Mrs. Alejandrina Rodriguez, a long-standing Chelsea resident and community activist, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Multidisciplinary Studies degree from Cambridge College recently.Her family wished her well and said they are very proud of her achievement. “I am so grateful to have such a blessing in my mother,” said the family. “She has been a role model for so many people in her community, including myself. It is to admire how she has achieved all these goals. Because of her, I am who she wants me to be, an educator. I have seen her work all these years, working day and night, striving to get to her classes after work, getting home late at night. She is unstoppable. She deserves the degree that she has obtained with all her effort. My mother is #1.”
For the second year in a row, Chelsea barbers pooled their resources to help young people in the community look sharp for school. Councillor Damali Vidot, Councillor Yamir Rodriguez, and barber Luis Rodriguez organized the event this year, with music and free haircuts for Chelsea kids at the Boys & Girls Club.
More than 50 kids got spruced up to start of the school year, which began on Tuesday, Aug. 29.
r of the community and executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative since 2006, is stepping down as the leader of the well-known agency whose headquarters are on Broadway.
Vega, who has earned victories for Chelsea residents against injustices and helped improve community-police relations, informed her friends and colleagues in a personal letter this week that she would be stepping down.
“The Collaborative has been my home for 29 years and the time has come for me to move on,” wrote Vega, adding that it has been “a tremendous honor to lead such a skilled and dedicated staff.”
City and state officials reacted with deep emotion that Vega, who has done so much to improve the qualify for life for residents and helped establish the Collaborative as a national model, would be calling it a career in the city.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino praised Vega as a tremendous advocate for residents who worked tirelessly on their behalf in important causes. Ambrosino said that Vega was “a true friend” to the city and a highly respected community organizer statewide.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico said that Gladys Vega “has been an outstanding advocate for the City of Chelsea and a champion for the many new residents from throughout the world who call Chelsea home.
“It has been a pleasure working with her over the years to serve the city and to enhance the social, environmental, and economic health of our community and its residents,” said DiDomenico.
Vega began her association with the Collaborative as a receptionist when executive director Edward Marakowitz headed the organization and it was located at 300 Broadway.
Vega’s passion for her work and the personable and professional manner in which she conducted herself became obvious to her colleagues. A 1985 graduate of Cheslea High School who had come to Chelsea from Puerto Rico when she was nine, Vega understood the challenges facing Latino residents and how to best help them grow and prosper in their new community.
Vega became the office manager and then worked as a tenant organizer. She showed her impeccable community organizing skills right away, fighting for tenants’ rights and gaining an important victory against an absentee landlord. Her organization has stood at the forefront advocating for immigrant families. The Collaborative became the go-to place for Chelsea youths seeking a summer job.
The question being asked by residents in all corners of the city is: Why is Gladys Vega leaving at the height of her power and name recognition and with the unmatched skills to rally people for important causes locally and nationally?
“I always told my family when I turn 50 years old (she celebrated her birthday at a large party in June), that I wanted to do something different because I feel the Collaborative has taken my social life away in a manner that all I do is work and be committed to the organization and the movement,” said Vega, who has two children, Melinda, 28, and Jerry, 21.
She spoke emotionally about the loss of her mother, Juanita Vega, who was a great inspiration in Gladys’s life. “There have been all these things that have happened in my life and I have never slowed down. I want to try a different job and leave myself time to help raise my two grandchildren. I have never been happier to have those two individuals in my life and I want to make sure that I don’t steal time from them like I stole from my two children.”
Vega also talked about health issues that she has had in the past but she happily reports to her many friends and supporters, “This year I’ve been in the best health. It’s been a very good year.”
There have been so many personal accomplishments during her brilliant reign as executive director, it was difficult for Vega to pinpoint one.
“But I’d say my biggest accomplishment was putting Latinos on the map and building a bridge between communities regardless where people come from and regardless of documentation,” said Vega. “To be able to put a passion in people that Chelsea is a great community to live in – we are a group of people that have worked very hard to build up Chelsea. Our movement has made history because our goals have always been to focus on the growth and betterment of Chelsea as a community.”
