causing fatal injuries, after she found him inside the apartment.

Cartright’s primary argument on appeal was that his videotaped and audio-recorded admissions to State and Chelsea police detectives were not voluntary, that his prior motion to suppress should have been granted, and that his statement should not have gone before the jury. The high court disagreed.

“We conclude, as did the motion judge, that the defendant’s confession was voluntary, and therefore admissible,” the court wrote, noting that the detectives “pointed accurately at the evidence arrayed against him” and that their suggestion of possible mitigating circumstances “were within the bounds of acceptable interrogation methods.”

Cartright also argued that the detectives’ appeals to let the victim “rest in peace” in the “afterlife” by telling “the truth” were improper. The high court rejected this claim, as well, finding that they were not “calculated to exploit a particular psychological vulnerability of the defendant” and did not render his incriminating statements involuntary.

“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the religious references here were of a type that other courts have concluded were permissible,” the high court wrote. “Nothing indicates that police took advantage of, or knew of, the defendant’s personal religious beliefs, or of any special susceptibility he might have had to religious appeals.”

Police Log

Monday, 10/30

Juan Valle, 38, 127 Division St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Laura Fontanez, 52, 152 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.

Wednesday, 11/1

Christopher Rivera, 25, 54 Maverick St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Alisha Cohen, 38, 36 Winthrop Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and disorderly conduct.

Thursday, 11/2

Alexandra Corn, 60, 49 Bromfield Rd., Somerville, was arrested for larceny over $250.

Friday, 11/3

Carlos Sanchez Renderos, 29, 140 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Kevin Merrill, 37, 240 Albany St., Cambridge, was arrested on a warrant.

Marcio Mezabaca, 32, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, leaving scene of property damage, failure to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.

Saturday, 11/4

Jose Orozco Dias, 44, 73 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Sunday, 11/5

Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, 106 Mountain Ave., Revere, was arrested for unarmed robbery.

Pedro Mejia, 34, 1641 Shore Rd., Revere, Larceny over $250.

Monday, 11/6

Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, 743 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, failure to yield at intersection.

Jenry Lopez-Alvarez, 29, 106 Webster Ave., Chelsea, waas arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Tuesday, 11/7/17

Pena Aguilar Bonifacio, 48, address unknown, was arrested for trespassing.

Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 47, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.

Wednesday, 11/8

Alexander Hubbard, 45, 14 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested on warrants.

Friday, 11/10

Allan Tzalam Hernandez, 18, 48 Harvard St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

German Sanchez, 23A Philomena Ave., Revere, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Saturday, 11/11

Robert Daniels, 18, 73A Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

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Robinson Topping Ticket, Rodriguez and Garcia Win District Contests:Brown, Bishop and Perlatonda Return to Council

Robinson Topping Ticket, Rodriguez and Garcia Win District Contests:Brown, Bishop and Perlatonda Return to Council

By Seth Daniel

Governor’s Councilor Terence Kennedy stopped by the polls to greet those campaigning, including here Candidate Henry Wilson, Councillor Enio Lopez, and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.

Governor’s Councilor Terence Kennedy stopped by the polls to greet those campaigning, including here Candidate Henry Wilson, Councillor Enio Lopez, and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.

Incumbents prevailed in several contested district Council contests on Tuesday, Nov. 7, while Council President Leo Robinson showed that experience equals strength in topping the at-large ticket with more than 1,000 votes.

Aside from School Committeeman at-Large candidate Frank DePatto, Robinson was the only candidate to top the 1,000 vote plateau.

In the at-large race, Robinson had 1,023 votes, Roy Avellaneda 986 and Damali Vidot 827. None of the three at-large seats were contested, but there was a spirited race to see who would top the ticket – a victory that carries implications for Council President.

“Now it’s time to stay focused and keep moving the City ahead,” Robinson said. “I want to thank the voters and all my supporters for hard work and dedication in making this victory happen.”

Meanwhile, in District 1, an empty seat saw Bob Bishop – the former councillor and city clerk – emerge as the victor over Planning Board member Todd Taylor, 267-213.

