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Officials Cut the Ribbon on New Clark Avenue Middle School

The cutting of the official ribbon on the Clark Avenue Middle School on Oct. 3 signaled the ceremonial opening of the

Chelsea Supt. Mary Bourque, flanked by City Manager Tom Ambrosino and MSBA Director Jack McCarthy, cuts the ceremonial ribbon on the Clark Avenue School with other dignitaries.

school, but it also signaled the investment in the youth of Chelsea – an investment that community and state leaders said was deserved and overdue.

Supt. Mary Bourque welcomed dignitaries to the school the evening of Oct. 3 for tours and a celebration of a school that took six years to complete, and nearly 20 to plan.

“This is six years in the making,” said Bourque. “We have so many people to thank for this building…Most importantly, this community has invested in the next generation of leaders and we are proud of that.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino thanked the abutters, who he said showed great patience while the City completed a two-phase, six-year planning/building project. In the end, he said the City promised a better neighborhood, and did deliver.

“I can’t think of anything more awful than being an abutter to a school building project, especially one that lasts three years in construction,” he said. “These neighbors put up with an awful lot. We asked they just have patience with us three years ago and they did. We promised them at the end they would have an investment in the neighborhood and they would have a building that would be the heart of the neighborhood and a municipal building they would be proud of…I think it’s easy to say the City and School Committee brought that promise to this neighborhood.”

The school building project began six years ago when the City started the planning and financial funding for the project. After a long process at the City and State level, construction began about three years ago. The first phase completed in Dec. 2016, with students moving in for January 2017. The second and final phase ended this past summer, with the entire school opening to students this school term. It was constructed on top of the site where the former Chelsea High School once sat – a building that was demolished in phases as part of the construction project.

The school cost around $53 million, and state School Building Authority (MSBA) Director Jack McCarthy noted that the state has paid about $36 million of that bill.

“I want to congratulate the leaders in Chelsea,” he said. “You created a great school and this was not an easy project. I knew it would be successful when I saw the team that had been assembled. I didn’t hear a lot about this project. When I don’t hear about a project, that’s a good thing.”

School Committee Chair Jeannette Velez said she has seen students at the Clark Avenue excited to come in and be able to access modern facilities. She said it’s important to have a new and up-to-date building to help students achieve.

“These are the students we are educating so they can come back and make our city even better,” she said.

The architects on the project were HMFH, which also designed the Burke Complex many years ago. The Owner’s Project Manager was Pinck & Co. and the Construction Manager W.T. Rich Company, Inc.

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Chelsea Supt. Mary Bourque, flanked by City Manager Tom Ambrosino and MSBA Director Jack McCarthy, cuts the ceremonial ribbon on the Clark Avenue School with other dignitaries.

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School Committee members (standing) Jeannette Velez and Julio Hernandez. (Sitting) Kelly Garcia, Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez, and Rosemarie Carlisle.

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Councillor Bob Bishop and his wife, Ann.

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MSBA Director Jack McCarthy spoke about how smooth the Clark Avenue School project went.

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Former 5th grade math teacher Robert Dotolo with his former student, School Committeeman Julio Hernandez.

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School Committeeman Julio Hernandez, City Manager Tom Ambrosino, Supt. Mary Bourque, MSBA Director Jack McCarthy, Councillor Roy Avellaneda and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez.

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Noel Velez (right), assistant business manager for the schools, with his family, Sophia, Adriel and Julius Velez.

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The members of the project team gathered for a photo in front of the school.

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School Business Manager Mike Mason posed in front of the school values:  citizenship, leadership, accountability and knowledge.

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Former Principal Mary Leverone with current Principal Michael Talbot in the new gym.

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Members of the architectural firm HMFH, including Lori Cowles, Caitlin Osepchuk, Chris Vance, Arthur Duffy, Suni Dillard and Vassilios Valaes.

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ROADBLOCK:ZBA Rejects Request for Housing Project

A lot at the corner of Broadway and Clinton Street has sat empty for more than five years.

That site will remain undeveloped for the foreseeable future, as the Zoning Board of Appeals rejected a request for a special permit to build a four-story, 42-unit affordable apartment building at 1001-1005 Broadway on Tuesday night.

This coming just as the project cleared state environmental hurdles on Wednesday – seemingly all for naught.

The proposal was a partnership between the Traggorth Companies and The Neighborhood Developers (TND) to build 33 affordable and nine market rate one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments, along with 1,100 square feet of retail space.

Needing four votes out of five on the ZBA to garner the special permit to cover rear setback, parking, and maximum lot coverage issues, board members Henry Wilson and Arthur Arsenault voted against granting the permit.

The future of the site is up in the air, according to David Traggorth of the Traggorth Companies. During the hearing, Traggorth said the partnership with TND to provide affordable rental units was the only feasible plan for the site.

