Opioid and prescription drug abuse is on the rise in Massachusetts and has been for awhile. In the month of January, there were several overdoses in this area. Fortunately first responders arrived to assist many of these individuals by administering Narcan.
We urge Governor Charlie Baker not to debate the word “cuts” and let the $5 million be added to the budget to increase the number of substance abuse counselors in the state. The funding of Narcan and the training programs for individuals who administer Narcan must be increased.
In our region we know of deaths that are occurring due to opiate overdoses. Substance abuse is a very serious problem facing numerous families.
The $5 million the Governor is looking to save is miniscule in relation to the $32 billion state budget. Certainly opioid abuse is an issue that can’t wait until tomorrow to be addressed. The Governor said that this issue would be a top priority in his administration. Attorney General Maura Healey is leading an effort to address opioid and prescription drug abuse. We hope these two newly elected state officials can work together – with the right amount of funding – to fully combat the problem.
Mahatmi Gandhi once said, “A nation’s greatness is measure by how it treats its weakest members.”
And this issue is an example of the message that Gandhi was trying to convey.
When the Bruins began their recent three-game homestand last Saturday, the feeling was that with a solid home record of 16-6-4, the taste of home cooking would be a plus. They knew they needed to pick up some points and improve their hold on the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference standings. After all, coming off a very productive month of January, things would continue to keep getting better in February for Boston. Wrong, the team suddenly finds themselves with a single win in their last four games, (2-1 New York Islanders 2/4).
Following Tuesday night’s 5-3 loss to the Dallas Stars, it was obvious that feelings of negativity have started to creep back into the Bruins’ dressing room. Coach Claude Julien didn’t hold back in his assessment of what the major issues are – “I think carelessness is one of them. Lack of…poor work ethic on the power play. When you looked at even the second goal, you know, our coming back and our two guys back there are just flat-footed and just kind of lackadaisical and very soft, and real disappointing that our power play was like that tonight. So, we only have ourselves to look at and blame ourselves for this, not only the power play, but this loss. I don’t think we have enough guys right now playing to their, I guess to their abilities to win hockey games, and that’s been going on now. Like even if we won against the Islanders that’s been going on for at least four games where this month we don’t have enough guys going and we have a lot of guys that are very average for what’s expected of them and I got a good handful of those today.”
Defenseman Dougie Hamilton remarked on the power play that surrendered two shorthanded goals, after not having allowed a single shorthanded goal in the previous 53 contests. “Obviously not good when you give up shorthanded goals. I think we had some chances, but obviously the bounces went the other way, and it wasn’t a help for us.” When questioned about the team’s work ethic, his take was: “I think everyone was obviously frustrated by everything. I think it was just some bounces, a little bit no effort, and it’s obviously frustrating right now. It’s frustration, I think, from losing and effort and everything. So, obviously that’s what happens when you’re losing. We just kind of have to get back to where we were, winning and feeling good about ourselves. When you’re feeling so good, and everything is positive, and it kind of all goes the other way again…a lot of negativity in the room, I guess, this last weekend. And that’s what happens when you’re losing, and we have to find a way to change that obviously this road trip.”
Captain Zdeno Chara was asked about whether bad habits have crept back into the team. He responded with, “No, it is something that we have to sort it out. We know that we have been better the last little while but again the last two, three games again, we started to have mental breakdowns and started drifting away from the game plan. That is something we can’t go back to again. I think it is a combination of maybe a number of things. It is hard to really point at one thing. We know that when we play a certain way we are pretty effective and when we are not, we start doing something different and that is how we get into trouble. A lot of times we need better effort, we need better urgency, we need better mental focus. It is just a combination of all of those things.
Patrice Bergeron was both brief and direct in stating, “This team’s not in trouble. We obviously, just got to go back to what’s given us success in January and that’s it. Tuukka Rask, who relieved Niklas Svedberg and played two periods against the Stars, addressed the ‘negativity’ question with, “Well, I’m not going to start chirping my teammates. But everybody who watches the games and follow our hockey can make their own assessment. We just keep going back to the same mistakes we used to do and not keeping our heads in the game. If we don’t fix that now, it’s going to be too late pretty soon. So hopefully we don’t have to talk about it anymore.” Along with the thoughts of negativity creeping in, it was pretty evident that several players were of the mind that going on the road at this time, was probably a good thing for the team – so much for the ‘home cooking’ advantage!
