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Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home to be Renamed in Honor of Elliot and Donna Katzman

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare has announced that the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home, the flagship property of the organization, will be renamed The Katzman Center for Living in honor of Elliot and Donna Katzman.

The Marblehead couple, who made a significant donation to Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, have longstanding ties to the nursing home, the city of Chelsea and to the healthcare organization.

Elliot and Donna Katzman have made a significant donation to Chelsea Jewish Lifecare, and they will now be honored with the naming of the newly-renovated Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home on Lafayette Avenue. It will soon become the Katzman Center for Living.

“We are enormously grateful to Elliot and Donna Katzman for such a generous gift,” said Chelsea Jewish Lifecare CEO Barry Berman. “I have known the Katzman family for many years and am thrilled to have their name attached to the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home. Their support and friendship mean the world to us.”

Elliot Katzman and Donna (Frangiamone) were classmates at Chelsea High and will soon celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. Both are Salem State alumni and the proud parents of sons and daughters in law Matthew and Katie, and David and Emily. They are even prouder grandparents to granddaughters Nora, Maggie, Julia and Clara. Elliot, a general partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures, a private venture capital firm, has built some of New England’s most successful technology companies.

“Donna and I are truly thankful for the love and kindness that Chelsea Jewish Lifecare has shown our family,” said Katzman. “Our involvement began when my grandmother was a resident of the nursing home over forty years ago. Ten years ago my parents moved to the Cohen Florence Levine Estates Assisted Living where today my dad, Myer, still enjoys being a part of this caring community. Donna’s mom, Mary Frangiamone, is a resident of the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home. We want to pay tribute to the mission of the organization’s founders and the extraordinary leadership of Barry and Adam Berman.”

Adam Berman, Chelsea Jewish Lifecare president, noted that the nursing home has played a significant role in the organization’s history.

“The Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home is very near and dear to my heart,” said Berman. “We are honored to have Elliot and Donna involved with this special residence and we truly appreciate their substantial contribution.” Founded in 1919, the non-profit Chelsea Jewish Lifecare is one of the largest providers of senior healthcare services in the region. The Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home, soon

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Zoning Board Denies Spencer Ave. Project in Surprisingly Close Vote

In a split decision, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) denied a request for a special permit and variance for a proposed eight-unit, four-story, market-rate condominium project at 254 Spencer Ave. on Tuesday night.

In a 2-2 vote, ZBA members Arthur Arsenault and Marilyn Vega-Torres voted to okay the project, while members Hugo Perdomo and Joseph Mahoney voted to deny approvals, siding with the recommendation of Planning Director John DePriest.

DePriest stated that the conversion of the existing two-family house to eight units was too large for the site, and that the developers did not meet the hardship requirements to gain approval for the special permit and variances.

While the Planning Department recommended no more than five units on the parcel, a number of neighbors and city officials came out in support of the project Tuesday night, much as they had done last month when the project was approved by the Planning Board.

“I would hate to see these units be abandoned, it is kind of an eyesore right now,” said District 3 City Councillor Joe Perlatonda.

Perlatonda noted that the City has recently approved larger, affordable housing projects, such as at the old Midas site, and that 254 Spencer Ave. sits next to the 34-unit Acadia affordable housing development.

“The neighbors want this, I want this, and I don’t think it should be limited to five units,” said Perlatonda. “It’s a great project, and I don’t see why we wouldn’t want it right now.”

Richard Lynds, the attorney for developer Ricky Beliveau, said the four-story condo building would fit into the neighborhood by serving as a transition from the taller, five-story Acadia development on one side to the triple-deckers on the other side of 254 Spencer Ave.

To make the project work financially, Lynds said Beliveau needs the eight units at market rate. He said Beliveau would be investing $2.5 million into the project, with units selling for about $500,000 each.

“Ricky believes in the City of Chelsea,” said Lynds. “For him to make this type of investment shows where his mind is and where his wallet is.”