Vega lauded the many Chelsea administrators and community leaders that have helped the Collaborative succeed on its journey. She singled out the leadership of former city manager Jay Ash. Vega was front and center involving Latinos in city government when Ash ably piloted the total resurgence of Chelsea. She traveled with many others to Denver when Chelsea received the coveted All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
Many say that honor was Jay Ash’s finest hour as city manager and Gladys Vega was a valuable member of the team – its preeminent community organizer – that helped bring the city national recognition.
“We, those of us who care deeply about the community, worked with Jay Ash to help turn the city around,” said Vega.
She also spoke reverentially about the positive impact that Police Chief Brian Kyes has had in helping immigrants feel safe in the city.
“I love the fact that Chief Kyes gets the concept of diversity. I’ve worked very close with him and I know that people trust him and trust his leadership. I’m very proud to say that I was a part of the selection committee for chief and Chief Kyes has not let me down. I have been very impressed with his work and the police officers’ work in our community.”
Former Collaborative assistant executive director Roseann Bongiovanni and Colloborative President Rosalba Medina, a Chelsea Police detective, also drew plaudits from Vega.
“Roseann started at the Collaborative at the age of 19 – she was like my sister in the movement,” said Vega. “Little by little we kept working together until we built this environmental justice movement. Both of us learned together and worked very hard to build an environmental justice model that is the envy of other cities. We had more victories than we had losses.”
“It’s been an honor to work with Rosie Medina,” said Vega. “She has been a great liaison and partner in the Chelsea criminal justice system. Her leadership of our board has been outstanding.”
Vega said she worked closely with her cousin, Juan Vega, and community activist Tito Meza to help increase the number of Latino police officers in the department.
Vega regrets that she will not be continuing her work with current city manager Tom Ambrosino at the helm of Chelsea city government.
“As I think about moving on, I would have loved to have worked closer with him – my time with him has been brief, but it has been an amazing partnership. I think Tom, having been elected mayor of Revere, has a great sense of community organization and a sense of helping his constituents and listening to the people with a great level of professionalism. He treats everyone equally. I love what he has done as our city manager and I’m a huge fan of Tom Ambrosino – who has stated that there is no room for hate or injustice in the city.”
Vega will stay on board at the Collaborative until a successor is named. There will be a farewell celebration in December at the Homewood Suites Hotel in Chelsea.
City Council President Leo Robinson congratulated Vega on her successful tenure at the Collaborative, understanding that she has been one of the city’s most visible and most admired community leaders for three decades.
“Gladys Vega did a very good job for Chelsea residents and I wish her good health and good luck in all her future endeavors.”
Supt. Mary Bourque called on faculty and staff from around the district at her annual breakfast on Monday, Aug. 28, to lead students, families and the district to social justice.
“We are a district committed to ongoing improvement on behalf of our students and as such we have four schools implementing Turnaround Plans this year and five schools implementing Accelerated Improvement Plans,” she said. “We believe we can do better for our students and these plans are a reflection of where we will work to do a better job in the coming year. This is social justice… Our profession of education is one of leadership and service—service to young people and service to the next generation. Our work is about building the future. Our profession of ‘urban’ education is one of social justice. We open the doors of opportunity for our students.”
Her comments come one year after unveiling a new five-year plan for the district at last year’s breakfast.
A good part of her speech detailed some of the goals that have been met.
One major accomplishment laid out last year was the ability to get computers in the hands of students and to use them to focus on the new trend of student-centered learning. This year, she said a major part of that goal of getting computers – or one-to-one technology – has been accomplished.
“We expanded our technology initiative and proudly boast that we now have one-to-one devices in grades 2-12,” said Bourque.
Other initiatives achieved and pointed out in the plan included:
We expanded our Caminos dual enrollment program at the ELC and will continue to expand annually.
We continue to build the internal and external pipelines and career ladders for future teachers and administrators with our partnerships with Lesley, Endicott, and Harvard Colleges to name a few.
At Chelsea High School (CHS) the district successfully initiated the biliteracy credential and 11 graduating seniors received the award upon graduation in June.
At CHS, Advance Placement scores show a 4 percent increase in qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5 from 32 percent last year to 36 percent of AP tests administered this year.
Another major achievement she pointed out was the growth in the dual enrollment program with Bunker Hill Community College.
