Police Briefs 01-05-2017

Monday, 12/26

Andres Martinez, 54, 32 Fifth St., Norwood, was arrested for Operating under the influence of liquor, destruction of Property, negligent operation of motor vehicle and speeding.

Guillermo Duran, 42, 15 Dowse St., Everett, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, failure to signal.

Tuesday, 12/27

Leonardo Escobar, 44, 92 Chester Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing, breaking and entering misdemeanor, possessing burglarious instrument.

Wednesday, 12/28

Shannon Jette, 29, 56 Franklin Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon.

Friday, 12/30

Sherley Pepin, 23, 5 Walden St., Cambridge, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended/revoked license, red light violation, motor vehicle not meeting RMV safety standards.

Saturday, 12/31

Samuel Valdez, 40, Berkley St., (Pine Street Inn), Boston, was arrested for shoplifting, warrant and possessing Class E drug.

Joseph Rivera, 27, 154 Seaver St., Dorchester, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Sunday, 1/1

Abel Suarez-Sanchez, 22, 5 Woodside Ave., Boston, was arrested for disorderly conduct, carrying dangerous weapon, assault and witness intimidation.

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Right and Wrong Ways to Address the Drug Cost Conundrum

By Kenneth E. Thorpe

Americans are gearing up for higher health care costs in 2017.

Average monthly insurance premiums for popular plans on Healthcare.gov, the major Obamacare exchange, are slated to rise by 25 percent. Some consumers will see their health insurance premiums double.

Eager to find a scapegoat, some politicians have pointed to drug companies, citing a string of high-profile price hikes. The public has listened; more than six in ten Americans support “government action” to lower prescription drug prices.

What these politicians ignore, though, is that prescription drugs account for less than a fifth of overall health care expenditures.

To get health care spending under control, Americans need to target the true driver of rising costs: chronic disease. Policies that effectively curb this epidemic will yield big health care savings in the long run and keep patients healthier at less cost to themselves.

Right now, 133 million Americans suffer from chronic illnesses, which accounts for roughly $2.3 trillion of the $2.7 trillion the United States spends on health care.

Unfortunately, these numbers only are expected to get worse. By 2030, 80 percent of the U.S. population could suffer from at least one chronic condition. That high rate of illness will eat up $42 trillion in medical care spending and losses in employment productivity.

With the right policy changes, Americans can reverse the tide of chronic disease.

First, Americans need better health insurance coverage. Although more Americans have insurance than ever before, a growing number can no longer afford the cost of insured care.

For example, insurers are raising deductibles and other cost-sharing requirements. In 2010, the average employee-paid share of the premium plus the average deductible was around $4,600. In 2015, the average was more than $6,400.

Many insurers also require their customers to shoulder as much as 50 percent of the cost of some prescription drugs.

Faced with these costs, far too many Americans with chronic conditions simply stop taking their prescriptions. One study found that when copayments went up just $4, an additional 6.2 percent of patients went off their meds.

Patients who abandon their prescriptions are far more likely to develop complications or end up in the hospital. In fact, studies estimate prescription non-adherence costs 125,000 lives each year. It’s also costly for our health care system. Failure to adhere to prescribed regimens adds as much as $289 billion to the cost of care.

Second, Americans need health care policies that continue to foster a climate of innovation.

Over the next 15 years, it’s estimated that new medicines could prevent 169 million cases of chronic disease and save 16 million lives.

Better treatments could save $418 billion a year — $6 trillion in the next 15 years.

But these medicines will be developed only if America continues to encourage their development. Artificially pushing down prices would cause many pharmaceutical companies to lose the incentive necessary for new research and development.

Finally, Americans need to make an effort to adopt healthy behaviors. By increasing physical activity, reducing smoking, and eating better, Americans could help the health care system save $116 billion a year.

There’s no question that Americans have felt the strain of rising health care costs. But by improving health coverage, fostering an environment that develops new medicines, and encouraging the adoption of healthy behaviors, policymakers could help to reduce the rate of chronic disease — improving the physical and financial health of every American.

Kenneth E. Thorpe is professor of health policy at Emory University and chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.

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Sports 01-05-2017

CHS Roundup

A busy week for  Chelsea tracksters

Despite the holiday week, there was no vacation for members of the Chelsea High boys and girls indoor track teams, many of whom competed in various meets over the break.

On Wednesday the Red Devil squad competed at the Boston Holiday Challenge.  The meet featured teams from all over New England and New York.

