Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and JGS Lifecare Announce Affiliation

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare and JGS Lifecare Announce Affiliation

Chelsea Jewish Lifecare (CJL), a highly respected leader in senior living with campuses in Chelsea and Peabody, and  JGS Lifecare (JGS) a leading health care system serving seniors and their families in western Massachusetts,

(L-R) Susan Goldsmith, chair of the board JGS Lifecare, Adam Berman, president CJL, and Barry Berman, CEO of CJL.

announced their intention to affiliate.

“Affiliating our two organizations makes a great deal of sense at this time,” said Adam Berman, president of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “CJL and JGS share the same mission, philosophy, values and goals. We both strive to provide the highest possible quality of care. For us, this common synergy is the key to a long and successful relationship.”

“Our organizations are similar and like-minded in many regards,” said Susan Goldsmith, chair of the board for JGS Lifecare. “Both are centenarian organizations that have been serving seniors for over 100 years. We are both non-profit, faith-based and founded on Jewish principles while serving people of all faiths. We offer the same spectrum of services, including skilled nursing, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation, home health and hospice, assisted living, independent living, and adult day health care. Above all, our commitment to providing the best possible care for our elderly community is the driving force behind both institutions and all we do.”

The relationship between CJL and JGS has developed over recent years. After Chelsea Jewish opened the award-winning  Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010, the country’s first urban model Green House skilled nursing facility, JGS consulted with CJL in preparation for the construction of its own Green House model. The highly acclaimed Sosin Center for Rehabilitation opened in 2016 on the Longmeadow campus. This affiliation is therefore a natural progression of the developing relationship between the two organizations.  Once consummated, CJL will manage the daily affairs of JGS in accordance with the direction set by the JGS Board of Directors.

“This affiliation is beneficial to both institutions and will ensure our stability and future growth for generations to come,” continued Goldsmith. “It’s no secret that across the health care continuum, it’s become increasingly important for organizations to come together for long-term viability, to learn best practices from each other and to better serve the greater good.”

“We believe this is a terrific opportunity for us to combine our expertise to better serve the growing senior population across the state of Massachusetts,” said Barry Berman, CEO of Chelsea Jewish Lifecare. “Our combined resources and economies of scale will ensure the future growth and enhancement of all of our services.”

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Residence Inn Petitions to Expand Property by 68 Rooms

Residence Inn Petitions to Expand Property by 68 Rooms

The Residence Inn by Marriott on Maple Street has petitioned the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to expand their 128-room hotel by another 68 rooms.

The expansion would take place in the existing surface lot to the north of the hotel. The idea would be to create a 200-room dual branded hotel, which is a current direction in the lodging industry.

The expansion would add 28,234 sq. ft. to the existing structure. The majority of the hotel is extended stay rooms now, but there would be 12 non-extended stay rooms created during the expansion, if approved.

A special permit is required for parking because 118 spaces are required, and only 86 are provided. A Site Plan Review process is also required.

The matter has been in front of the ZBA already for a preliminary hearing, and a vote on the the project is expected at this month’s meeting.

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Bongiovanni of GreenRoots Named Chelsea Unsung Heroine

Bongiovanni of GreenRoots Named Chelsea Unsung Heroine

Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently joined with Reps. Daniel Ryan and RoseLee Vincent to congratulate Roseann Bongiovanni on being recognized as an Unsung Heroine by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women (MCSW).

Each year the MCSW recognizes women across the Commonwealth who make outstanding, yet perhaps unnoted, contributions to their communities.

Sen. DiDomenico and Representative Ryan nominated Bongiovanni, the executive director of the Chelsea-based environmental justice organization GreenRoots, for her efforts over the past 21 years to improve environmental conditions and quality of life in Chelsea.

On June 20 Bongiovanni was honored at the MCSW’s Unsung Heroines Celebration at the State House.

“I was happy to join Rep. Ryan and present Roseann with our citations.” said Senator DiDomenico. “This is a well-deserved honor for Roseann, who has made it her life’s work to assist individuals and families that need our help the most, and for her tireless efforts on environmental justice issues in our community.”

The Board, staff and members of GreenRoots were happy to hear the leader of their organization was getting credit for her years of work.

“On behalf of the Board, staff and members of GreenRoots, we would like to recognize Rosie for being recognized by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women as an Unsung Heroine of 2018,” read a statement from the organization. “Rosie was chosen as the Unsung Heroine for our District. We are lucky to have her as a model of leadership and unwavering commitment to our community.”

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City Leaders, Community Rejoices with Ban of Alcohol Nip Bottles

City Leaders, Community Rejoices with Ban of Alcohol Nip Bottles

The bottles are little, but their size does not hide the volume of litter they create, nor the public drunkenness they spark.

