Re-Opening Beacon Street Off-Ramp to Chelsea on Monday, November 19

Re-Opening Beacon Street Off-Ramp to Chelsea on Monday, November 19

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the Beacon Street off-ramp to Chelsea will be re-opened to all vehicular traffic on Monday, November 19. As a result, the direction of traffic on Chestnut Street between 3rd and 4th Street will return to its usual one-way direction, heading south.

The ramp has been repaired and rehabilitated as part of the Tobin Bridge Repair Project. For more information and to sign up for monthly look-ahead emails, please visit the project website: www.mass.gov/tobin-bridge-repair-project.

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Focusing on Now :New Mural Looks at ‘Chelsea Right Now’

Focusing on Now :New Mural Looks at ‘Chelsea Right Now’

When Chelsea art teacher Demetrius Fuller focuses on the community he has taught in since 1999, he has come to

Demetrius Fuller and Chris Miranda are currently painting a mural on Cherry Street and Everett Avenue. The title of the piece is ‘Chelsea Right Now’ and hopes to get viewers to think about the present community.

focus on the here and now.

And in a new mural he is painting on Cherry Street off of Everett Avenue, he has proclaimed everyone to see ‘Chelsea Right Now.’

While many focus on what Chelsea was, or lament about what it might become, he said very few, including himself, stop to enjoy what it is right now – which is pretty wonderful.

“It’s a mural for Chelsea,” he said. “That’s why we call it ‘Chelsea Right Now.’ Everyone is always talking about Chelsea in the future or what Chelsea used to be, or what it might not be tomorrow, but we just don’t stop to see there is a tremendous beauty in Chelsea present. This mural is about right now and captures what Chelsea is right now.”

The mural is funded by a Cultural Council grant and Fuller said he has not really ever done a mural. As a director of the art department in the Chelsea Schools, he has done painting in the schools and also for backgrounds at the Apollinaire Theatre, but never on a brick building. Known mostly for his teaching and his puppet show theatre productions, he said he needed help.

That’s why he brought his friend, Chris Miranda, in from Pittsburgh. The two of them have been working on the mural since Oct. 22, and it’s garnered a lot of attention.

Miranda said so many people comment on it that he has to sometimes ignore them so he can get his work done.

“I love the comments,” he said. “I’ve been enjoying getting to know this really wonderful City of Chelsea. It has so much character. So many people come up to me when I’m painting. All of them are excited, and sometimes there are so many that I have to just get back to work and let them watch me.”

Fuller said he often has students or parents stop to encourage him, which he enjoys.

“I do really like seeing the kids while I’m painting and for them to see me outside of school,” he said. “That’s good because many of them think the teacher lives at the school. I’m attempting to make something beautiful for the City of Chelsea and I think people appreciate that.”

The mural is still in the detail stages, but one can clearly see the figure of a woman coming out into the sunlight – something that Fuller said he has observed in the Cherry Street alley many times. He said the sun actually comes right through the alley at certain times and makes everything light.

With the Chelsea Square fountain in the background and the Bellingham Square clock – along with several other things – the mural features the women in a “here and now” moment stepping into the sun. As a reference point for the woman, Councilor Judith Garcia posed for the artists to get a sense of how things should look at the “right moment.”

That idea of the sun shining on Chelsea at a particular moment played into the Chelsea Right Now theme, Fuller said.

He said he hopes the mural, when finished, can serve as a reminder for everyone to not miss the great community that exists now for worries of the future or laments for the past.

“It’s like the City sat down for me to paint its portrait,” he said.

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Chelsea Seniors Push for Outdoor Graduation This Year

Chelsea Seniors Push for Outdoor Graduation This Year

The great outdoors is a great place for graduation, and a large group of Chelsea seniors are pushing to get their big day under the blue skies once again.

Manuel Teshe and Senior Class President Jocelyn Poste have been campaigning with a large group of their classmates to get their graduation ceremony outside. Graduation has been in the gym for several years, but prior to that it was always outside. Now, the students are looking to overcome several obstacles to get the graduation on the new turf Stadium.

“We understand we have to protect the field for future classes, but we really want to have this ceremony outside,” he said, noting that they have started a GoFundMe page to raise money for the effort. “This is a beautiful new field and we want to be able to use it. We won’t stop until we get the Stadium.”

Supt. Mary Bourque reported that the School Committee has approved the move outside, but getting on the turf field is something they are trying to work out with the company. There are some steps to take, she said, to preserve the warranty if graduation is held on the field in the first year after construction.