For the girls, the top finisher was junior Martine Simon, who finished 10th overall in the long jump with a jump of 15’-10”.  Martine also finished 34th in the 55 dash with a time of 7.97.

Sophomore Yarid Deras continues to improve every race. Yarid broke her own school record with a personal best time of 5:49.54 in the mile.  Senior Owliyo Mohamud finished 22nd in the 300m with a time of 45.68.  Sophomore Jocelyn Poste posted a season’s best in the 1000 with a clocking of 3:28.41.

On the boys’ side, the top performer was senior Adriel Cedano, who finished 10th overall in the 300 meter dash.

Thursday brought the Greater Boston League Freshman/Sophomore Meet.  Top performers for the girls included: sophomore Amanda Dias, who finished second in the two mile (14:06); freshman Isha Osman, who finished third in the dash; sophomore Alexis Shillingford, who finished third in the 300 (52.0); and sophomore Masireh Ceesay, who finished third in the shot-put with a toss of 26’-7″.

The top finishers for the boys included: freshman Adam Rhobi, who finished sixth in the 300 (46.8); sophomore Wilfido Hernandez, who finished fifth in the 600 (1:49); freshman Badreldin Sedik, who finished fifth in the 1000M (3:15.8); and Abraham Barrientos, who finished fifth in the mile (5:48).

“Both the Red Devil boys and girls teams have a solid group of underclassmen who should lead to great teams in the years to come,” said CHS head coach Mark Martineau.

Friday the team competed in the MSTCA Speed Classic.  The meet features teams from all divisions from all over the state.  More than 1,700 athletes competed in the meet that features just the 55 dash, 55 hurdles, 300, 600, long jump, 4×200 relay, and 4×400 relay.

Martine Simon continued to shine as she finished third overall in the long jump with an indoor personal best jump of 16’-5.5″ among of a field of 105 jumpers. Martine also finished 10th in the 55 dash with a sprint of 7.83 from among a field of 237 competitors.

Also performing well in the dash for the CHS girls wwre freshman Isha Osman (42nd, 8.22) and sophomores Litzy Rodriguez (85th, 8.55) and Alexis Shillingford (86th, 8.55).

In a field of 180 competitors in the 300, Owliyo Mohamud finished 10th in a time of 45.54.  Junior Awa Bajinka finished 58th in the 300 in a time of 48.34.

In the field of 170 competitors in the 600, sophomore Jocelyn Poste finished 32nd in a time of 1:52.72.  Fellow sophomores Yarid Deras (44th,1:54.66) and Amanda Dias (90th, 2:00.93) also ran very well.

In the hurdles, senior Sylvia Agyewaa finished 31st among a field of 130 competitors in a time of 10.35.

For the CHS boys Adriel Cedano finished 13th in the 300 (field of 170) in a time of 37.97.  Junior Jose Leclerc ran the 600 for the first time ever and did well with a clocking of 1:34.

“Overall it was a fun meet with every athlete on the team able to compete,” noted Martineau. “The highlight of the meet was our throws team competing in the 55m dash.  They had fun and worked hard, making coach Aronson very proud.”

This coming week marks the halfway point of the season, with the Red Devils taking on Division 1 powerhouse Malden (tomorrow) Thursday.

The State Freshman/Sophomore meet is set for next Sunday at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston.

CHS boys look to get back on track

After winning their season-opener, the Chelsea High boys basketball team has dropped its past few games, including a heartbreaking 52-51 decision to St. Clement’s this past Friday.

The Red Devils had led for most of the contest and enjoyed a seven-point margin to start the final period after expanding on their 27-23 lead at the half.

However, three Red Devil starters fouled out in the fourth period, enabling St. Clement’s to mount a surge that carried them to the victory.

Franklin Cruz led Chelsea with 17 points. The trio of Ralphie Otero, Chris Torres, and T.J. Patterson all tingled the twine for eight points apiece.

“We have a lot of  talent, but we have some new players and we’re still trying to figure out how to put the pieces together and come together as a team,” said first year head coach Judah Jackson, the former Everett High star, whose varsity assistant coach is former CHS great Cesar Castro.”We need to develop a sense of cohesion and find our will to win.”

Jackson and his crew travel to Shawsheen tomorrow evening (Friday) and then will trek to Greater Lawrence Tuesday.

