Members of Chelsea Uniting Against the War, a group of young women from the Chelsea Collaborative, peace activists from neighboring communities, Rhode Island and Vermont filled a bus from Chelsea City Hall to attend the Women’s March on the Pentagon on October 21. Other Chelsea residents came in large vans or cars.
The march was organized by Cindy Sheehan whose commitment against war and the military was sparked after the death of her first born son, Casey Austin Sheehan, an Army Specialist, who was killed in combat in Iraq in 2004. In an effort to talk to the President Bush, who refused to meet with her and to express her opposition to war, Cindy Sheehan set up camp outside of Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas in 2005. For three years, tens of thousands of people from the U.S. and internationally came to Camp Casey to show their support .
Cindy Sheehan’s activism has not wavered. She chose Oct. 21, 2018, as the date for women and others to march on the Pentagon to mark the 51st anniversary of the first March on the Pentagon. In 1967 over 50,000 people gathered at the Pentagon to demand and end to the war in Vietnam and to bring the troops home. The demands of this year’s march included the complete end of wars abroad, closure of foreign military bases, slashing of the Pentagon budget and the funding of healthy social programs and education.
Two women from Chelsea Uniting Against the War spoke to the crowd about the grass roots successful anti-military recruitment campaign at Chelsea High School. Every year since 2004 at the beginning of the school year, members of Chelsea Uniting Against the War welcome students and hand out English and Spanish leaflets in English and Spanish to each of the 1200 students to remind them of their right to withhold their contact information from military recruiters. In 2017, 70-percent of the seniors exercised their right to opt-out. Interest was expressed by many people in the audience to adopt Chelsea Uniting Against the War’s approach to educating students in their local high schools.
For some activists, the Women’s March on the Pentagon was their first national protest in the U.S.
As Juitiza Torres, a youth from the Chelsea Collaborative stated, “As a young Latina this march and the people involved encourages me to speak up and talk about what really needs to be talked about.” Dalia Juarez added “It was my first time in D.C. It felt like an amazing experience for me and it felt empowering to be there for something I feel very strongly about. It was an overall great experience to start the (school) year.”
The work of Chelsea Against the War continues with monthly meetings and events. For more information about Chelsea Uniting Against the War, contact us on FaceBook at ChelseaUnitingAgaistthe War (note there is an “n”missing) or firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-884-5132.
For more photos or to learn more about the Women’s March on the Pentagon, go to MarchonPentagon.com.
Encore Boston Harbor is committing $10 million over the next four years to support a wide range of social programs and civic institutions that will help those in need and improve the lives of residents in local communities, the company announced on Tuesday – also known as Giving Tuesday.
To assist in managing funds and identifying the most meaningful philanthropic efforts, the company is partnering with the Connors Family Office, led by Boston civic leader Jack Connors Jr.
“Giving back to the communities where our employees and guests live and work has always been a part of who we are as a company,” said Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “It’s not in our corporate DNA to just write a check for a donation or buy a table at a charity event. We want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people and effect real and positive changes in our communities. We believe committing $10 million and teaming with the Connors Family Office will go a long way towards realizing our goal.”
Together, the Connors Family Office and Encore Boston Harbor will develop an Advisory Committee to advise on and assist in the disbursement of funds from Encore Boston Harbor. The committee will provide recommendations to Encore Boston Harbor for the distribution of funds, targeting programs that support at-risk-youth education, cultural enrichment and vibrant communities.
“It is impressive to see a new business come into town and make such a concerted effort to positively impact the surrounding community,” said Jack Connors Jr. “Encore Boston Harbor is poised to make a real difference for some very worthy organizations.”
Encore Boston Harbor has been active in local philanthropy prior to Tuesday’s announced commitment of $10 million. Long-standing recipients of Encore’s corporate giving include the Boston Pops, Wang Theater, New England Center for Arts and Technology, Disabled American Veterans, and Latino 30 Under 30, among others. Recently, Encore Boston Harbor donated $100,000 in support of The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund.
Encore Boston Harbor announced last week that it was the lead sponsor and supporter of a unique partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Public Library that is bringing a major exhibit by renowned French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to the MFA.
The $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort is scheduled to open in June 2019.
An MS-13 member was sentenced to life in prison for using social media to lure and violently murder two teenage boys – one from Chelsea – in East Boston.
Edwin Gonzalez, a/k/a “Sangriento,” 23, a Salvadoran national, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to life in prison. In June 2018, after a multi-week trial, Gonzalez was convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO or racketeering conspiracy. In addition, the jury found that Gonzalez’s racketeering activity on behalf of MS-13 included his participation in the Sept. 7, 2015, murder of a 15-year-old in East Boston and the Jan. 10, 2016, murder of a 16-year-old in East Boston.