As the special permit and variance failed to garner the necessary vote, several of the supporters who attended the meeting voiced their displeasure to the board members and DePriest.

“We are going with what the law is in the books,” said Mahoney.

After the meeting, Lynds said he and Beliveau will regroup to see what their next steps are for 254 Spencer Avenue.

“It’s too early to tell what we will do right now,” he said. “We will look at all of our options.”

Lynds said he was surprised by DePriest’s staunch vocal opposition to the project.

“This was an opportunity for good, market-rate units,” said Lynds.

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Second Night Market to Feature Two Bands, DJ and Children’s’ Activities

The second Chelsea Night Market will take place this Saturday evening, July 13, in the parking lot of Luther Place – bringing a wide range of food, vendors and live music to an enlivened downtown.

The first Night Market seized upon momentum built by the Pupusa Fiesta in April, and coordinators believe they’ll have another great crowd to bring foot traffic and excitement after hours.

This month, DJ Tempo Suave will return, and there will also be two live bands performing.

Sus will perform a variety of 70s rock and funk tunes, while The Group Activity looks to bring something new and exciting to the table – and one might find themselves in the act by the end of the night.

The band describes its act as, “The band blends folk, blues, and reggae to bring you a well-planned and often-improvised musical experience that relies on you for co-creation.”

The Chelsea Public Library will be on hand to coordinate children’s’ activities this time around, and organizers are excited to bring that to the Market.

We’re excited to be joined for all the upcoming markets by teams from the

Food vendors are:

•Eloti with the summer’s best corn on the cob served up Latino style.

•North East of the Border with a variety of Mexican specialties.

•Chung Wah, the downtown’s own Asian restaurant

•C&C Artisan Olive Oil with high quality imported Olive Oil, who will offering samples of their varieties to help you choose a bottle to take home.

Craft vendors are:

•Omis World presented by Chelsea’s own Noemi Torres with thrift shop items to buy or trade. In that same vein All Planets is also selling vintage clothing while Channel 94 sells clothes specifically from the 90s.

•Aldea Maya, selling beaded hummingbirds made by women in the Lake Atitlán region of Guatemala.

•Crafts and fine art from CBenjamin Art, Jeremy Veldhuis Illustration and Pan + Scan Illustration. Items from these vendors includes art prints, shirts, coasters, stickers, paintings, postcards, and bags.

•Pamper yourself with handmade soap from Unwind Soaps and soy candles by Wicked Sisters.

Finally, local artist Nirvanna Lildharrie leads an interactive art showcase. Meanwhile, outreach and engagement activities will be led by representatives from the Appalachian Mountain Club, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, and Phoenix Charter Academy.

The July Night Market runs from 7-10 p.m. on Luther Place (behind the Chelsea Walk).

Looking ahead to the August market, organizers are celebrating all things human powered on wheels. Bring a skateboard, bicycle, tricycle, scooter, or wheelchair. We’re anticipating some jaw-dropping performances by trick riders. MassBike will be on hand for free bike tune ups and simple repairs.

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Apollinaire Theatre Announces Resident Artist Program

Apollinaire Theatre Company announced this week it has received a $45,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to launch a Resident Artist Program at the Chelsea Theatre Works, through the Foundation’s Open Door Grants program. Apollinaire Theatre built the new Black Box Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works to address the facilities crisis that Boston area performing artists face, a crisis which came to a head with the closure of the Factory Theatre in the South End in 2014. Apollinaire held meetings with Boston theatre artists to determine what their needs and desires were for a theater space, and together they drew up plans for a new theater that would do more than replace the Factory Theatre, it would offer amenities historically out of the reach of Boston’s small theatre community, including on-site rehearsal and shop space.