Bruins Beat by Bob Morello

Bruins need to up their game

The time for ‘Happy New Year’ greetings is now. But for the Boston Bruins that greeting is not apropos, as the team’s play continues to fluctuate up-and-down. Their inability to put together a hot streak as they near the season’s halfway point leaves them in a very precarious position – meaning, the possibility of missing the NHL playoffs for the third time in three seasons. The team’s lackluster performance against the also struggling New Jersey Devils, was even hard to watch from the Bruins bench. Following the game coach Claude Julien summed up the ‘no-show’ effort with, “We just couldn’t muster up anything tonight. We were flat. We were flat from start to finish.” Former Boston College standout, Devils’ goaltender Cory Schneider had an easy task while picking up his second shutout of the season, the 23rd of his career. Joining the festivities was another former BC player, defenseman Steve Santini, who picked up his first NHL point in only his second NHL game, with an assist on P.A. Parenteau’s first period goal.

A major concern for Boston continues to be their lack of offense. Despite their focus on puck management, the team continues to be unable to finish off their plays and put the puck in the net. Another concern is Boston’s intensity when playing teams below them in the standings – examples: their play Monday against the Devils, the pair of losses to the Toronto Maple Leafs, dropping decisions to the Carolina Hurricanes, the New York Islanders, and even the Colorado Avalanche who occupy the bottom spot in the NHL’s overall standings. Their loss to New Jersey quickly deflated the excitement that followed Boston’s back-to-back end of December wins over the Buffalo Sabres.

Unable to put together a decent winning streak has put the Bruins in a very difficult position, as they have allowed both Toronto and Tampa the chance to move up closer to them in the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference standings. Boston currently holds eighth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 44 points, and third place in the Atlantic Division, something that could change quickly in both, should either the Leafs or the Lightning manage to put together a couple of wins, and Boston continues to play poorly. Toronto in ninth place is two points (42) back of the Bruins, plus they own three games in hand, while Tampa in tenth place, also with 42 points, have a single game in hand.

If the Bruins are going to make the 2016-17 playoffs, they will need to continue their effective penalty killing (87.6%), maintain their strong defensive efforts, find a way to improve their almost non-existent power play (14%), and be able to reward Tuukka Rask for his constant, solid performances – 1.93 goals-against-average, and a respectable .928 save percentage. Still puzzling is the lack of points from Patrice Bergeron who has garnered a mere 12 points in 37 games, playing on a line with Brad Marchand (31 points), and David Pastrnak (26 points). The goal scoring slump that has kept Pastrnak at 19 goals in 33 games, none since December 15th, is expected to be temporary, but the indefinite loss of the team’s third leading goal scorer, David Backes, due to a concussion suffered versus Buffalo (12/29), will have an effect on their ability to put the puck in the net. David Krejci continues to show signs of solid play, but still does not appear to be at 100%.

Tonight (Thursday), the Bruins will host the Edmonton Oilers, currently holding down sixth place in the Western Conference standings with 45 points, before leaving TD Garden ice for a road trip of four games in six nights. Boston will have road games over the weekend, with the Florida Panthers (Saturday, 1/7 at 7:00pm), and 22-hours later, with a 5:00pm faceoff versus the Carolina Hurricanes. Tuesday, 1/10 at 8:00pm they will be hosted by the St. Louis Blues, and close out their road trip with a stop in Nashville (Thursday, 1/12 at 8:00pm) to take on the Predators.

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Keeping Our Water Supply Safe

In 2014, the American Waterworks Association declared MWRA’s water to be the best in the nation. (In fact, it won both first and second place both for the City of Boston’s and the MWRA’s own sample.) This was not a lucky coincidence, but the end result of a carefully crafted and intricate plan to protect, treat, and distribute water to the service area’s ratepayers.

A direct offshoot of the federal court’s decision to allow the MWRA/DCR system to avoid building a water filtration system was the development of a three-tier – or as it was dubbed at the time a “Three-Legged Stool” – approach to assuring potable water to 2.2 million consumers in the Commonwealth.

The first “leg” was an aggressive watershed protection plan encircling the Quabbin, Ware, and Wachusett Reservoirs. It called for the acquisition of lands to insulate the reservoirs. Since 1986, MWRA has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire such lands, and has bolstered DCR watershed staffing and administration to the tune of $25 million per year.

The second “leg” was the construction of the Carroll Water Treatment Plant and covered storage throughout the distribution system – costs totaling $500 million.