“We don’t have a project,” said Traggorth after the meeting. “We weren’t kidding. We have to assess our options.”

Previously, Traggorth and TND worked together to create the Box District, with Traggorth developing the Atlas Lofts project within that district.

During the public hearing, many of the usual suspects of residential development were brought up by residents, including traffic and size of the project.

But underlying the typical concerns was a larger debate about the need for affordable rate rental units versus affordable home ownership in the city. While there was a general consensus among all attending the hearing that the need for affordable housing is among the city’s greatest needs, there was a difference of opinion on how to go about achieving that goal.

“We’ve been hearing this conversation about what we are building in Chelsea for a while now,” said City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda. As a councillor, Avellaneda said he has been a big supporter of affordable housing, sponsoring the Community Preservation Act (CPA) and supporting inclusionary zoning.

But Avellaneda said the pendulum has swung too far in the city toward providing only affordable rate rental units, and not building any affordable units for ownership.

“I am asking the board to say no to this project because it is not an ownership project,” he said. “Every parcel where we build a rental project is another lost opportunity for home ownership in this city.”

In the past decade, there have been 3,500 affordable housing units built in the city, all of them rentals, Avellaneda said.

“Affordable home ownership is being forced out; we’ve built affordable rentals but nothing for affordable ownership,” he said. “If you get the message out that we want ownership, it’s going to happen.”

The councillor noted that at many city meetings, those who come out and participate in the community are homeowners and not renters. Avellaneda said the two districts in Chelsea with the highest voter turnout are the two with the highest rates of home ownership.

However, several people spoke of the efforts of TND to get renters involved in the community process, and that the greatest need for affordable units is for rental units.

Maria Belen Power, associate executive director of Chelsea community organization GreenRoots, said her group supported the Broadway project.

“Seventy-five percent of people who live in Chelsea are renters,” she said. “We need is what the developer is showing.”

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino also voiced his support, noting that in his three years in the city, he has heard from no other developer with a plan for the vacant lot.

“This proposal meets the most critical need in the city, which is affordable housing,” Ambrosino said. “The complaint I hear most often in my office is the lament of the lack of affordable housing, and it is mostly renters who are being displaced. Many of those renters are long-time Chelsea residents.

“If you reject this, you are simply eliminating an affordable housing opportunity, and you are not providing an affordable housing ownership opportunity.”

The ZBA’s decision can be appealed in Superior Court or Land Court, according to John DePriest, the city’s director of planning and development.

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Encore Signs Agreement with Local Entertainment Group

Encore Boston Harbor added a local flavor to its five-star, $2.5 billion global resort this week, announcing that it has signed a lease with New England-based Big Night Entertainment Group to operate a 16,400-square-foot restaurant and lounge and an 8,000-square-foot luxury nightclub at the resort.

Named for both its alluring design and waterfront location along the Mystic River, ‘Mystique’ will be situated off the main esplanade of Encore Boston Harbor. The contemporary Asian-fusion menu will feature a spectacular array of artful sushi, traditional Asian delicacies and innovative new dishes.

The nightclub, dubbed ‘Memoire,’ will overlook the Encore Boston Harbor gaming floor and be one of the most glamorous nighttime entertainment destinations in New England, complete with luxury VIP bottle areas.

“Encore Boston Harbor will offer some of the most high-quality, entertaining and enjoyable dining and nightlife experiences in the nation, making Mystique and Memoire perfect fits,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Encore Boston Harbor. “Big Night Entertainment Group owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning restaurants and luxury nightclubs in the region and is very well respected in this marketplace. They know how to amaze people in every way and will help mark Encore Boston Harbor as the premier dining and nightlife destination for all who visit, live or work in the region.”

Big Night Entertainment Group principals Randy Greenstein, Ed Kane and Joe Kane designed Mystique as an energetic open-kitchen restaurant and lounge that will be richly appointed with Asian-inspired artwork and adornments from across the globe. The restaurant will seat more than 530 guests in its main dining room and three private dining rooms, including a 94-seat lounge with wrap-around bar that will entertain guests at night with music and small-plate offerings.

Memoire will accommodate up to 600 guests in an exuberant setting of gold, leather, marble and hand-blown glass chandeliers direct from the flea markets of Paris. A mezzanine level overlooks the main floor and features VIP bars and private lounge areas.

“Mystique and Memoire are destined to be flagship destinations at Encore Boston Harbor,” said Principal Ed Kane of Big Night Entertainment Group. “We are thrilled to be able to deliver the premier, first-class experience that guests will expect at the resort.”

