Ready to conquer Halloween was Miley Rodriguez, who dressed up as Batgirl and was determined to win a prize during the 13th annual Community School Halloween Party on Sunday, Oct. 29. Halloween parties and trick or treating was everywhere in the city this past week.
Senator Sal DiDomenico addressed a large crowd in attendance at his annual Fall Fundraiser on Wednesday, Oct. 25, at the Silver Fox. The sold out time attracted friends from near and far, including Senate President Stan Rosenberg.
Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner’s work. Reiners amazing wildlife and landscape photography from around the world was on display last Thursday, Oct. 26, in the annual Chelsea High and Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care joint art show.
The Phantom Ventures strip club has re-applied for permits from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to open their controversial club where the old King Arthur’s Club stood previously.
“Based on a letter from Inspectional Services Director Michael McAteer dated Sept. 13, 2017, it is clear that Phantom Ventures would be operating a nude cabaret/sports bar as a permissible under the August 21, 2017 communication stating that adult entertainment for the purpose of this case is to be classified in the ‘theatres, concert halls, and cinemas’ category,” read the application.
That came after a meeting this year – which followed a Federal Court ruling declaring the City’s adult entertainment ordinance Unconstitutional – where the ZBA said any nude dancing application had to be fit under the theatre use.
So, now Phantom Ventures will be a theatre.
That said, the club also lacks the adequate amount of parking. They need 97 and have 66.
Phantom Ventures said they have a plan to use a lot nearby via a valet service. They will need a parking variance to accompany the Special Permit.
The ZBA will hear the special permit and variance at its Nov. 14 meeting at 6 p.m. in City Hall.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he couldn’t predict the actions of the ZBA, but he expects the board would likely deny the Special Permit. That, also likely, would trigger another appeal by the company.
In the end, the matter will likely land back in Federal Court with the same judge, who will end up making the decision.
Owners of Phantom Ventures have indicated they plan to invest a significant amount of money in the new club, making it a high class venue for sports and nude dancing entertainment.
An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Thursday, Oct. 26, in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving murder, attempted murder, and armed robbery.
The defendant admitted responsibility for murdering an innocent bystander, attempted murder of rival gang member and armed robbery.
The murder of the innocent bystander occurred in 2014 when the gang member shot at a rival gang member and missed, instantly killing a woman in her home who had simply looked out the front window. The woman was the mother of three children and was in refuge from a domestic violence situation.
Hector Ramires, a/k/a “Cuervo,” 24, a Honduran national formerly of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 19, 2018. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will jointly recommend a sentence of 27 years in prison.
Ramires was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts. On Oct. 18, 2014, Ramires and Bryan Galicia Barillas a/k/a “Chucky,” a fellow member of MS-13’s ECS clique, were walking the streets of Chelsea when they encountered a group of rival gang members. Ramires, who was armed, shot at one of the gang rivals and missed, killing a woman who was an innocent bystander who was looking out a nearby window of a room she shared with her three children. Barillas was also charged and previously pleaded guilty to, among other things, providing Ramires with the gun.
Ramires also accepted responsibility for his role in a March 28, 2014, attempted murder of a rival gang member in Chelsea, and an April 9, 2014, armed robbery in Chelsea.
After a three-year investigation, Ramires was one of 61 persons named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. MS-13 is a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts.
Ramires is the 22nd defendant to plead guilty in this case and will subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The City Election is fast approaching and several races are heating up in the City.
In the district City Council races, at least five seats are contested.
The most active race at the moment is in Prattville, where the District 1 seat has been vacated by Paul Murphy. There, former City Clerk Bob Bishop and Planning Board member Todd Taylor have been out and active since the summer in reaching the voters.
Bishop showed great strength in winning the Preliminary Election with 45 percent of the vote in September, but Taylor has balanced that with several key endorsements this week.
Councillor Murphy has made a recommendation, and that came in the form of an endorsement of Taylor.
Likewise, Taylor has also received an endorsement from popular Governor Charlie Baker.
It will be a battle of great wills on Election Night in Prattville.
Another race to highlight comes in District 7, where Councillor Yamir Rodriguez faces a tough challenge in License Commissioner Mark Rossi.