MS-13 is organized into smaller groups known as “cliques” that operate throughout the United States. Gonzalez was a member of the Molinos Locos Salvatrucha clique of MS-13.
The investigation revealed that Gonzalez was the driving force behind, and key participant in, two separate murders in Massachusetts.
On Sept. 7, 2015, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members lured a 15-year-old boy through social media to Constitution Beach in East Boston. Convinced that the victim was a gang rival, Gonzalez and others targeted him by pretending to be a girl on Facebook and lured the victim to the beach for a date. When the victim arrived at Constitution Beach, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members took turns stabbing the victim repeatedly, leaving him bleeding to death on a public beach. The victim had approximately 33 sharp force injuries and multiple blunt force injuries.
The other three MS-13 members who committed the September 2015 murder with Gonzalez—Carlos Melara, a/k/a “Chuchito,” a/k/a “Criminal,” Henry Parada Martinez, a/k/a “Street Danger,” and Rene Mejia Flores a/k/a “Gasper,”—were also charged in connection with this investigation and pleaded guilty before trial. Melara was sentenced to 36 years in prison, while Parada Martinez and Mejia Flores are awaiting sentencing.
On Dec. 7, 2015, Gonzalez was promoted to “homeboy,” or full-member of the gang, to reward him for the murder he committed on behalf of MS-13. Melara and Mejia Flores were also promoted to “homeboys” for their role in the murder.
On January 10, 2016, Gonzalez and three other MS-13 members lured Christofer Perez de la Cruz, 16, of Chelsea, through social media to Falcon Street in East Boston. Again, convinced that the victim was a gang rival, Gonzalez and others targeted him by pretending to be a girl on Facebook. Gonzalez then went to pick up the victim, pretending to be a relative of the girl that the victim was supposed to meet for a date. When Gonzalez arrived with the victim in East Boston, the MS-13 members attacked the victim. Three of the MS-13 members, including Gonzalez, were armed with large knives and stabbed the victim repeatedly, while the fourth MS-13 member fired multiple gunshots into the victim. Gonzalez and the other MS-13 members then ran away, leaving the teenager bleeding to death on a public street. The victim had approximately 48 sharp force injuries, multiple gunshot wounds, and multiple blunt force injuries.
One of the murderers was captured on tape stating that the “the dude [victim] was left completely destroyed” and “Sangriento [Gonzalez] whacked the guy’s hands with a machete.” The day after the murder, Gonzalez himself was captured on tape admitting to the murder and discussing further violence against potential rivals, stating, “we’re going to leave all of them chopped in pieces.”
The other three MS-13 members who committed the January 2016 murder with Gonzalez—Edwin Diaz, a/k/a “Demente,” Jairo Perez, a/k/a “Seco,” and Rigoberto Mejia, a/k/a “Ninja”—were also charged in connection with this investigation and pleaded guilty before trial. Diaz and Perez were each sentenced to 35 years in prison, while Mejia received 27.5 years in prison.
Gonzalez was one of 49 defendants convicted as part of this investigation. All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty. In all, 16 defendants, including Gonzalez, were found to have committed or knowingly participated in murders.
After meeting at a dance studio party in Allston 11 years ago, Revere resident Chris Farina and Chelsea native Karen Padulsky Poverman have been dance partners at local clubs ever since.
“I was out with my girlfriends and he asked me to dance,” said Poverman, the daughter of Morton and Sandra Padulsky of Chelsea. “It was magic. I felt like the queen of the disco.”
The reason for the instant, dance-floor chemistry?
Farina, 57, has been an award-winning, high-tempo dancer with his own unique style and he was able to bring out the creative energy in Poverman, a former Chelsea High School cheerleader who had previously taken two years of dance lessons.
“Karen was used to the classic 1-2-3-step, 1-2-3 step that is almost rhythmic and doesn’t allow freelancing on the dance floor,” explained Farina, who is originally from East Boston.
Following weekly visits to Vincent’s Night Club in Randolph and twice-a-week dance sessions at Poverman’s dance studio inside her home, the pair began to elicit tremendous praise from other dancers and build up somewhat of a following. Wearing their color-coordinated dance outfits, they stood out on the floor no matter what disco song was playing.
“Chris leads to the music and I follow his leads as well as to the music,” said Poverman, who is married to Steve Poverman. “So it’s never the exact same dance twice. He allows me to express myself to ‘dance within the dance.’’’