The upcoming five-game road trip begins on Friday at Vancouver (2/13 @ 10:00pm), on to Calgary (2/16 @ 9:00pm), Edmonton (2/18 @ 10:00pm), St. Louis (2/20 @ 8:00pm), ending in Chicago, (2/22 @ 3:00pm).
Red Devils defeat
Essex Tech, 75-59
The Chelsea High boys basketball team kept its record at the .500 mark, the winning percentage needed to qualify for the post-season state tourney, with a 75-59 triumph over Essex Tech Friday evening at the CHS gym.
Essex came into the contest with the Red Devils, who now are 7-7, with an 8-4 record and battled Chelsea evenly through the first half. The Red Devils held slim leads of 16-13 and 34-29 at the first two junctures, but soon assumed control of the contest after the intermission, moving out to a 55-41 advantage after three frames.
Senior captain Eric Flores led all scorers with 23 points and sophomore Chris Torres enjoyed a break-out game with 19 points. Angel Alvarez also reached double figures with 14 points. Guillermo Zelata made a nice contribution with seven points, followed by Jahro Marshall and Moises Casado with three points each, and the duo of Eric Fernandez and Dom Hightower with two points apiece.
“We played very well at the offensive end, although our defense could have been better,” said CHS head coach Jay Seigal.
Two nights earlier the Red Devils dropped a 58-46 decision to a strong Arlington Catholic team. Flores paced Chelsea with 14 points, followed by Torres with eight, Casado with seven, Alvarez with six, Tyek Carter with five, and the trio of Fernandez, Alicea, and C.J. Sanabria with two apiece.
“Arlington Catholic is a very good team,” noted Seigal. “They have speed in the backcourt and size up front, which gave us some tough match ups.”
The Red Devils play at archival Revere tonight (Wednesday) for a 7:00 tip-off. They host Shawsheen Tech Friday at 7:00 for Senior Night and then will make up a game with Greater Lawrence Saturday afternoon at the CHS gym at 1:00. They trek to Greater Lowell Monday, to Whittier Tuesday, and to Arlington Catholic Wednesday.
Seigal and his crew need three wins in those final six contests to qualify for the tourney and and still have a shot at a CAC Large title if they can beat Greater Lawrence and Greater Lowell.
Persevered with lifelong challenges and needs and the love and devotion of a caring family
Michelle B. Pizzano passed away on February 6 at the Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River after a very brief illness. She was 46 years old.
Born in Everett, she was the beloved daughter of Olivette M. (Dion) Pizzano and the late Frederick Pizzano.
From the time of her birth, Michelle persevered with difficult lifelong challenges and needs. She remained in the family home in Revere where she received the love and devotion of her caring family. For the past 30 years she was in residence at Crystal Springs in Assonet, a long-term care and special needs school facility.
She is survived by her devoted mother Olivette M. Pizzano and her dear sister and brother-in-law Elisa and Dennis Brelsford, all of Revere. She was the cherished aunt of Adam Brelsford and his wife, Crystal, Seth Brelsford and his wife, Kelly and Keith Brelsford; adored great aunt of Adam Jr., Alexander, Aaron, Morgan, Benjamin and Payton Brelsford. She is also survived by several aunts, uncles and cousins.
Her funeral will begin from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea today, Thursday, February 12 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at the Immaculate Conception Church, 133 Beach St., Revere. Services will conclude with interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to “Crystal Springs School Inc., 38 Narrows Road Assonet, MA 02702 or by visiting http://www.crystalspringsinc.org/donate-now/ For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit: www.WelshFuneralHome.com
Coca Cola retiree; bartender, transported Bridgewell special needs students
Michael J. Cornetta passed away suddenly on February 4 at the North Shore Medical Center Union Hospital in Lynn after a sudden and unexpected illness. He was 64 years old.
Born in Winthrop, he was the beloved son of Benjamin Cornetta of Deltona, FL. and the late Evelyn V. (Chiano) Cornetta. He grew up in Revere, graduated from Revere High School and continued his education at Massachusetts College of Art where he received an associate’s degree in the arts.
Michael worked as a forklift operator for the Coca-Cola Company in Waltham, retiring in 2013. Most recently he worked chauffeuring special needs students for “Bridgewell” in Lynnfield. He also worked as a bartender for various local establishments such as Jacob’s Ladder, The Chandlery, The Speak Easy, the Dublin and Companions. He enjoyed telling many interesting stories, golf and fishing.
