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Bridge Operators Suspended After Couple Got Trapped on Chelsea Street Bridge

Bridge Operators Suspended After Couple Got Trapped on Chelsea Street Bridge

The operators working the vertical lift on the Chelsea Street Bridge Feb. 7 have been suspended at the behest of MassDOT after a couple in a vehicle got trapped on the bridge and lifted all the way to the top.

On Feb. 7, MassDOT said, a vehicle got caught between the safety gates on the deck of the bridge. Due to apparently not following procedures, the lift operators then lifted the bridge all the way to the top with the couple still on the deck in their car.

On Friday, Feb. 8, after learning of this incident, MassDOT directed the contractor responsible for operating the Chelsea Street Bridge to suspend until further notice the operators who were on duty on Thursday evening, Feb. 7.

“While fortunately no one was injured in this incident, the failure of operators to act according to safety procedures warranted their immediate suspension,” said a MassDOT spokesman.

MassDOT said it is unaware of any other instance of a vehicle being between the safety gates when the Chelsea Street Bridge has been raised and is continuing to investigate how this could have occurred on February 7.

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Parking Study Comes In at More Than $200,000

Parking Study Comes In at More Than $200,000

A parking study asked for by the City Council has had few interested takers, and the only bid on the study has come in at an exorbitant $210,000.

The Council called for a parking study to be done for the entire City late last year, and the City began work on getting a consultant in place through a Request for Proposals (RFP) process.

However, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there was only one bidder, Howard Stein Hudson (HSH), and they only bid on a portion of the city rather than the entire city.

“HSH believes that a parking study encompassing the entire City of Chelsea will be too big and likely too expensive of an undertaking,” wrote Ambrosino. “Instead, HSH is proposing that, in addition to the downtown, it would identify only a few other target neighborhoods for study. I don’t know if the Council would be satisfied with that limitation.”

The other piece of the puzzle is the cost.

Ambrosino said the cost of HSH’s limited proposal was $210,780.

“That is much more than we anticipated, and I don’t know if the Council is prepared to expend that sum,” he wrote.

Ambrosino called for the Council to convene subcommittee to talk about next steps. He said they could accept the expensive proposal from HSH, or they could re-big the project and hope to get more proposals.

A date is being set for the committee meeting.

•City Manager Tom Ambrosino is recommending against taking the trash collection operations in-house, a proposal floated by the Council last month.

He said the City’s Department of Public Works had made some initial calculations that showed it would be about the same costs to bring it in-house as it would be to continue using its contractor, Russel Disposal.

“The (figures) make clear that there are no obvious savings by taking the work in-house,” he wrote. “Our best estimate is that annual costs would probably be somewhat greater than what we pay to Russell.”

However, many of the concerns of the Council, including Councilor Enio Lopez, came from the mish-mash quality of pickup.

Ambrosino said he understood those concerns, but didn’t believe taking the operations in-house would improve the mistakes that are made.

“It is my opinion that, given the nature of the trash business, where litter, rough handling of barrels and occasional missed deliveries are inevitable no matter who is performing the work, bringing this work in-house would not demonstrably improve quality, at least not to the extent where any improvement would be noticeable to our residents.”

He said he would not recommend any change.

However, he did not close the door on taking other functions in-house.

He said he isn’t opposed to bringing things like some water and sewer work back in-house.

“I feel strongly that we should probably take in-house certain water, sewer and drainage work that we currently outsource,” he said. “But, in the case of that utility work, I can definitively show that the City will save substantial money doing the work ourselves, and I do believe the quality will be a noticeable improvement to our residents.”

However, he said he doesn’t believe the same to be true for the trash realm.

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Act on Your Dream Julio Henriquez’s Dugout Baseball Facility Celebrates Its First Anniversary

Act on Your Dream Julio Henriquez’s Dugout Baseball Facility Celebrates Its First Anniversary

Julio Henriquez was a youth baseball phenom growing up in Chelsea. His skills were so advanced that he became a starting varsity player at Chelsea High as an eighth grader. He played one more year of varsity baseball before he chose not to continue his career.

Julio and Gina Henriquez, with their son, Jordan, at the first anniversary celebration of The Dugout baseball training facility in Lynn.

Every day I regret that decision,” said Henriquez. “I’m not looking for excuses, but I didn’t have anybody driving me to continue playing the game.”

Henriquez tells that story of a dream unfulfilled to the many baseball players who train at The Dugout, his baseball facility located at 71 Linden St., Suite 202B, in Lynn. The Dugout is celebrating its first anniversary this month. Committed to helping players improve and grow as baseball players and student-athletes, the Dugout’s mission is: Act On Your Dream.