Mystique and Memoire will be two of the 13 dining, lounge and casual food offerings located in the three-million square foot Encore Boston Harbor Resort. The other restaurants currently announced to be at Encore Boston Harbor are Sinatra and Fratelli. Sinatra, the Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Award-winning Italian restaurant that is owned and operated by Wynn Resorts and located at Encore in Las Vegas, will be located adjacent to Mystique. Fratelli, a casual-Italian restaurant, will be operated by Boston North End restauranteurs Frank DePasquale and Nick Varano.

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Massachusetts Must Move Forward on Our Own

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, coming on the heels of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, it is clear that the America as we have known it for the past 70 years, a time in which the United States attained and maintained its supremacy in the world and achieved unprecedented prosperity for its people, could be coming to an end. That may sound dramatic, but we don’t think it is overstating the case.

In our view, the principal reason why America has prospered since the end of WWII, despite our many missteps (Vietnam, Watergate, and Iraq being the top three) is because we have expanded the rights of all of our citizens and we have welcomed people from all over the world to partake of, and contribute to, our wealth and our democratic ideals.

As regards the latter point, we would note that the majority of the Nobel prizes awarded to Americans in recent years have been won by persons who were immigrants. And let’s not forget that Steve Jobs’s father came from Syria and the parents of one of the founders of Google emigrated from Russia. They came to this country, as immigrants always have and still do, to create a better life for themselves and their families and to contribute to their new country.

However, there should be no doubt that the newly-constituted Supreme Court not merely will take us back to the pre-1930s, but rather will be in the vanguard of a new movement.

The court in recent years already has eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and (via the Citizens United case) has entrenched the ability of the ultra-rich to throw unlimited amounts of cash into our electoral system.

Now, with the ascension of two more conservatives, the Supreme Court may turn back the clock on much of what most Americans have taken for granted for the past three generations in the realms of the rights of women, persons of color, and persons of different sexual orientations.

Hopefully, the Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives in the fall — and we say that not so much because we love Democrats, but because we need at least one house of Congress to act as a check on the White House — but that will not change the direction of the Supreme Court.

So what does that mean for us in Massachusetts and the other states on the coasts (with a few pockets in between)?

In concrete terms, let us be welcoming to all people; let us be the safe harbors for a woman’s right to choose (when the Supreme Court eviscerates Roe v. Wade, as it surely will); let us increase the minimum wage and be supportive of unions; let us prepare for the effects of climate change; let us enforce strict gun laws (to keep crime and mass shootings down); and let us make our states’ educational systems world-class.

We need to be everything they are not

Think of it this way: Let’s build our state’s economy to take advantage of what they are giving up.

This will require two things: Out-of-the-box thinking by our elected leaders and an unprecedented partnership between the state and the business community, which must be convinced to partake of a partnership with the state in order to pursue our common goals.

In short, we must take our future into our own hands as we never before have imagined.

It will require  lot of hard work and sacrifice — but given what is happening at the national level, we have no choice.

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Sports 10-11-2018

CHS SPORTS ROUNDUP

Boys soccer team wins two, now 8-0-2

The Chelsea High boys soccer team won both of its contests this past week to remain undefeated wth an 8-0-2 record.

The Red Devils cruised past Northeast Regional, its traditional rival in the Large Division of the Commonwealth Athletic Conference, with a 5-1 victory this past Tuesday.

Chelsea jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first 11 minutes of the contest and never looked back. Senior Gabriel Contreras started the party for the Red Devils with a goal at 4:00 when he took a long pass from his brother, center back Angel Contreras, at the top of the box, settled the ball nicely with one touch, and then drilled a shot past the Northeast keeper.

Four minutes later, Gabriel Contreras assisted on the next Chelsea goal, delivering a corner kick that was headed into the back of the net by Chelsea’s other center back, captain Jose Gutierrez.

Delmer Romero, Chelsea’s leading scorer with 18 goals on the season, then delivered what amounted to a knockout blow three minutes after that when he made a nice move at the top of the box and launched a bomb that cleanly beat the beleaguered Northeast keeper.

Chelsea took its 3-0 edge into the intermission and added to its advantage midway through the second half when Eric Barahona delivered a rocket from 30 yards out that caught the NE keeper slightly off his line. The teams traded goals in the final 20 minutes, with Romero scoring off a nice through ball from Gerson Hernandez.

“We came out flying,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “We got the big lead and never were threatened after that.”

The Red Devils handily took the measure of Nashoba Tech last Thursday, 7-1. Gabriel Contreras, assisted by Carlos Lopez, and senior Carlos Ayala, assisted by Gabriel Garcia, gave Chelsea a 2-0 lead in the opening half.

The Delmer Romero Show then took center stage, as the Red Devils’ top goal producer reached the back of the Nashoba net four times. Gabe Contreras potted his second of the game for the 7-1 finale.