But theatre companies need more than a home, they need support and resources, said Apollinaire. Now with the Resident Artist Program, Apollinaire will address another issue: Boston is a difficult place for theatre artists to call home. Many talented, hard-working performing artists in Boston can barely scrape by. They have day jobs and families and somehow find time and resources to make their art, but it is not a sustainable model for an individual artist, a small theatre company, or a community. With the Open Door Grant, Apollinaire will be able to better serve Boston’s performing arts community, which will in turn expand Chelsea’s burgeoning arts scene and bring new opportunities to the local community.
Resident companies will be awarded free rent in the Black Box Theatre, rehearsal space for their productions, and shop space to build their sets, along with a project stipend. This will free up the companies’ budgets to reallocate funds where they feel they need it most, be it increased artist compensation, increased marketing efforts to build a stronger audience base, or the ability for resident artists to take on more ambitious productions that carry greater costs. Companies will also meet together to share ideas, brainstorm challenges, and leverage shared resources, working to create a multi-purpose incubation space where artists and companies can collaborate and share resources at every phase of their work. Companies will also be asked to give back to the community of Chelsea, and one resident spot will be reserved for a Chelsea artist or group. “At a time when our research has shown both the need for greater support for artists and the benefits of artists’ involvement in the community, we are pleased to be able to support Apollinare Theatre’s Resident Artist program with an Open Door Grant,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how this program builds and strengthens the network of artists who call Chelsea home.”
•Information Sessions will be held at the Chelsea Theatre Works on Tuesday July 16 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday July 18 at 1 p.m., and Monday July 22 at 7:30 p.m., and all interested artists are encouraged to attend.

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Island End River in the Midst of Major Flood Protection Project

Few places in the food supply chain for Greater Boston and beyond are more vulnerable than the New England Produce Center.

That huge food resource for the region, along with other industries, are very close to sea level and, as discovered a few years ago, very prone to flooding and sea level surges.

Now, the City of Chelsea is poised to begin a major project at the Island End River that will help to protect the industrial areas along Beacham Street and enhance the environment around the improving Island End River.

“That area is about six or seven feet above sea level now, and experts expect sea level and storm surges at 14 feet above sea level by the end of the century,” said Alex Train, of the Chelsea Planning Department. “This project is in concert with Everett and it’s gathered a lot of momentum. It’s a priority of the City Manager and our department because we understand how much is at risk. It’s a gamble otherwise and we don’t like to gamble in the planning industry.”

Such a gamble was clearly seen two winters ago when huge coastal surge storms lifted the water levels into the industrial areas along the Island End, nearly causing major disruptions and opening a lot of eyes to the vulnerability of the situation.

The project has been supported by a grant from the Coastal Zone Management Office, as well as the Chelsea and Everett City Councils.

The project includes gray infrastructure, such as flood walls and berms by the Island End River. It also includes green infrastructure with the restoration of the salt marshes abutting the Island End. At the same time, they will also be able to add some amenities for the public like a Boardwalk to connect to the Admiral’s Hill Marina area.

“It’s going to be a sizeable project, but in the context of the surrounding industrial businesses and the produce center, it’s easily a worthwhile initiative on our end,” said Train.

Right now, in Chelsea, they are at 60 percent engineering design on the project. Everett is a little bit further behind as they are in the Designated Port Area (DPA) and require many more steps. Everett is currently in a schematic design phase.

On the Chelsea side, Train said they will culminate design this summer, and then look for further grants this winter. Then they will engage in the final engineering, permitting and construction phases.

The project will also be tied into the large Beacham Street roadway, sidewalk and bike path improvements that are also coming soon.

A report in 2015 by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) showed that the Produce Center generates $2.3 billion of economic activity per year, and the entire industrial district generates $7 billion per year. There are 5,000 direct jobs there and 10,000 supportive jobs there.

“Many of that activity and those jobs benefit Chelsea and Everett residents and they are solid middle-class jobs and we’re committed to protecting them for our residents,” said Train.