In addition to his father, he is survived by his beloved wife and companion for 25 years, Linda G. (Bowers) Cornetta. He was the loving father of Derek Brent Cornetta of Orlando, FL; dear brother and brother-in-law of Frederick Cornetta, Diane MacDonald and her husband, James, all of Deltona, FL, Karen Conrad and her husband, Michael of Chelsea, and Debbie Dennis of Plaistow, NH. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend a Memorial Funeral Mass on Saturday, February 14 at a time to be announced at St. Rose Church, 600 Broadway Chelsea. Should friends desire, contributions in Michael’s memory may be made to “Bridgewell”, 471 Broadway, Lynnfield, MA 01940. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com
Chelsea Firefighters from the Mill Hill Station were on the run last Sunday, jumping from a 3-alarm fire in Revere to a 2-alarm fire on Broadway Chelsea.
On Sunday, February 1st, at 1:20 p.m., the fire department responded to the report of a building fire at 759 Broadway. Engine 3 and Ladder 2 were first to arrive on scene from the Mill Hill Station and reported smoke showing from the 2nd floor. The crews from Engine 3 and Ladder 2 had just returned to the station a couple of hours prior to this call from assisting the Revere Fire Department battle a 3-alarm fire.
Deputy Chief Robert Zalewski arrived on scene and upgraded the incident to a “Working Fire” which brought Chelsea Tower 1 and Chelsea Engine 1 to the scene. Deputy Zalewski quickly ordered a 2nd Alarm, as the fire was burning through the exterior walls in the occupied six-unit building.
The fire operation was further complicated due to a pick up truck blocking access to a fire hydrant on Broadway which delayed getting water to Engine 3.
Crews worked for more than an hour to extinguish the fire. All 6 families were displaced from the fire and relocated by the Red Cross. No occupants were injured.
Mutual Aid was called in from Everett, Revere, Malden, Winthrop, Somerville, and Medford to assist Chelsea firefighters control the fire. Boston Engine 5 and Boston Ladder 21 covered Central Station while Somerville Engine 2 covered the Mill Hill Station.
The City Council will meet on Monday and try to do some catch up after having had to cancel two previous meetings due to snow emergencies.
The two snow cancellations corresponded with what was expected to be the first two important votes in moving along the process for hiring a new city manager. On Jan. 26, the Council was expected to vote on a document to hand out to prospective applicants, and on Feb. 2, the Council was expected to vote on a committee charged with selecting the Screening Committee.
Neither of those votes took place, and with more snow predicted on this coming Monday, Council President Leo Robinson said emergency measure might need to be taken.
“We’re going to meet Monday night and try to take up all the business we missed,” he said. “We’re hoping we can meet and not get snowed out again. We’ll have to call for a special meeting if we do because we need to get the Screening Committee going and we need to approve the planning document so we can start getting some applications in.”
Robinson said once the Council has voted on the group of Councillors charged with choosing the Screening Committee, he doesn’t see it as a long process.
He said many folks in the community have already begun submitting applications and names to be considered for the committee.
“We’re going to be able to make up the time we lost and this won’t set us back,” he said. “Once the special committee selects the Screening Committee – which should only take about two meetings – they’ll start meeting with the Collins Center to review and receive resumes. I don’t think it will take that long to do.”
The Council is expected to meet on Monday, Feb. 9.
Board Chair Malcolm MacColl, Young Mother’s Director Rosie Munoz-Lopez and Roca CEO Molly Baldwin.
When it comes to Roca, the spotlight on the award-winning Chelsea organization often falls upon success stories it’s had with at-risk young men trying to avoid jail.
That spotlight rarely falls on what was originally the mission of Roca – to assist at-risk young mothers. Last Thursday, following some renovations to a new space, the Young Mother’s program held an open house to remind everyone of the important work that has been and continues to be a second priority of the heralded organization.
“If Roca is going to fulfill its mission long term, it’s got to do so by doing for both,” said Roca Board Chair Malcolm McColl. “The board has a strong, strong commitment to the Young Mother’s program…We think this program is absolutely critical. We should be helping people and not just genders. A community is often defined by the strength of its women…The fact of the matter is, there is great wisdom to that. High risk young men are an important cause, but we also believe in building up the young women as well.”