Head coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew will seek to clinch a CAC Large title when they travel to Shawsheen today (Thursday). The Red Devils will trek to Presentation of Mary next Tuesday and then host Greater Lowell next Thursday.

CHS BOYS, GIRLS RUN PAST GR. LOWELL

Last Wednesday, senior captains Yarid Deras and Justin Turner had impressive wins to lead their respective teams to victory over Greater Lowell.

On the boys’ side, senior captain Julio Valladares came across the line in second place, 47 seconds behind Turner. Greater Lowell finished in the next two spots, but Chelsea grabbed the next three places to seal the meet.

Junior Jazmany Reyes, senior Wuilfido Hernandez, and sophomore Oscar Amaya finished fifth, sixth, and seventh respectively.  Red Devil Limilson Tavares also contributed to the scoring by displacing Gr. Lowell’s fourth and fifth runners for a final score of 21-36.

“We ran a lot tougher than last week,” said CHS head coach Don Fay of his boys’ squad, which now stands at 6-1 on the season. The Red Devils were set to host Northeast Regional and Medford yesterday (Wednesday) at Admirals Hill in a tri-meet.

For the Lady Red Devils, senior captain Jocelyn Poste was the next Chelsea girl to cross the line after Deras, taking fourth place. She was followed by Yarelis Torres in fifth and Sarei Carreto in sixth.

Junior Karina Avalos secured the victory with a ninth place finish for a final score of 25-30.

The triumph improves the Lady Red Devils’ record to 6-1. They were scheduled to host Notre Dame of Tyngsboro and Northeast Regional yesterday (Wednesday) at Admiral’s Hill.

CHS GIRLS SOCCER WINS TWO OF THREE CONTESTS

The Chelsea High girls soccer team enjoyed a successful week, winning two of its three contests with victories over Greater Lawrence and Nashoba Tech.

In a 5-3 win over Greater Lawrence last Monday, the Lady Red Devils were paced by Nancy Galdamez and Damaris Erazo, who scored two goals apiece.  Elena Ruiz added a solo tally and was credited with two assists. Kimberlyn Larios also earned an assist.

Three days later, the Chelsea girls edged Nashoba Tech, 3-2.  Galdamez, Chelsea’s leading scorer, once again reached the back of the opponent’s net for two goals. Gitu Degefa struck for a single goal. Erazo assisted on two of the markers and Ruiz was credited with one assist.

Sandwiched between the twin wins was the Lady Red Devils’ lone setback of the week, a 2-0 loss to Whittier Tech last Tuesday.

“The group is finding its rhythm and we are looking forward to our upcoming games,” said CHS head coach Randy Grajal, whose squad now stands at 3-6-1 overall and 3-5-1 in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference.

Grajal and his crew are scheduled to host Notre Dame Academy today (Thursday) and entertain Presentation of Mary Academy next Tuesday.

 

CHS FOOTBALL TEAM FACES MINUTEMAN TONIGHT

It was a short week of practice for the Chelsea High football team, which will take on Minuteman Regional today (Thursday) at 7 p.m. at the Woburn High field.

The Red Devils dropped a 32-6 decision at Whittier Tech this past Saturday afternoon.

The principal highlight for the Chelsea gridmen was a 67 yard touchdown pass from Edward Escobar to Walter Gonzalez in the third period. Escobar came on in the second quarter in place of starting quarterback Matt Singh-Carranza, who had to leave the game with an injury.

Whittier capitalized on special teams opportunities to move out to a 26-0 lead at the half. The Red Devils made adjustments on defense after the intermission and yielded only a touchdown in the fourth quarter when the junior varsity players from both teams were on the field.

“This is our growing-pain season,” said CHS head coach Rasi Chau. “Our kids continue to keep getting better every week and I am proud of every single one of them and I’m proud of my staff, who continue to keep coaching these kids up every week.”

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins pick up the pace

Tonight (Thursday), the Bruins will host the Edmonton Oilers, led by the ‘master on ice,’ Connor McDavid, and former Bruin Milan Lucic. The Oilers come to TD Garden well rested, having opened the 2018-19 season at home last Saturday, October 6th. In that game the Oilers absorbed a 5-2 loss to the New Jersey Devils, putting their early record at 0-1-0, and four days off between games. The Bruins on the other hand have posted a 2-1-0 record with recent wins over both the Buffalo Sabres, and most recently their 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday, to start their current three-game homestand.

For Boston, Head Coach Bruce Cassidy admits that he is still sorting out his roster despite their two-game win streak. It may be that the China trip has factored in his being able to solidify his roster, although early in the season is the time to juggle the lineup to solidly identify the best combination of forwards, and the most comfortable defensive pairings. In reference to the China trip, the fact that half the preseason had one half of the team playing a pair of games in China, while the other half performed and practiced locally – might not be an issue, but time will answer that question.