Bishop did win the Preliminary Election, but it came in spite of an endorsement of Taylor by outgoing Councillor Paul Murphy and Gov. Charlie Baker.

One contest that was very high-profile was that between Councillor Yamir Rodriguez and challenger Mark Rossi, of the License Commission. The two ran organized campaigns, with Rodriguez winning 129-98.

Another such contest came in District 5, where a rematch between Councillor Judith Garcia and Planning Board member Henry Wilson also showed lots of action.

Garcia won fairly easily in the end, 148-83.

On Admiral’s Hill in District 8, an empty seat saw former Councillor Calvin Brown cruise to victory over Jermaine Williams, 303-79.

In District 6, Councillor Giovanni Recupero prevailed 101-17 over Kristofer Haight, who had withdrawn from the race in September.

Up on the Soldiers’ Home in District 2, Councillor Luis Tejada beat challenger Olivia Walsh 124-94.

Former Councillor Joe Perlatonda will make his way back to the Council after winning an unopposed election for an open seat in Mill Hill (District 3).

Finally, District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez won an unopposed contest with 109 votes.

The results will mean that there will be three new faces on the Council in 2018.

For School Committee, two of the seats (District 4 and 5) had no candidate on the ballot. However, Lucia Henriquez put together a write-in campaign for one of the seats, and is believed to have won there.

Other winners included DePatto (at-Large), District 1 Rosemarie Carlisle, District 2 Jeannette Velez, District 3 Rich Maronski, District 4 no candidate, District 5 no candidate, District 6 Ana Hernandez, District 7 Kelly Garcia, and District 8 Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez.

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New Chelsea Day Center Making a Difference in Homeless Community

New Chelsea Day Center Making a Difference in Homeless Community

By Seth Daniel

Pastor Ricardo Valle, Ivone Valle, Esperanza Escobar and Ivellise Gonzalez are all volunteers in the new Chelsea Day Resource Center (SELAH) in the basement of the Light of Christ Church on Broadway. The new Center is a partnership between the City, Valle and many others.

Pastor Ricardo Valle, Ivone Valle, Esperanza Escobar and Ivellise Gonzalez are all volunteers in the new Chelsea Day Resource Center (SELAH) in the basement of the Light of Christ Church on Broadway. The new Center is a partnership between the City, Valle and many others.

In years past, when it was severely cold, those living on the streets of Chelsea had nowhere to go but under blankets.

Some, as recently as last year, died because of exposure to the cold.

Now, to help prevent that and to give those on the streets a place to go during the day, the Chelsea Day Resource Center (SELAH) has opened in the basement of the Light of Christ Church at 738 Broadway.

The Day Center is a partnership between Pastor Ricardo Valle and his church, as well as the City of Chelsea, Pastor Ruben Rodriguez, MGH Chelsea and CAPIC.

It is part of the overall effort to provide a place for those that hang out in Bellingham Square or under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge to go for services – things such as meals, clothing, hot showers, a bathroom and – occasionally – a shoulder to cry on. It’s also a resource that can be activated by the City overnight in times of extreme cold or extreme weather events.

It isn’t a new idea, but rather one Valle and others have been championing privately for a number of years. However, about three years ago, the City began to show a greater interest in partnering with Valle and others during a relentless cold snap. One particularly bad night, they put together a quick plan to partner with Valle and host those from the streets as a trial emergency measure.

It went so well that plans have been ongoing since then to get something official going. Now, that has happened.

Valle said the center has been open since Aug. 28, and so far things are working really well. In fact, SELAH is just about ready to get their full commercial kitchen working so they can provide on-site cooked meals every day, Monday through Friday.

“This is an investment with no monetary returns,” said Valle. “If someone is sick and they die, that’s terrible but we can accept that. If they die because they are out in the cold, we can do better than that. I have this space here and I believe everyone deserves a second chance and maybe this is the place where they can come find a second chance…We talk to them and try to get them to ask for help. Once they ask, we immediately have a team ready to get them the help they need to get out of this lifestyle.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the population of homeless and vagrants in the city needed a place to go during the day. Many used to hang out in the Square all day, and it wasn’t compatible with the business district and nearby schools. However, there was nowhere else for them to go.