Other Development Activity

•The City has received a PARC grant for rehabilitation of the O’Neil Playground on the hill up from Williams Street. The new design will encourage water features and tree canopies. The restoration will look to prevent heat islands and provide a cool place during the summer. The project is currently under construction and should be substantially completed by the fall. It came in at a cost of $884,000.

•The Eden Street playground is currently in design. The new design will also feature a robust tree canopy and more permeable surfaces. The project will be bid out in September, with a fall start. Construction will start up again in the spring for a substantial completion by summer 2020. That project was supported by a $400,000 PARC grant.

•Voke Park is another area that will soon receive more attention. The Bocce Court and fields were done over two years ago, but now it’s time for some attention to be paid to the playground. Already, they have had one public meeting to get input on the park, and they are working on conceptual designs now.

“We’ll apply for a grant in July to secure funding,” said Train.

Design will be done in June 2020 and construction on that is likely to be 2021.

•The City is preparing to modernize the traffic signals and intersections at Williams/Chestnut and Williams/Broadway this summer. That upgrade will include new Smart Traffic Signals that are able to read the traffic flow and adjust signal timing on the fly. One of those lights has already been installed on Broadway and Webster earlier this year. Sidewalks will also be touched up as well.

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Memoire Nightclub at Encore Attracts Celebrity Djs At Huge Opening

The opening of the Mémoire Nightclub in Encore Boston Harbor bought in a star-studded lineup of DJs, and hundreds of guests, last week – punctuated by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (DJ Diesel) on June 27.

Mémoire opened its doors last week, and quickly showed that it would attract the top talent when it comes to club DJs – bringing in Shaq, Fadil El Ghoul (R3HAB), and Steve Aoki.

All three are some of the top DJs in the world and attract thousands when they play shows in large arenas.

“What an exciting first week at Mémoire,” said Randy Greenstein, principal at Big Night Entertainment Group, which operates the club within Encore. “We kicked off opening night with Dutch-Moroccan DJ R3HAB followed by Steve Aoki on Monday – two of the top DJs in the world right now. We also had an electric night with Shaq on Thursday and look forward to continuing to bring top talent from all over the world to Encore Boston Harbor. Our guests have been really excited by the state-of-the-art technology at Mémoire, like the Funktion One sound system, the custom LED ceiling, and the 450-inch LED wall, which creates a really high-energy and exciting experience.”

Big Night will also be operating the flagship Mystique Asian-fusion restaurant within the resort casino as well, and together, both venues are an exciting addition for Encore.

“The restaurants, lounges and amenities at Encore Boston Harbor offer some of the best and most enjoyable dining and nightlife experiences in the nation, which makes Mystique and Mémoire a perfect fit,” 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.”

Mémoire accommodates up to 650 guests, and the 8,000 square-foot luxury nightlife destination flaunts lustrous gold surfaces, plush accents, sensuous leather contours, custom marble tables, glistening chandeliers, and state-of-the-art technology. With a firm emphasis on cultivating a VIP atmosphere, Mémoire is outfitted with 20 luxurious VIP tables, multiple bars, and alluring private areas that set the scene for a memorable night.

On Thursday, prior to the show featuring Shaq, the NBA legend and former Boston Celtic walked the Encore gaming floor – greeting guests and taking hundreds of photographs with fans.

Hundreds crowded the dance floor to listen to DJ Diesel, and it’s a scene that is a rarity in Boston, and one that Big Night Entertainment and Encore hopes will establish a high-profile nightlife on the banks of the Mystic River.

In July, the venue will welcome renowned artists such as Lucky Lou (July 6), Elephante (July 7), Vinny Vibe (July 20), Ikon (July 26) and Chantel Jefferies (July 28).

Memoire is open Friday – Sunday 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

•Mystique Opens to large crowds

Mystique Asian Restaurant & Lounge is another Big Night partnership with Encore, and expects to bring elevated Pan-Asian dining to the property.

“Mystique and Mémoire 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.”

Kane told reporters working on the design and execution of Mystique had reinvigorated him.