The third “leg” was to work with our communities to improve and replace their distribution systems. MWRA has provided over $200 million in interest-free loans to our communities to reline or replace old water service mains. Led by the request and a vote of the Advisory Board, the MWRA has since added $100 million in interest-free loans to eliminate lead in local systems.

All of these activities were done to provide the best drinking water to our communities and to avoid additional layers of cost to build a water filtration plant.

And it is working.

Why would we risk it?

As part of its watershed management plan, DCR has established clear rules and regulations that allow for passive recreational use of watershed lands – activities such as hiking, which do not jeopardize these protected waters. Activities that may endanger this protection have been clearly, and strictly prohibited. In recent years, however, mountain bikers have begun encroaching upon the watersheds. Moreover, some have begun altering those lands for their own purposes by cutting trees and building structures to facilitate this illicit use of watershed lands.

The mountain bikers have been aggressively pushing for a change in regulations to utilize watershed lands for bike trails. Up until now the answer has been a loud and decisive “NO.”

But, according to the Worcester Telegram “after years of pushback, repeated rejections, and heavy enforcement, mountain bikers seeking access to the single-track trails in the Ware River watershed have recently found a state official to hear their plea.”

First, anyone currently using the watershed lands for mountain biking is engaging in illicit activity, so state officials are well within their rights to actively enforce this prohibition. Second, while many people enjoy mountain biking, the fact remains that the primary purpose of these lands is protecting drinking water for millions of residents.

The Slippery Slope

Once you say “yes” to mountain biking in the watershed, what about snowmobiles? ATVs? Why aren’t horses allowed? How about swimming? If you can do it in the Ware watershed, why not at the Quabbin? Heck, what about the Wachusett?

My point is once you blur the difference between watershed lands and recreational parkland you have ultimately eliminated your natural water protection filter. Simply say “no.” Mountain biking is a highly enjoyable activity for many people. DCR is absolutely the right agency to create trails for mountain bikers to enjoy; however, watershed lands are absolutely the wrong place for these activities. With all the national concern over water quality and local issues around the recent severe drought, this is not the time to fiddle around with something that is working. Let’s find mountain bikers et al appropriate trails outside of our watershed.

This editorial was written by Massachusetts Water and Resources Authority Advisory Board Executive Director Joe Favaloro.

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Obituaries 01-05-2017

John ‘Skip’ Wronski

Polaroid retiree

John V. “Skip” Wronski passed away after a brief illness on Saturday, November 26, at the William Child Hospice facility in Palm Bay Florida. He was 84 years old.

Born and raised in Chelsea, he was one of three children of the late William and Mary Wronski. John graduated from Chelsea High School. Following high school, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served honorably during the Korean Conflict as a Senior Machinists Mate aboard the U.S.S. Wrangell. He was honorably discharged in 1955.

He returned to Chelsea and married Beryl (Shine), together they raised three daughters. John later worked for the Polaroid Corporation as an H.V.A.C. specialist at the Cambridge facility. After retiring from Polaroid, John enjoyed over thirty years of retirement, traveling and wintering in Florida. He enjoyed ocean cruises with friends and family. John “Skip” was very active walking several miles per day. He enjoyed reading the paper on a daily basis.

In addition to his wife and parents “Skip” was also preceded in death by one of his daughters, Laura Aldrich. He is survived by siblings; Leona M. Grabowski and his brother-in-law, Frank Grabowski, Richard J. Wronski and sister-in-law, Carol Ann Wronski, his two daughters, Donna M. Atwood and son-in-law Gregg Atwood, and Denise Stevens. He is also survived by his six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to gather and attend a Funeral Mass in his honor on Saturday, January 7 at 10 a.m. in St. Stanislaus Church, 163 Chestnut St., Chelsea. Services will conclude with Military Honors and Interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. Should friends desire, contributions in John’s memory may be made to may be made to a charity of their choice. Arrangements are by the Anthorny Memorial – Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea.

Jennie Gulizia

Her love for family, laughter with friends and infamous ‘kitchen stick’ are treasured memories shared by all who knew and loved her

Jennie G. (Bruno) Gulizia gently passed away on December 29 in the peaceful surroundings of her Chelsea home and in the presence of her loving and caring family.  She was 92 years old.

