We remember the great Chelsea Parks director John “Doc” Mahoney and how Chelsea youths will come to our playgrounds on hot summer days and enjoy a full slate of recreational and sports activities.
We recall that Mr. Mahoney’s nephew, Tom Mahoney, also had a role in the parks system beyond his incredible effort of founding the Chelsea High School soccer program and building it into a Greater Boston League powerhouse as its coach.
In those playground days of yore, parks such as Voke, Quigley, Highland, Bosson, Merritt, Polonia fielded basketball and baseball teams that competed in a citywide league.
In the 1980s we remember the fine leadership of Summer Parks Feeding Program Director Arnold Goodman and area supervisor Frank DePatto, who would go on to be appointed director of athletics at Chelsea High, a position he still holds to this day and in which he excels.
Thanks to City Manager Jay Ash, our parks are in great shape and improvements continue to made to these facilities.
The summer parks feeding program is running smoothly and breakfasts and lunches are available at designated sites throughout the city.
We urge our youth to take advantage of the Chelsea parks and get out there and participate in regular sports and physical fitness activities.
Being able to play at the parks outdoors in the fresh air in the summer months is one of the joys of life in the city. Our parks are spacious and welcoming areas for recreation and fun activities.
Let’s enjoy our parks in this great weather that characterizes summer in New England.
Sheila C. (Ryan) Ciaramella of Chelsea, a lifelong Chelsea resident, passed away at home on July 5 surrounded by her loving family after a short but courageous battle with cancer. She was 73 years old.
For over 10 years she was employed at the McDonalds on the Revere Beach Parkway at Washington Avenue and for more than 15 years she worked as a crossing guard – most recently at Broadway and Webster Avenue.
She was the devoted mother of Bruce E. Ciaramella of Revere, Mark A. Ciaramella of Marlborough, NH, Michael J. Ciaramella of Lynn and Joanne Bruno of Everett. The former wife of John Ciaramella of New Hampshire, she was the beloved sister of Helen Asaro of Burlington, Marlene Taraskiewicz of Peabody, Joseph Ryan of New Hampshire and the late Catherine Smith, Kevin Ryan, Martin Ryan, Mary Cushing, Agnes Gordon, Leo F. Ryan, Jr. and Patricia Coyne; cherished grandmother of 16, great grandmother of five and is lovingly survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are kindly invited to attend her funeral from the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea today, Thursday, July 10 at 9:30 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass to be celebrated in Our Lady of Grace Church, 59 Nichols Street, Chelsea at 10:30 a.m. Services will conclude with interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Expressions of sympathy in Sheila’s name may be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
To send a message of condolence to Sheila’s family, please visit www.smithfuneralhomes.com
- Estelle Fixman
Friend to all and excellent cook
Estelle (Fogel) Fixman of Virginia, formerly of Chelsea, passed away on Tuesday, July 1. She was 92 years old.
Estelle was a kind friend to all, an excellent cook and loving partner of her husband, Samuel for 72 years. She lived with her parents, Isadore and Mary and brother, Bobby and sister, Lottie in Lewiston, Maine during 1943 to 1945 when her husband served in the US Army Air Corps in Europe during World War II. She lived most of her adult life in Chelsea and senior life in Phoenix, Arizona. For the last 18 years, she called Richmond home.
She was the devoted wife of Samuel Fixman of Richmond, VA; the loving mother of Joanne Kane of New Jersey and her husband, Harvey and Steven Fixman of Richmond and his wife, Cheri; most proud grandmother of Dr. Adam Gafni-Kane of Chicago, Jennifer Stein of New Jersey and C. David Fixman of Richmond and loving great grandmother of Jackson and Elizabeth Stein and Arnon, Zohar and Matan Gafni-Kane.
Funeral services were private. Kindly make memorial donations to any chapter of The Alzheimer’s Foundation.
The Chelsea Collaborative and the MIRA Coaltion – both pro-immigration reform groups – will hold a roundtable meeting on July 10 to address the hot-button issue of unaccompanied children crossing the southern border illegally.
The meeting will take place from 3-5 p.m. at the Collaborative on Broadway and will focus on strategies to support local families and children caught up in this situation.