On Thursday, Rosie Munoz-Lopez, director of the program, talked about the important gains made by many of the participants – including getting diplomas, driver’s licenses, and parenting help.
Latisha Rezendes told the crowd she has participated in virtually every program Roca has offered, and it has taken her from a life on the fringes to one where she is attending school part-time, working part-time and raising her daughter full time.
“Thanks to Roca, I’ve done a lot of things I wouldn’t have done and avoided being on the streets,” she said. “The programs here and the people here have changed my life. Roca’s mission is to help at-risk young mothers depart from the cycle of incarceration and poverty…and that’s exactly what they did for me. They helped me find a job and to make better money.”
Lilian Pineda, 20, said she had participated in Roca once before, but left the program. She found that she wasn’t doing anything with her life and had no goals.
It was then that she came back to Roca.
“Honestly, I think I would be struggling if I hadn’t come back – going job to job to job an don’t knowing what’s right for me,” she said. “They have helped my son a lot. He needed help with speech and he’s learned a lot here…They’ve always helped me here and you get used to everybody and it becomes like a family. Right now, I do maintenance work here, but my goal is to take everything I’ve learned here and find a job outside of Roca and continue on from here. I have my driver’s permit now and my goal now is to learn to drive.”
However, Pineda hinted that maybe her eventual career might be helping young mothers like herself get back on their feet.
“I hope that maybe one day I can come back here and work as a counselor,” she said. “You see a lot here. You see how you can change people’s lives and I’d like to do that.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes said this week that he considers the officer that shot an armed suspect to have conducted himself in a heroic fashion early Sunday morning, but that in today’s new world surrounding officer-involved shootings, he has moved to be utterly transparent and investigate the shooting both inside the department and outside the department.
“In my opinion, this is a different world now with any officer-involved shooting and we want to be as transparent as we can,” he said. “Some departments might choose to investigate this within their department only. What I chose to do is have an independent, outside agency like the State Police investigate the officer-involved shooting in parallel with our own internal investigation…Based on all the facts I have, including witness testimony and video evidence…, I’m fully confident the officer did exactly what he had to do and in all reality I think he is a hero for what he did that night. Based on the evidence, I’m very proud of the entire shift and in particular the three officers that were right there.”
The suspect, who had opened fire on a car around 12:30 a.m. Sunday on Broadway, is still being held under 24-hour police guard at Mass General Hospital to treat one bullet wound to the lower chest area.
The man charged is Igor Peulic, 32, of Chelsea.
Kyes said he is being treated for his wounds, but would be arraigned on several firearms charges once he is medically cleared.
According to Kyes, as the bars were emptying out around 12:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, the suspect and a friend came from the direction of Tu Casa Restaurant. It is still uncertain if the two were in that establishment, but it is possible that they were there.
At the same time, a motor vehicle drove down Broadway and turned at 4th Street.
According to video evidence, the friend crossed the street to the vicinity of the Chelsea Walk Pub.
The suspect appeared to have something in his hand, and then dropped it in the street.
As he picked it up, police said that they observed his hand raise up and fire three rounds.
Kyes said they aren’t sure who the shots were meant for, whether it was the turning motor vehicle or a parked car that fled the scene.
“It’s unclear with any degree of certainty whether he was shooting up Broadway to the car at 4th Street,” said the chief.
What is certain is that two police cruisers stationed in Bellingham Square immediately heard the gunshots and rushed to the scene.
Police exited their cruisers and located the suspect fleeing down the Chelsea Walk.
One officer was hot on the trail, just about 10 paces behind the suspect, observing him carrying a firearm that Kyes described as a “canon.” The suspect held the .357 revolver in his right hand as he ran up Cherry Street and to 5th Street.
Simultaneously, an officer stationed in the parking lot of City Hall heard the radio calls and deduced that the suspect would soon be heading up Chestnut Street towards City Hall.
The officer then drove his cruiser halfway down Chestnut Street, parked it and – lo and behold – observed the suspect running up the street right towards him.
Kyes said the officer – who wishes to remain anonymous to protect himself and is now on paid administrative leave – exited the cruiser and drew his firearm.
