Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently announced that his amendment providing $50,000 for CONNECT in the city of Chelsea was included in the final Fiscal Year 2019 budget. As Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate, DiDomenico was able to secure a number of amendments for his district in the Senate version of the budget, including this $50,000 for CONNECT. After filing this amendment in the Senate budget, he worked to advocate for it’s inclusion in the final version of the budget.
CONNECT helps people achieve sustainable living wage jobs and financial health and well-being by partnering with local agencies to provide essential skills, knowledge and social capital in one central and supportive location.
“CONNECT does great work for our community, and I am very proud to support them through the work that I do in the Senate,” said Sen. Sal DiDomenico. “I know that this additional funding will go a long way towards aiding their ability to empower individuals and help our residents achieve economic stability and financial well-being.”
Chelsea has a new leader for what will be a new school, as current Chelsea High Assistant Principal Ron Schmidt has been tapped to lead the new Chelsea Opportunity Academy, which starts on July 1.
Supt. Mary Bourque announced the hire this week, soon after she announced the organization of the Opportunity Academy, which is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.
“A new school, needs a new principal,” she wrote. “It is therefore, with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Chelsea High School’s Assistant Principal, Mr. Ronald Schmidt, to Principal of the Chelsea Opportunity Academy, effective July 1, 2018. The appointment of Mr. Schmidt to Principal of COA was an easy one to make as a Superintendent. Mr. Schmidt’s education as well as his deep career experience has prepared him to run his own school – a different type of school. He is committed to students in need of a different high school experience to be successful… Mr. Schmidt was hired as Assistant Principal of Chelsea High School in 2003 and has served the students and families of Chelsea with all of his energy and heart.”
The Barr Foundation awarded Chelsea Schools the ‘Engage New England: Doing High School Differently’ grant to purposefully implement the Opportunity Academy in the 2018-2019 school year. It will be the district’s 10th school and second high school.
The Opportunity Academy will be a school within a school model, so it will be located on the campus of Chelsea High School.
The design of the school is to serve students who are overage, under-credited, and who are struggling with the traditional American high school experience.
It will provide students with flexible scheduling, blended learning, and individualized support in order that students make continual progress towards earning a high school diploma.
“Mr. Schmidt is the only one I want to lead this high school, so great is my faith and confidence in him,” wrote Bourque.
By Seth Daniel
The Chelsea 9-1-1 Dispatchers Union made a public apology Monday night, Dec. 4, at the City Council meeting to former Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone for issuing a No Confidence Vote against him on Oct. 1, 2016.
Verdone was part of a management group in Chelsea EMS department that the union was very dissatisfied with over a number of years, but the union said Monday that Verdone was new and shouldn’t have been characterized with the rest of the management group.
It appeared that the No Confidence Vote still stood for Director Allan Alpert.
Dispatcher Paul Koolloian told the Council that since the vote, Verdone has shown he is knowledgeable and the union grew to appreciate and have confidence in his abilities.
“We stand firmly by our vote of No Confidence, but after careful consideration and reflection, we are in agreement to acknowledge that affixing Assistant Director Verdone’s name to the Letter of No Confidence was a poor decision on our part,” Koolloian said. “At the time the letter was drafted, Assistant Director Verdone was fairly new in his position and unfamiliar to the past history concerning several issues that plagued our Communications Center, most notably a continual pattern of harassment, second guessing and blatant disregard for our well- being several years prior to his arrival. Simply put, we got it wrong (with Verdone).”
Most notably, the union said they demonstrated poor judgment in including him, as it could and will have dire consequences for his future employment. Koolloian said they didn’t want to penalize Verdone for things done before his tenure.
It has been rumored that Verdone has been hired or is a finalist for the director’s position of a regional EMS center in Foxboro.
“There is no plausible excuse for our delay to publicly communicate this message,” said Koolloian. “We apologized from the bottom of our hearts for any inconvenience we may have caused you and your family and most importantly any damage we may have caused to your credibility and reputation.”
Chelsea’s reality show star, Velvet Smith, greets diners at Floramo’s, Michael Breau (left), the younger brother of former Chelsea High sports great Bobby Breau and brother-in-law of Assistant Superintendent of Chelsea Schools Linda Breau, and Ginny Grayson (right). Velvet appears on the show with her daughter, Ashley Alexiss, a professional model
A Quincy attorney was arraigned on drug charges last week for allegedly bringing a controlled substance to a person at Chelsea District Court.
Michael Lustig, 45, was arraigned on charges of possession of a Class B substance with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws for allegedly bringing Suboxone tablets – prescribed for opiate addiction but also sold and used illicitly – to court today with the alleged intention of delivering them to Alicia DeMarco, 27. DeMarco is not Lustig’s client.
Based in part on defaults in a 2008 case charging Lustig with receiving stolen property and conspiracy, Assistant District Attorney Christopher Henry recommended that Lustig be held on $20,000 cash bail and, if he posts that amount, an order to stay away from DeMarco.
Judge Matthew Nestor imposed $300 and the stay-away order.
Based on information that Lustig would be attempting this delivery, State Police narcotics detectives assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office obtained an anticipatory order for search and seizure from a Suffolk Superior Court judge. The order allowed a search of his person in the event that he arrived at or in the vicinity of Chelsea court, which he did at about 10:30 a.m. last Wednesday, Nov. 13.
State Police confronted Lustig after he used his identification to bypass security. When asked his business, Lustig allegedly said he was there to visit “a friend.” When provided with a copy of the judge’s order, he allegedly asked, “If I give them to you, will you let me go?”
They did not let him go.
Lustig provided Troopers with an envelope bearing DeMarco’s name. To protect any potential privilege, troopers did not open the envelope but instead provided it to the judge who issued the order. Lustig allegedly made several unsolicited statements including “She made me do it” and “She set the whole thing up.”
DeMarco, a resident of Reading, was in court today on a case charging distribution of a Class B substance. She was not taken into custody but detectives plan to seek a complaint charging her with conspiracy to violate the state’s drug laws.