“We are very proud to have the School Committee vote to support the students request to have graduation outside,” she said. “The location is still to be determined though. It is going to be outside, but we still are all working together on the Stadium piece.”

School Committeeman Julio Hernandez said he supports the seniors, and recalls that his class tried to also get graduation outside, but to no avail. He said he encouraged students to work with the School Committee and the City Council, which they have been doing.

“These students are really fighting to have their big day outside at the Stadium and I support them 100 percent,” he said. “My graduation was inside and I didn’t get to bring two of my siblings because I didn’t have enough tickets. The graduation is one of the biggest days for the students and their families. My class wasn’t successful in getting it outside, like many other classes. I would love to see it outside again, and I hope they are successful.”

For the students, the primary reason to go outside is so that entire families can see the ceremony.

In recent years, as classes have swelled in numbers, many family members have to sit in the cafeteria to watch on closed circuit TV – or they aren’t able to come in at all.

Even a lucrative black market has sprung up over the years where kids auction off extra graduation tickets for as much as $200. One student last year allegedly made fake tickets and sold them to families in need, who were out of luck on the big day, Teshe said.

“I always knew graduation was inside, but didn’t think much about it,” said SairaCarreto. “Last year as a junior I volunteered to help and it really hit me when I saw the mothers, aunts and siblings of graduates waiting to get in. People were being sent into the auditorium and there were no tickets. Many of these kids are the first to graduate in their families. A lot of them have come from other countries and it’s a big point of pride for their family to come see them graduate. Not having the luxury to share that moment is not fair. We don’t want that to happen to our class and we believe the Stadium is the solution.”

Marcela Castillo said they don’t want to settle, and they will push for the Stadium.

“Many people don’t have the best view of Chelsea High students and we don’t deserve that,” she said. “Current and future students should get the best graduation possible. It’s a really important day in our lives. We feel that adults in our school have settled for less and we don’t feel it’s right. We’re going to push for the field.”

Bourque said they continue to work with the students and may have a solution in the coming weeks. That is all up to the warranty on the new field, but there is optimism in the situation, she said.

The fundraising page is on GoFundMe and is listed under Chelsea High School Graduation. Donations to help the cause can be made there.

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Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Its was 100 years ago this Sunday, on Nov. 11, 1918, that World War I formally came to a conclusion on what is famously referred to as the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

Americans observed the first anniversary of the end of the war the following year when the holiday we now know as Veteran’s Day originated as Armistice Day in 1919.

The first world war was referred to at the time as “the war to end all wars.” It was thought that never again would mankind engage in the sort of madness that resulted in the near-total destruction of Western Civilization and the loss of millions of lives for reasons that never have been entirely clear to anybody either before, during, or since.

Needless to say, history has shown us that such thinking was idealistically foolhardy. Just 21 years later, the world again became enmeshed in a global conflagration that made the first time around seem like a mere practice run for the mass annihilation that took place from 1939-45.

Even after that epic second world war, America has been involved in countless bloody conflicts in the 73 years since General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri. Today, we still have troops fighting — and dying — on frontlines around the world.

Peace at hand has been nothing but a meaningless slogan for most of the past century.

Armistice Day officially became known as Veteran’s Day in 1954 so as to include those who served in WWII and the Korean War. All of our many veterans since then also have become part of the annual observance to express our nation’s appreciation to the men and women who bravely have answered the call of duty to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been preserved against the many challenges we have overcome.

Although Veteran’s Day, as with all of our other national holidays, unfortunately has become commercialized, we urge our readers to take a moment, even if just quietly by ourselves, to contemplate what we owe the veterans of all of our wars and to be grateful to them for allowing us to live freely in the greatest nation on earth.

If nothing else, Veterans Day should remind us that freedom isn’t free and that every American owes a debt of immeasurable gratitude and thanks to those who have put their lives on the line to preserve our ideals and our way of life.

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Early Voting Slow, First Time for Saturday Voting

Early Voting Slow, First Time for Saturday Voting

Early voting in Chelsea has been a bit slow, but voters are taking advantage of the new early voting period ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

City Clerk Jeannette Cintron White said there had been 298 voters from Monday, Oct. 22, through Monday, Oct. 29.

The first week saw 190 voters, but White said that during the 2016 early voting period, most of the voters came during the second week.

For the first time, voters were allowed to vote on Saturday, but with the Nor’Easter raging outside, only 50 showed up.