The Boston performance versus the Senators once again was a glaring display of just how important Patrice Bergeron is to this Bruins team. His hat trick on Monday boosted his goals scored to four in three games. The Bs top line with Bergeron and wingers Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, continues to be described by many as…the best line in the NHL – and with good reason as the three posted 11 points in the win over the Sens, and their combined point total in the three games to date, shines with a cumulative 18 points.

In Cassidy’s postgame interview, he sounded impressed with the play of Anders Bjork, the progress on Danton Heinen, as well as the play of newbies to the team, Chris Wagner who scored his first goal as a Bruin, and John Moore. Charlie McAvoy continues to play a strong, steady game, earning a trio of assists in the Senators’ game, with Noel Acciara and Sean Kuraly performing to fairly high standards to this point.

Following tonight’s Oilers invasion, the Bruins will next host the Detroit Red Wings on Garden ice (Saturday 3:00pm), before hitting the road for four games in seven nights, including three games on the West Coast, to face the Calgary Flames (Wednesday 10/17 @ 9:30pm), a stop in Edmonton (Thursday 10/18 @ 9:00pm), and a night with the Vancouver Canucks (Saturday 10/20 @ 10:00pm), finishing up their four-game road trip with a final stop in Ottawa on Tuesday, 10/23 @ 7:30 p.m..

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Obituaries 10-11-2018

Faublas Etienne

Chef in USA and former Judge in Haiti

Faublas Etienne passed away at his Revere home on Saturday morning, Oct. 6 surrounded by his loving family.  He was 86 years old.

Born in Saint-Michel-de-l’ Attalaye Gonaives, Haiti, the beloved son of the late Gabelius Etienne and Elvira Pierre, Faublas was a former judge in Haiti but when he came to the United States he made his living as a chef.  He worked as a chef in New York for several years before moving to Massachusetts.  Faublas dedicated 28 years of service as a chef at the Sheraton Newton Hotel, retiring in 2013.

A Revere resident for the last 16 years, Faublas was a member of the Haitian Missionary Church in Somerville.  As a member of the men’s group, he participated in many church activities over the years.  He will be greatly missed by his large family and friends in the community.

The beloved husband of Marie J. (Norvil) Etienne, he was the devoted father of Virginie Etienne Bois, Fournel Etienne, Faubert Etienne, Yola Etienne, Jeff Etienne, Kennel Etienne, Kenny Etienne, Mirlande Cenat and the late Josette Etienne and Wesner Etienne, dear brother of Yolande Etienne of Florida and Marie Ange Etienne of Port au Prince, Haiti.  Faublas is also lovingly survived by 27 grandchildren and 20 great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend Faublas’ visiting hours at the Haitian Missionary Church of Somerville, 100 Temple St., Somerville on Friday, Oct. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.  His funeral will be from the above named Church on Saturday at 10 a.m.  An hour of visitation will be held prior to the service, from 9 to 10 a.m. Interment will conclude the service at the Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.  Funeral arrangements are entrusted to the Carafa Family Funeral Home in Chelsea.

Susan Jean Pizzano

March 28, 1953 – September 24, 2018

Susan Jean (Perry)_Pizzano of East Boston passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 24. She was 65 years old.

The wife of 39 years to Henry Pizzano III of East Boston and formerly of Chelsea. Susan was born in Lynn and grew up in Saugus. She was a graduate of Saugus High School, Class of 1971. Susan worked in all aspects of the department store industry. Later in life, she was a school bus driver as well as a taxi driver and dispatcher with No. Shore Taxi Co. She retired in 2000. She was an animal lover at heart.

Susan was the daughter of the late Paul L. and Inez (Puffer) Perry and sister of the late Christine Collins. She is survived by her husband, Henry; sister, Barbara Maw of Nashua, NH, brothers, Paul Perry of Loudon, NH and Robert Perry of Pennsylvia and her brother in law, Cliff Collins of Hinesburg, Vt. She is also survived by several nieces and nephews as well as her beloved cat Lucy “Lulu.” Funeral services were private with arrangements by Anthony Memorial-Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea.
Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to Northeast Animal Shelter, 347 Highland Ave, Salem, MA 01970

Kathy Ann Dwyer

Of Chelsea

Kathy Ann Dwyer 68 of Chelsea passed away peacefully at the Everett Nursing Rehab and Nursing Center in Everett on September 27, 2018.  She was preceded in death by her parents, David L. Dwyer and Hazel G. Dwyer, and a brother David L. Dwyer, Jr.  She is survived by 7 brothers and sisters:  William and J. Barry, both of Chelsea, Robert of Pennysylvania, Richard of Boston, a sister Linda of Georgetown, Ma., a twin brother Michael of Penna., and her sister Jacqueline of Saugus, Ma. as well as many nieces and nephews.

