Robert J. Haas, Jr. of Revere died most unexpectedly while vacationing at Block Island, R.I. on Sunday July 2.
Former Mayor Haas was born in Melrose and raised, educated and lived his entire life in Revere. An alumnus of Revere High School, Class of 1963, he was also an alumnus of Northeastern University, Class of 1974, securing his Bachelor in Business Administration in 1974 and continuing on for a Bachelor’s in Finance in 1978.
Over the years, “Bob” has immersed himself into the life and heart of Revere, affiliating himself with many fraternal and social organizations andendeavors. Early in his career, he was a member of the Revere Jaycees. He was Charter President of the Revere Jaycees and was awarded “One of the Outstanding Young Men of America.”A long-time member of the Revere Rotary Club, he was awarded their Paul Harris Fellow Award, the highest commendation given by Rotary International. He was also a co-founder and organizer of the Revere Chamber of Commerce. For over 30 years, he has been a devotee of the Holy Name Society at St. Anthony’s Parish and an ardent supporter of the 100 Club of Massachusetts, Revere Chapter.
Also and most recently, Bob was among a group reorganizing and reinventing the Revere Council 179 of the Knights of Columbus. He was also given honorary membership in the Revere Lodge of Elks #1171, the Revere Loyal Order of the Moose #1272, the American Legion Post #61 of Revere and the Revere Boys Club.
He began his working career at First National Shawmut Bank of Boston from 1964 to 1972, then onto Union Petroleum Corp. from 1972-1973 and then and still the proprietor and operator of Haas Business Forms from 1974 to 2017.
His political career began in 1979 as Councilor-at-large, serving for 12 consecutive years. After a hiatus, he returned in 2003 as councilor at-large and served until his untimely death on July 2, 2017. Bob’s remarkable term as Mayor began in 1992 and ended with his fourth term in 2000.
The beloved husband of 50 years of Juanita M. (Brandariz) Haas, he was the devoted father of Jennifer M. Haas and John R. Coyne of Revere, Rachel M. Shanley of Revere and Robert J. Haas, III and his wife, Jennifer of Winthrop. He was the cherished Papa to Brayden, Luca and Noah; the dear brother to Sheila A. Arsenault and her husband, Arthur T. of Chelsea, Judy A. Cotter and her husband, William of Gilford, NH and the late Edward J. Haas. He is also lovingly survived by his brother-in-law, Ramon M. Brandariz& his wife, Anna of Billerica. Bobby is also survived by an aunt and many nephews, nieces and cousins.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Vertuccio& Smith Home for Funerals, Revere. Interment was in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Revere Society for Cultural & Historic Preservation, 108 Beach St., Revere, MA 02151.
Retired music teacher, longtime organist and choir director at St. Stanislaus Church
Edmund J.Jagielski of Chelsea passed awayat home on July 7 after a time of declining health.
Born in Hartford, CT over 93 years ago, he received his early schooling in Hartford and attained a B.A in music from Boston University after serving in the United States Army during World War II in the Asiatic Pacific Theater.
A talented musician, affectionately known also as Mr. J, was a longtime private piano and voice instructor, the organist and choir director for St. Stanislaus Church and 7th grade teacher at St. Stanislaus School for numerous years. After his tenure at St. Stan’s, he taught music at the Williams Public School in Chelsea.
The devoted husband for over 66 years of Ella M. (Horvath), he was the beloved father of Jacqueline Clark of California, Susan Kennedy and her husband, George of Illinois and California, Mary Hescock and her husband, Paul of Chelsea, John Jagielski and his wife, Dana of Duxbury, David Jagielski of Chelsea and Laurie Solis of Plymouth; brother of the late Frances Piekos; cherished grandfather of Jennifer, Lauren, Michael, Matthew and Olivia and is also lovingly survived by his great grandchildren, Hannah, Natalie and Brendan.
At his request, all services are private. Funeral Arrangements were entrusted to the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea.In lieu of flowers, expressions of sympathy in Ed’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN, 38501 or online at www.stjude.org/donateTo send a message of condolence to Ed’s family, please visit www.smithfuneralhomes.com
Will be remembered for her kind and gentle spirit, laughter and generous heart
Kim TheadoraTuttavillaof Chelsea, previously of Revere, passed away July 2at the age of 63.