The Collaborative said that government statistics show that unaccompanied children crossing the southwestern border have increased 92 percent over the last year. The children range in age from 4 to 17 and are coming from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Many have families in the U.S., including some in the Boston area.
Those sitting at the table formulating solutions will be legal service providers, community-based organizations, refugee resettlement agencies, immigrant advocacy agencies, Central American consulates and others.
Following that, at 5:30 p.m., the Collaborative will sponsor a ‘Know Your Rights Immigration Summit’ at Chelsea High School. The focus of the summit will be discussing unaccompanied children who have crossed the border and there will also be an update on deferred action – which was announced two years ago this summer.
With a wave of new immigrants from foreign countries and a number of international travelers not taking the proper precautions, Chelsea Health Department officials are keeping a close eye on an uptick in active and latent tuberculosis (TB) cases in the city – though they hasten to call it an emergency or any cause for alarm at this point.
Health Agent Luis Prado said that some time last fall, the official TB numbers kept by the state and reported to the City began to creep up. While Chelsea has historically always had a high TB rate in its modern history, the recent increase was enough to take notice.
“When we noticed there was a slight increase, we immediately began looking to see if it was a trend or what it was that was happening,” Prado said. “It’s small numbers. It could be that people just arrived with it. It’s not an emergency by an means, but it has to be investigated…Recently the rate went up again and we are concerned about that.”
TB is a disease of the lungs that, when active, is very contagious. It is often associated with severe coughing in its active form. TB is not that common in the U.S., but is far more common in other parts of the world, particularly in developing countries that don’t have a strong health care structure.
The state has a comprehensive system in place to report and monitor active TB cases that works in conjunction with local governments such as Chelsea. Within that system, the City’s public health nurse is called upon to monitor and witness all treatments of reported cases, and the state is required to keep and share statistical rates on the numbers of cases.
The current rate is at 18.4 cases per 100,000 people, which is actually a decrease from 2000 numbers but an increase from 2004. In 2000, the rate was 24/100,000, but in 2004 it was 14/100,000. The recent increase up to 18 has taken place over the last year.
One reason for the increase is people who are coming into the country undocumented and therefore not getting the typical health screenings that a legal entrant must get. Often, those coming under these circumstances are fleeing war, refugee situations or extremely hostile conditions, and the last thing on their minds is their health status.
“There are 15 million refugees in the world now and out of that number, the U.S. only accepts 60,000 refugees a year,” said Prado. “These people are traveling and looking for ways to come to the U.S. This is where immigration reform comes into it. Many times they are fleeing war or other conditions and they may be sick or ill, but the chances are you are coming from a place or situation where there was no public health sense or no treatment. That’s why people from other countries are seen as people who are potentially at-risk.”
He added that the stalling on immigration reform federally has only made the problem worse.
“There is a process they could follow that is more clear and this hurts the country because people come here without the proper checks,” he said. “No one comes here to infect anyone or do harm, but if they don’t know about it or aren’t in a position to address their health, that doesn’t benefit anyone.”
That said, another problem in Chelsea is people traveling to other countries and not heeding State Department warnings. Prado said many times people take vacations without noting the warnings regarding public health.
“When people travel there are advisories and precautions they should take, but maybe people who are traveling don’t always pay attention to this or don’t take it seriously,” he said. “The State Department has published clear warnings and they should be heeded by travelers.”
Public Health Nurse Mary McKenzie is charged with monitoring all of the reported cases that are forwarded to the City from the state Department of Public Health (DPH). The DPH has a vast database where, by law, health professionals must log in any TB cases they encounter. That information is then forwarded to McKenzie and she must make weekly home visits to ensure and witness treatment.
Treatment includes a regimen of pills that lasts nine months, and those with TB must have McKenzie as a witness to the treatment until cured.
McKenzie said she is not overly concerned about the recent increase in active cases, but she is concerned about latent TB cases. Active TB is well-known for its persistent coughing and wheezing, with patients often coughing blood and lung tissue. However, one may not even know they have latent TB unless a doctor tests for it.
However, McKenzie said many health professionals don’t tend to report latent cases, even though it is also required.