“This one I’ve been so excited about,” he said, noting that the last time he was this excited was with the opening of Tosca. “I love it. To see it reaching completion is extremely exciting. It was two years in the making and it’s open and it’s been a lot of work.”

Named for both its alluring design and waterfront location, guests will be transported on a mystical journey through Asia upon entering Mystique Asian Restaurant & Lounge. Mystique features a 16,400 square foot dining room and lounge with panoramic windows and a beautiful 40-seat terrace that looks out onto the Mystic River. Designed by award-winning designer Peter Niemitz, Mystique features luxurious finishes and rich textures throughout the open dining room with seating for more than 450 guests. The space boasts an expansive stone bar with seating for 28, plush lounge seating, a sushi counter, and a glamourous open kitchen with a captivating robata grill. Throughout the restaurant and lounge are one-of-a-kind Asian-inspired décor curated from around the world. A picturesque seasonal patio with seating for 36 overlooks the Mystic River under the lights of the Encore Boston Harbor sign.

Executive Chef Anthony Micari, an alumnus of Makoto in Miami, offers a carefully crafted selection of Pan-Asian delicacies, with highlights including an extensive robata program, artful sushi creations, and an array of traditional dishes with a modern spin. Micari offers fresh and bold flavors, using the freshest ingredients possible and presented beautifully with artistic details. Guests can anticipate seasonally inspired menu items that highlight the bounty of New England while celebrating modern interpretations of Pan-Asian cuisine as well as show-stopping large format.

Kane said they do take reservations, but they will pride themselves on offering space – including large groups – to walk-in guests.

“We’re going to hold 50 percent of our capacity for walk-ins and large parties,” he said. “We think that mix will work for us. We’ll make the effort to move things around and get you in. If you are looking for a place at the last minute, we want you to call us or come in.”

Mystique’s signature robata grill is a focal point, offering a visual culinary experience where guests can watch items from land, air, and sea grilled to perfection. Cooked over white binchotan charcoal, the robata dishes are designed for sharing. From steaks such as a Japanese New York Strip to a large Tomahawk and inventive dishes like the Avocado Bomb with sudachi aioli, toasted sesame and ponzu, the robata offers guests freshly grilled items that span local seafood, beef, poultry and vegetables with a Japanese-inspired flare. Mystique’s sushi program, led by Head Sushi Chef and Makoto alum Tony Mai, features a selection of wild caught fish flown fresh daily from Japan. Guests can anticipate classic sushi and sashimi offerings, as well as inventive interpretations that feature unique and rare fish, designed to intrigue diners and introduce them to new flavors. Chef Micari and Chef Mai are sourcing a variety of iki jime fish from top fisherman around the world, offering the best quality sushi possible with daily omakase specials.

Mystique is open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11:30 a.m.

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‘The People of Chelsea’ Highlighted in New Photo Exhibit at City Hall

Since 2016, Chelsea photographer Darlene ‘Dar’ DeVita has been traveling around the City Hall area and Broadway with her camera and portable backdrop – meeting the people of Chelsea and chronicling their images and their thoughts.

Such a seminal work is hard to narrow down for just one show, but DeVita will do just that on July 9, from 5-7 p.m. in the City Hall Gallery when she presents her ‘People of Chelsea’ work.

“I started in 2016 and got a grant from the Cultural Council in 2018, and now I’m going to be showing this work at City Hall,” she said. “I interviewed and photographed so many people, black, white, old, young, Hispanic and non-Hispanic.”

The exhibit is not only DeVita’s photographs of people, but also text that describes some of their opinions and feelings about Chelsea.

Being a majority Spanish-speaking community, DeVita – who doesn’t speak Spanish – had to find a helper. She found that in Sarah Putnam, who spoke fluent Spanish and helped DeVita tap into the entirety of the community.