The beloved daughter of the late Joseph and Patricia Tuttavilla, she was the loving sister of Michael and his wife, Michelle, Mark and his wife, Maureen, and Mia and her husband, Andrew. She was a loving sister, a fun aunt, a dear cousin and niece and will be greatly missed.
Kim will be remembered for her kind and gentle spirit, for her laughter and her generous heart. Even while Kim may have endured many difficulties in life, she still retained her love of creating art which she did on a daily basis, whether in poetry or paints or pastels, and loved cooking for others and attending to her garden. Along with music, these were her greatest joys.
Services will be held at the Paul Buonfiglio& Sons-Bruno Funeral Home, 128 Revere St, Revere today, Thursday, July 13beginning at 10 a.m. with a prayer service at 11a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the North Suffolk Mental Health Association, 37 Hawthorne St. Chelsea 02150 c/o Vernon Street Program.
Perky the police dog enjoyed her visit to the Chelsea Public Library, as children ask questions about her job.
The Chelsea Public Library hosted Meet Chelsea Police Dogs, the first event of the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ summer reading program, on June 22. Perky, a 2 ½-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, and her handler, Officer Eddie Noftle, visited the library to teach families about their work in the Chelsea Police K-9 Unit.
“With the way things are today, we feel that explosive detection dogs are very important,” said Officer Noftle. “She is so accurate.”
Perky is a single-purpose dog, trained in detecting the odors of 42 explosives, such as shell casings, guns, and bombs. When she locates a threat, Perky will passively sit as close to the explosive as possible while remaining at a safe distance, and is then rewarded with food.
“She has crawled under a little Toyota Corolla, and crawled under a dashboard to get to the source of the explosive,” described Officer Noftle.
Perky has had 16 weeks of training with the Massachusetts State Police and the Connecticut State Police, and has worked with Officer Noftle for more than a year. Most recently, the partners patrolled Sail Boston, and will be protecting the Esplanade during the Fourth of July celebration.
“She has no handler protection trained into her, so she’ll probably lick everyone. She’s very friendly,” said Noftle to listeners. “She started as a seeing eye dog. I believe her food drive is what kept her out of that program, but for a police dog, a high food drive is perfect.”
After a day of work, Perky will return home with Officer Noftle, and roll into a ball beside him.
“I am very excited about the theme, which is build a better world,” said Martha Boksenbaum, Children’s Librarian. “It ties into STEM, but also has a social justice aspect of treating each other nicely, and building a world we want to live in. I think it’s going to be really fun.”
During the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ program, children are encouraged to add blocks to the LEGO structure in the children’s section of the library as a literal interpretation of building a better world together as a community. The library will be offering special events throughout the summer, including animal shows, reading in the park, and a LEGO club.
“I am most excited about the very last program, a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party,” said Boksenbaum, about the Mon., Aug. 21 gathering at 2:30 p.m. on City Hall lawn. “We received a grant from NASA and the American Library Association to celebrate the total eclipse. You can see the eclipse from the entire United States of America.”
The full Summer Reading Program series of events includes:
Thurs, July 6 at 11 a.m.- Wingmasters: Bird Show
•Thurs, July 6 at 1 p.m. Chelsea Lego Club
•Thurs, July 13 at 11 a.m.- Malik the Magic Guy
•Fri, July 14 at 12:30 p.m. – Mariana Iranzi bilingual Spanish & English Sing-A-Long
•Thurs, July 20 at 11 a.m.- Toe Jam Puppet Band
•Thurs, July 27 at 11 a.m.- Sciencetellers
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 11 a.m.- Animal Adventures
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 1 p.m.- Chelsea Lego Club
•Fri, Aug 4 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
•Tues, Aug 8 at noon – Field Trip to the Boston Public Library. Registration Required.
•Thurs, Aug 10 at 11 a.m.- Pumpernickel Puppets
•Fri, Aug 11 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
Fri, Aug 18 at 1 p.m. – Movie: To be announced
•Mon, Aug 21 at 3 p.m.- Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on City Hall Lawn.