Both are very qualified and both are very popular.
Rodriguez has great report with the youth in the district and has made a focal point of his tenure in reaching out to young people, organizing youth events and helping residents with quality of life issues like parking.
Meanwhile, Rossi is an attorney who, like Rodriguez, is also bi-lingual and has focused his campaign on immigration issues and streamlining City government. In recent days, though not official, Rossi has seemed to get help from some incumbents and organizational leaders in Chelsea.
Rodriguez, however, seems to have a great command of what is needed in the district, being a key part of some of the newest resident-led initiatives like the Chelsea Hills Community Group.
In District 6, first-term Councillor Judith Garcia faces a re-match with challenger Henry Wilson. There was no preliminary, but the two had a close race two years ago when Garcia won.
Garcia has been hitting the streets throughout the summer, knocking on doors and attending most all community events. She has shown initiative in her first term as well, filing orders to lower the speed limit to 25 mph and also looking for solutions to the parking situation.
Wilson, for his part, has shown much better organization this time around, getting support of several incumbent councillors and community leaders.
In District 8, former Councillor Calvin Brown looks to be gaining momentum over challenger Jermaine Williams. Brown easily carried the Preliminary over Williams with 73 percent of the vote, and Williams has seemingly been nowhere in the last month.
Incumbent Councillor Dan Cortell is leaving the seat, and has not endorsed anyone.
In District 2, Councillor Luis Tejada is facing Attorney Olivia Walsh. Both are very popular in the District and around the City.
Councillor Giovanni Recupero is basically running unopposed, as challenger Kris Haight suspended his campaign a month ago. However, his name will still appear on the ballot next week – even though he is no longer running.
Councillor Enio Lopez is unopposed, and Councillor Matt Frank is not running in District 3. Former Councillor Joe Perlatonda is the lone candidate running for that seat.
In the at-large race, there are three incumbents on the ballot and no challengers.
Council President Leo Robinson and Councillors Roy Avellaneda and Damali Vidot are running for re-election. Though all are assured a seat, there is a fair amount of jockeying for position to see just who tops the ticket.
That likely has less to do with the City Election, and more to do with who will be the next Council President. Robinson is already the president, but would love to make a good showing at the top of the ticket.
Meanwhile, Vidot and Avellaneda are both likely candidates for the presidency come December. A strong finish would give one the edge over the other.
In the School Committee, there is little intrigue aside from the at-large seat. Incumbent Shawn O’Regan ran in the Preliminary for the District 1 Council seat, which opened up the at-large seat on School Committee.
Former Chelsea High Athletic Director Frank DePatto put his papers in and got his name on the ballot unopposed.
However, in recent weeks, O’Regan – who lost in the Preliminary Council election – has announced he is running a write-in sticker campaign to try to reclaim his seat on the School Committee.
After demanding a noise study be conducted using City funds, a Boston University School of Public Health commissioned noise study has revealed in writing what everyone in Chelsea already knew anecdotally – that the airport is driving everyone crazy.
“Overall, it is clear that Chelsea residents are exposed to higher noise levels attributed to aviation relative to many comparison communities and that those noise levels have been increasing in recent years at higher rates than in many other communities,” read the report conclusion. “These exposures have increased over the past five years, and they have increased at a faster rate in Chelsea than in many surrounding communities. Further, unlike East Boston and Winthrop, Chelsea does not fall within the FAA-defined 65 dB DNL contour required for soundproofing eligibility. Given this fact and the age of the housing stock in Chelsea, residents of Chelsea may have among the highest actual exposures to airport-related noise in the region.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino delivered the study to the Council on Monday night at its meeting, with the results being exactly what sponsoring Councillor Dan Cortell and Roy Avellaneda expected.
“Everyone who lives here know there are more flights and they are louder,” said Cortell, who represents the Admiral’s Hill area. “Now it’s time to put full-court pressure on the airport and the federal agencies we’re dealing with here. Someone in Washington, D.C., is sitting in an office looking at a map of Chelsea and making decisions and they don’t understand topography. They don’t understand we have planes on Admiral’s Hill skimming buildings.”
