When the Lime Bike rental program returns to
the streets of Chelsea this spring, riders might notice a little extra oomph in
Chelsea took part in a program with Lime
Bike, along with 16 neighboring communities, last year. Council President
Damali Vidot said the bike rentals will be up and running again this year.
However, there will be a difference this
year, as Lime is unveiling electric-assisted bicycles throughout the region.
Because electric bicycles are currently not
allowed in Chelsea, Vidot has introduced an ordinance to the City Council that
would allow for the vehicles as long as they do not travel faster than 15 miles
“Since the late Summer of 2017, the City of
Chelsea has been experimenting with dockless bikes, initially as a pilot with
the company Ofo and then, last year, as part of a regional Metropolitan Area
Planning Council (MAPC) contract with Lime Bike,” City Manager Tom Ambrosino
stated in a letter to the Council. “Notwithstanding some minor complaints, I
believe the experiment has been successful.”
Last year, more than 4,000 people used the
dockless bikes in Chelsea, taking almost 20,000 separate trips, according to
the city manager.
“The City would like to continue this
dockless bike program in 2019,” stated Ambrosino. “However, there has been a
change in the marketplace for dockless bikes. All the companies in this arena
are moving away from pedal powered bikes to electric assisted bikes, including
To continue with the regional effort with
Lime and allow the bikes in Chelsea, the City will have to change the current
ordinance that prohibits the vehicles.
“Over the past month, we have explored the
options of replacing Lime Bike with another company that might offer dockless
pedal only bikes, but no operator is interested in the restriction,” Ambrosino
While the change in the ordinance would
allow for the electric-assisted bicycles, Ambrosino said there are no plans in
the works to allow for electric scooters to operate on public streets.
“I am just alerting the Council that the use
of such scooters may soon become ubiquitous in surrounding communities,” he
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda said he’s
looking forward to the transportation upgrade.
“I’m looking forward to them,” he said. “I
took a practice ride, and it was quite fun.”
•In other transportation-related news,
Ambrosino told the City Council it should keep the future appearance of
autonomous vehicles in the back of its mind.
“Right now, testing of such vehicles is
underway in Boston and other communities,” he said.
As with the electric-assisted bicycles, the
Council would have to adjust its ordinances to allow for autonomous,
self-driving vehicles. A MassDOT and MAPC agreement could allow for a pilot
route for the vehicles in the Industrial District.
“It is likely to be some time before
autonomous vehicles actually appear on this pilot route,” Ambrosino said.
“Again, such testing cannot occur until the City has given express permission.
However, I just wanted to give the Council notice that this transportation
innovation is moving forward and may someday make its way to Chelsea.”
Bob Doherty used his snow blower to clear the sidewalks in front of his Chelsea home on Monday morning. A late winter storm dumped between 10 and 11 inches of snow on Chelsea Sunday night – leaving a winter wonderland for residents to wake up to on Monday.
In a move to show that they are committed to
keeping residents in their homes, the Corcoran company and Chelsea Housing
Authority (CHA) have been signing Letters of Assurance with residents to
legally ensure they can return to their unit after it is redeveloped into a new
“We started signing those with residents
about two weeks ago,” said CHA Director Al Ewing. “We wanted everyone to see
that there is a commitment from us.”
Added Sean McReynolds of Corcoran, “It was
important for us the residents see we’re committed to having them return. That
is something that is usually done much further down the line. We wanted to do
it now anyway so people felt confident that commitment is there.”
Melissa Booth of the Innes Residents
Association (IRA) said many residents are relieved by the Letter, and the
Association has been passing it around in English and Spanish to get as many
residents signed as possible.
“They’re very relieved because the suspicion
is the developers would go in and move the families and not let them back in,”
she said. “We’ve been working really hard and trying to reassure everyone. No
one wants to leave the place that they’ve been living so long.”
The document, signed by all parties, is
about three pages long and clearly spells out what the residents will be
entitled to when they return.