 Born and raised in Chelsea, she was one of seven children born to the late Giuseppe and Grace (Manganaro) Bruno.  She attended local schools and graduated from Chelsea High School.  In the 1940’s, shortly after World War II, she caught the eye of a young man, Joseph P. Gulizia. They wed in 1950 and together spent the next 61 years together raising their family of four daughters in Chelsea.  Jennie also worked outside of her home with the Chelsea School Department leading cafeteria workers preparing school meals at the Mary C. Burke and Shurtleff Schools.  In her earlier days, she worked as a seamstress in the Boston garment district.  She would also used these skills in her home to craft and mend clothing for her family.

Throughout her lifetime, she enjoyed entertaining family and friends. Her home and kitchen were always open like “Grand Central Station,” cooking splendid meals for her family, always having room for that unexpected and always welcome guest.  Her love for family, laughter with friends and the infamous “kitchen stick” are treasured memories shared by all who knew and loved her.

Jennie was widowed in 2011 with the passing of her husband, Joseph. She was also preceded in death by her sister and brothers: the late Marie Casey, Joseph Bruno, Albert Bruno, Paul Bruno and Carmelo Bruno. She is survived by her beloved daughters and sons-in-law; Mary Grace Fusco and her husband, Edward “Ted” of Winthrop, Ann Welsh and her husband, William “Buddy” of Revere, Jean Jandrys and Judith Gulizia, both of Chelsea.  She will forever be the cherished grandmother of Jennifer Hoye, Teddy Fusco, Nicole Welsh, Michael Welsh, Gregory Jandrys and Stephanie Jandrys and adored great grandmother of Jimmy, Abby and Joseph Hoye, Mia and Katie Burke and Michael, Evan and Ian Welsh.

Her Funeral will be held from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea today, Thursday, January 5 at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church, 59 Nichols St., Chelsea at 10:30 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to Care Dimensions, 75 Sylvan St., Ste. B-102, Danvers, MA 01923

Ismael Concepcion

Woodlawn Cemetery groundskeeper

Ismael Concepcion of Chelsea died suddenly on December 28. He was 53 years old.

Born in 1963 in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, he was one of many children of Javier Concepcion and Isabel Chavez Concepcion of Mayaguez. Ismael came to Cambridge with his family as a young boy and received his early education at Cambridge schools. His family later settled in Chelsea and he has resided in Chelsea for most of his life.

For the past 18 years, Ismael worked as a seasonal groundskeeper at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett. He was married to Norma Salinas and together they have made their home in Chelsea.

He enjoyed time playing cards with family and friends and sharing time with his grandson, Daniel. Ismael enjoyed working outdoors and took great pleasure helping family or friends with home maintenance projects with especially painting as his specialty.

He is survived by his parents and his beloved wife of 17 years Norma Salinas of Chelsea, two children; Ismael, Jr. and Joselyn, his step-daughter, Carla and several additional step-children, his beloved grandson, Daniel and many grandchildren. He is also survived by numerous siblings including locally his brothers; Thomas, Richard, Javier, Christopher, Michael and Zacharias and sisters, Evyette and Ilana and many others residing in New Jersey and New Hampshire.

His Funeral was conducted from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea.

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Cheers To You

Cheers To You

chel_20161229_a1

The Chelsea Pop Warner cheerleading squad took fourth place in the nation at the National Championships at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida. Pictured above are coaches Johanna Rodas and Ana Hernandez, president Michele Lopez and cheerleaders Diana Hercules, Elida Flores, Emily Alvarez, Beba Diaz, Nadalyze Quintana, Chloe Monteiro, Alicia Smith, and Sophia Bonitto. Missing from photo: Cheer Director Lidia Pereira and cheerleaders Sulmy Urrutia and Aliseya Guigliano.

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Students, Staff Excited to Begin Classes at New Clark Avenue Middle School

Students, Staff Excited to Begin Classes at New Clark Avenue Middle School

By Seth Daniel

The outside of the new Clark Avenue Middle School.

The outside of the new Clark Avenue Middle School.

The new year in January will bring a whole new way of learning at the Clark Avenue Middle School when students return on Jan. 4 to a brand new school – entering the new wing of the school while the second phase of the project continues to progress over the next 18 months.

The Clark Avenue is currently halfway done, with the southern wing completed and ready for students to enter on Jan. 4.

“We are extremely excited,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “It’s a little bittersweet to leave the old Clark Avenue School, but at the same time we are very excited to go to the new building…Jan. 4 is going to be a day of curiosity for the students and a bit overwhelming as a middle school student moving into a totally new building.”