“I tried to find a few people and I needed someone who could speak fluent Spanish,” she said. “I ended up working with Sarah Putnam who speaks fluently. We had a blast. We went out and set up our backdrop and it wasn’t that hard. We would smile and people would smile back at us. We would speak to them in Spanish and most people were cooperative.”

DeVita said there was one man outside City Hall that they were trying to speak with who understood Spanish, but was mute. After finding that out, they were able to communicate with him. The man, who is well known for riding a bike in the neighborhood, allowed her to photograph him.

“Everyone knows him from the bike he has,” she said. “I ran into him a few weeks later and we saw each other and it was a beautiful moment.”

DeVita said she is still finalizing the text, but found that everyone – aside from one women – really enjoyed living in Chelsea.

Others included were City Councillor Leo Robinson, former Treasurer Bob Boulrice, and folks from the waterfront as well.

Even though the show is coming up and the City Hall area is played out, DeVita said the work isn’t finished.

“I really want to continue with it and I think I will,” she said. “The challenge is I can’t just go on the street with a backdrop. I have to get a permit from the City. They have been wonderful about it. I’m dying to go to Admiral’s Hill because I’d like to hear what they have to say about Chelsea. That’s definitely the place I want to go shoot next.”

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Peter Zaksheski Installed as President of Chelsea Rotary Club

Peter Zaksheski, a lifelong Chelsea resident and a prominent and personable community leader for decades, was installed as the president of the Rotary Club of Chelsea at the Installation of Officers Dinner June 25 at Spinelli’s, Lynnfield.

Zaksheski, director of the Frank A. Welch and Sons Funeral Home, became the service organization’s 92nd president, taking the oath of office from past Rotary president Allan I. Alpert, the program’s master of ceremonies.

Chelsea Rotary Club President Peter Zaksheski and his wife, Donna Zaksheski

“It is with the greatest enthusiasm and profound humility that I stand before you now for the first time as the 92nd president of Chelsea Rotary Club,” said Zaksheski. “I am reminded of the many great leaders who have presided over this club and I can only hope that I will carry out the purpose as effectively as the 91 men and women who have come before me.”

Zaksheski pledged that he will work diligently representing the club in a professional manner, invite and respect new perspectives, strive to uphold all of the club’s principles, and “most importantly move our shared and common mission over the next year.”

In his remarks, Zaksheski commended the efforts of his predecessor, outgoing president Maureen Foley.

“I want to applaud and acknowledge all the hard work and determination on the part of our outgoing president, Maureen,” said Zaksheski. “Thank you for all that you’ve done this past year.”

He expressed his gratitude to his wife, Donna Zaksheski.

“I am delighted that my wife, Donna is here tonight,” he said. “She is truly my best friend and greatest supporter.”

He paid tribute to his parents, the late Chester and Charlotte Zaksheski.

“Although my mother and father have passed some time ago, tonight I would like to honor them for providing me with the necessary tools in life. They taught me about commitment, demonstrated their empathy to those less fortunate, and provided me with the tools necessary to make the right choice in life.

“Charlotte and Chester, I know that you are looking down tonight with a sense of pride,” said Peter.

“I was born in Chelsea. I still make Chelsea my home. And I am a third-generation business owner. I’ve seen first-hand the wonderful and special things that Rotary has done for our community and how the people of Chelsea have come together through adversity.

“It is my hope and belief that our club will continue to be a positive impact in our community,” said Zaksheski. “I view myself as a temporary occupant of the presidency, and to that end, my goal is to provide a strong stewardship, and my primary goal is to leave the club just a little better off than I find it tonight.”

Zaksheski said the club will continue its noble deeds such as sending local youths to Camp Rotary, providing scholarships to Chelsea students, helping Chelsea families who suffer devastating fires in their homes, and participating in other charitable endeavors.

The new president said he hopes to attract new members to the Rotary Club.

“Let us continue to invite other business leaders to our club and further demonstrate to them all of the programs and services we implement each and every year,” said Zaksheski. “I believe that they will want to become part of something good and positive in this age of acrimony.