“We’re here to help players take their game to the next level,” said Henriquez. “It’s been a great first year. I feel I’ve grown as a businessman, a trainer, and a mentor. I’m inspired by what we’ve accomplished here, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.”

Henriquez and his coaching staff offer individualized and group instruction to youth baseball players. They give hitting lessons in the batting cages, along with pitching, fielding, and catching clinics.

Henriquez has been a coach himself for 20 years. His oldest son, Jovan, played in the Malden Little League and for the Boston Astros before Julio founded the Angel Baseball Giants travel teams that have won two state championships. The teams compete in the annual Lou Tompkins Tournament of Champions.

Players from Lynn, other local communities, and as far away as Portsmouth (N.H.) have been traveling to the Dugout in preparation for the 2019 baseball season. In addition to the baseball skills clinics, there are also strength, agility, and conditioning sessions.

“I’m happy to say we’re getting a lot of Lynn’s high school baseball players training here,” said Henriquez. “They also love my Manimal Camp (for strength and conditioning).”

Jason Harper, a former independent league baseball player, is the pitching coach at the Dugout. Other coaches are Dustin Voss and Sharom Urdaneta.

Henriquez said the Dugout is expanding its instructional program to include softball. He is in the process of hiring a pitching coach.

The reviews from parents have been positive. Henriquez is optimistic about the increasing enrollment at the facility and proud of the players’ improvement in all facets of their game.

“The athletes tell me they love being in a baseball environment during the winter,” said Henriquez. “One player told me, ‘when I walk in to this space, it’s like it has its own heartbeat.’”

One of the well-known local athletes who works out at the Dugout is Ryan January of Swampscott, a player in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.

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Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.

Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.

“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.

One of the first orders of business was selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”

“I think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.

Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the Cottage Park Yacht Club.

Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop their home.

There have been some noticeable changes made in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other state-of-the-art equipment.

Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental care and hospital-based dental care.

“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the area,” said Dr. Maarouf.

She became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of having her own practice.

“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility, so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”

Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.

“We do a variety of fillings, crowns, fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework, implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals and implant placement.”

Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.

She has begun a series of educational visits to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care. “Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”

Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7 p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).

And she is also expanding her knowledge, keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars throughout the country.”

Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop and excited about her future here.

“There are challenges that you don’t anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf concluded.

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Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch  Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

For the first time, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are combining forces to conduct a comprehensive regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and design a Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP). Major hospitals, along with health centers, human services providers and non-profits that serve area residents, are working with municipal leaders, health departments and the boards of health of each community to develop the plan. Residents of the three communities are being urged to go online and fill out a survey that asks about local health issues and other aspects of community life.

The effort is being co-coordinated by the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative and the Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) with the ultimate goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent health needs faced by each community and the region. Such assessments are often used to apply for targeted funding to help address community needs.

Every three years, most hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment to meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General also requires such a report and is encouraging regional collaboration among stakeholders, including among healthcare systems who share the same service areas. “This is one of the first regional assessments of its type in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Stone, Director of the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative. “Mayor Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison realize that public health conditions don’t respect borders, and, working together we can solve some of our health challenges more effectively.”

“The North Suffolk Community Health Needs Assessment is critical for the City of Chelsea,” said City Manager Ambrosino. “Not only will it provide the information necessary for Chelsea to better understand our residents’ public health needs, but it will also enable us to properly prioritize resources to better address those needs. We encourage all of our residents to participate in upcoming surveys, forums and interviews.”

The collaborators have set an ambitious timeline. The CHNA and CHIP will be completed by Sept. 30, 2019, and will result in a guide for a three-year community health improvement plan that all providers can use. The process includes intensive data collection–hundreds of resident surveys, interviews and focus groups as well as collecting data from other agencies such as the MA Department of Public Health and the US Census.

A website has been created, www.northsuffolkassessment.org, to provide information to anyone who may be interested. People who live or work in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are encouraged to complete a survey. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the languages most frequently spoken in the communities.

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Green New Deal Is a Good Deal

Green New Deal Is  a Good Deal

The growing movement for the federal government to take the lead in effecting policies that will negate the effects of both economic inequality and climate change has been incorporated into what is being referred to as the Green New Deal.

Our U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey, is among those who is spearheading the legislation, along with newly elected Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York.

The key features of the Green New Deal are both economic and environmental.