“JJC Co. and CHA assure that all Innes
residents who are required to move for the redevelopment project will have the
right to return to a newly constructed unit in the redeveloped Innes
Apartments,” read the letter.
The two exceptions are if a household has
been evicted before returning for serious offense, or if they have a large unit
and state rules require them to go into a smaller unit than is available.
Also, it spells out that they will have the
same units as the market rate residents.
“These newly constructed affordable housing
units will be intermixed with market-rate units,” it read. “All units will be
interchangeable with the same quality in all apartments including finishes and
appliances such as washers and dryers.”
Both said they
hope to have everyone signed as soon as possible as an act of good faith to
residents and the community.
A small order on the Feb. 25 Council agenda
likely didn’t attract a lot of attention at the regular meeting, but Council
President Damali Vidot said she had hoped it could have sparked a conversation.
That measure, which she introduced, revolved
around looking at the possibility of allowing non-citizens that are here
legally to vote in municipal elections.
Instead, she said, she was greeted with
silence – and a ‘no’ vote.
“We have people invested in our community,
who own homes, have kids in the schools and own businesses, but because they
are citizens, they can’t vote in our elections,” she said. “Why not have a
conversation about allowing them to vote? The fact my colleagues didn’t want to
at least have a conversation is a travesty.”
The roll call consisted of a 5-6 defeated
vote, with Vidot and Councillors Judith Garcia, Yamir Rodriguez, Enio Lopez and
Giovanni Recupero agreeing to begin talking about it.
Those voting against were Councillor Roy
Avellaneda, Calvin Brown, Joe Perlatonda, Luis Tejada, Leo Robinson and Bob
Vidot said she fully intends to bring the
matter back in 90 days.
“I don’t understand why we couldn’t
entertain this, to allow people to be part of the civic process,” she said. “At
the minimum, I thought we could have a conversation. If I had known there would
be this reaction from my colleagues, I would have organized before. I have
every intention of bringing it back again in 90 days. We can’t be in the habit
of saying ‘no’ without talking about it.”
Other cities in Massachusetts have voted to
allow non-citizens to vote, including Cambridge and Brookline. Such a petition
by the Council would require a home rule petition by the State Legislature. It
would also require legislative action by the State House as well.
The measure in
Chelsea would not allow non-citizens to vote in state or federal elections.
Under the leadership of Executive Director
Robert Reppucci, Community Action Programs Inter City (CAPIC) has been a
national model in addressing the needs of low-income families in Chelsea,
Revere, and Winthrop.
CAPIC’s fuel assistance program has been one
of its most utilized services, aiding more than 2,700 residents in the three
Since his appointment last July as energy
director, Giancarlo DeSario has overseen the program that is in its sixth
decade of existence. The recent addition
of well-known Chelsea community leader Henry Wilson as an outreach coordinator
has also helped expande the program and bring recognition to the valuable
services CAPIC provides in many areas.
DeSario explained the process by which
residents can apply for fuel assistance.
“If someone finds themselves in need –
whether they’re a tenant, homeowner, family or single person – they should call
the CAPIC fuel assistance line to set up an appointment,” said DeSario. “We
would conduct an interview with the individual and review all their paperwork.
We’ll let them know if we need additional information and then we’ll process
their application in about 30-45 days.”
Candidates for fuel assistance must meet
some income guidelines.
“In order to qualify for fuel assistance,
you need to be at 60 per cent of the state median income, which for a single
person would be $35,510; for a family of four people, it would be $68,280,”
CAPIC’s program covers heating expenses
between the months of November and April.
According to DeSario, the fuel assistance
program is funded through federal and state grants. CAPIC is currently waiting
for a supplemental budget to be approved by the state.
“What we’re looking for is $30 million extra
dollars in funding to help out with this heating season, but we’re looking
closer to receiving $11 million,” said DeSario. He indicated that CAPIC has
been working with Chelsea’s state legislators to secure additional funding.