They’ve become so confident in their dancing talents, that the duo has decided to launch a new disco dance studio and give dance lessons at Poverman’s home. They have named the business, KC Dance, and have begun accepting students for lessons.
“We feel we’re ready to teach other couples how to disco dance,” said Poverman.
Farina said that their disco dance teaching methods will not be of the John Travolta/ “Saturday Night Fever” variety.
“It will be club classic, disco music,” said Farina. “It’s not wedding songs like Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” or Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” but rather songs like “Touch and Go,” “Sugar Pie Guy” and “Rough Diamond.”
A dance champion as a teenager
Farina, who is an athletic, 5 feet, 11 inches tall, has won numerous dance contests in his lifetime.
“I’ve been a dancer since I was 14 years old,” said Farina, who was friends with well-known DJs Ron Robin and Vinnie Peruzzi. “Sammy’s Patio, Jimmy Magg’s, Bartolo’s in East Boston, Faces in Cambridge, Boston Boston, Studio Four in Lynn, Chateau de Ville in Saugus – those were some of my early dance places.”
Back then, Farina was such a phenom and considered so technically proficient at disco dancing that he was recruited to be a teacher during his teenage and early adult years.
Finding the perfect
Farina said he was immediately impressed with Poverman’s “natural effervescence and ability to break out of the box away from conventional styles.”
“Karen realizes that there is more of an art to dance than it being structured or engineered,” said Farina. “Karen is more intuitive with me now. That’s a quality you want to enrich. There is an intuitive side of dance as opposed to an analytical, methodical style.”
And now Farina and Poverman hope to introduce other dancers to disco dancing, a phenomenon that was at its height of popularity in the 1970s.
“We love to dance because it gives us freedom of expression,” said Farina. “It’s also great for your physical conditioning. We’re ready and we’re enthusiastic about being able to teach disco dancing to people of any age.”
(To inquire about disco dance lessons at KC Dance, please call Karen Poverman at 978-979-7156 or Chris Farina at 781-853-9223).
The Chelsea Council voted in the recommended tax rate and a residential exemption of 30 percent on Monday night, sealing the deal for nominal increases to most residential owner-occupants and decreases for condo owner-occupants.
The lone increase that was notable over last year was for three-family homeowners, who will see a 9 percent increase – or $449 over last year’s bills.
Notably, condo owners are the only property owners that will see a decrease in their tax bills. Condo owners’ tax bills will go down 13.3 percent from last year, a different of $279 on the tax bill.
“This (tax rate) will result in a reduction of the average tax bill for owner-occupant condominiums, but an average tax increase of varying amounts to other owner-occupied parcels,” wrote City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “By selecting the 30 percent residential exemption amount, the City Council will have the opportunity to spread the benefit of the 35 percent exemption limit over future fiscal years.”
The new residential tax rate, passed with the annual maximum 175 percent shift to commercial properties, came in at $14.26 per $1,000 of value. The commercial/industrial rate will be $29.15.
The values for industrial properties actually did not increase as greatly as residential values, a trend that has carried on for some time.
That, however, could change as industrial/commercial properties in the inner urban communities has become more desirable over the last 18 months. Ambrosino said the property values are from one year behind the market, so there could be some extra relief for residential owners if those industrial property values begin to climb – as some in the industry believe.
“An increase in industrial/commercial property values would be good for residential properties,” he said. “The values now are behind the market, and if values do increase going forward, it would offset some of the tax burden. We’ve made a concerted effort to maintain our industrial areas. We want to keep industrial uses in our industrial areas because there isn’t a lot of space available for these businesses and they are good taxpayers. We don’t want to lose them.”
The average tax bills for this coming year would be:
A proposed $6,000 per year pay cut for City Councillors was handily defeated Monday night.
District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop proposed slashing councilors’ salaries from $14,000 to $8,000 annually as a way to begin a wider budget belt tightening across all City departments.
“The councillors all work very hard for the stipend they are given,” said Bishop. “This is not to indicate that we are not working hard. It’s not easy, and the job has become more demanding than it was 20 to 30 years ago.”
Rather, Bishop said the salary cut was needed as part of the Council taking a hard look at the City’s financial situation.
“The tax rate just goes up and up, and there is only one solution,” he said. “We have to cut the budget. Where do we start?”
While Bishop said there should be cuts across the board in all departments, the Council should start the process in its own chambers.
District 3 Councillor Joe Perlatonda argued that cutting the Council pay so drastically could limit the pool of candidates for office, noting the long hours, travel, and constituent services each councillor puts into the job.