“Thank you all for the opportunity to be your president and I thank you all for the work that you do and continue to do on behalf of the Chelsea Rotary Club,” he concluded.

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Ivy League-Bound: Chelsea Twins Natalia and Yasmine Calvo Will Attend Harvard and Princeton Respectively

It is a story of a determined young woman who came to this country from Costa Rica, worked hard, raised two beautiful daughters as a single mother and made their education a top priority.

Ana Romero, who arrived in the U.S.A. 27 years ago, sat proudly among the other parents at the recent Excel Academy High School (East Boston) graduation ceremonies at Faneuil Hall’s Great Hall.

Chelsea resident Ana Romero is pictured with her twin daughter, Natalia and Yasmine Calvo, following their Excel Academy Charter High School graduation ceremony at the Great Hall at
Faneuil Hall, Boston.

Ana’s twin 17-year-old daughters, who were born five minutes apart, Natalia Calvo and Yasmine Calvo, were receiving their diplomas, and as a result of their overall academic excellence and contributions to their school community, were on their way to two of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Natalia will enroll at Harvard University in Cambridge while her sister, Yasmine, will enroll at Princeton University in New Jersey. Both schools are members of the Ivy League.

Chelsea Roots

The sisters’ journey began at the Kelley School in Chelsea where they attended grades 1-4. Natalia and Yasmine moved on to the Excel Academy Chelsea in the founding class and attended the charter school through eighth grade.

“We were in separate classes all through elementary and middle school,” said Natalia.

“I had requested separate classes because I wanted them to be themselves,” said Ana Romero.

Onward to Excel High School in East Boston

They remained in the Excel Academy Charter School system, moving to a brand new high school in East Boston in the tenth grade as members of the school’s first graduating class of 100 students.

They were certainly at the top of their class, not only establishing their academic credentials as high honor roll students and members of the National Honor Society, but becoming school leaders and representatives in the Model United Nations.

History teacher and Model United Nations advisor Kate Lints and computer science and Technology Club advisor Nora LaCasse were their favorite teachers at Excel. The Calvo twins were co-founders of the Technology Club.

They also praised Excel college counselor Nicole Repp.

“She’s great – we love her,” agreed the sisters.

“She’s [Repp] very patient, very knowledgeable, she helped them through the college admissions process,” lauded Ana Romero.

Natalia received the school’s top science award while Yasmine received the top mathematics award and a community award.

Interestingly, both young ladies are lifeguards at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. They had joined the club as 11-year-olds.

“Gina [Centrella] has been really great at connecting us to different resources,” said Natalia about the club’s executive director. “Whenever there’s an opportunity, she always makes sure to let us know.”

Ana Romero is very happy with her daughters’ experience at the Boys and Girls Club.

“I love the club,” said Romero. “They not only worked there and taught the kids how to swim, but they had a great swim coach Travis Robinette].”

“He [Robinette] put us in a scuba diving course and we learned how to scuba dive, surf, and snorkel said Natalia.

During their careers, both sisters helped other students with academic tutoring.

Applying to College

Natalia and Yasmine applied to several colleges and were accepted to the best schools in America.

They learned of their acceptances to their Ivy League schools on March 28.

Natalia, who is a Noonan Scholar and took summer courses at Amherst, chose Harvard among five Ivy League acceptances. Johns Hopkins, Wellesley, and Tufts were also on the sisters’ list of elite schools.

“I liked how close the school was [to Chelsea] – and I wanted to be close to my mom,” said Natalia, in explaining her decision to attend Harvard. “The college has a lot of history. I remember visiting Harvard in middle school. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never get in here’ – and now I’m going there, which is like – crazy.”

Yasmine talked about her decision to attend Princeton.