Health insurance for all Americans, job creation, and the expansion of the safety net are among the highlights of the economic aspect of the proposal.

On the environmental front, the goal is for the United States to become carbon-neutral within 10 years.

Both aspects of the proposal will face opposition in Congress from Republicans. The economic aspects will require raising taxes on the wealthy, which essentially would repeal the tax cuts approved by the GOP Congress last year.

The environmental goals will face a fierce fight from the energy industry and other business groups.

The Green New Deal seeks to address what we believe are the two great existential threats both to the American way of life and America itself :

First, that we are becoming a plutocracy — a government of the rich, for the rich, and by the rich.

Second, that climate change will wreak environmental and economic havoc on our nation with catastrophic consequences unless we take immediate steps to reverse its effects before they reach a tipping point from which we cannot escape.

Some may call the Green New Deal a pie-in-the-sky idea. But the reality is that unless we do something — and soon — about the growing concentration of wealth in the hands of a few and the imminent threat of climate change, the future of America (and the world) is grim.

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‘A Dream Come True’: New Children’s Librarian Always Envisioned Helping Chelsea Kids

‘A Dream Come True’: New Children’s Librarian Always Envisioned Helping Chelsea Kids

New Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia said landing the position at the Library is a dream come true for her.

When new Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia sits at her desk in the basement of the Chelsea Public Library near the Children’s Rooms, it’s a place that has been familiar to her since she was a little girl – coming to the library with her mother and experiencing a safe, learning environment.

Now she has been hired as the new full-time librarian after having worked part-time at the library for about 10 years, and is excited to share her love of reading with a new generation of Chelsea kids.

“I didn’t want to leave Chelsea because my family is here and my memories are here,” she said. “I don’t want to work in any other area. I want to help Chelsea grow and I want to be part of the growth…This position is a dream come true for me. I worked here in high school and came back after college and have been here since 2011. It’s a dream come true because I believe in what the library provides – the education and the free access to information. I enjoy seeing kids excited about reading or coming to work on their homework. I want to help them out. It’s a dream come true because I have always seen myself here.”

Palencia attended St. Rose School as a girl, and then went to the Williams Middle School. She attended Chelsea High School and graduated in 2007. She graduated from Salem State and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library Science at Cambridge College.

Palencia said her memories of the Chelsea Library are very comforting, and she hopes to be able to pass that on.

“I think it was the people who made it very special,” she said. “They had great relationships with my mother coming in here and being able to feel comfortable and to ask questions. They always quenched the curiosity I had.”

Palencia has been spearheading the English as a Second Language program that meets on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m., and now she has expanded that to working in the Children’s area.

She said her big push right now is for the upcoming Summer Reading Program.

“I am already really excited about summer reading,” she said. “I am looking for any local businesses wanting to collaborate with the Chelsea Public Library to donate prizes. It could be as simple as a free ice cream cone, or as much as a free bike – which the Knights of Pythias donated last year.”

She said they will be bringing back the story times soon, and will have a full range of winter and spring activities soon as well.

“I’m a life-long Chelsea resident and also very proud to be Latina,” she said. “I’m happy that we can bring in more Spanish speakers. Our staff does a great job and we have so many knowledgeable people to help accommodate everyone.”

Cutline – New Children’s Librarian Katherine Palencia said landing the position at the Library is a dream come true for her. Having fond memories of attending the library as a girl, she said she is excited to pass that on to a new generation of Chelsea kids.

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Supt. Bourque Says Governor’s Budget Increases Still Aren’t Enough

Supt. Bourque Says Governor’s Budget Increases Still Aren’t Enough

Gov. Charlie Baker brought a short smile to the face of many when he unveiled an increase in education funding in his State Budget proposal two weeks ago, but this week Supt. Mary Bourque said the proposal needs to go further for cities like Chelsea.

“Although a step in the right direction for public education and in particular gateway cities, the Governor’s FY20 budget does not go nearly far enough,” she wrote in a letter on Feb. 6.

Bourque said the Chelsea Public Schools are facing another year where they will likely – as it stands now – have to cut another $2 million from their budget. That falls upon multiple years of cuts that have weighed cumulatively on the schools and taken away core services from students.

One of the problems is that salaries, health insurance and special education costs are rising so quickly. This year, she said, they are looking at increases in those areas of $5.2 million.

Gov. Baker’s budget proposal steers an increase of $3.2 million to Chelsea over last year, but in the face of rising costs, that still leaves the schools in the red.

It’s yet another year of advocacy for the schools to fix the Foundation Formula – an exercise that has seemingly played out without any success for at least five years.