The building is outfitted with the best modern technology and design, and it certainly an upgrade in learning opportunities from what was once the old Chelsea High School. Several officials who have toured the facility said it was beautiful and much more advance than even the current Chelsea High School, which is only 20 years old.

Before leaving the old school, students put their handprints on the walls with paint, and wrote messages on the old walls saying things like, “Good Bye Old School; We Love You.”

Bourque said abatement measures in the old wing will begin in January, and demolition of the final, old wing facing Clark Avenue would start in the spring and go into the summer.

“We still have another 18 month phase two to complete,” said Bourque. “We are only halfway there.”

Several school and City officials are expected to accompany students on Jan. 4 as they enter the school for the first time.

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Students Will Return to Chelsea High on Time

By Seth Daniel

Chelsea school officials reported this week that repairs on two major broken pipes under the foundation of the school – the nexus of a fly infestation that caused school to end more than a week early this month ahead of Winter Break – have been completed.

Clean up measures are now taking place and students will be able to return to a completely fly-less learning environment next week.

“I am happy to report that our construction activities to repair two collapsed pipes located under Chelsea High School are complete as of December 28 and the school will re-open on January 4, 2017,” Supt. Mary Bourque said this week. “All floors of the school will be thoroughly cleaned prior to school opening. As previously reported, after a complete video inspection of the school’s drainage system, four pipes were found to have collapsed or had separated from the plumbing system due to corrosion. Two drain pipes can be taken out of service and have been capped. The two collapsed pipes were replaced.”

She added that the entire length of drain pipe servicing the kitchen had been lined with fiberglass to strengthen the drain line. Hangers were also used in the new pipes to prevent standing water inside of those new pipes.

Bourque said she planned to send an official letter to parents, guardians, staff and students prior to the return to school on Wednesday, Jan. 4. Students missed seven days of school at the end of Winter Break – including all of last week – due to a situation where flies inundated the school and the source could not be readily found nor repaired.

For the cleanup, Bourque told the Record it was important to note that there are no chemicals involved in getting rid of the flies.

“In terms of eradicating the flies, we are not using any chemicals,” she said. “They are using electric black lights to zap the bugs and sticky paper too. So, they are using environmentally sound methods to get rid of the flies.”

Bourque said she mostly wanted to thank the professionals who fixed the problem and the community for being patient in an completely unanticipated problem.

“I want to thank our Facilities Management staff, our in-house engineers, Jacobs Facilities, and our private contractors’ team for excellent work in diagnosing and correcting this problem, as well as to thank our parents, students, and staff for the patience and understanding over the past two weeks,” she said.

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Year in Review: 16 Stories from 2016

By Seth Daniel

The year of 2016 saw great excitement and great disappointment in Chelsea – from the hopeful inauguration in January of six new councillors to the shocking shooting death of Pablo Villeda and six others in March to the opening of the iconic new FBI building on Everett Avenue. It was, no doubt, an eventful year and one in which Chelsea residents saw a more civically active community poised for an exciting future.

  • It was standing room only for the inauguration of the new City Council on Jan. 4. Six new councillors took their places, with a majority Latino Council for the first time ever. Though it was a milestone, it didn’t figure much into the policies debated in the Chambers throughout the year.

  • The state and federal law enforcement authorities dismantle three major gangs that have wreaked havoc in Chelsea for several years with stabbings, murders, robberies and drug dealing. The first raid comes in late January when federal agents round up more than 60 purported members of the MS-13 gang in Chelsea, Eastie and Everett. In June, the Feds and State officials – with the Chelsea Police – clamp down on the East Side Money Gang and the 18th Street Gang in raids that take more than 30 dangerous – and very young – gang members off the streets.

  • New Fire Chief Len Albanese took his post on March 4. After an exhaustive review, City Manager Tom Ambrosino chooses the Rhode Island product over an in-house candidate. Though tensions were present at the beginning, Albanese settles into his position quickly.

  • Chelsea GreenRoots spins off from the Chelsea Collaborative under the leadership of Roseanne Bongiovanni and Maria Belen Power in July. The two say they still have a great relationship with the Collaborative, but wanted to focus more on environmental issues – as they did with Chelsea GreenSpace before. The new organization quickly gathers momentum and locates in an office on Chelsea Creek.