There are 16,828 registered voters in the City that will be able to vote in the Nov. 6 State Election.

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‘Big Top’ Comes to Chelsea City Council

‘Big Top’ Comes to Chelsea City Council

Civility was at a premium at Monday night’s City Council meeting.

While the meetings typically end with a pro forma opportunity for councillors to make community announcements and hold moments of silence to honor those who have recently died in the community, this week’s meeting ended with a flurry of accusations, banging gavels, and frustration.

Tensions were already high Monday night, as the month-long debate over a water and sewer discount for homeowners was rescinded by one vote (see related story).

Things only got hotter as the Council got to an order introduced near the end of the agenda by Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda. That order asked the Council to schedule a conference with the City Clerk’s office to discuss the campaign finance filing deadline enforcement policy, and the state’s campaign and political finance office findings of campaign finance law violations, by Council President Damali Vidot’s campaign committee.

“I was a little surprised when I saw that you allowed this particular order to be placed before the Council,” District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said to Vidot. “One councillor going against another councillor, it should be ruled out of order. It’s a personal thing, and I don’t think those types of things should be put on the floor.”

Vidot ruled that Avellaneda’s motion was out of order. She said she brought the matter forward as a matter of transparency, but would not allow orders attacking her personally to go forward.

“I think this matter is totally inappropriate, and Councillor Avellaneda, I understand you wanting to embarrass me, but this is not the place to do it,” said Vidot.

Avellaneda argued that nowhere in his motion was he attacking Vidot, and that it was a motion based on facts. He challenged Vidot’s decision to rule the motion out of order.

No councillors joined Avellaneda in voting to overturn the challenge.

Matters only got more out of hand as the meeting wound down with the announcements portion that typically ends the night.

District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez accused Avellaneda of putting forward proposals that would directly affect his business ventures, which Avellaneda denied.

Vidot repeatedly banged the gavel as she tried to restore order to the proceedings.

“We are looking very circus-like,” said Vidot. “I ask that we display a little decorum and reflect on the type of representation this community needs.”

As the meeting ended, several councillors had already walked away from their seats as a steady stream of cross-talk filled the chamber before Vidot was able to settle the room for a moment of silence.

After the meeting, several councillors were visibly frustrated and expressed dismay over the recent proceedings in the Council chambers.

  • In earlier, more sedate business, the Council received communication from City Manager Tom Ambrosino asking the City to consider a request for proposals for use of the Salvation Army building for residential and commercial use.

District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero asked that the City Manager look into ways the building, now owned by the City, could be converted into a community center.

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ELC Put on Lockdown Wednesday as Shots Fired Outside

ELC Put on Lockdown Wednesday as Shots Fired Outside

The John Silber Early Learning Center, or Shurtleff School, was put on a heavy lockdown Wednesday afternoon after police responded to shots fired on Congress Avenue.

There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

At 1:30 p.m., the ShotSpotter system triggered at 101 Congress Ave. near the school. Police discovered one man in the area who was hiding shortly after the incident. He was found to have a replica firearm on him and was taken into custody. However, later, witnesses said he had not been the shooter, but rather the intended victim.

Chelsea Police are looking for additional suspects.

Police were stationed at the school during the lockdown, and things were soon restored to normal. School was released by 2:30 p.m.

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City Manager Extends Fire Chief Contract Through 2022

City Manager Extends Fire Chief Contract Through 2022

Fire Chief Len Albanese had his contract renewed for another three years by City Manager Tom Ambrosino.

Albanese came to the City in 2016 from North Providence after a search committee chose several finalists, including some internal candidates. His contract was set to expire in June 2019, and Ambrosino said he is very pleased with the Chief’s work over the past two years.

“The chief and I began discussions about an extension, and we recently agreed on this new three-year term,” wrote Ambrosino. “I have been extremely satisfied with Chief Albanese’s leadership and management of the Fire Department since his arrival in 2016. I believe this extension is fully justified.”

Albanese, a resident of Charlestown, will get a pay increase of 3 percent in the first year of his contract. In the following two year, upon a review by Ambrosino, he is entitled to up to 3 percent each year as well.

The Chief will get 25 days of vacation per year, and can carry over five weeks of unused vacation time from one year to another. He may not, however, carry more than 10 week maximum of vacation time.

He also gets 15 sick days per the contract, as well as an automobile.

The new contract will begin on July 1, 2019.

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