Perlatonda said that councillors in Malden make $17,500 per year, and in neighboring Revere, the City Council salary is set at $18,000 per year and councillors there are eligible for health insurance and other benefits.
Councillors in Chelsea do not get any additional benefits.
The salary cut was defeated by a 9-2 vote, with only Council President Damali Vidot voting alongside Bishop.
In other Council business Monday night, several orders introduced by District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero were sent to committee for further discussion.
One order introduced by Recupero and District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez asked City Manager Tom Ambrosino to implement a policy where any company that does work in the city remove any equipment that is moveable and has rubber tires after work hours.
Recupero said that many parking spaces are lost in the city as large construction vehicles remain parked on city streets overnight.
“There’s no need to have all these big dump trucks in all these areas,” he said. “They are taking very precious parking spaces away from the people.”
Several councillors said they understood Recupero’s sentiment with the order, but felt it was too broadly written and could have a larger impact than he intended, if passed.
“I love to support anything that improves the lives of residents, but this is so broad,” said District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia. She said that if a more defined, revised version of the order came back before the Council, she would be happy to support it.
Bishop did attempt an amendment to the order on the floor, but Vidot and several other councillors said they were uncomfortable with the process of making policy on the fly. Councillor-At-large Leo Robinson moved to send the order to committee to get a better handle on costs and impacts of Recupero’s proposal.
The majority of the Council also recommended further study of another order introduced by Recupero. Recupero asked that when the City Manager hires new employees, that he implement the same procedures used to prove residential tax exemptions.
Several councillors pointed out that the order as proposed by Recupero was too limiting, since the residential tax exemption only applies to homeowners and not renters.
The Chelsea Collaborative hosted its annual Thanksgiving Dinner last Thursday at its headquarters at 318 Broadway.
Collaborative President Gladys Vega and her staff welcomed members of the community, who enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner and desserts. There was also a cotton candy station for children.
A large group of staff members and volunteers, led by Board President Rosalba Medina, helped serve the many food items to the guests in attendance.
But this year the celebration was a little different as the Collaborative announced the launch of the Immigrant Justice Bond Fund, in conjunction with EECO organization and the Episcopal City Mission that includes the St. Luke’s Church, Chelsea.
The fund is being set up to assist family members with people in detention centers to pay bonds established by immigration judges, with the purpose of reuniting them with their loved ones.
The Collaborative works hard with relatives who have come to its offices for assistance in locating their loved ones who have been detained by immigration agents. During the effort to locate and to be able to acquire the pro-bono services of lawyers, the Collaborative is faced with the obstacle of not having the necessary funds to help people out of detention.
It is for this reason that the Collaborative has joined forces with ECCO and Episcopal City Mission to find financial alternatives to pay bond. Chelsea Collaborative is honored to now be an organization that can count on these funds and get mothers and fathers out of detention centers.
Once the funds are used, payment agreements will be established so that these funds can always be available to other people in detention. After being released, people will be connected with legal and social resources to establish an individual plan for each family.
During the speaking program, Vega stated that the Collaborative was ready to assist residents with the agency’s many services and programs, and also to direct them to the appropriate groups for legal advice.
Yessenia Alfaro, deputy director at the Collaborative, felt the event, that drew a large turnout on a night that the first snowstorm of the season was approaching, was a huge success.
“It’s a blessing that so many people came here to tonight to celebrate Thanksgiving with us, and we’re grateful for our partnership with the ECCO organization and Episcopal City Mission in launching this important fund,” said Alfaro.
Several residents thanked Gladys Vega for her outstanding leadership of the Collaborative and the agency’s continuing diligence in helping all members of the community.
The leader of MS-13’s Eastside Loco Salvatrucha (ESLS) clique was sentenced last week at federal court in Boston for RICO conspiracy.
Edwin Guzman, a/k/a “Playa,” 32, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV to 16 years in prison and three years of supervised release. In February 2018, Guzman and two other MS-13 members, Herzzon Sandoval, a/k/a “Casper,” 36, and Erick Argueta Larios, a/k/a “Lobo,” 33, were convicted by a federal jury of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. A fourth MS-13 member, Cesar Martinez, a/k/a “Cheche,” 37, was convicted at the same trial of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine.
According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches, or “cliques,” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence, specifically against rival gang members, to gain membership in and be promoted within the gang. Guzman and Sandoval were the leaders, also known as the “first word,” and “second word,” of the ESLS clique in Massachusetts.
On Sept. 20, 2015, Joel Martinez, a/k/a “Animal,” murdered a 15-year-old boy in East Boston. On Jan. 8, 2016, as a reward for the 2015 murder, Joel Martinez was promoted by the gang to “homeboy” status with a 13-second beat-in by other MS-13 members at an ESLS meeting that Guzman, Sandoval, Martinez and Argueta Larios attended.