“The first time I heard about Princeton was from reading [Supreme Court Justice] Ana Sotomayor’s biography during summer reading at the beginning of freshman year,” said Yasmine, who had attended the Beaverworks summer program at MIT. “I really liked the vibe at Princeton.”

The sisters will both study Computer Science at their respective universities.

Encouragement and Support from Mom in Their Earliest Days

Ana Romero is very excited about her daughters’ future plans.

“They’re hardworking kids, they’re very grounded,” said Romero. “I have no doubt that they’re going to succeed at college. I always encouraged them to go to high school, go to college, get a good education, and have a good career.”

Natalia recalled how their mother encouraged them to start thinking about college at a very young age.

“I remember when we were little kids, she said, ‘you have to go college,’’ recalled Yasmine. “My sister and I are so grateful to our mother for all the sacrifices she made.”

“Yasmine took the words out of my mouth,” said an equally thankful Natalia.

For the first time in August, the Calvo girls will be heading their separate ways, Natalia to Harvard, Yasmine to Princeton.

“Hopefully we’ll beat Harvard in football,” said Yasmine, with a smile.

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Construction Look-Ahead

This is a brief overview of construction operations and traffic impacts for the Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project. MassDOT will provide additional notices as needed for high-impact work, temporary ramp and street closures, and changes to traffic configurations beyond those described below.

•No Work on July 4

No work will take place on Thursday, July 4 for the Independence Day holiday.

•Traffic Impacts

*Route 1 Northbound: Approaching the Tobin Bridge from Boston, the workzone begins in the righthand lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. –10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5 a.m.).

*Route 1 Southbound: Approaching the Chelsea Curves from the North Shore, the workzone begins in the right-hand lane at the Carter Street off-ramp. Just beyond the Carter Street on-ramp, the travel lanes shift to the right. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. –10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5 a.m.).

*Ramps: All on- and off-ramps will remain open at this time.

*Local Streets: The Spruce Street temporary reconfiguration will remain in place for approximately 2 months.

•Preview of Upcoming Traffic Impacts

*Beginning on Monday, July 15, the Fourth Street off-ramp will close for 1-2 months for required steel repairs, structural rehabilitation, and safety improvements.

•Work Hours

*Most work will occur in during daytime working hours (6 a.m.–2 p.m.) on weekdays. Some work will take place during afternoon (2 p.m.–7 p.m) and overnight hours (9 p.m.–5 a.m.) and on Saturdays (6 a.m.–2 p.m).

Summary of Work Completed

*In the two weeks prior to June 30, crews shifted traffic to create continuous work zones, formed bridge deck, cured concrete, repaired steel, bridge deck, and joints, installed a dust containment system, power washed and excavated around support column footings, and placed concrete columns.

Description of Scheduled Work

*Route 1 Northbound: Form bridge deck, place and cure concrete, and repair steel, bridge deck, and joints. Clean water from a hydrant will be used to cure the concrete and may drip off the structure due the condition of the existing drainage system on the bridge. Crews will also remove asphalt and begin bridge deck demolition in the right-hand side workzone through the Chelsea Curves.

*Route 1 Southbound: Weld and paint new deflector plates.

*Underneath the Structures: Replace and paint steel, continued installation of dust containment system, power wash and paint columns and support beams, excavate, drill, and grout around the support columns, and place concrete columns.

•Travel Tips

Drivers should take care to pay attention to all signage and move carefully through the work zone. Police details, changes in lane markings, temporary controls such as barriers and traffic cones, signage, and other tools will be used throughout the project to control traffic and create safe work zones.

The contractors are coordinating with local event organizers and police to provide awareness and manage traffic impacts during events. For your awareness, during this look-ahead period, the following events are scheduled:

*Boston Pops July 4th Fireworks Spectacular (Charles River Esplanade): July 3 at 8:30 p.m., July 4 all day

*Red Sox (Fenway Park): June 30 at 10:10 a.m., July 12 at 7:10 p.m., July 13 at 7:15 p.m.

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