And so it is, the License Board and City leaders worked together with Chelsea Police recently to ban alcohol nip bottles (1.7 oz. plastic bottle liquor shots) that litter the City’s streets and are believed to be a major cause of the open drinking in Bellingham Square and other locales.

The decision came down on May 22 with a 4-0 vote, with the impetus for the ban coming from City Councillor (and former License Commissioner) Roy Avellaneda. The measure not goes to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for final approval, but it is expected to meet muster there.

License Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said it was quite a coup for the City to make this step.

“The licensing board took a big step forward in trying to crack down on the proliferation of public drinking and drunkenness by banning the sales of nips throughout the entire city,” she said. “We will also be discussing banning the sale of pints of alcohol and single beer cans at our upcoming meeting in June.  I’d like to thank Captain Houghton, Officer McLaughlin and the full CPD team who made a robust presentation about how alcohol abuse is far more problematic in Chelsea than heroin addiction is, yet the latter gets so much more attention. I also offer our deep gratitude to Gladys Valentin from CAPIC who spoke about the efforts she is leading to curb substance abuse and help those with addiction get the services they need.”

Avellaneda said he had always wanted to ban nips when he was on licensing, but was told it couldn’t be done legally. However, he said he read an article about Everett banning nips recently, and decided it was time to revisit the issue.

He wrote a letter to the License Commission, and once new Chair Mark Rossi took the reins, he scheduled the hearing – which took place on May 22.

“This alcohol abuse in public has been going on since I was a kid and I walked back and forth from St. Rose School and my dad’s baker on Broadway,” said Avellaneda. “You have to go the point of the source and we believe part of the problem is the sale of these nips. We hope this is a first step. We also want to stop the sale of single-cans of beer. I think anyone who wants a single serving can get that in a bar instead of in a brown bag on a park bench…This is about cleaning up the downtown and making it more family friendly and business friendly.”

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes said the Department has been pushing for the ban for many years.

“This extremely important decision by the Chelsea Licensing Board is a huge step forward…,” he said. “For well over a decade the Police Department has been pushing for the elimination of sales of these so-called ‘nips’ – comprised of 1.7 ounces of alcohol – and single cans or bottles of malt beverages from our local licensed liquor and convenience stores. Far too often we have made observations of individuals in an inebriated state in the area of Bellingham and Chelsea Square because of the overconsumption of these particular alcoholic beverages. They have secreted the containers in their clothing only to be tossed in the street after their use. This local measure should go a long way towards reducing open air intoxication in our vibrant downtown neighborhoods.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino also supported the measure, saying it will help solve part of a long-standing problem.

“I think the impact on the downtown will be very positive,” he said. “We have an issue with litter and alcohol consumption in public. This is one of many positive steps we’re trying to address the problem.”

Avellaneda said it could end up helping the stores that depend on the sales of nips.

“We may see an environment created downtown that helps these stores in terms of sales in a different way to a different clientele,” he said. “Maybe they will increase their sales to other customers and that could make up the difference.”

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Forbes Plan Includes Tower:Concerns Over Density Already Voiced

Forbes Plan Includes Tower:Concerns Over Density Already Voiced

The Forbes Lithograph owners have come back to the City with a plan for 700,000 sq. ft. of development and 630 residential units for the 18-plus acre site on Mill Hill – but they still only have one entrance.

The project has yet to be formally filed, but the City has requested that the owners conduct a serious neighborhood information campaign first, which the company has been doing.

The project has been scaled back significantly from its 1.5 million square foot proposal two years ago that included skyscrapers, hotels, restaurants and about 1,000 units of housing.

The current plan would have 630 units, including several units in a 16-story building. The remainder of the units would be in a couple of other smaller buildings. The would be a small amount of commercial space, with retail and office workspace uses.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it has been scaled back, but the City will not take a stand on it until the company files with the Zoning Board in July.

“It’s significantly less dense than the plan three years ago,” he said. “They can build the units by right as they meeting the density requirement. They will definitely need some zoning relief and the City has encouraged them to together with stakeholders and their parking access plan.”

There is still some question about the access, which comes from one bridge that would be rebuilt. Another access point over the Creek will not be part of the development.

“They explained it was just cost prohibitive with the decrease in units,” he said.

Already GreenRoots has met with them twice and that organization believes that the project is still too much.

“At both meetings, GreenRoots’ staff and members, as well as adjacent residents, voiced concern over the size and density of the project; the impacts on adjacent neighborhoods including on elementary school pedestrians and traffic and public transportation; and how the public access improvements to the Chelsea Creek waterfront would not be welcoming to the community at-large,” said Director Roseann Bongiovanni. “In short, this project must be scaled back significantly. A development in the likeness of Assembly Row cannot be built in a small neighborhood that does not have property access roads into and out of the site.”

Councillor Joe Perlatonda also has numerous concerns about the proposal. He said he has met with the developer, along with Councillor Leo Robinson, recently.