She said in 2017, CHS graduates earned 1,162 college credits equaling 385 courses during their years at CHS and while working on their high school diploma.
“That was a savings of over $200,000 on college tuition and fees and over $50,000 on books,” she said. “Does anyone doubt that we will be offering a pathway for students to complete their Associate’s Degree at the same time they are receiving their high school diploma from Chelsea High by June 30, 2021? Let us be the first high school in the State to offer this pathway.”
Going back to her theme of social justice, Bourque said the times are very uncertain, and with teachers and staff in the Chelsea Schools leading on a social justice mission, they are also leading in accordance with the district’s mission.
“Our foundational beliefs center around our mission statement: ‘We welcome and educate ALL students,’” she said. “This is social justice in action, to welcome and educate– inclusive of all– to seek equity in educational opportunities for career and college success for each and every student…
“As a school system, our goal remains to ensure all of our students graduate with the skills, confidence, and habits of mind they need to be successful in college, career, and life,” she continued. “We have no misplaced compassion for our students. We hold them to the same standards of excellence as all other students in our State of Massachusetts are held to. This is Chelsea Public Schools’ social justice.”
City officials and consultants for the Re-Imagining Broadway effort will take one of their most controversial suggestions to the business community on Broadway today, Aug. 31, prompting a discussion about making Broadway a two-way street.
The six-month planning effort has come up with numerous suggestions about how to improve the corridor, but at the top of those suggestions is the idea about taking Broadway from a one-way to a two-way.
The street has been in its current configuration for more than a generation, and few remember the last time it was moving differently.
However, count City Manager Tom Ambrosino as a convert to the idea.
“I think it will be transformative and make a large difference for the downtown’s flavor,” he said. “I think we can do it. Put me down as a huge proponent. It could dramatically improve the safety of the corridor by slowing down traffic considerably. I think it would look a lot prettier. The drawings have a very interesting iteration of a two-way Broadway.”
Ambrosino said this month that after the meeting with the downtown stakeholders, including the businesses, they would come up with a decision on the matter.
All downtown business owners and employees are invited to attend the meeting, which takes place at 9 a.m. at the Greenhouse Apartments Community Room, 154 Pearl St.
A Leominster man was arraigned Monday on charges he took part in the shooting of another man in Chelsea last weekend.
Juan Oliva, 27, of Leominster, was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges of armed assault in a dwelling, armed assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and carrying a loaded firearm.
Prosecutors requested bail of $25,000 and orders that Oliva wear a GPS monitor, abide by a curfew, and stay away and have no contact with witnesses in the event he is to be released on bail. Judge Matthew Nestor imposed bail of $5,000 and ordered Oliva to submit to GPS monitoring and stay away from the victim’s home and from the hospital where the victim is receiving treatment. He was also ordered to stay away and have no contact with a second man sought in connection with the shooting.
Chelsea Police and State Police detectives assigned to Conley’s office responded to a Carter Street residence shortly before midnight Saturday after a man had been shot during an altercation with Oliva and a second man.
According to prosecutors, Oliva and another man travelled to the Carter Street residence to confront the victim about an alleged assault of another individual that had occurred earlier that day. Oliva and the victim became involved in a physical altercation, during which the second man shot him, prosecutors said. The victim was struck in the leg and lower torso.
The victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, and he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.
Chelsea and State police identified Oliva during the investigation that followed. With the help of the Leominster Police Department, Oliva’s vehicle was located at his residence yesterday morning and he was taken into custody.
Chelsea Police and State Police assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office responded Wednesday afternoon to an unattended death on Webster Avenue, where an adult male was found deceased in a vehicle outside his home.
Based on the presence of an unknown white powder on the deceased’s body, a Fire Department hazardous materials team responded and took a sample that is currently being transported to a state lab for testing.
It was the first time that the Police Department has used new protocols from Chief Brian Kyes to handle Fentanyl situations. That came after two officers were sent to the hospital with complications after being exposed to Fentanyl during an incident this month.
SLASHED IN THE FACE
On Aug. 17, at 1:03 a.m., Officers were flagged down by a witness in the area near Bellingham Square. The witness stated that a male was stabbed near 196 Shurtleff St. Officers responded and spoke to th victim who stated that he was “hanging out” with a female when a male party approached and pulled out a butterfly style knife and subsequently slashed the victim across the face.
The victim was transported to MGH Boston for a laceration to his face.
During the investigation it was revealed that all parties knew each other and a suspect was placed into custody.
Rigoberto Ramirez, 39, of 23 Eleanor St., was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem, and carrying a dangerous weapon (second offense).
ASSAULTED ELDERLY MAN
On Aug. 25, at 3:59 p.m., officers responded to a fight in progress at Broadway and Second St. Upon arrival, the suspect was observed fleeing the scene. After a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was placed into custody for assault on a person over 60. The victim was treated for injuries at CHA Everett.
Kirk Crowley, 49, of 855 Broadway, was charged with assault and battery on a person 60 or over.
BREAKING AND ENTERING
On Aug. 19, at 6:14 a.m., a break into a motor vehicle was reported at 113 Cook Ave. The victim provided the suspects’ descriptions to officers. While canvasing the area, officers encountered a suspect who took off on foot in opposite directions. After a foot pursuit, the subject was placed into custody. Three credit cards, and iPhone 6S, $70 USC, and a pocket knife were located on his person.
A 15-year-old juvenile from Everett was charged with breaking and entering in the day for a felony, receiving a stolen credit card, and carrying a dangerous weapon.
HIT IN HEAD WITH BOTTLE
One Aug. 26, at 2:50 a.m., police responded to an Assault at the Wyndham Hotel, located at 201 Maple St. Victim was located outside the hotel. He had sustained a severe laceration to the back of his head. The victim stated that he was assaulted by several male parties outside of room #501, one of which struck him in the back of the head with a bottle. The victim subsequently was transported to MGH Boston for treatment. After further investigation, three suspects were placed into custody.
Daniel Prito, 27, of 201 Everett Ave.,; Adalberto Pineda, 24, of Malden; and Eric Romero, 24, of Malden; were all charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
ROBBED AT KNIFEPOINT
On Aug. 18, at 2:39 a.m., a victim flagged down Officers in the area near Fourth Street and Pearl Street. The victim stated that he was robbed at knife point by two male and two female parties. The suspects attempted to steal his money, but were only able to get his car keys before fleeing the scene.
The victim suffered a minor laceration to a finger, which he was treated on scene by EMS. After further investigation, three individuals were placed into custody. A warrant has been obtained for the fourth person involved.
Stephen Panzino, 39, of Everett; Johnna Grimaldi, 34, of Everett; and Michael Alden, 43, of Reading; were all charged with armed robbery and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.
Alexandria Andrades, 26, 16 Bryant St. Everett, was arrested for assault and battery on a police officer, reckless operation of motor vehicle, failure to stop for police, speeding and stop sign violation.
Tia Tavares, 25, 70 Shawmut St., Chelsea, was arrested on warrants.
Josue Estrada, 33, 55 Heard St., Chelsea, was arrested for larceny from building.
Matthew White, 25, 366 Vane St., Revere, was arrested on unarmed robbery.
Rigoberto Ramirez, 39, 23 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, mayhem and dangerous carrying a dangerous weapon,(2nd offense).
Egno Wilva, 26, 22 H igh St., Everett, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer, and warrants.
Stephen Panzino, 39, 295 Chelsea St., Everett, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and armed robbery.
Johnna Grimaldi, 34, 161 Union St., Everett, was arrested for assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and armed robbery.
Michael Alden, 43, 122 Village St., Reading, was arrested for armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and warrant.
It may be hard to believe, but the summer of 2017 is entering its final week as we approach the traditional Labor Day weekend.
“Time and tide wait for no man,” said the poet. The calendar never lies and soon the summer of ‘17 will be just a memory. The college kids already have returned and many of our public schools already have opened this week.
Although it would be nice if the temperatures were just a bit warmer, none of us really can complain about the gorgeous weather we have been enjoying these past two weeks, with abundant sunshine and temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. And with ocean water temperatures locally in the 65-degree range, conditions have been ideal for a swim or a quick dip after work.
With the summer season winding down to just a few precious days, we fully understand the sentiments of those who might express the refrain, “If this is the last, let’s make it a blast.”
We certainly do not wish to rain on anyone’s parade, so to speak, but we would be remiss if we did not urge our readers that if they intend to have a good time, they should do so safely, both for themselves and their loved ones.
Excessive drinking does not mix with anything — whether it be boating, driving, water sports, hiking, bicycling, or just about any activity that requires some degree of coordination and observance of the rules of safety.
The newspapers and news reports will be full of tragic stories over the weekend of those who died or were seriously injured in accidents that could have been avoided had excessive drinking not been involved. We must do our part to ensure that none of our loved ones — let alone ourselves — are among those inevitable sad statistics.
We wish all of our readers a happy — and safe — Labor Day weekend.
Many of us are just shocked as the reports of continued destruction from Hurricane Harvey keep coming in from the Houston, Texas area. The fourth largest city in the United States is being virtually destroyed before our eyes by Mother Nature.
For those of us who have relatives in the affected areas, their message was as follows: “As of three hours ago we are still in our homes and the water has not reached us yet.” The speed and duration of the storm has caught all by surprise. The National Weather Service has run out of colors to show how much rain has fallen in certain areas. In the end, all agree that it will be years for this area to recover from a storm that will have lasted about five days.
Looking at the destruction from this super storm, one needs only look around our community to see similar, if not worse, destruction that is awaiting us. Communities such as Revere are just about entirely under sea level. Winthrop has only two ways out of town, and both are over the water. The New England Produce Center in Chelsea and Everett that supplies most of the fresh foods to the entire Northeast and parts of Canada would be destroyed by flooding either from a tidal surge or just rainfall amounts that a storm like Harvey has generated. Areas of East Boston along Boston Harbor are prone to flood regularly, not to mention what a Harvey would do. And the Back Bay and Downtown areas of Boston that are just slightly above sea level would be destroyed by a super storm like Harvey or Sandy.
Unfortunately, experts predict that there is no longer an “if,” but a “when” we will be hit by super storm.
There is very little that can be done, given that many of the areas in our communities now have hard surfaces, such as roads and sidewalks, that prevent natural drainage of excessive rains. Between rising sea levels and developments in the last few vacant parcels, we are a disaster waiting to happen.
However, there are certain measures that can be taken to minimize the effects of destruction. Location of utility services such electricity should be placed not in the basement, but on the top floors of houses that are in flood plain areas. We need to make sure that the water drainage can flow quickly from the catch basins in flood plains to the marshlands that surround communities.
Some of these measures will require a monetary commitment by either the state or federal government to implement. But as we plan for future developments and infrastructure repairs, we urge our elected leaders to look at ways to get the funds that will mitigate the disaster that will come from a hurricane.
Today, elected leaders from our communities are asking for donations from residents to be sent to the victims of Harvey. We urge all to give what they can, as this is the only tangible help that we can offer at this time.
Officers Sammy Mojica, Joanne O’Brien and Sgt. John Noftle used the Copsicle truck this week to help save a man suffering from diabetic shock. Ironically, the popsicle came from the man’s own business – where police purchase their ice cream for the truck.
Call it the caper of the Ironic Ice Cream.
And the Chelsea Police were right on time to solve it.
Police reported that on Monday as they were preparing to set up for the Eclipse Party at City Hall, one of the duties was to get the Copsicle Truck and go get popsicles and ice cream from Rosev Dairy on Griffin Way.
It’s what the officers usually do when they prepare the new Police and community sponsored ice cream truck, but this time was different.
Officer Sammy Mojica, Sgt. John Noftle and Officer Joanne O’Brien were on their way back from filling the truck when they spotted an officer who had stopped a car going the wrong way in front of City Hall.
Mojica recognized the man as one of the owners of Rosev Dairy.
Officers quickly realized the man was diabetic and he was head-on into severe diabetic shock.
He needed sugar, and he needed it quick.
And the three officers just happened to have a truck full of sugary ice cream fresh from that very man’s dairy.
The three quickly secured a popsicle and gave it to him. After a few minutes, he stabilized and was taken for treatment.
It was quite a save.
“I went in the truck and got an ice cream we had just purchased from this man’s business,” he said. “So the man from Rosev Dairy was saved by Rosev Dairy, via the Copsicle Truck. That’s a good story.”