The elevator shaft and steel structure can be seen this summer going up on Chelsea’s next new hotel, a 124-room full service hotel at the Chelsea Line.
The Chelsea Broadway Hotel – not yet named officially – is making quick work of the vacant site next to the Walgreen’s on Broadway adjacent to the Chelsea/Revere line.
The hotel – another new hotel brought by Colwen and the XSS Group – is likely to be even better than the previous hotels, the last of which (Homewood Suites) just opened across from Chelsea High School. There are rumors that the Broadway hotel will include a restaurant that has water-side seating during the summer months. That, however, could not be confirmed.
The site overlooks the Mill Creek and marsh – an area that has been vastly improved and cleaned up in the last 10 years. The hotel property will also serve as a major connecting piece on the walkway that leads to the Chelsea Commons Park.
Already, the elevator shaft and steel structure are towering above Broadway as the building takes shape. Maureen Foley of Colwen Hotels said that the Broadway Hotel is a 124-room hotel that will open in late 2018.
She said anyone looking for job opportunities at the hotel or any of their other Chelsea hotels can log on to www.colwenhotels.com.
The United States House of Representatives passed an immigration bill in June that includes harsh penalties for self-declared Sanctuary Cities like Chelsea, and even though it has a long way to go in passing the U.S. Senate to become law, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he would be ready to go back to Federal Court to fight it.
“I’m hoping the Senate does not go ahead with that,” he said. “If the Senate does go ahead and it is signed by the president, I expect we’ll look at at filing another lawsuit for violation of the 10th Amendment. Hopefully, the Senate will be more reasonable. I’m going to worry about legislation that passes the House.”
The law that passed the House deals with many issues, but when it comes to Sanctuary Cities, it takes away all grant money from cities that self-declare as a Sanctuary City – as Chelsea does. That would likely mean steep losses for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), for public safety grants (police and fire) and for grants to the Public Schools.
Ambrosino said he doesn’t envision the law clearing the Senate and isn’t too worried about that happening, but did say if the Senate happened to approve the legislation, Chelsea would look at another lawsuit.
The City filed a lawsuit earlier this year with Lawrence when President Donald Trump issued his executive order penalizing Sanctuary Cities. That order was also challenged by several other municipalities, and a stay of the order was granted by a Federal Appeals Court in California. That stay also applied to Chelsea’s case, making the executive order moot.
However, the new legislation does take away one of the key arguments in Chelsea’s original case – that being the executive order actions weren’t authorized by legislation.
However, Ambrosino said he and the City’s lawyers still believe a 10th Amendment violation would be grounds for another suit if need be.
“Obviously, the fact that legislation exists would make that argument go away, but there are other arguments we made and one is that legislation would violate the separation of powers in the 10th Amendment.”
No new action has taken place on the House Bill since it passed in late June, but City officials are keeping close tabs on the Senate’s actions in relation to the Bill.
While wholesale infrastructure changes aren’t expected for another couple of years on Broadway, momentum is already building for major change to the downtown Broadway Business District this summer.
On Wednesday, June 28, the musician Kali gave a sneak peak on Chelsea City Hall Lawn just what will come with the new Chelsea Lunch initiative, which starts next Weds., July 12.
According to Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney, Chelsea Lunch Marketplace will take place every Wednesday from noon to 2 p.m. on City Hall Lawn through the end of September. The event is presented by Chelsea Prospers in partnership with Healthy Chelsea and will have musicians and community information tables.
The effort is meant to enliven the district during the day, but there will also be action in the evenings in Chelsea Square. Graney envisions having daytime activities in Bellingham Square throughout the summer and evening activities in Chelsea Square.
To kick off that effort, Summer Nights in Chelsea Square will kick off in one month on Aug. 3 with music and dancing by Los Sugar Kings.
Other concerts include:
August 10, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smell-O-Vision
August 17, Tarbox Ramblers backwoods blues music
Aug. 24 will be a unique experience where concert-goers can be the star. the live Karaoke band, The Cover Story will play and audience members are invited to sing.