  • The March 6 murder of Pablo Villeda and the shooting of six others allegedly by a Chelsea teen at an early-morning teen party in a vacant Washington Avenue home shocks the city. City leaders, officials and residents respond with a heart-wrenching vigil march on March 9 through the city. The criminal case against those allegedly involved is still working its way through the court system.

  • The FBI building on Everett Avenue opens on Nov. 7 after three years of construction and nearly 10 years of planning and legal fighting by Chelsea developer ACS Development. The building quickly becomes an icon for the city and ready-made status. Also, economic development opportunities spring up quickly for surrounding businesses.

  • Gov. Charlie Baker signs a law allowing Chelsea to enact up to a 35 percent owner occupant residential property tax exemption in August. City leaders debate the merits of the newfound benefit for taxpayers and agree to institute a 25 percent exemption this year, with more of an exemption coming incrementally over three years. The measure is the culmination of several years of fighting for the effort, says Councillor Roy Avellaneda.

  • Officials from CAPIC and City Navigators report early successes in March with the new wrap-around, service on demand program offered to those in Bellingham Square suffering from addiction and homelessness. In just a few months, they report having contact with 77 individuals and getting services for 15. Anecdotal evidence is that there has been a difference in those who linger in the Square.

  • The Chelsea Housing Authority announces it will pursue state funding to begin planning for a mixed-income redevelopment of the Innes/Central Avenue Housing Development. In July, CHA Director Al Ewing announces that they have chosen Corcoran Jennison/SunCal as their development partner were anything to go forward. Later, quite surprisingly, the CHA receives a $700,000 state planning grant. Residents, Corcoran and the CHA begin planning exercises in October, with another meeting in December. More is expected to come in the new year, including a definitive announcement of whether the project will move forward.

  • The Washington Avenue Bridge opens to all traffic on Sept. 14 after being closed for reconstruction over a 14-month period. The bridge project comes in early, and is the first milestone in the huge Silver Line Gateway project. Construction work has progressed all year on the project, though it’s often out of sight of residents.

  • The Riseman Family Theatre opens within the Apollinaire Theatre Complex in Chelsea Square on Oct. 20. The Family Theatre is part of a major project at Apollinaire that also includes a Black Box Theatre space for rent and numerous youth programs in the Family Theatre. The project is a major step towards the City establishing a Cultural District in the area.

  • An infestation of flies causes Chelsea High to end classes seven days early before Winter Break in December. The situation ends up being broken pipes under the building, which are repaired over the break.

  • Chelsea voters overwhelmingly approve the Community Preservation Act, 66-34 percent, in the November General Election. City officials use the remaining months of the year scrambling to craft the new measure in order to put it into place at the earliest opportunity in 2017.

  • One North Phase 2 wraps up construction and begins leasing in April, building on the success of its first building next to Rt. 1. Developers say they have refined their concept and tailored it more to their key demographic, Millennials in their 20s and early 30s.

  • The Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL) expands its ALS Green House concept on a $17.5 million gift from an anonymous New York family. The LFCFL immediately begins accepting new patients from its waiting list.

  • In his State of the City, City Manager Tom Ambrosino proclaims it is time to invest in Chelsea. His plans include major investments in the downtown business district, unheard of investments in infrastructure through the Capital Improvement Plan and the calling for a Recreation Department. Councillors and residents in the standing-room-only Council Chambers applaud his call vigorously.

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Votes Point to Robinson to be Next Council President

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea City Council is expected to meet on Tuesday, Jan. 3, for an organizational meeting to pick the new officers for the body, including the incoming Council President.

While the choice for president has often been sealed up by December, this time around things were much more fluid. However, after the Council’s annual straw poll meeting last Tuesday, Dec. 20, the votes seemed to be leaning towards Councillor Leo Robinson.

Robinson said this week he did believe he had the votes to become president on Jan. 3.

It appeared that Councillor Damali Vidot would return as the vice president and Councillor Luis Tejada would become the School Committee liaison.

Robinson was the Council President two years ago just before current President Dan Cortell, and it would be his fifth time serving with the gavel.

He appeared to have secured the necessary votes some time ago in the fall. However, a late push by some councillors for Councillor Judith Garcia emerged after Thanksgiving. Those councillors apparently tried to target some of Robinson’s votes in order to turn the tide and bring a young, Latina voice to the office. However, they could never get beyond four votes, reportedly.

The organizational meeting to choose the officers will be held at 7 p.m. in the Council Chambers.

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