“Once again we are facing another year of painful budget cuts because the foundation formula used to calculate aid to our schools is broken,” she wrote. “The formula from 1993 has not kept up with inflation, changing demographics or increased student needs. I am however, encouraged this year that all leaders at the State level have acknowledged that the formula is broken, including for the first time the Governor.”

Bourque also spelled out the complex nature of the Chelsea Schools, including numerous factors that are contributing to the reduction in funding.

One of the most startling situations is that there are fewer kids, and with education funding based on numbers of kids, that translates to even less money for the schools.

Bourque said this year they have begun to identify a downward trend in enrollment for the first time in years. She said fewer kids are coming in from outside the U.S. and families are leaving Chelsea for areas with lower rents and costs of living.

“In addition to the foundation formula undercounting critical costs, a significant portion of this year’s $2 million dollar gap is due to student demographic shifts taking place in our schools,” she wrote. “We are seeing a downward trend in student enrollment…This year we have noted fewer students entering our schools from outside the United States as well as a number of students and families moving from Chelsea due to the high cost of living in the Boston area.” The Chelsea Public Schools under the City Charter have until April 1 to submit their balanced budget. Bourque said they plan to lobby members of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the meantime to fix the funding gaps that now exist.

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Chelsea Stands in Solidarity with East Boston over Proposed Eversource Substation

Chelsea Stands in Solidarity with East Boston over Proposed Eversource Substation

Environmentalists, activists, residents and elected officials on both sides of the Chelsea Creek are standing in solidarity with one another in firm opposition to Eversources plan to place a substation at the City Yards in East Boston along the Chelsea Creek.

On Tuesday night in Eastie the the state’s Energy Facility Siting Board (EFSB) held a public meeting to discuss Eversource’s Notice of Project Change that moves the proposed substation from the eastern corner of the City Yards in East Eagle Square to the western corner. The original location on the eastern portion of the city-owned parcel was approved by the EFSB last year.

In its Notice of Project Change Eversource seeks approval to move the Substation 190 feet to the western side of the City Yards lot. The scope of the upcoming meeting is limited to Eversource’s proposed relocation of the substation from its current site on the eastern side of the city parcel to its new proposed location.

Eversource said the two 115-kV transmission lines that would connect to the substation would no longer be routed along Condor and East Eagle Streets if the substation is placed in the western portion of the parcel.

Local environmentalists from Eastie and Chelsea have called on the EFSB explore alternatives to placing Eversource’s proposed substation along the Chelsea Creek.

For two years local environmentalists on the Eastie and Chelsea sides of the Creek have launched a visual, media and talking campaign against Eversource’s plans to place the substation at the City Yards in Eagle Square.

At Tuesday night’s meeting Chelsea City Council President Damali Vidot attended the meeting and gave testimony in opposition to the substation.

“I’m here tonight to express my opposition,” said Vidot. “Although I represent Chelsea, a community of 40,000 low income, hardworking immigrants and people of color who are always the afterthoughts of corporate greed and irresponsible planning, I am here today as an ally with my brothers and sisters of the Eagle Hill East Boston neighborhood whose demographics are reminiscent of home. Planes, a salt bile, fuel and now a high voltage electrical substation–I am tired of communities like Chelsea and East Boston forced to bear the burden of environmental injustice at the hands of greedy corporations. We are environmental justice communities and the civic engagement in this neighborhood, or lack thereof, is a blatant disregard and inconsideration of the densely populated areas of hardworking men and women forced to bear the environmental ignorance of others for the sake of protecting profits.”

Vidot called for an independent study to see whether or not a substation is even needed in the area and, if so, does it need to be placed an area susceptible to future climate change issues and sea level rise.

U.S. Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who represents both East Boston and Chelsea, sent a video testimony from her office in Washington D.C.

“I’m your sister in solidarity,” said Pressley. “This at its best is boor urban planning and at its worst and injustice. It is unconscionable that a community already overburdened with environmental injustices would be put in harm’s way and have those existing health hazards exacerbated. The community should be a part of planning and I know when we organize we win and this is a fight like so many others we are taking on and I stand with you.”

Last year the EFSB ruled in favor of placing the substation at the City Yards. However, the final ruling came with some provisos. According to the state board the EFSB vote to approve the substations and 115 kV underground cables in Eastie, Chelsea and Everett came with some conditions. The EFSB directed Eversource to enter into discussions with the City of Boston regarding the possible relocation of the new substation and the related cable on the Chelsea Creek site.