Additionally, late last week Graney announced small placemaking grants available for the district. The mini-grants are between $200 and $750 for small projects like parklets, pop up events or temporary art installations – or whatever creative idea one may have for the district. An info session has been scheduled for Tuesday, July 11, at 6 p.m. in the Chelsea Public Library. The deadline for applications is Aug. 18.
To enhance the mini-grants, Chelsea will be celebrating National Parking Day on Sept. 15. All across America, cities, towns and organizations transform parking spaces in downtown districts into small parks for the day. That was done last year for the first time by GreenRoots on Broadway – an effort that was a smash hit and likely will become even more intriguing this year, Graney said.
On the infrastructure and design front, the Re-Imagining Broadway effort will present its findings after many months of study on July 13, 6 p.m., in the Chelsea Senior Center, 10 Riley Way. The consultant Nelson Nygaard has been studying everything from sidewalks and streetlights to making Broadway a two-way street again. The findings will be suggestions for implementation to the City, which contracted the consultants late last year and has conducted several public meetings since then.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he is encouraged by the work of the Downtown Task Force over the past few months – an effort that include four Chelsea Police Officers dedicated to patrolling the Broadway Business Corridor and meeting in a roundtable on a weekly basis.
He said that between that effort, the Human Service Navigators, good deal is getting done on the Corridor.
However, he said that spending the large sum of money approved by the City Council for infrastructure repairs and improvements would likely not take place for a little while. Right now, he said about $500,000 of that sum has been on design and planning. The bulk of the monies, some $5 million, will be allocated in a few years, he said.
“There’s still a lot of planning to do,” he said. “We We probably won’t start the infrastructure work for another year or more, but we are looking at what we want to do now. Most likely, all of that work will start in calendar year 2019, maybe 2018. We’re at least one year away from that work…This is a marathon and not a spring. It’s a five to 10 year effort to re-invent this downtown.”
Other efforts under way or already planned include:
Retail Best Practices Program presented by City of Chelsea’s Chelsea Prospers with the Chamber of Commerce – July 18 at 8:30 a.m. at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Half-day workshop for all downtown businesses on issues like effective displays, marketing, customer service. Businesses can then apply to be one of the six businesses that will receive a half day of one-on-one consulting on their specific needs and to receive a mini-grant to implement one of the recommendations. http://www.chelseachamber.org/
FDA Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards – Chelsea Prospers in partnership with the Board of Health to increase food safety, build business and workforce expertise, and boost consumer confidence. The first activity under this multiyear effort is a training and certification food safety program for Chelsea businesses. Through the Chelsea Community Schools we’re presenting on July 27 a full day of training in English and Spanish, plus the certification exam at a deeply discounted rate. The program is exclusively for Chelsea businesses and workers. Registration required at https://register.communitypass.net/Chelsea
MassSave Business Grants – In August, at the behest of Chelsea Prospers and the Chelsea’s Energy Manager to increase environmental sustainability, a team from EverSource is coming to the downtown the week of August 7 to conduct free energy assessments for area businesses. Through the assessments they’ll be able to determine eligibility for a variety of new equipment like lighting, thermostats, refrigerator motors, etc. Discounts for the installed equipment start at 70 percent and 0 percent financing is available for the co-pay. Many businesses are eligible for thousands of dollars in new equipment and able to dramatically reduce their utility bills. All Massachusetts utility customers pay into the fund that supports this program – take advantage of these significant savings. https://www.masssave.com/en/saving/business-rebates/facility-assessments/
Chelsea’s First Paw-Raid – Walk and celebration for dogs and their friends on September 9 to check out the dog park under construction at Mystic Overlook Park. Starting at City Hall Lawn at 11 a.m. and finishing up at Mystic Overlook Park.
Interise is the “Street-wise MBA”, a training program for established businesses. For the first time ever they’ll be hosting their training program in East Boston and focusing on the needs of businesses in Chelsea, Everett, East Boston and Winthrop. Get your business to the next level or be prepared to steer it ably through a time of transition. https://www.interise.org/
Cultural Assets Survey in partnership with the Cultural Council and The Neighborhood Developers – This fall we’re gathering information on Chelsea’s creative assets — both the people and the infrastructure – who make related to the cultural economy of the City. The first part of this effort is the Artist Survey, open now at https://tinyurl.com/chelseaartistsurvey and at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7TRRLK.