“We were really looking to partner to create a place so there’s a place people can go to get a shower and something to eat,” he said. “We hope it can be a helpful resource for our Navigators. There are now options that they didn’t have before. So far it’s doing pretty well.”

Ambrosino said the City was able to give the Center a grant of about $35,000 to build the showers and bathrooms. Meanwhile, other monies were directed to the operating budget from the Mass General neighborhood monies.

Bobby Soroka lived on the streets and under the Bridge for years until getting his own place recently. He started coming to the Day Center when it opened, and now he returns to help out as a volunteer.

“I liked what I saw when I came here and they needed help,” he said. “I was here anyway. Without this, they wouldn’t be able to shower. It’s a nice place to hand and especially with winter coming. Everybody gets along. There are no fights or problems.”

Valle said having the shower and ability to clean up is very important. He said they often find those coming in very deteriorated conditions. One man had his feet rotted, and couldn’t walk well. In general, he said, it has helped the hygiene of the community of homeless that frequent and live in Chelsea.

“A shower means a lot to them,” he said. “The first time we opened the center, it took 30 minutes and you could feel the smell. Now you come here and you don’t feel that because they have access to a shower five days a week. We had a man who came in to take a shower and he took his shoes off and his feet had deteriorated. He couldn’t walk and was using a stick to get around. It was bad and we see a lot of people in that condition.”

Soroka now has his own housing, but at night in the cold, he said he still is uneasy when he smells the air. It brings back really bad memories, and so he avoids going outside at night. He also said it helps him to continue to relate to what those at the Center are going through.

“It meant a lot to see them open this, especially a few years ago when they opened it during the cold,” he said. “I was under the Bridge then. I’m not one to go to a shelter. I’ll sleep outside first. I have a place, but I don’t like to go outside. That night air scares me to death. It makes me think I could be out there again. I hope not.”

The Day Center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is in desperate need of volunteers, Valle said, and he hopes that more Chelsea people will step forward to help.

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City, State Facing the Challenges of New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

City, State Facing the Challenges of New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

By Seth Daniel

With virtually nothing left in Puerto Rico after two devastating hurricanes this fall, many from the island are flocking to family in the mainland United States to try to put their lives together – and with a huge Puerto Rican population in Chelsea, many are arriving here with questions and needs.

Chelsea Collaborative Director Gladys Vega and a team of stakeholders from the City have been meeting to try to solve the many issues that are coming up or likely will come up as more and more arrive in the City.

Vega said the situation has now turned from sending aid to the island, to focusing resources in the City.

“There are no schools and no electricity and there are a lot of problems there, so many are coming here,” said Vega at a recent meeting in Chelsea High School with about a dozen stakeholders. “We are extremely certain that folks will continue to come because Chelsea has a Puerto Rican community that is very established. Already, some of them are coming to the Collaborative, the Housing Authority, CAPIC and the School Department…We are really at this moment turning our efforts. Before, we were all about collecting donations and sending them to Puerto Rico. Now we are realizing that we need to use some of those same resources and donations right here in Chelsea because people are starting to come here and they have tremendous needs.”

Some of the situations that have been brought up at the state level surround housing in public housing.

Juan Vega, a Chelsea resident who is the Undersecretary of Housing for the state, said there is a team trying to work out situations that will certainly arise.

Those include family members who show up at a public housing complex with nowhere else to go.

Juan said they cannot stay for more than a week as a visitor, but at the same time, they have nowhere else to go. He said the state is aware of it and is working with the federal government to secure some sort of emergency waiver program.

Gladys Vega said one family has already experienced this, with relatives coming to an elderly housing apartment.

“Now they are here in an elderly housing apartment,” she said. “They are told they can stay 10 days and then they have to leave. They’re here now. If they stay past the 10 days, the tenant could be kicked out. We don’t want our established members of the community to lose their housing or their jobs trying to deal with these situations.”