“A lot of times they just don’t report it,” she said. “Most people that are from other countries; they aren’t treated for latent TB in other countries or the medication costs money and they cannot afford it. So, they just let it go. The treatment, though, is 90 percent successful at that stage and they won’t go on to active TB. Unfortunately, a lot of people from other countries don’t believe they have TB unless they’re coughing up blood. It’s a Catch-22. We are keeping an eye on the situation now, but if we could convince people to treat latent TB, we could see a real decrease in TB cases.”
That’s where an educational component comes in.
Instead of discussions about federal policy and other such things, Prado said the critical piece locally is to educate the public about travel restrictions and about treating latent and active TB. He said seeing a doctor and getting screened is of great importance.
“At this moment, what would really help is to have more education in the community and the population that we work with,” he said. “We need more education about TB for people who travel or who have just arrived and are at-risk. We have to educate the public that this isn’t an emergency, but something that is preventable and people need to take care of themselves. It’s important for people to take care of themselves and talk to their doctor and get a screening.”
Suffolk County prosecutors and State Police detectives are investigating the death of a Chelsea man at Whidden Memorial Hospital after a confrontation with Chelsea Police officers who responded to his residence for a report of an emotionally disturbed person.
The deceased has been identified as 56-year-old Dominic Graffeo. The cause and manner of his death will be determined by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.
DA Daniel Conley’s office investigates all fatalities in Suffolk County, including those that involve police officers. The Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit has jurisdiction over death investigations in Chelsea, Revere, Winthrop, and State property within the City of Boston.
The preliminary investigation suggests that the maintenance supervisor of a Hawthorne Street rooming house called Chelsea Police shortly after 7 p.m. last Thursday to report that a resident had become erratic and was destroying property in his room. On arrival, officers found that he had barricaded himself into the room. A crisis negotiator was brought to the scene but was unable to convince the man to allow the officers entry. Additional officers climbed a ladder outside the building and could see the man shirtless and bleeding profusely from unknown injuries to his arms and legs. Officers contacted the Chelsea Fire Department to assist in opening the room’s barricaded door.
When they entered, the preliminary evidence suggests, the man became violent. An officer deployed his issued Taser on the man, but he continued to struggle with them until he was handcuffed.
The man became unresponsive after being handcuffed.
Emergency medical technicians who were present assessed his condition and became concerned that he might be suffering from an opiate overdose. They administered NARCAN and rushed him to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 8:30 p.m.
Three Chelsea Police officers were also hospitalized for injuries that were not life-threatening.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted unanimously – 4-0 – to move ahead with the issuing of gaming licenses despite a November ballot question that could wipe out casino gaming altogether.
Commissioner Jim McHugh led the charge is saying it only makes sense to stay the course.
“Proceeding now make good sense and is good public policy,” he said.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and several Boston elected officials had called on the MGC last week to delay the awarding of a casino license in the Greater Boston region until after the November ballot question is settled.
The point was argued for Boston on Wednesday – in a meeting at the Bunker Hill Community College’s Charlestown Campus – by former Charlestown and Chelsea State Rep. Gene O’Flaherty.
O’Flaherty is now the corporation counsel for Boston and was charged with arguing the point for Mayor Walsh in calling for the delay.
Also giving testimony was Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria and attorneys from casino applicants Wynn Resorts and Mohegan Sun.
Following the unanimous vote, the MGC also voted unanimously to have Boston begin its Surrounding Community Agreement (SCA) arbitration process on July 3.
Every other SCA in the arbitration process, including Somerville and Chelsea, has been decided.
The fifth commissioner, Steve Crosby, was not part of the discussion as he recused himself from the Greater Boston region casino process earlier this year.
Chelsea Fire Lt. Arthur Caissie was going about his business last Thursday morning, June 26, doing code enforcement inspections on County Road.
While it’s a necessary component of the Department, it’s also not the most daring assignment.
However, in a few short minutes, Caissie went from ho-hum to hero – pulling two people to safety who were trapped in a burning home on County Road and directing the first engine companies to the heart of the fire.
Caissie suffered severe smoke inhalation injuries as a result of his actions, having to be admitted to MGH Boston for further treatment.
Around 8 a.m. on June 26, Caissie was in the area doing code enforcement inspections and observed heavy smoke coming from the home at 44 County Rd. – a large, grand home with big white columns.
Caissie transmitted an urgent message over his portable radio reporting a working fire.