Kathy worked for many years as a bookkeeper and for awhile owned and operated her own dance studio in Chelsea.  As a  lifelong resident of Chelsea, Kathy had many dear friends and acquaintances.  She had a very endearing personality and a big heart.  To know her was to love her.  She will be sadly missed.

In addition to the wonderful care that Kathy received at the Everett Nursing Facility for the past several years, she was also given tremendous love and affection from the Compassionate Care Hospice in her time of need.  The family is forever indebted to both outstanding agencies.  Through the benevolence of the Casper Funeral Home of Boston, arrangements were made.  Burial services will be private.

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Drug Treatment Center Looks to Strengthen Ties in the Community

Drug Treatment Center Looks to Strengthen Ties in the Community

As part of the Recovery Month activities, the Health Care Resource Center Methadone Clinic on Crescent Avenue

Counselors and staff at the Health Care Resource Center Methadone clinic on Crescent Avenue pause for a picture during their open house last Thursday, Sept. 27, as part of Recovery Month. Directors said they hope to build strong ties with the community and overcome the misconceptions about what they do.

opened its doors on Thursday, Sept. 27, to let residents find out more about what they do.

Victoria Johnson, treatment center director, said they offer a valuable service to patients looking to beat an addiction to opiates and other drugs. Known as medication assisted treatment, Methadone is administered at the Chelsea facility to about 750 patients on a daily basis – and it’s a system that has seen many happy endings.

“One of the biggest things we’re up against is the misconception of what we do and the benefits of medication assisted treatment,” she said. “Also, when people stigmatize the patients, it hurts the community. It’s the biggest fight providers are always up against.”

The clinic has often been seen as a location that Chelsea doesn’t want, and hasn’t been in close connection with the community at times. However, Johnson said they treat many residents of Chelsea and the surrounding communities and they want to forge closer ties. She also said they already work closely with the HUB/COR program and with the Chelsea Police.

During Recover Month, she said she wanted to stress they are part of the solution to this epidemic.

“We have a lot of people who have recovered,” she said, meaning they have weaned themselves off of Methadone. “We try to get them to come back and talk to the counseling groups we run about their success. We want them to share about how life has been when they no longer need to be medicated. We also try to stay in the community and build strong connections. A lot of people don’t know how to get into treatment, and that’s the biggest question we have.”

A typical day at the clinic starts about 5:30 a.m. when the staff arrives and prepares for the first patients to come in at 6 a.m. Those patients are typically those that work or take care of children or elderly family members. Normally, they will take their does and be in and out in about 15 minutes. Dosing continues throughout the morning until 11 a.m.

Anyone using the treatment also has to come in for a counseling component two hours per month, and 15 counselors are on hand to run group counseling for a variety of types.

Most of the patients pay for the service with MassHealth, and some insurances like Blue Cross/Blue Shield pay for the treatment as well.

Typically, Johnson said, patients will come in and stabilize using the Methadone treatment. That takes about two weeks to two months.

She also said they have very strict policies on loitering outside the clinic. She said if they find patients loitering or causing issues outside, they will call the police. Any problems with law enforcement can cause the patient to be removed from treatment.

“They’re not causing those problems here,” she said. “I always say to people, if they see it, call the police. Our goal is to get people into treatment, stabilize them, and set them up for success.”

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Counselors and staff at the Health Care Resource Center Methadone clinic on Crescent Avenue pause for a picture during their open house last Thursday, Sept. 27, as part of Recovery Month. Directors said they hope to build strong ties with the community and overcome the misconceptions about what they do.

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Split Decision:50/50 Night for Reimagining Broadway as Council Wrestles with Legalities

Split Decision:50/50 Night for Reimagining Broadway as Council Wrestles with Legalities

There’s still time to reimagine Broadway.

Or at least a few stretches of the $5 million traffic project city officials have been working on for close to two years.

Monday night, the City Council delivered a split decision on the Reimagining Broadway downtown traffic proposal following a presentation by Alexander Train, the city’s assistant director of planning and director.

The most controversial aspect of the project, converting the section of Broadway from Bellingham Square to Chelsea Square from a one-way street to a two-way street with increased smart traffic signalization at several intersections, was sent back to the Traffic and Parking Commission for revision.

Councillors also opposed, by a narrow margin, the plans for the improvement of the Bellingham Square portion of the project. However, the Council did give its okay to two portions of the proposal tied to Fay and Chelsea Squares themselves.