“First of all, there needs to be a two-way access to get in and out of this property which the only way the city would allow this is through a bridge connecting from the site to Rt. 1A, which will cost millions of dollars,” he said. “And what about the cleanup? Do we know if the land is contaminated? Is there a solution for pest control to combat the rodents? How long will this project take?… This will take years to develop even if this gets off the ground.

My fellow councillor and I would like to see a development that would consist of duplexes and single-family homes to keep up with the neighborhood.”

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Appreciation:Richard Feinberg

Appreciation:Richard Feinberg

Richard Feinberg, a beloved Chelsea High School teacher and a member of a longtime and well-known Chelsea family, died unexpectedly Monday. He was 70.

The son of the late Julius “Moxie” Feinberg and Helen (Bulafkin) Feinberg, Richard, or “Richie” as many knew him, grew up in Chelsea and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1965. He was the wise and witty older brother to whom Stuart and Ralph looked for guidance and support. In fact, Stuart and Ralph followed their brother in to sports while Stuart again took the track of his brother in to high school basketball officiating.

At CHS, Mr. Feinberg was a popular, civics teacher who took an interest in his students’ aspirations and goals beyond the classroom.

“He’s my all-time, favorite teacher,” said Robert Brooks, CHS Class of 1981, who was among the many people who attended graveside services Tuesday for Richard Feinberg. “He was wonderful. He taught me so many great lessons in school and just about growing up in Chelsea. Even after I graduated and I wasn’t sure what direction I would take in life, he kept in touch with me and advised me. I had to be here today to honor Mr. Feinberg.”

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson knew the Feinberg family well while growing up in Chelsea.

“Richie was a really good friend who gave back to our community,” said Robinson. “He and his father were instrumental at the Chelsea YMHA. I remember Richie refereeing in the Wild Animal League and he was always professional and fair in his calling of the games. Chelsea has a lot a great guy and another key figure in our city’s history.”

State Secretary of Housing and Economic Jay Ash, a former basketball star at CHS and Clark University, said that Richie Feinberg was a positive influence during his life.

“He was a mentor of mine, an influential character during my lifetime,” said Ash. “He was a tremendous educator and loved politics and loved community.I stayed in touch with him after high school and college and after being city manager. As secretary, I had the opportunity to speak to his class at Bunker Hill Community College. He loved politics and loved to be in the middle of everything. This is a big loss for all of us.”

Following his years as a teacher at Chelsea High, Richie went on to work at Northeast Regional Vocational High School in Wakefield and to serve as an adjunct professor of government at Bunker Hill Community College. He shared a love of education with his wife, Laural, who was a highly respected educator in the Lynn school system for 35 years. The Feinbergs have one daughter, Julie Lucas, of Lynn, and two grandchildren, Dylan and Kyle

A top basketball referee

Richie was also well respected on the high school basketball scene as both an outstanding referee and the dedicated commissioner of the Dual County League. He enjoyed mentoring new members of the basketball refereeing fraternity.

“I refereed with Richard and it was a great experience – he knew how to handle a game,” said Mike Muchmore, past president of IAABO Board 130. “He was my mentor. He’s the first commissioner that gave me a varsity game. He was meticulous. He would call every referee and ask them how things went.”

Paul Halloran, also a past president of IAABO Board 130 and a well-established college referee, said Richie’s expertise and goodwill extended beyond the basketball court.

“Richard was a well-rounded guy with expertise in many areas: antiques, basketball officiating, horse racing, politics, poker,” said Halloran. “He could engage in a thoughtful, thorough conversation on any of them at any tume. He was a real character and he will be sorely missed.”

Richie served on the Swampscott School Committee for 15 years, receiving a strong, town-wide vote in each election. Stuart Feinberg said politics was one of his brother’s passions.

“He loved Chelsea and politics was his baby,” said Stuart. “He was on the Swampscott School Committee and loved politics in general. He also loved sports and enjoyed gambling.”

Stuart said Richie always helped people whenever they called upon him for a favor or some assistance.

“He loved teaching and loved his students and he tried to help as many people as he could – he did as many favors as he could, that’s how he was, just a good person,” said Stuart. “Like everybody else, I was stunned by his unexpected passing.”

As a brother, Richie was top-shelf, according to Stuart.

“I looked up to him – he was a great brother to Ralph and me,” Stuart said emphatically. “He was fun to be around and I really enjoyed him. Especially for me, I’ll really miss him.”

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Cottage Street Project First Silver Line-Based, Affordable Housing

Cottage Street Project First Silver Line-Based, Affordable Housing

A 66-unit apartment building looking to be constructed on what is now a vacant, derelict property looks to achieve a lot of firsts – the first Silver Line-based development and the first project to include affordable housing under the City’s new ordinance.