DeSario has made a point during his tenure
to “get out in the field” and meet individual clients. He has earned praise for
“I’m always available – I hand out my direct
extension to clients all the time,” said DeSario. “I find it’s really important
that if you’re going to serve clients correctly, you have to be in touch with
them and understand their needs.”
DeSario has local roots
Giancarlo DeSario grew up in Maine, but he
has always had local connections. “I’ve been coming to East Boston since I was
a child. My mother (Yolanda DeSario) moved here from Italy when she was 10
years old. And my grandmother (Maria Caserta) has been living in East Boston for
DeSario attended high school in Maine and
graduated from Roger Williams University where he studied Business and Legal
He began his career in woodworking and was
promoted to the position of project manager, working with clients in Manhattan
and Long Island, New York.
From there, DeSario entered the solar
industry as a district site surveyor and rose through the company to become
operations manager, overseeing several projects
throughout the New England region.
DeSario came to CAPIC last July. “I saw a
position was open and I applied for it. I was ready to go back to my old job
when I got a call from Executive Director Robert Repucci, requesting that I
come in for an interview.”
the entire staff at CAPIC and residents throughout the area, DeSario has come
to appreciate Repucci’s exceptional leadership of the agency. Repucci arrived
at CAPIC in 1972 and has been of Chelsea’s most influential and revered
“Mr. Repucci is an outstanding leader of
CAPIC and in the community as a whole,” said DeSario. “He really pushes you to
be a better person. He’s inspiring. He wants you to put people ahead of
yourself, and you can tell, because he does that. He leads by example and I
respect that about him.”
DeSario has also been impressed by the
dedicated and knowledgeable staff at CAPIC.
“I was fortunate to come in to an agency
where we have some really key players who know the programs in and out,” said
DeSario. “The transition in to this industry was tough, because you don’t know
it – but I was lucky to have a very good support group here to help out. They
really care about the programs succeeding.”
DeSario said he finds his job rewarding and
he appreciates the kind words from clients.
“There is nothing
better than when we get a letter (of gratitude) or a phone call from a client
who had no heat and we were able to restore a heating system that went out
overnight, replace a heating system with a new one, or weatherize someone’s
home,” said DeSario.
Chelsea Collaborative staff members are busy
helping residents prepare for rewarding career opportunities at Encore Boston
Harbor, slated to open in Everett this June. Encore Boston Harbor, the
first five-star urban gaming resort in the U.S, plans to hire over 5,000
workers for a range of rewarding hospitality careers. For more information,
More than 175 career-seekers participated in
workshops in recent weeks alone on resume writing and how to create a
Skillsmart profile. Skillsmart is a portal that helps match peoples’ interests
with positions at Encore Boston Harbor. “We are proud to create pathways
to better paying positions, so our residents can achieve better economic
mobility, and don’t have to work two jobs just to make ends meet for them and
their families,” said Sylvia Ramirez, Workforce Development Manager at Chelsea
Chelsea Collaborative is part of Encore
Boston Harbor’s community action network. Encore Boston Harbor is
committing $10 million over the next four years to support a wide range of
social programs and civic institutions that will help those in need and improve
the lives of residents in local communities.
Collaborative is leading the Chelsea 500 coalition, which mission is to engage
the City, businesses, and local non-profits to create a workforce pipeline so
that 500+ residents can gain the skills and support necessary to apply for
positions at Encore Boston Harbor. While Chelsea 500 capitalizes on the
casino opening, its longer- term ambition is to build local workforce
development capacity to improve Chelsea residents’ odds of securing employment
in the near term, and to work with industry leaders to help diversify the
employment options. Members of the coalition include City of
Chelsea, Chelsea Collaborative, TND/Connect, Chelsea Housing
Authority, Chelsea Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division, Bunker
Hill Community College, Casino Action Network.
For the second consecutive year, three
Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL) skilled nursing facilities have received the
prestigious Five-Star Quality Rating from the Centers for Medicare &
Medicaid Services (CMS).