The passing this past week of John C. Ligotti. known to his friends as Jack, who served for five decades as an assistant clerk and clerk-magistrate of the East Boston District Court and then was promoted to the District Court bench, marked the end of an era for long-time residents of the East Boston, Winthrop, and Revere communities.
John Ligotti’s life was a typical American immigrant success story exemplifying the values of hard work, determination, and love of family and community. Judge Ligotti was born on June 20, 1916, one of five siblings of immigrant parents who emigrated from Barrafranca, Sicily in 1912, initially taking up residence in Passaic, New Jersey before moving to the Boston area a few years thereafter.
Despite meager financial resources, Judge Ligotti worked his way through Northeastern University School of Law during the Great Depression and became one of the youngest persons ever to pass the Massachusetts Bar Exam when he did so at the age of 23.
With jobs still scarce, Judge Ligotti worked as an unpaid intern in the East Boston District Court under then Clerk-Magistrate William Barker. With the help of Boston Mayor James Michael Curley, Judge Ligotti soon was named an assistant clerk-magistrate of the East Boston District Court. After rising to the position of First Assistant Clerk-Magistrate, Judge Ligotti was appointed to the Clerk-Magistrate’s position by Gov. Foster Furcolo in 1957 upon the retirement of Clerk-Magistrate Barker.
Clerk-Magistrate Ligotti was elevated to the bench of the District Court in 1974 by Governor Francis Sargent. Judge Ligotti initially served as a Special Justice of the District Court before being named to the position of First Justice of the Malden District Court, where he served until 1986 upon reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70.
After his retirement, Judge Ligotti’s value and experience to the court system continued to be recognized by the Supreme Judicial Court, which appointed Judge Ligotti for a number of years as a recall justice.
Humility, wisdom, compassion, and a dedication to public service are the words that most often come to mind from those who knew, and worked with, Judge Ligotti during his 50-year tenure as a judicial officer in the Massachusetts court system, according to Sandra Caggiano, who worked in the East Boston District Court for 41 years beginning in 1967 when she was hired by Judge Ligotti and who herself eventually rose to the position of First Assistant Clerk-Magistrate under Judge Ligotti’s successor, Joseph Faretra..
“I learned from John Ligotti, as did everyone who worked for him, what it means to be a compassionate human being and what it it takes to make a man a gentleman,” said Caggiano. “He instilled in us the notion that we were to treat everybody, regardless of their station in life or where they came from, with dignity and respect.
“Judge Ligotti was fond of reading the Bible, and his approach to the job was to take care of the least among us,” continued Caggiano. “His legacy in the East Boston District Court carried over long after he had left the court and continues today. The East Boston District Court is well-known among other courts, among police, and among those who come before it as one of the best-run and most-compassionate courts in the state.”
“My uncle helped everybody who came in front of him and yet he never asked anything from anyone,” said his nephew Joseph Ligotti, who himself has served the Massachusetts judicial system with distinction for more than 50 years, most notably as an assistant clerk of the Supreme Judicial Court and currently as the Clerk-Magistrate of the Hingham District Court.
“He epitomized the concept of public service,” continued Ligotti, whose own son, Angelo, has maintained the family legacy of service in the judicial system as an assistant clerk of the Bristol Juvenile Court. “He was an incredibly humble man who never forgot where he came from. Even though he worked very hard to attain his success, he understood that not everyone had the same degree of opportunity that he had.
“He came from a loving family and what brought him the most pleasure was his own family,” added Ligotti, referring to Judge Ligotti’s four daughters, grandchildren, and great-grandchild.
The words of the poet Wordsworth are apt when describing the manner in which the thousands of individuals who came before John Ligotti received the benefit of his innate kindness, compassion, and wisdom:
“That best portion of a good man’s life,
his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.”