“He ordered the individual to drop the gun twice,” said Kyes. “’Drop the gun, drop the gun’ he said. The individual rushed toward the officer. He ran toward the direction of the officer and he raised the gun in his right hand in the direction of the officer, leaving the officer no choice but to fire. He fired three rounds and one hit the suspect in the lower right chest area. The other two rounds hit a brick wall. The suspect went down and the officer approached him. The gun was on the ground and the suspect reached for the gun while he was on the ground, but the officer stopped him and called immediately for medical aid.”
Kyes said officers really have no choice when a gun is raised in their direction, and he said he was proud the officer shot to disarm rather than to kill.
“Some people think police draw their gun and shoot all the time and it’s not the case,” he said. “In my 28 years, I’ve never fired my gun at anybody. If you had 100 officers, 99 of them probably haven’t fired at anyone. You draw your gun when there’s a reason to do so. When a suspect raises a gun in the direction of an officer, that’s pretty scary. He really left the officer no choice…We never shoot to kill; we shoot to stop. That’s what this officer did. He knocked the suspect down and I have every reason to believe the suspect will survive.”
Kyes said the situation occurs at a time when police-involved shooting are at an all-time high for public and professional scrutiny. He said his department wants to prove to the public, and everyone else, that they have acted above reproach and train never to shoot unless absolutely necessary.
“You train, train, train as a police officer and hope to never be put in that situation, but when you are, you have to act and your training takes over,” he said. “You hope a suspect doesn’t put you in that position. You have an obligation to go home to your family.”
In addition to the DA’s investigation, an examination of this event is also being conducted by the Chelsea Police Department’s Professional Standards Division – Critical Incident Review Team. This review will focus on existing policy, tactics, and training as they relate to the use of force in this situation. Kyes said there was no timeline for the investigation, and it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a month.
Anyone with any information regarding this incident – or any other in the City of Chelsea – is reminded and strongly encouraged to provide it to the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817 or Chelsea Police Department by calling the 24-hour CrimeStoppers tip line at 617-466-4880. Callers may remain anonymous if they wish. Tips can also be submitted through the Chelsea Police Department’s website at www.chelseapolice.com. The Chelsea Police Department MYPD app is also available for Smartphone applications such as Apple and Android.
Joan Cromwell, president of the Chelsea Black Community, is part of the planning committee for its Black History Month celebration event Feb. 26 at Chelsea High School.
Chelsea Black Community (CBC) president Joan Cromwell hopes to make the organization’s upcoming Black History Month event fun, festive and educational.
“For the second year, we’re having a community Black History Month celebration,” said Crowmell, whose family [Smith-Cromwell] history in Chelsea dates back more than a century.
The event, which has a theme of “A Community of Unity,” will be held on Feb. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Chelsea High School. The large turnout at the first celebration at the Chelsea Public Library necessitated CBC to find a larger venue.
“We plan to have a lot of things going on – video slide shows honoring people of Chelsea, a multi-cultural fashion show with students modeling their nation’s clothing, youth and adult speakers, local artists, jewelry and perfume vendors, arts and crafts, Henna tattooing and food.”
The REACH dancers will perform at the speaking program that will begin at 7 p.m.
The CBC event planning committee includes: Henry Wilson, Shirley Thompson, Debra Washington, Paula Cromwell, Beverly Martin, Councilor-at-Large Calvin Brown, Dakeya Christmas, and Michael Mason.
City Council President Leo Robinson, the Rev. Sandra Whitley, and BHCC Associate Dean Sharon Caulfield are among the dignitaries who are expected to attend the celebration.
“The Chelsea community has changed a lot in the past 20-30 years,” said Cromwell. “The population has grown and we want to make sure that everyone is included in this celebration.”
The event is free of charge. There will be raffle drawings.
Senator Sal DiDomenico has been appointed by Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst) to serve as Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ways and Means. This powerful Committee is responsible for putting together the Senate Fiscal Budget each year, and for vetting legislation concerning many key subjects. The position also gives Senator DiDomenico a seat on the Conference Committee that will negotiate the Legislature’s final budget.
“I am honored to have been appointed to this key leadership role,” said Senator Sal DiDomenico. “I look forward to working with Senate President Rosenberg, Chairwoman Spilka, and Committee members on many issues that are not only important to my constituents, but to the residents of the Commonwealth as a whole.”
His new leadership post represents a step up for the Senator from last session, when he served as Assistant Vice Chair of the Ways and Means Committee. He will also serve on the Joint Committee on Election Laws and on the Committee on Ethics.