The Rose Rush is On: Valentine’s Day at New Regional Flower Exchange in Chelsea is a Better Experience for Buyers

The Rose Rush is On: Valentine’s Day at New Regional Flower Exchange in Chelsea is a Better Experience for Buyers

Anyone in Greater Boston who got a rose yesterday on Valentine’s Day likely had that rose pass through the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea.

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

In a formerly vacant warehouse on Second Street, the hub of Valentine’s Day – and every other flowery occasion – has been established.

The New England Flower Exchange on Second Street virtually handles about every rose that ended up in the hands of lovers on Valentine’s Day.

This past Monday, the Exchange was brimming with activity, as it was the last possible day for the nine wholesalers in the Exchange to get their product out the door to local florists, who in turn provide the necessary flowers, vases and accompaniments to customers for the big day.

It was the first Valentine’s Day holiday for the Exchange in its new location, after having moved from Boston’s South End (where it was next to I-93 and called the Boston Flower Exchange) after 50 years last March.

“Valentine’s Day is stressful,” said Jerry Cupp, of Cupp & Cupp Corp. – one of the long-time Exchange wholesalers. “I think that it’s one of the busiest times here at the Flower Exchange. So many things can go wrong. We’ve been going from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. If they had eight days, it would be eight days a week. Today is the big day though.”

For local florists who have been long-time customers of the Exchange in its former South End location – such as Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florist on Eastern Avenue – having the Exchange in Chelsea is a relief.

That was particularly true this week as it was the first Valentine’s Day where she didn’t have to wade through traffic on the Tobin Bridge and downtown Boston to get to her flowers and supplies.

“I absolutely love it being here now because it’s in Chelsea,” she said. “I love not having to go over the Bridge. I’m here two or three times a day. It’s so much easier. I came over here today and looked at the traffic backed up on the Tobin and said, ‘Thank God that’s not me anymore.’”

Paula Parziale, a long-time general manager of Berkeley Floral Supply – and an Everett native, said Valentine’s Day can be a challenge  for a wholesaler.

“We do call it hell week around here,” she joked. “It’s actually more clean and organized than it’s ever been. Valentine’s Day is all about roses. There are so many varieties of roses now, you have to get your orders in to the growers early so you don’t get bumped. For us, family and friends know not to call us or text us until Feb. 15 – unless it’s an emergency.”

The New England Flower Exchange is a wholesaler, much like many of the fruit and vegetable dealers in the neighboring New England Produce Center. That means the general public cannot waltz into the facility and buy directly from any of the business there. However, anyone with the proper floral credentials can establish an account, and most every florist in the area does their shopping at the new Exchange – which sources most of its flowers from Ecuador, the United States, Colombia and Holland.

Many of those growers begin growing to supply wholesalers at the Exchange right before Christmas – meaning that the flower’s journey begins long before February.

LaCount said many consumers think that the flower industry engages in price gouging at Valentine’s Day, but it’s not the case. Instead, she said the growers have to sacrifice two or three crops to provide the volume needed for the American Valentine’s Day. That special circumstance comes at a premium cost, she said, for the wholesalers.

“People don’t understand the growers have to forgo an entire harvest or two to get the kind of production needed for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “People think it’s gouging, but it isn’t. The volume is there, but the wholesale costs are so high that you don’t make a lot of money on Valentine’s Day. Normally, I would charge around $60 for a dozen roses, but that goes up to $90 on Valentine’s Day because the wholesale costs are twice as high. Believe me, I’d close the store on Valentine’s Day if I could, but I can’t because I haven’t won the lottery yet.”

Meanwhile, the major story besides Valentine’s Day at the new Exchange is the move that they made last year.