Local activist John Walkey, who lives in Eastie and works with Greenroots Chelsea argues that the project represents an increased risk in both communities already bearing a huge environmental burden in the region by playing host to Logan International Airport, highways and jet fuel storage tanks along the Chelsea Creek.

Walkey made a push for the EFSB to see a more logical place to site the substation.

“If only there was a place in East Boston with restricted access that would a more appropriate location. Maybe a place that already had millions of dollars invested in raising the ground level so it is more flood resilient. Maybe a place that already much more secure with state police oversight and very limited access. Maybe a place that takes up over a third of the land mass in East Boston. And just maybe a place that is going to be a consumer of over half the electricity that goes through the substation anyway. Obviously the (Logan) Airport is a far more logical place,” said Walkey.

As part of its decision the EFSB directed Eversource to provide an update to the board on the status of discussions between the community and city before construction on the substation commences. This has given additional time for Eversource, the City of Boston, and residents to iron out the alternative locations for the substation. The substation was initially slated to be built on an Eversource-owned parcel on Bremen Street. However, under the former late Mayor Thomas Menino Boston executed a land swap with Eversource. Eversource have the City of Boston the Bremen Street parcel so the city could build the new East Boston Branch Library in return for a city-owned parcel in East Eagle Square.

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Council Looking into Keeping Some Marijuana Licenses for Residents

Council Looking into Keeping Some Marijuana Licenses for Residents

Chelsea city councillors are looking at ways in which they can legally find a way to reserve some of the recreation marijuana licenses for Chelsea residents.

Councillor Roy Avellaneda forwarded an order recently to reserve at least two of the four recreational licenses for Chelsea residents, as so many residents have been impacted by the War on Drugs and the prosecution of marijuana possession crimes.

Avellaneda said his order is to amend the current retail marijuana ordinance in similar fashion to Somerville and Boston. At the state level, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) signaled early on that it would approve licenses quicker in communities like Chelsea that historically have been heavily impacted by drug prosecution.

However, Avellaneda and other councillors said they have only seen well-heeled investors from out of town turning up to take advantage of that designation in Chelsea.

“The recent rush we have seen by well-funded and politically connected individuals and groups to apply for the available licenses puts those living in communities like Chelsea at a serious disadvantage,” he said. “The goal of the legislation I have introduced is to provide a two-year window for two of the four licenses just for Chelsea residents or a business entity comprised of 60 percent Chelsea residents…I think we would have better host agreements and community benefits offered by an individual or group based from Chelsea than from someone with no connections to this city. Should we allow the money made from these lucrative licenses leave the city? Or should we try to keep that revenue here?”

The Council held a Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday night, Feb. 4, to discuss the matter and try to find a solution.

Council President Damali Vidot said she and Avellaneda and the rest of the Council seem to be on the same page with the idea, but may differ on how to accomplish it.

“My concern at Monday’s meeting and a couopld of other councillor’s concerns were that we could be interfering with a business’s right ot commerce,” she said. “If I own an adult-use shop and want to sell it, I don’t know if we can limit who you sell it to. We don’t want to cut people off at the knees. That will effect investors because they may not want to enter into a place where there are so many limits on their investment…Also, we’re only allowing the rich to get richer. If you live in Chelsea and have the money to buy one of these, you’re obviously already rich.”

She said the marijuana licenses mimic the regulations for liquor stores, and there are no such limits on liquor licenses.

That said, she agreed that Avellaneda has a good idea that needs to be explored and hopefully implemented in some fashion to help Chelsea residents – to empower those economically who have been affected in the past.

Avellaneda said the idea is consistent with the recent 100 percent residency requirement for all new police and fire hires, as well as the affordable housing requirement for Chelsea residents.

“It asks that any new jobs created in Chelsea have a priority for Chelsea residents,” he said. “I doubt Chelsea would lose any opportunities or see a delay in applications because any outsider looking to open in Chelsea would look to partner with a Chelsea resident rather than risk losing a chance at a license by waiting two years.”

Western Front Moving Quickly on Webster

The Economic Empowerment marijuana proposal on Webster Avenue is moving quickly through the local process for a marijuana dispensary at 121 Webster Ave.

Western Front is a minority-owned firm that received the Economic Empowerment designation from the state last spring, and had its community meeting shortly after. The firm plans to open a dispensary and also employ those who have been adversely affected by the War on Drugs – particularly people from the Chelsea. The ownership of the company comes from Boston and Cambridge though. Western Front is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. It is the first ZBA hearing in Chelsea for a marijuana proposal.

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