Said Avellaneda, “I hope this starts a dialog or plan of action for what I feel is a negative impact on our community. We definitely face disadvantages…This is not a battle between one councillor or two councillors. The whole Council and the whole community have to win…This report just proves everything we have been saying for the last few years.”
The report was called for earlier this year, and it was undertaken on behalf of the City by the Center for Research on Environmental and Social Stressors in Housing Across the Life Course (CRESSH), which is a division of the BU School of Public Health. Those involved in the study included Jonathan Levy, Claire Schollaert and Madeleine Scammell (a Chelsea resident).
The two chief questions being asked where airport noise ranked in Chelsea compared to other nearby communities, and also how high were airport-related noise exposures compared to other nearby communities.
The study looked at noise levels by Census block for the years 2007 to 2015. The finding showed Chelsea had an average decibel level in 2015 that was one of the highest among comparison communities.
“Taken as a simple average, only Winthrop and East Boston had higher average noise levels,” read the report. “Additionally, within Chelsea, neighborhoods that are closer to the 33L (runway) flight path are exposed to higher noise levels than those that are farther away from the flight path. Looking at noise levels between 2011 and 2015, there has been a general increase in all communities investigated, with Chelsea, East Boston, and Everett having the largest increases in average airport- related noise as measured in DNL. These communities are located directly beneath the 33L departure flight path.”
One of the chief reasons for that is researchers found that flights have nearly doubled between 2012 and 2014 under the Runway 33L flight path, which is Chelsea’s main source of airplane traffic.
“The sharpest increase in annual average estimated airport-related noise levels occurred between 2013 and 2014, with Chelsea, East Boston, and Everett showing the most significant increases among communities investigated,” read the report. “Flight activity on 33L almost doubled between 2012 and 2014, and this timing also aligned with the implementation of the NextGen satellite-based navigation program that concentrated flight paths into and out of Logan Airport.”
NextGen is a frequently reviled innovation in airplane navigation technology in communities where flight paths are concentrated. The technology came on in recent years and it uses GPS technology to pinpoint flight paths and eliminate deviation. That serves to concentrate jet noise to one corridor over and over, rather than spreading it out over a wider area.
The study also sought to look at some health indicators in Chelsea, and showed that the city’s annual average age-adjusted rates of hospital admissions for heart attacks is the highest by far of the comparison communities between 2007 and 2012.
There were 44 hospitalizations per 10,000 people age 35 and over, with the nearest community being Hull with 37 and Everett with 36.
“To be clear, this does not imply that the noise or air pollution from Logan Airport is the cause of these disease patterns,” read the report. “Rather, this increased cardiovascular health burden among Chelsea residents, related to a number of different factors, indicates that Chelsea may be particularly vulnerable to increased noise exposures as a result of aviation activity.”
The Council agreed to hold a Committee on Conference in the near future to discuss the report and generate a plan. Councillors are calling for more of the City to get mitigation measures like soundproofing and parks – as well as a sensitivity to Chelsea’s predicament from MassPort that some councillors believe is missing.
“Chelsea has a lot of fourth and fifth generation residents who have been here since the late 1800s,” said Councillor Matt Frank. “I am one. Councillor Murphy is another. When the airport says we were here before you, that’s not exactly true. It’s kind of insulting.”
Temple Emmanuel honored Barry Kirshon and his wife, Darleen Kirshon, in a surprise ceremony Sunday morning at the historic house of worship on Cary Avenue.
The Kirshons thought they were there to present flowers to Rabbi Oksana Chapman on a day celebrating the near-completion of an extensive renovation project at the synagogue.
But Barry and Darleen were the true honorees as the congregation bestowed flowers and gifts upon the Kirshons, including the high honor of having a permanent, inscribed plaque placed on the bimah.
During his remarks for the rabbi, Barry noted that as a young boy he attended Hebrew School at Temple Emmanuel under the tutelage of Mr. Maurice Pearlman and took his bar mitzvah lessons there.
“It was a terrific time of my life back in the 1960s and I remember it well,” said Kirshon, owner of Kirshon Paint on Park Street. “It’s just an amazing thing that this temple has been able to survive and so many haven’t. It’s due to people like Sara Lee Callahan and Richard Clayman and others that have led this temple for many years. I’m just honored to be here. We’ve gone through a lot of work to get this place revitalized and there’s a lot work to do still but we’re getting there. It will be a wonderful place to be and enjoy and pray.”