In May 2018, Joel Martinez was sentenced to 40 years in prison and two years of supervised release after pleading guilty to RICO conspiracy involving murder. In October 2018, Sandoval was sentenced to 20 years in prison and two years of supervised release. Argueta Larios and Martinez are scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 19, 2018, and Nov. 28, 2018, respectively.
Guzman was one of 49 defendants convicted as part of this case. All nine defendants who went to trial were convicted and 40 others pleaded guilty. In all, 16 defendants, including Joel Martinez, were found to have committed or knowingly participated in murders.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week that the City has negotiated three Host Community Agreements (HCA) with marijuana operators looking to establish dispensaries in the City.
Ambrosino said all three HCAs are identical and are really a formality for the dispensaries, which include the one at the former King Arthur’s, the one on Eastern Avenue and the one on Webster Avenue at Chelsea Commons. He said the City’s policy is they would negotiate an HCA with any entity that had gotten through the process and wanted to proceed to state approval.
“My guess is that it’s another year or so before any of them are set up,” he said. “It’s my understanding that all of the enterprises with HCAs here are not very close to being approved by the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).”
The HCAs are the next step after the community meeting, which all three have completed. To go before the CCC, an entity must have an HCA in place, and Ambrosino said the law is clear towards what can be in those agreements.
In Chelsea’s case, the City has asked for 3 percent of gross revenues from the sales of marijuana products. Those payments will come annually and will be in addition to the 3 percent local sales tax already approved. The first 3 percent mitigation payment would come 14 months after the dispensary opens.
A second monetary piece in the agreements includes two, $30,000 payments over two years to the City’s non-profits that have an anti-drug focus.
An important aside, Ambrosino said, is that the HCA doesn’t mean the City has agreed to support the license of any entity.
“My signing off on these is not a substantive decision on them,” he said. “I’m just giving them the chance to move forward and you have to have these in place to move forward. We’ll make the substantive decisions on these proposals not behind closed doors in a negotiation, but rather at the Zoning Board and Planning Board in a public as part of a process.”
Before any of the three dispensaries could open their doors, they would need state approval from the CCC. Then they would have to come back to Chelsea and get a special permit after visiting the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Planning Board. If that permit is achieved, they would then have to get a license to operate from the Chelsea License Commission.
Only then could an establishment open for business.
The cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal has once-again decreased and is at its lowest cost since 2010, according to the 33rd annual American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Thanksgiving dinner survey.
The AFBF reported late last week that it had found the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 to be at $48.90 nationwide, which figures to be less than $5 per person. It was a 22-cent decrease from last year’s low of $49.12. This year’s new low has put the cost of the traditional meal at the lowest cost since 2010.
After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the most affordable in more than a decade.
“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.
A total of 166 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 37 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages.
The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.
The chief driver of the lowering costs is the most common item – the turkey. AFBF research showed that retail turkey prices are at the lowest costs since 2014, mostly because they are in abundant supply.
The average cost for a 16-pound turkey this year is $21.71, which is down 3 percent per pound from last year.
“Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well,” Newton said.
AFBF also highlighted other foods that showed large decreases as well. They included:
Gallon of milk, $2.92;
3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.39;
one-pound bag of green peas, $1.47;
one dozen rolls, $2.25.
Some items did show an increase, however, including Massachusetts’ own contribution to the Thanksgiving table – the cranberry. Other items on the increase included pumpkin pie mix and cubed bread, among other things.
Those increased prices were as follows:
12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was $2.65;
30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.33;
14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing was $2.87;
two nine-inch pie shells came in at $2.47;
one-pound veggie tray was $.75.
A group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) was also up slightly, to $3.01.
There was no change in price for a half-pint of whipping cream at $2.08.
To provide information on the increasingly changing Thanksgiving meal, AFBF looked in at hams and other new additions. Adding a four-pound bone-in ham, five pounds of Russet potatoes, and one pound of frozen green beans added about $1 per person to the overall cost.
“Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $61.72 or about $6 per person,” said Newton.
AFBF also surveyed the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. This revealed that the convenience of food delivery does have a larger price tag.
A 16-pound turkey was nearly 50 percent more expensive at nearly $2 per pound when purchased from a food delivery service. Nearly every individual item was more expensive compared to the do-it-yourself average and the total cost of the dinner was about 60 percent higher at about $8 per person.
The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986, and the menu has not changed since that time for reliable comparison year to year. While AFBF does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation.