Hundreds of friends, family, former high school classmates, and co-workers paid their respects to Trina Louise Wilkerson during memorial observances at the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Malden.
Trina passed away unexpectedly on March 6. She was 45 years old.
Reggie Wilkerson, her older brother and one of Chelsea High’s greatest quarterbacks, said he appreciated the many people who came out to pay tribute to his sister’s beautiful life.
Trina was a lifelong supporter of Reggie’s and the caretaker of the well-known Wilkerson family.
“Trina was a great little sister, the best,” said Reggie. “She was always there for me. She took care of our family, and that was so important. She took so much care of everybody in our family.”
Reggie and Trina participated in Chelsea Pop Warner together, he as a football player, she as a cheerleader.
Trina was an amazing party organizer and loved being around people. She uplifted others with her smile and kind words.
When Irena Wilkerson, Reggie and Trina’s beloved mother, passed away, Trina decided to organize a party to honor her and donate the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Reggie helped out, to be sure, but Trina was the planner who took care of the details to insure the success of the event, making sure that everyone had a good time.
Reggie said he will carry on with the fifth annual fundraiser – in memory of Irena Wilkerson and Trina Wilkerson – and host the benefit this Saturday, March 30, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Merritt Club.
Paying their respects
One of the many friends who turned out for the tribute to Trina Wilkerson was Phunk Phenomenon Dance Studio owner Reia Briggs Connor.
“Reia was one of my sister’s best friends,” said Reggie. “Reia, my sister, and I used to take dance lessons together at Genevieve’s. I was a dancer, too. We used to wear our little costumes.”
City Councillors Leo Robinson and Calvin Brown joined other local dignitaries in paying their respects to Trina.
“Just a great young lady,” said Calvin Brown. “I’m so fortunate to having gotten to know Trina and her beautiful family. We have lost a great person, someone who loved Chelsea and gave back to her community.”
Also turning out for the memorial observances in Malden were Trina’s co-workers at Hyde Park Community Center.
“My sister was a youth counselor in Boston, so there were a lot of youths whom my sister mentored during their childhood – they spoke at the services,” said Reggie. “It was very touching to hear their stories and how much they loved my sister and what she did to help them succeed in their lives. I was like, ‘wow, for real?’
Reggie said during the observances a gentleman approached him and said, “Your sister (Trina) helped my daughter so much. She suffered from low self-esteem, her confidence level was low and she didn’t believe in her artwork. He said to me, ‘your sister mentored her and she raised her confidence level and she got my daughter to believe in her work.
“And Reggie, I want to tell you that because of Trina, my daughter was accepted to the school of her choice – and we owe this all to your sister.”
Heartwarming stories like that about Trina – a 2017 recipient of the CBC’s prestigious Chelsea Trailblazer Award – have helped Reggie and the family during this difficult time.
“Trina did so much for kids and the community in general,” said Reggie proudly. “I want to carry on her legacy of caring and kindness and her generosity of spirit.”
Night Shift Brewery announced this week that it is venturing beyond beer and into the coffee market – and they plan to roast their coffee in Chelsea.
Co-Founder Michael Oxton said the company will have equipment installed at their Chelsea corporate headquarters to begin roasting coffee beans for the new operation.
The announcement came on the eve of the opening of Night Shift’s new Lovejoy Wharf location in Boston, which serves as the stepping off point for new venture into coffee and coffee roasting.
“We added coffee now and will be roasting our own beans very soon in Chelsea with our own roasting equipment,” he said. “We’re trying to get it up and running and we expect that very soon. Right now we are contract roasting it with a company in Rhode Island, but we’ll be doing it ourselves very soon.”
Like having a discriminating palate for beers, Oxton said he and his colleagues at Night Shift also have a taste for good coffee. They had always wanted to try making their own, and with the new venture, they thought now would be the time.
He said it’s something they will grow slowly, introducing it in Boston and seeing how the public perceives it.
However, the plans are to eventually introduce it at the original Everett taproom as well.
“We’ll be starting it off at Lovejoy, but we’ll be looking to add a coffee bar in Everett too,” he said. “That’s the goal.”
The City Council has asked that City Manager Tom Ambrosino use the next month to figure out some new parking strategies for the city instead of spending a hefty sum on a major Parking Study.
Ambrosino said the Council had instructed him to put out a bid for a parking study late last year, but there was only one bidder on the project. That bid did not include the whole city and was more than $200,000.
On Monday, the Council held a Committee meeting to discuss the next steps, steps that don’t include spending such a sum on a study.
“The Council at the end of the meeting on Monday wanted to explore the idea of internal remediation before proceeding with an expensive outside study,” he said.
Ambrosino said he and his administration will spend the next month “brainstorming” some ideas and recommendations to help with the parking bottleneck in many areas of the City – including the neighborhoods.
Ambrosino said they do see it as a problem in several aspects of the city.
“There’s no question it’s a problem in the city,” he said. “There are way too many cars and not enough parking spaces. There is no simple solution to that problem. Long-time, we do have an agreement as part of the Tobin Bridge Viaduct project to add 135 spaces only a short walk from downtown. That might help a little bit, but that’s three years away.”
One solution he will not suggest is to reduce parking requirements for new development. While many might think that is counter to solving a parking problem, many planners now believe that one solution to reducing the numbers of cars is to build developments without parking.
That won’t be a solution he suggests again, after having had lower parking requirements rejected by the Council only two years ago. “I don’t see the Council reducing parking any time soon,” he said. “It’s not something I’m going to re-submit.”
The City might have to put up with traffic backups for nearly three years on the Chelsea Viaduct, but there will be a mitigation package for the City when the dust all settles.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have received a mitigation package to go along with the Viaduct project, which starts on April 1.
“We got what I thought was a reasonable mitigation package from MassDOT,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the end of the day it was reasonable.”
One of the major improvements will be two new, fully constructed public parking lots under the Tobin curves when the project is done.
Ambrosino said it will include 135 public parking spaces just a block from downtown Chelsea, something he hopes will help alleviate some of the parking crunch in the area.
There will also be parking constructed under the curves at Carter Street too.
One key piece of the puzzle that will remain as part of the package is the Arlington Street onramp by the Williams School. MassDOT had toyed with the idea of eliminating that ramp in early designs, but pushback from the community seemed to keep that idea at bay.
Other pieces of mitigation include:
•A robust snow fence for noise mitigation.
•Money for community engagement to inform everyone of the project over the three years.
•Repaving Fourth Street. •lighting improvements under the Bridge after the project is completed.
Bobby Goss, Eddie Richard, Richard Bradley Steve DePaulo, Katrina Hill, Drenda Carroll, Nicole Hancock and the late Anthony “Chubby” Tiro” are among the best to ever compete in the Chelsea High track programs.
Stephanie Simon has joined that illustrious group – and she’s only a junior.
Simon completed her indoor track campaign with an unprecedented accomplishment: winning the long jump championship in the Emerging Elite Division at the 2019 New Balance Nationals that was held in New York City.
Simon soared to victory with a career-best jump of 18 feet, 10.75 inches, remarkably eclipsing her previous best by seven inches.
CHS track coach Cesar Hernandez was not surprised by Simon’s victory or the dramatic way in which she achieved it.
“Stephanie had jumped 17-9 as her best in her first three attempts,” said Hernandez. “In the final, she took off to 18-10. I knew she had it in her.”
Hernandez and CHS Director of Athletics Amanda Alpert watched the drama unfold at the Nationals.
“It was exciting to watch the long jump competition,” said Hernandez. “It feels good to coach a national champion.”
Alpert, who has won national championships as a women’s professional football player and coach, said the whole scene at Nationals was “amazing.”
“To hear and see the number that Stephanie posted was amazing,” said Alpert. “It was just about her hitting the board right and she did.”
Alpert said Simon’s competitiveness and work ethic set the foundation to victory.
“Stephanie is a rarely seen combination of hard work, dedication and pure talent,” said Alpert. “She has put in so much time in to making herself better both physically and mentally. Her dedication to the sport and her craft is amazing, but a lot of that comes from the Chelsea track coaching staff. They work to instill the importance of hard work and dedication because that is what is more important and will help you succeed after high school.”
Alpert expounded on the Chelsea coaches’ contributions to the Stephanie Simon success story.
“We have an incredible coaching staff that has played a part in the team and Stephanie’s success,” said Alpert. “We are fortunate to have Cesar Hernandez, who is a Red Devil himself and competed on the collegiate level as jumper and has helped bring Stephanie to the next level.
“While Mark Martineau and Adam Aronson (both collegiate-level track athletes) are no longer coaching, Mark laid the mental frameworks for what it means to be a student athlete, and Adam had taken a lot of time to teach the athletes how to be lifters and work their way around a weight room.”
Simon and her teammates will begin their outdoor track schedule in April. There is no doubt that Stephanie Simon is on the radar of college colleges nationwide.
With plans to host four recreational marijuana shops already at some phase of readiness in Chelsea, the Licensing Commission is nearing a final vote on regulations for special additional rules for those establishments.
On March 7, the Commission continued a public hearing on the regulations, focusing on the topics of application fees, locations of the pot shops, and security.
Commission Chair Mark Rossi said the Commission should be ready to take a final vote on the regulations at its meeting in early April.
The City is limited to four retail marijuana establishments.
Those shops will already be vetted heavily before they reach the Licensing Commission for final approval. Other approvals include a host agreement in place from the City and approved by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, as well as any necessary approvals from the City’s Zoning and Planning Boards.
Rossi said the Licensing Commission will grant the retail pot shop licenses in much the same manner as it does for liquor licenses.
One of the questions raised by an early draft of the Licensing Commission regulations was whether the Commission should limit the shops to one or two per voting district.
The City ordinance already limits the establishments to three zoning districts — Industrial, Shopping Center, and Business Highway zones.
By the end of last week’s hearing, there was general agreement among the commissioners that there would not be a restriction on how close the pot shops can be to one other.
City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda agreed that was the right move on the issue.
“I would oppose any sort of restriction on the number of feet from one place to another,” he said. “We already have zoning in place in the city and we don’t need to add another layer to that; we don’t do it for other businesses.”
The Commission also agreed on a $500 application fee and $5,000 yearly renewal fee for the marijuana businesses.
While there were some questions about the Commission’s role in looking at security at the establishments, City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher noted that there are already strong security requirements from the state, and requirements are also written into the host agreements with the prospective businesses.
Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said she would still like to look at the host agreements to see how they address security before taking the final vote next month.
“I don’t think security is going to be an issue,” said Commissioner James Guido, adding it is more likely traffic that could cause some issues.
According to the proposed regulation, the Licensing Commission would not issue a license to anyone who has violated Licensing Commission rules and regulations in the past five years. All licenses are subject to zoning approval and state Cannabis Control Commission approval.
The operating hours for retail shops will be limited to 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and all signage will have to be approved by the City, according to Fisher.
If one is looking to hit the local bars this Cinco de Mayo, the options are going to be a little more limited than usual.
At its March 7 meeting, the Licensing Commission disciplined two local restaurants for a variety of infractions that will result in them losing their liquor licenses for the Cinco de Mayo weekend on May 4 and 5. (The restaurant Cinco de Mayo in Chelsea was not disciplined or called to the Commission).
In addition to losing its liquor license for that weekend, the Commission voted to roll back Acapulco’s hours of operation indefinitely, forcing the Fifth Street establishment to close at 11 p.m. instead of 1 a.m.
The Acapulco punishment stems from an incident last November when a security worker at the restaurant struck a customer over the head with a police baton.
The Commission also enforced an hours rollback from 1 a.m. to 11 p.m. – along with the weekend suspension – for Bar La Cueva at 802 Broadway. That punishment was enforced for an incident where several patrons were overserved, as well as for past concerns about noise and unruly patrons at the bar.
In addition, Commission member James Guido requested a hearing next month to consider revoking Bar La Cueva’s entertainment licenses.
The attorney for Acapulco said the issue at his client’s establishment is systemic of a larger issue in the city, where security at bars is handled by companies that act almost as paramilitary or law enforcement agencies.
Several commissioners agreed that there is a larger issue that needs to be addressed in the city with bar and liquor establishment security, but noted that Acapulco deserved a more forceful discipline than simply firing its current security contractor.
“You say security is a problem, but you’ve had the same company for a decade,” Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said.
The issues at Bar La Cueva seemed to extend beyond the recent incident where two people were overserved, as several commissioners noted that there have been noise and unruly patron complaints at the bar for years.
In a letter, one neighbor stated that the “karaoke singing by drunks is terribly loud and they overserve their patrons.”
John Dodge, the attorney representing the bar, said for the incident in question, his clients acted responsibly and asked the patrons who appeared to be intoxicated to leave.
But Bongiovanni noted that the bar has been a problem in the past, including racking up a 14-day liquor license suspension about two years ago.
“They have been a complete nuisance and annoyance to the neighborhood; you can roll your eyes all you want, counselor,” she said to Dodge.
Both the bars got off relatively easy compared to Fine Mart, a liquor and convenience store at 260 Broadway. The Commission suspended the store’s liquor license for a total of six weeks for three offenses, including an incident where an employee struck a woman who was intoxicated in the store, for selling nips after the enactment of the City’s nip ban, and for the sale of alcohol to a minor.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino, an ardent supporter of the City’s ban on 50 ml bottles of alcohol, said there needs to be consequences for businesses that violate the ordinance.
“The ban has been important in the city’s efforts to try to make Broadway a more attractive place to shop and dine,” Ambrosino said. “We’ve spent a lot of money to make it a better place. Having the nip ban in place is an important part of that. “(Fine Mart) has a prominent place in the corridor and has to comply with its license.”