That’s when Rabbi Chapman and Temple President Callahan turned the spotlight on the Kirshons for their continuing generosity and many acts of kindness.
“This temple has many angels who care deeply about the community and are sent to us by God to create and recreate this beautiful space that brings joy to all who enter,” said Chapman. “The two specific angels that we are celebrating today are our own Darleen and baary Kirshon. Your dreams with your hard work became a reality for all of us to celebrate and enjoy.”
State Rep. Dan Ryan presented a congratulatory citation from the Mass. House of Representatives to the Kirshons in recognition of their contributions to Temple Emmanuel.
“We offer our sincerest congratulations to Barry and Darleen Kirshon for their selfless generosity toward the renovation of Temple Emmanuel,” said Ryan. “Your hard work and unwavering dedication is a credit to both Temple Emmanuel and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.”
Callahan then presented a proclamation from City Manager Tom Ambrosino and the City of Chelsea recognizing the Kirshons for “their volunteer work and extraordinary generosity that has helped Temple Emmanuel continue to thrive as a welcoming place for worship, reflection, and refuge.”
The next tribute to Barry and Darleen Kirshon came in the form of a special plaque inscribed with their names that will forever shine on the wall behind the pulpit. The guests responded with warm applause for Barry and Darleen, a final nod of appreciation to a couple that has meant so much to Temple Emmanuel and the community of Chelsea.
“Thank you very much, Barry and Darleen,” said Callahan before the congregation moved in to the function room for a collation.
An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member, known as “Superbad,” was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston for racketeering and drug trafficking charges.
Josue Rodriguez, a/k/a “SB,” a/k/a “Superbad,” 20, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2017, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.
Rodriguez is a member of the ES$G, a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ES$G uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses.
Rodriguez admitted that on July 5, 2015, he ambushed a rival gang member who was walking down the street, shooting at him with a semi-automatic pistol, but did not hit him. On March 29, 2016, Rodriguez and another ES$G member agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ES$G member so he could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ES$G.
On April 3, 2016, the third gang member used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang.
One of the targets was shot but not killed.
On May 26, 2016, Rodriguez attempted to hide the .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver used in a shooting, as well as spent and live shells, after another ES$G member/associate attempted to shoot a rival gang member.
The East Side Money Gang was also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (crack) and heroin.
Rodriguez conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute at least one kilogram of cocaine base. Rodriguez further admitted that he stored drugs at, and distributed drugs from, his home in Chelsea, and that the gang maintained at least one firearm at the location.
Rodriguez is one of 53 defendants indicted in June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges following an investigation into a network of street gangs that had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and to generate violence against rival gang members. According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.
During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.
An MS-13 member pleaded guilty Friday in federal court in Boston in connection with a 2014 shooting in Chelsea and a 2015 conspiracy to kill a suspected cooperating witness.
David Lopez, a/k/a “Cilindro,” a/k/a “Villano,” 22, a Salvadoran national, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy.
U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 30, 2018.
Lopez was a member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique, which operated in Chelsea and other parts of Massachusetts. On May 29, 2014, Lopez and co-defendant Daniel Menjivar, a/k/a “Roca,” approached a victim near the Washington Avenue bus stop in Chelsea. Menjivar repeatedly stabbed the victim, and as he was struggling for his life, Lopez approached and shot at the victim. The victim suffered significant life threatening injuries, but survived following emergency surgery.
Menjivar pleaded guilty in September 2017.
The investigation revealed that in March 2015, members of the ECS clique decided to kill a fellow MS-13 member who they incorrectly believed was cooperating with law enforcement at the time.
Law enforcement intervened and convinced the individual to become a cooperating witness. A subsequent investigation uncovered evidence that the ECS clique sent someone to New Jersey to pick up Lopez, who had fled Massachusetts after the May 2014 attack, so that he could come back to Massachusetts to help kill the suspected cooperating witness.
Lopez is the 23rd defendant to plead guilty in this case.
Lopez faces no greater than 20 years in prison and three years of supervised release. Lopez will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. He is believed to be in the country illegally.