The debate over Reimagining Broadway included several short recesses as Councillors debated in smaller groups the legality of how the vote was proceeding, and what a split vote would mean for the overall project. City officials kicked off Reimagining Broadway in the beginning of 2017 as a way to improve the downtown streets for motorists, pedestrians, and public transit.

During one of the breaks, a call was made to the City’s legal counsel to make sure the Council could legally split the vote on Reimagining Broadway into four sections, according to District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia. However, legal counsel drew the line at, and the majority of the councillors agreed, that amendments to the four sections beyond what was presented to the Council were not legally in order.

By the end of the evening, there was still some concern as to what the Council had accomplished.

“I just want to be clear on what the Council voted on,” said District 8 Councillor Calvin Brown as Council President Damali Vidot gaveled the two-hour meeting to a close.

“I’m not diminishing the hard work of the City staff, but I am asking that they go back to the drawing board and come back with options A, B, and C,” said Vidot, who voted ‘no’ on each section of the proposal.

Vidot also said she was uncomfortable passing the Reimagining Broadway plan through piecemeal without knowing what that would mean for the project as a whole.

“I don’t know what it means to approve one part and deny another,” she said.

Going back to the drawing board would provide a better opportunity to reach out to Chelsea’s citizens, Vidot said.

“Let’s reach out and do a better job,” she said. “We can do better, let’s go back to the drawing board.”

But Garcia said the time has come to put the plans in motion, especially when it comes to the safety of her constituents.

“I am excited to bring change to Broadway and hopeful of the possibilities it can create in the downtown,” said Garcia. “But one of the key messages we keep forgetting is safety.”

Garcia pointed to the addition of a traffic signal in front of a senior and handicapped housing building at 272 Broadway as one of the safety benefits of the project.

“That is a dangerous intersection,” she said. “When I ran for election in 2015, I promised to try to make is safer for them. Today, what we are being presented with is a concept. What we are voting on today is not set in stone.”

During his presentation, Train stressed that the Council was only giving its okay on conceptual plans.

“There will be more engineering and design details in preparation for construction,” he said. That process would also include more opportunity for public input, as well as plans on how the project would be phased over time to minimize construction impacts for local businesses and residents.

ONE WAY OR TWO?

The most heated debate on the nuts and bolts of Reimagining Broadway itself was easily the proposal to convert Broadway from a one-way to a two-way street from Bellingham Square to Chelsea Square.

Train presented two versions of the plan.

The one recommended to the Council called for 11-½ foot travel lanes in each direction with sidewalks and parking on each side of the street. The second proposal included just a single travel lane with the sidewalks and parking along with a dedicated bicycle lane.

Several councillors, including Vidot, said they were concerned that converting to a two-way street would make Broadway more, not less, dangerous for pedestrians and motorists.

There was also a difference of opinion among councillors, and long-time Chelsea residents, Leo Robinson and Giovanni Recupero, who couldn’t even come to a consensus on whether the road was safe when it was a two-way street in the 1960s.

Robinson, who supported the two-way proposal, said he grew up on Broadway and there was a good flow of traffic on the street at that time.

But Recupero said going back to the past would only make a bad situation worse.

“My constituents do not want it and say it is crazy with traffic already,” he said. “It didn’t work then and I don’t think it will work now.”

Some of the legal wrangling during the evening centered on Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda attempting to strike out some of the language in the proposal, essentially keeping Broadway one-way, but including the traffic lights and other improvements for the road as presented by Train.

“I do not want to support a two-way Broadway, but the residents need and deserve the traffic lights,” said Avellaneda.

But after the call to the city solicitor, the Council voted that Avellaneda’s move to strike language from the initial proposal was the same as an amendment to the proposal.

The two sections of Reimagining Broadway will now go back to the Traffic and Parking Commission for revision before being brought back to the City Council.

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Hearing Continued for Rincon Latino Restaurant

Hearing Continued for Rincon Latino Restaurant

It’s the case of the cases of Corona going in and out of Rincon Latino Restaurant.

Following a histrionic licensing commission hearing on Tuesday, Sept. 25 that saw the lawyer for the restaurant’s owners compare the proceedings to those in Russia and referred to the hearing to “a lynching,” the commission continued the hearing until its next meeting next month.

As the last hearing on a busy commission agenda, everything started calmly enough, as the commission heard a police report from officer Augustus Cassuci detailing two incidents he witnessed just outside the Washington Avenue Restaurant on June 22 and 23.

The officer stated that on Friday, June 22, he was passing by 373 Washington Avenue when he saw about 10 people crossing the street, with one carrying a case of Corona beer. The next day, Cassuci said he saw a customer carrying a case of Corona into the restaurant.

Where the hearing raised the ire of attorney John Dodge, who was representing the restaurant, was when Cassuci raised a number of issues at Rincon Latino Restaurant that were not included in the two-paragraph police report.