Immediately after, he observed a frantic man running into the fire. Caissie jumped to action and ran into the burning building and removed the man, who said he had gone in to look for his mother who was still inside.
Caissie, with no traditional fire equipment to protect him, went back into the building and located a woman on the first floor who was trying to retrieve belongings in life-threatening heavy smoke.
“I couldn’t see anything when I entered the building, “ said Caissie. “I was shocked when I found the woman in the heavy smoke and just got her out as quickly as I could.”
As Caissie was coming out of the building, Engine 1 arrived on scene and quickly advanced a hose line into the first floor of the building where heavy smoke and flames were showing.
Acting Deputy Chief Mi-chael Thompson arrived on scene and quickly struck a second alarm.
Engine 3 arrived and the crew was ordered to back up Engine 1’s crew who reported a heavy fire condition on the first floor. Engine 1 further reported they were unable to contain the fire with one hose line. Tower 1 arrived on scene and the crew was ordered to conduct a primary search of the large two-family residence.
Engine 2 arrived on scene and was ordered to advance a hose line above the fire on the second floor. By this time the fire was spreading rapidly up the right side of the structure. Ladder 2 arrived and was ordered to assist Tower 1 in searching the building.
Acting Chief Robert Houghton arrived on scene minutes later and assumed command of the fire.
“The fire was spreading quickly and second alarm companies were not on scene yet,” said Houghton. “Conditions were deteriorating so I ordered all firefighters out of the building.”
Mutual aid was delayed, as the City of Everett was unable to send an engine company to assist. Typically, three additional engine companies and one ladder company are dispatched on each additional alarm level. The closest engine responded from Revere with the other two engines responding from Medford and Winthrop.
“We needed more help right away” said Acting Deputy Chief Thompson. “We had three engine companies operating inside the building, but could not stop the fire from advancing.”
As mutual aid companies arrived and set up, firefighters were ordered back into the building to fight the fire from the interior. Crews were able to deploy hose lines to the first and second floors while other crews located an access stairway to the attic. Additional hose lines were advanced into the attic and after about an hour, the fire was contained.
The property owner notified Chief Houghton of valuable artwork inside the house. Firefighters were able to retrieve most of the valuable paintings.
Crews worked more than four hours to extinguish the fire and check for extension. All occupants were accounted for with no injuries reported.
Four occupants were displaced from the building and the damage was estimated at more than $1 million.
Three firefighters were seriously injured fighting the fire. A firefighter from Engine 2 was struck in the head with a hose coupling. He suffered a concussion and was admitted to MGH Boston with internal bleeding. One member of the Fire Investigation Unit fractured his hand and Lt. Caissie was taken to the hospital with severe smoke inhalation.
The cause of the fire remains undetermined and is under investigation by the department Fire Investigation Unit.
Aaron, Tamar, Meira, and Abraham Banks look into the 1953 Chevy “Bel Air” during the Antique Car Show at
the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCFL) on June 22 on Admiral’s Hill. The show featured classics such as the Bel Air, a
Ford Thunderbird and a 1956 Ford Parklane.
Glen J. Breese passed away unexpectedly on June 24. He was years 62 old.
He was born and raised in Chelsea and attended both Williams and Shurtleff Schools back in the 1960′s. Glen became a member of the Elks with his late uncle, Nathan Edelstein and a member of the Chelsea Auxiliary Fire Department before enlisting in the US Air Force during the Vietnam Conflict in January of 1971. After his discharge in 1973 as a firefighter, he rejoined the Auxiliary Fire Department and worked as a shoe salesperson for many years.
He was the son of the late Robert G. and Sophie (Edelstein) and the grandson of the late Isadore and Francis Edelstein. He is survived by two sisters, Cheryl A. Lopez of Chelsea and Sandra E. of Peabody. He was the brother of the late Robert F. and brother to Albert Brodsky. He is also survived by a son, Thomas P. and daughter, Tina Marie and her husband, Shane Robinson of New Hampshire. He leaves many nieces, nephews and four grandkids. He also leaves behind several best friends and cousins in the Massachusetts area.
Funeral Services were conducted at the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, as a promise to his late father, on Wednesday, July 2. Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made in the Edelstein’s name to the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home, 17 Lafayette Ave, Chelsea, MA 02150.
Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the care and direction of the Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Home.