Greg Antonelli is proposing to build the building at 170 Cottage St., and the project has gone through the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) one time, and will head to the Planning Board soon.

The property has long been forgotten, but with the development of the Silver Line, which opens this Saturday, April 21, the property has seen a new luster. While it is has been full of trash in the past and a constant code violator, Antonelli said he hopes to make it something Chelsea can be proud of.

“I think it’s a project that will really be an improvement to that area,” he said. “It’s been vacant 40 years. It attracts litter and illegal dumping. There is a record of code enforcement violations for 10 or 15 years for illegal dumping there.”

The Silver Line, as well, played no small part in his decision.

“That was huge,” he said. “It was very important to the project. It played a big role in my decision because public transportation is very popular now…We believe the Silver Line is going to help with parking, traffic and congestion problems we’re experiencing. We believe the residents of this development will use the Silver Line to get to work and to Boston.”

Antonelli is providing 90 on-site parking spaces as well, and the development has 52 two-bedroom units and 14 one-bedrooms.

One key piece, and another new piece, is it will include 20 percent affordable housing for the 80 percent median income.

It is the first time that a project has come in under the new inclusionary zoning ordinance. That means that 13 or 14 units will be reserved for those who qualify under the affordable housing statutes.

“That’s me giving back to the City,” he said. “I’m not in it for the quick money, but rather a long-term partnership with the City.”

Council President Damali Vidot has gone on record already supporting the project, saying it will develop a problem property.

“There are constant complaints about this lot as a dumping site for construction materials, mattresses and all sorts of trash,” she said. “I’d like to see something developed there, especially something that activates both Cottage and Bellingham Street. Being that this is my neighborhood, I can attest to the huge parking issue in this area. However, this project will only be nine parking spots short and the developer’s proposal to increase the required amount of affordable units from 15 percent to 20 percent is a show of good faith and investment in the community.”

Councilor Enio Lopez has also shown support for the project, and the City has been working with Antonelli on it as well.

Already, they have agreed on a design that will activate both sides of the street, that being Cottage and Bellingham.

After the project makes a stop at the Planning Board, it will go back to the Zoning Board for a vote.

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Irish Club Sold to Tibetan Social Club, Council Looking for Answers

Irish Club Sold to Tibetan Social Club, Council Looking for Answers

A Tibetan social organization has purchased the former Irish Club on Clinton Street, and several City officials would like to know more about what the new club would like to do with the property.

The matter was first breeched by Councillor Leo Robinson last month at a Council meeting, when he said he had heard there was a new owner and they had an extensive membership.

Robinson was worried, in particular, about the nature of the Club’s activities and their parking plan – as the former Irish Club hadn’t seen a large membership in many years.

On Monday night, City Manager Tom Ambrosino reported that the Tibetan Association of Boston had recently purchased the Irish Club property. He said the club has a permit for the use of the first floor only as a social club.

“That use will be allowed as a matter of right by the new owner,” he said. “I understand the new owner is currently working with ISD to secure the required occupancy permit for that permitted use.”

He said ISD recently conducted an inspection of the property and identified some violations that need to be corrected.

That said, the new owner has expressed to the City a desire to permit the basement for a social club as well. That could only be done by a Special Permit, requiring the new club to make a date with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for expanding a non-conforming use.

It might also require some parking relief too, Ambrosino said.

“Thus far, the owner has started the Special Permit application process, but it has not yet supplied ISD with all the necessary documentation for a full review,” he said.

Ambrosino told the Record that his understanding is the new club has a membership of around 200.

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MBTA to Implement New Software System to Avert Chelsea Street Bridge

MBTA to Implement New Software System to Avert Chelsea Street Bridge

the potential to be spoiled – like many Chelsea commutes – by the often untimely lifting of the Chelsea Street Bridge.

The Bridge is a key pinch point on the new SL-3 route as it heads to and from Chelsea to East Boston and the Seaport. As great as the projected 30-minute ride to South Station sounds, it could easily be thwarted by the Bridge being in the “up” position.

The Chelsea Street Bridge goes up multiple times a day, and from start to finish lasts more than 20 minutes. Such delays could drastically impair the service of the Silver Line.

That was identified as early as last summer as a looming problem for operations of the SL-3 by the MBTA Board.

On Monday, in a presentation to the Board, the MBTA revealed a new software system that will help in trying to mitigate what could totally ruin the reliability of the new service.

The new software will be used by the Chelsea Street Bridge operator, who will notify the MBTA bus dispatch center when the bridge is going up.

The software will provide bus dispatch with estimated duration and projected travel time for each of two possible detours around the Bridge. The dispatch will then use that information to determine the best response for each bus.

MBTA officials said that the Bus Operations Division is in the process of developing a Standard Operating Procedure to divert the SL-3 service in response to the Bridge going up. An alternative roué has been identified and will be tested during various times of the day to project run times and reliability.

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