Family and friends will honor Judge Ligotti’s life by gathering on Thursday, July 6, in the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home, 971 Saratoga Street (Orient Heights), East Boston, from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 noon, followed by a procession to Our lady of the Assumption Church, Lynnfield for a funeral Mass in celebration of the Judge’s life at 1:00 P.M. Services will conclude with Judge Ligotti being laid to rest with his beloved wife, Rose (Cavaliere),.
Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home (CJNH), the flagship property of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, recently completed a spectacular $16 million renovation. Residents, families, friends and community officials joined Chelsea Jewish Lifecare to celebrate this tremendous milestone on Wednesday, June 21 at Lafayette Avenue in Chelsea.
Cutting the ribbon at the ceremony signaling the completion of the $16 million renovation project at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home are, from left, Gilda Richman, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL) chairwoman of the board, Betsy Mullen, CJL chief operating officer, Edward Stewart, Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home executive director, Adam Berman, CJL president, and Barry Berman, CJL chief executive officer.
Founded in 1919 by Lena Goldberg, the original goal of CJNH was to create a welcoming home for neighboring elders. Now, nearly 100 years later, the concept has come full circle. The completely renovated five story building reflects a legacy Green House® skilled nursing model, with kitchens on every floor, warm and spacious gathering spaces and an abundance of glass and natural light. The residence also features a new café, rehab gym, chapel and courtyard. It is a far cry from a traditional nursing home.
A Skilled Nursing Residence that Feels like Home
“What’s so unique about our model is that we’ve combined contemporary design elements with the traditional concept of making one’s home as warm and inviting as possible.” He added, “In essence, we are going back to our roots.”
Traditional nursing homes rely upon one central kitchen to prepare food for the entire facility. At CJNH, each of the three residential floors features two modern and aesthetically appealing kitchens, which is an integral part of the renovation. The aroma of freshly-cooked food on every floor truly reinforces the home concept. Residents have choices of what they eat – and when they eat it. Living rooms with fireplaces and spacious dining rooms complete the area, providing a warm and comfortable space for residents to gather and enjoy good food.
In terms of the layout, the lower lobby houses the chapel and staff offices. A café and bakery, rehab gym, and salon and spa are all located on the main lobby. There are three floors on the upper level, which can accommodate up to 120 residents.
The Nursing Home of the Future
CJNH is more than just a renovated skilled nursing facility; it reflects an exciting trend in long-term senior care. “We believe this model of care has the potential to change the face of nursing homes throughout the country,” explains Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “The home environment can easily be replicated by other skilled nursing facilities, vastly improving the quality of life for our nation’s elders.”
About Chelsea Jewish Lifecare
Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, a highly respected leader in senior living, employs over 1200 people and provides care to over 800 individuals daily, with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, MA. Offering a full continuum of services, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (www.chelseajewish.org) is redefining senior care and re-envisioning what life should be like for those living with disabling conditions. The eldercare community includes a wide array of skilled and short-term rehab residences, ALS and MS specialized care residences, traditional and specialized assisted living options, memory care, independent living, adult day health, geriatric care management, home care, personal care and hospice agencies that deliver customized and compassionate care.
Two incumbent district city councillors announced on Wednesday that they would not be seeking re-election to their seat after having served for several years on the board.
Early Wednesday, District 8 City Councillor Dan Cortell led the charge with a shocking announcement that he would not run for office again.
“I will not be seeking another term as District 8 City Councilor in this November’s election,” he said. “I announce this decision, a difficult one, not without reservation, but with a desire make my intentions known with sufficient time to give anyone wishing to run for the seat ample opportunity to pull papers and obtain the signatures necessary to assure a position on the ballot and significantly before campaigning functionally gets underway. Anyone considering a run for the District 8 seat is welcome to contact me to discuss the position.”
Cortell has been on the Council for 10 years and has served as its president multiple times.
Virtually no one expected the decision, and Cortell had taken out nomination papers already, but said he will not exercise his right to gather signatures to be placed on the ballot. Though he was seemingly excited about his post, in recent weeks he had expressed some frustration and perhaps that led to his decision.
He said he will continue to fight vigorously for the community and serve out his term until December, when he will address more fully his decision not to run.