This designation reflects the highest number
of stars allotted to a skilled nursing facility. Currently, there are a select
number of nursing homes that have been awarded this distinction.
“We are pleased that all our skilled nursing
residences have once again been recognized as being among the top nursing homes
not only in Massachusetts, but throughout the country,” states Chelsea Jewish
Lifecare President Adam Berman. “Earning this Five-Star designation is a
testament to our skilled and
compassionate staff, our strong commitment to excellence and our
dedication as an organization to provide the highest caliber of care possible.”
The CJL homes include the Chelsea Jewish
Nursing Home in Chelsea; the Jeffrey and Susan Brudnick Center for Living in
Peabody; the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, which is the
country’s first urban model Green House skilled nursing facility.
These residences offer both short-term
rehabilitation services as well as long-term comprehensive care.
To receive a five-star rating, nursing homes
are judged by three components. Health inspections are one means of evaluating
a residence. The rating is based upon information from the last three years of
onsite inspections, including both standard surveys and complaint surveys.
Secondly, a rating is given based upon staffing, which details information
about the number of hours of care provided on average to each resident each day
by nursing staff and other healthcare providers. The final category involves
quality measures, which includes data on how well nursing homes are caring for
their residents’ physical and clinical needs.
Today the five-star rating system has become
a critical tool for the public to measure the quality and performance of a
skilled nursing facility. Nursing homes with five stars are considered well
above average quality.
Berman, “In reality, we work very hard, day in and day out, to achieve and
maintain these five-star ratings. We are so proud of our staff at each of the three
Fashion designed by Joan Cromwell, president of Chelsea Black Community, is modeled by the designer herself. It was just one part of the epic talent show last Thursday, Feb. 21, that has become an annual tradition of the Chelsea Black Community’s Black History Month celebration.
Members of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce
joined local residents in paying tribute to well-known local businesswoman and
Chamber board member Joanne Tarason at observances this week.
Mrs. Tarason Washington Ave., died
unexpectedly on Feb. 19. She was the owner of Coprico Printing, 40 Washington
Ave., for many years.
Susan Gallant, vice president of the Chamber
of Commerce, said the local business organization could always count on Mrs.
Tarason to help out at events.
“Whether it was
making a donation or helping the Chamber with the great work they do at the
printing business, she was always really accommodating and very generous with
her support,” said Gallant. “She was a great, hard-working lady. We will all
greatly miss her.”
The City Council and the School Committee
have voted to name the new Clark Avenue Middle School after long-time School
Committeeman and former Williams School Principal Morris ‘Morrie’ Seigel.
At Monday night’s City Council meeting, the matter was brought up for a vote on a request forwarded from the School Committee – who had voted to approve the move.
The late Morrie Seigel pictured here in May 2013 when he served as the Chief Marshal of the Memorial Day Girl Scout Parade. The new Clark Avenue Middle School has been named after him.
The Council voted unanimously on the
proposal by City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to dedicate the Clark Avenue Middle
School to the late educator and community member. It will now be known as the
Morris H. Seigel Clark Avenue Middle School.
City Council members spoke fondly about
“Mr. Seigal was not only a wonderful person
for the city of Chelsea, he was a great gentleman,” said Councilman Calvin
Brown. “When he wasn’t in his professional attire, he had his Chelsea jacket
on, his Chelsea hat on, displaying his pride.”
Said Councillor Giovanni Recupero, “There’s
only one [way] to describe Mr. Seigal–great person. If anyone deserves this,
it’s Mr. Seigal. He was the teacher of my kids for many years. For 40 years, I
knew the gentleman and he was a very nice person.”
Seigel was an educator in the City and
served as the principal of the Williams School. He was a School Committeeman
for 29 years, and a youth leader at the Chelsea YMHA.
In 2013, as a noted veteran, he was the
Chief Marshal of the Memorial Day Girl Scout Parade.