Meanwhile, some that are  coming are elderly and in need of medical accommodations, such as handicap ramps built onto homes. Rich Pedi of the Carpenter’s Union has volunteered workers to build such ramps on an emergency basis.

In the schools, Supt. Mary Bourque said they are working to be creative in registering new arrivals for school. In many cases, they don’t have a birth certificate or any documents. All of them were lost in the hurricane for the most part.

Bourque said everyone should come to the Parent Information Center (PIC) to enroll children, even without any documents.

“That’s the first message to get out there,” she said. “If you’re coming to Chelsea and need to enroll students, come to the PIC. We will work with you. The second thing we’re worried about is the trauma once they are enrolled. They have been through a traumatic situation and they will need to see social workers.”

Meanwhile, with November now here, the other thing that will soon be necessary is winter clothing. Many are from an island where a coat is rarely necessary. Now, in Chelsea, they’ll need far more than what they have.

“We’re coming into winter and they don’t have the supplies one needs for a New England winter,” said Bourque. “We need volunteers to donate coats, pants, shoes and warm clothes in all sizes.”

The Collaborative is setting up a welcome center and brochure to help people who are arriving.

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Police Briefs 11-09-2017

Police Briefs 11-09-2017

POLICE Briefs By Seth Daniel

TRIED TO KILL POLICE OFFICER WITH CAR

On Nov. 3 at 1:10 p.m., a victim of a Hit and Run flagged down a CPD officer on a detail. The victim reported that he had been struck by the vehicle, which fled the scene located at 280 Second St. The suspect’s vehicle was located and the detail officer attempted to stop the vehicle with verbal commands from the roadway. The officer was forced to jump out of the way to avoid being struck as the operator continued to flee the scene at a high rate of speed. The operator was later stopped by other CPD units and the operator was placed into custody

Marcio Mezabaca, 32, of 220 Broadway, was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, leaving the scene of property damage, failing to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.

STOLE CELL PHONE

On Nov. 5, at noon, a female known to a CPD officer on patrol was observed in the company of a male in the area of Cherry Street and Everett Avenue. The officer observed from a distance the known female pushing the victim, and then grabbing his cellphone. Once she observed the officer, she fled the area. She was located a short distance away and placed into custody.

Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.

ROBBED WITH BALL BAT

On Oct. 26 at 5:59 p.m., an armed robbery was reported at the Corner Market, located at 803 Broadway. The victim clerk stated that an unknown male party wearing a ski mask entered the store, struck him with a wooden bat style object, and then made away with money, an unknown amount of $30 lottery tickets and cigarettes.

The victim was treated on scene by EMS for an abrasion sustained on his left arm. The suspect was described as a black male approximately 45-47 years old, 5’8” tall, wearing a black ski mask, black jacket, blue jeans, black shoes, and gloves.

Please contact CPD Detectives if you have information to report.

PROBLEM OUTSIDE RESTAURANT

On Nov. 1, at 6:19 p.m., a disturbance was reported outside Chung Wah Restaurant, located at 460 Broadway. Officers observed a female who appeared to be intoxicated displaying boisterous behavior and disturbing the flow of pedestrian and traffic. After further investigation, she was placed into custody for being disorderly

Alisha Cohen, 38, of 36 Winthrop Rd., was charged with being disorderly and possession of an alcoholic beverage.

TEMPER, TEMPER

On Oct. 29 at 10:32 a.m., a male subject was placed into custody after he had been observed breaking a window on the old Salvation Army Donation Center, located at 456 Broadway. The officer observed the male subject punch the window as a result of an apparent argument between him and an unknown female party. He was placed into custody for malicious destruction of property.

Andrew Babigumira, 31, homeless, was charged with wanton destruction.

STABBED FOR DEALING DRUGS

On Oct. 29, at 5:05 p.m., officers responded to a reported stabbing at 744 Broadway #2. A victim was located inside the apartment with minor lacerations to the hand. The victim stated that a dispute arose with his roommate over him dealing narcotics out of their apartment.

The suspect was found by CPD offices and placed under arrest.

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