“I remain District 8’s Councilor until the end of this calendar year and will continue to be the voice of its residents, my neighbors, in addressing quality of life and others matters with the vigor the position demands and honor that serving commands,” he said. “And after the expiration of my term, know that I will to continue to be a vocal resident when it comes consequential matters like the return of a strip club to the former King Arthur’s site, one I’ve partnered with so many to vehemently oppose, and others as one who still proudly calls Chelsea my home and wishes to see it be the best it can be.”
As for candidates to fill the empty seat, which is a very active seat representing a large voter base on Admiral’s Hill and just below.
An immediate possibility is Zaida Ismatul-Oliva of Spruce Street, who has been active and apparently contemplating a run for District 8 with or without Cortell in the race. Ismatul-Oliva grew up in Chelsea and works for Bunker Hill Community College. She has been seen out and about at several Council meetings lately and community events.
Some have also postulated that former At-large Councillor Calvin Brown could be interested in putting his hat in the ring to run for the district seat. Brown has always been active in the community and continues to be so, but there was no indication he was going to try for District 8.
His former colleagues were quick to give him their accolades, including former Councillor and District 7 Candidate Clifford Cunningham.
“Councillor Cortell’s decision to retire will cost the city one of it’s hardest working and dedicated City Councillors – a fact made more disheartening due to the lack of experience and, in some cases, competence of many of the remaining Councillors,” he said. “I am grateful I had the opportunity to serve alongside him during my tenure, and I wish my friend well as he retires from the Council and becomes a private citizen again.”
The other big news of the week on the Council came from the largest and most active voting block in the city, that being Prattville and District 1 – where Councillor Paul Murphy will not seek re-election.
Murphy was rumored to be considering leaving his post in recent weeks due to health challenges faced by his parents. However, he confirmed to the Record on Wednesday that he would not seek re-election.
“My kids are getting older and my mother and father had a few health challenges, and if I can’t give 100 percent to it, it’s not fair for the district,” he said. “I’ve had a good run for six years. It’s time for some fresh blood in the seat though.”
Murphy has been a stalwart on the Council over the last six years, having consistent attendance and a consistent voting record on the issues. He has deep roots in Chelsea, with a very active family here.
There are likely to be numerous candidates for the seat in a very politically active part of town.
That said, one candidate has already likely surfaced in School Committeeman Sean O’Regan.
O’Regan has flirted with a Council run in the past, but decided to always stay home on the School Committee.
Now it appears he will be a major contender for the Prattville seat.
Besides the School Committee, O’Regan and his brother are very active in coordinating and coaching youth sports and sports at the Boys & Girls Club.
Candidates have until Aug. 1 at 5 p.m. to pull nomination papers and return them with the proper signatures. District seats require 50 signatures of registered voters within the district, while at-large seats require 50 signatures from any registered voter in the city.
As around 40 residents assembled at the Williams School Monday night on a beautiful summer evening, their greetings to one another and their conversations had to be punctuated by numerous pauses to accommodate the endless parade of airplanes passing loudly overhead.
By a quick count, about 40 planes passed over in 30 minutes before the meeting started.
It’s that sort of thing that brought out so many to the meeting, and it’s also what spawned activists and neighbors to announce that it’s time to stop working cooperatively with the airport as it’s getting the community nowhere.
“We go from Chelsea to East Boston to enjoy the parks they get as mitigation for the airport,” said Roseann Bongiovanni of GreenRoots. “A little mitigation goes a long way on helping the burden. It’s a sign of goodwill and good faith to say, ‘We understand the burden you are facing.’ That’s not happening with MassPort. We tried for six to eight months to get a meeting with them and we finally did. They heard our concerns and absorbed it and said, ‘We’re going to come back to you.’ It was positive. Eighteen months later, where are we? Nowhere. We don’t have a park or any mitigation or any amenities. They just don’t give a rat’s (expletive deleted),” she said.
MassPort has long been a thorn in the side of Chelsea as many residents have contended that the noise and frequency of the planes over Chelsea are just as obtrusive as many parts of East Boston, the host community. Meanwhile, the City also hosts an airport overlay district that serves to provide a district on Eastern Avenue and Marginal Street for airport-related uses like heavy trucking, fuel storage and rental car storage.