“On several occasions, there have appeared to be intoxicated patrons in front of the laundromat next door blocking the sidewalk,” said the officer. “Male parties have also been seen urinating on the sidewalk.”

Additionally, police Captain Keith Houghton said the restaurant often appears to surpass its occupancy limit of 17 customers and the curtains of the establishment have been closed, in violation of the law.

Police officials also showed the commission a photo taken from the restaurant’s security camera that they said showed the establishment as being over capacity.

“How am I supposed to represent (the restaurant) when all I have is a two-paragraph police report?” asked Dodge, who asked that the hearing be continued to the commission’s next meeting since evidence was introduced that he had not previously seen.

Dodge said the allegations leveled by the police had nothing to do with the original report of customers taking out or bringing in cases of beer.

“I don’t know what evidence is being presented,” he said. “We were not provided with any photos or any video, and Officer Cassuci is now testifying to public intoxication, urinating on the sidewalks, and closed curtains.”

Licensing Commission Chairman James Guido said a public hearing does not follow the same process as a court hearing and that the information being provided during the hearing was due process.

“Maybe due process in Russia, in America we are given the evidence before a hearing,” said Dodge.

Commission member Roseann Bongiovanni asked for calm, and suggested the commission continue the hearing for one month. The commission approved the continuance, as well as a request that the restaurant provide video of peak hours during the past several weekends to help determine if there has been overcrowding or other issues at the restaurant.

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Community Preservation Committee Talks Future Money for Residents

Community Preservation Committee Talks Future Money for Residents

A recent Chelsea Community Workshop on the Community Preservation Act (CPA) witnessed a vibrant community come out to speak about future investments they want to see in their respective neighborhoods, and the newly-established Community Preservation Committee (CPC) said they are there to help residents accomplish those goals.

Taking place in the main room of Chelsea’s senior center, residents poured in at on Sept. 27, and listen to local committee members present the growing potential of tax revenues collected as part of the CPA, which was passed in Nov. 2016 by Chelsea voters. To date, there has yet to be any projects designated for development by CPA funds.

Jennifer Goldson, founder and Managing Director for JM Goldson, presented the main purpose of the community workshop. Goldson presented the most viable options to the community and get them the most for their money’s worth, while also collecting their opinions on the matter to engage the community’s wants directly.

“We have to prioritize how we use that money and be smart about it,” Goldson said.

Goldson said an estimated $1.46 million has been collected from taxpayers for the CPA in 2017-18, and is available for future investment possibilities.

The CPA, which was passed with 66.5 percent of the vote, allows Chelsea to have direct control over tax revenue collected through residential and commercial properties at a rate of 1.5 percent, which is also matched by state government assistance. This new tax revenue requires a 10 percent commitment to three categories: historic preservation, community housing, along with open space and outdoor recreation programs.

Totaling 30 percent for these three mandatory categories, the CPC presented varying ideas to the community about how they’d best like to allot the remaining 70 percent.

“As time goes on the priorities of our communities change,” Jose Iraheta, chair of the CPC  stated as he greeted the crowd in both English and Spanish, adding “We really need your help to pick between the three brackets.”

Iraheta addressed those in attendance coming in by asking them to tally a total of seven points into the three categories presented for allocating the appropriate tax funds for Chelsea to choose from. Residents walked up to tally their choices with the overwhelming majority of these votes going to community housing funding.

Voting for specific returns in the community proved popular amongst those in attendance, with Goldson conducting a series of small polls to gauge what the public felt was most necessary to invest in from each of the three categories.  Additionally, Goldson also asked everyone in attendance to write down their ideas on the paper table covers in order to later collect them and determine which ideas were most eligible.

Presented in a matrix of potential possibilities Goldson displayed a few of the options residents could choose to focus on, including: new housing, home ownership programs, preferences for low-income families, stewardship of historic buildings, creating community gardens or waterfront access, improving existing parks, and preservation of natural resources.

Bea Cravatta, director of Chelsea’s Recreation and Cultural Affairs division, collected information about the demographics of the meeting through a 10 question poll.

“Great turnout today, a good mix of ages, profound interest, and collaboration has been the most exciting thing for me to see,” Cravatta said.

During the last half hour, residents were allowed to take the microphone to represent each table they were sitting at.

Some residents, like former City Councillor Matthew Frank, raised valid concerns.

“Instead of creating new open space, we need to clean up what we already have,” Frank stated in reference to existing open space problems the City already has on the Harbor Walk and other locations.

The CPC must present any and all ideas before City Council for approval after creating a Community Development Plan. The City Council retains the power to approve, deny or lower the allotted funds for project ideas.

The CPC will convene again in November at a date to be announced, and will present their viable future investment options in December.

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