None of it is exactly an ideal use for residents to endure.
That said, City Councillors, Bongiovanni and scores of residents have detailed that the last couple of months have been unbearable as the airport has engaged in a Runway Improvement Project to pave the runways. That has resulted in more flights temporarily going over Chelsea, Everett and other air corridors. It has been the straw that seemingly has broken the back of Chelsea’s relationship with the airport and its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Bongiovanni said Logan announced two weeks ago that the runway project was to end on June 23, and that things would be far less intrusive. However, residents and officials have said nothing has changed.
“June 23 came and went and today is June 26,” said Bongiovanni. “Planes are going over every 90 seconds or more. They said it would be all done. We’re seeing other communities getting up and fighting, such as in Milton. In Chelsea, we’re doing little things…It’s time for the community to stand up here and fight. We need to give them a little bit of trouble so they will listen.”
Residents at the meeting detailed being able to see planes so close that they can and have waved to passengers from their balconies. One man said the noise is so loud – occurring late in the night and resuming early in the morning – that his five-month-old baby has disturbed sleep patterns.
Others joked that they can’t watch television without the Closed Captioning – even with the windows closed.
Some even said they were frightened by how low the planes were coming in – saying it causes anxiety that they might hit something or go down.
Residents said they would like to begin taking action, and Bongiovanni said it would be important to dig up some facts and studies to bolster Chelsea’s position.
One study that never got a lot of play in Chelsea, but made big waves in Eastie, was a Department of Public Health study 10 years ago. That Environmental Health Assessment focused on Eastie, but also proved that some parts of Chelsea were just as impacted as Eastie – the airport host community.
The meeting also featured a guest speaker, John Walkey of Air, Inc, an East Boston organization that is sanctioned to work on environmental impacts of Logan Airport.
Many in the audience left the meeting with a charge to gather information and to get on the agenda of the MassPort Board meeting on July 20. There, they hope to begin making a strong point for Chelsea.
Those who work in the Chelsea Courthouse and those who frequent it with criminal cases know that there aren’t a lot of great days marked in the building.
It’s not exactly a place to come celebrate.
But occasionally, the smiles come out and the celebratory cake gets cut, and that one day of happiness in the Court is Drug Court graduation day.
On Tuesday, June 27, just such a celebration took place in the Chelsea Courthouse and four graduates from the grueling life-turnaround program celebrated sobriety, clean living and getting their path straight.
“Honestly, nothing good really ever happens in a courthouse,” said Judge Matthew Nestor. “One of the only good days in a courthouse like this is drug court graduation day. It’s really a great day for the participants. We’re proud to have watched them come such a long way and to see that they have accomplished a lot. It’s a day by day thing for them, but we’re proud.”
Drug Court is a special program pioneered and refined at Chelsea District Court many years ago, and a program that has been replicated in numerous other jurisdictions where drug use and addiction is a problem. Some defendants are given the opportunity to enter the program in lieu of their punishment, and strict and rigorous requirements for sobriety are enacted upon them.
Tara Fleming, a graduate, said she had been through it all – on the streets, doing drugs and making a life out of coming in and out of the court. That was until she began Drug Court in 2014. Now, she is on the right path and said the graduation day marked a huge milestone in her life.
“It has been an absolute turnaround,” she said. “I was homeless on the street. I hurt myself on the streets. I ended up in drug court after being arrested three times in two weeks. It saved my life. I’ve been fighting through it every since. I refuse to go back.”
Another graduate, Heather Harper, described the day as “colossal.”
“It’s colossal because since the age of 14 I’ve doing this – drugs and court,” she said. “Drugs, prostitution, everything. I’ve done it all. This is great right now to have accomplished this. Nov. 8, 2015 is the date that stands out to me. That’s the day I decided to start this. Eighteen months of Chelsea Drug Court and this is it. I have one thing that I like to remember, ‘Never look back unless it’s to see how far you’ve come.’”
Other graduates included Christopher Bonsai and Edward Sarmanian.