“It has been such a smooth transition; it was wonderful,” said Janina Cupp, market manager. “They actually did business in the South End up to closing on Feb. 28, and on March 1 came over here and opened the next day. It’s been really great. It’s been better for some florists than others. Those from the North Shore and Maine love it. Those on the South Shore aren’t so happy, but they’re making the transition. The Tobin Bridge is the issue, but everyone has grown accustomed to it. The last market was worn. This market has a lot more open energy to it. There’s one aisle and you can see everything, plus the new lighting is much better.”

The Exchange began its build out in mid-December 2016 after their old location in the South End sold to the Abbey Group to be developed into about 1.5 million sq. ft. of premium high-rise office space. The former Exchange had been in that location for 50 years, but the development push on what had become prime property was too strong.

On March 1, 2017, nine of the wholesalers made the move, with one staying in the South End area and another closing. Several, such as Carbone, moved over their operations, but also significantly expanded their offerings of vases and other accessories.

A new wholesaler of vases from New York has also been added.

But the major message is that they’ve found success, and stayed together.

“It’s worked out a lot better than anticipated,” said Jerry Cupp. “We anticipated something like a 10 or 15 percent reduction in sales when we moved. It has turned out just the opposite. The way this building is designed is a lot better. It’s more open and you get a great visual of everything. There are coolers and refrigerators. You can get the product from the cooler trailer to the floor and the coolers much quicker. That matters.”

Parziale said one of the best parts for her has been keeping the wholesalers together. The floral business, she said, is one that doesn’t change much, and many of those in the wholesale and retail markets tend to become like family over the years. There had been a threat that everyone would split up, but the new Exchange has prevented that, she said.

“I don’t think there are too many complaints at all,” she said. “We’re just really lucky we all got to stay together because it’s very unique to see a Flower Market stay together under one roof. We could have all split up. That would have been sad. Many of us have been working side by side and together for 30 or 40 years…For the customers, it’s important because you walk in and have everything you need all in one place. You only have to get out of your car one time.”

Bob Hall of Kelley Wholesale Florists said they were also concerned in leaving the South End, but as it turned out, the concerns weren’t warranted.

“We were concerned, extremely worried really, about what would happen if things went the wrong way,” he said. “We had a few bumps, but in all, it’s been positive.”

Janina Cupp added that the City of Chelsea has been wonderful in the transition and the build out. Had it not been for the cooperation, she said, it would have been much more difficult.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was glad to have the Exchange in Chelsea.

“We always try to be accommodating,” he said. “We are certainly happy to have them there. We certainly didn’t want that building to remain vacant.”

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Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

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Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount talks over her order while Chris Birch of Cupp & Cupp Corp. wraps up a Valentine order.

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On Valentine’s Day in the New England Flower Exchange, Everett native Paula Parziale of Berkeley Floral Supply said it’s one week of chaos and careful preparation. The new Exchange celebrated its first Valentine’s Day in its new location on Second Street. The Exchange moved last year from its long-time headquarters in Boston’s South End.

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At the New England Flower Exchange on Second Street, MaryEllen Crowley of Berkeley Floral Supply wraps up an order from a customer. The Exchange was operating seven days a week for the past several days to keep up with wholesale flower orders for Valentine’s Day.

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A wall of red roses lined just about every stall at the market on Monday. It was the last big wholesale buying day for florists all around New England.

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Some nine wholesalers at the New England Flower Exchange on the Chelsea/Everett line celebrated their first Valentine’s Day in the new location this week.

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Janina Cupp, market manager, said they move from Boston’s South End to the Chelsea/Everett line has been very positive, despite initial concerns from many wholesalers.

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Elgreen Orchids owner Jeff Kim said as a specialist, the move has been hard on his business, but things are starting to turnaround. The new facility is much easier for keeping his colorful orchids though.

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Brazilian National Sentenced for Scheme to Launder $20 Million in Proceeds from the Telexfree Fraud

Brazilian National Sentenced for Scheme to Launder $20 Million in Proceeds from the Telexfree Fraud

A Brazilian national was sentenced Feb. 8 in federal court in Boston for conspiring to launder approximately $20 million in proceeds from the TelexFree pyramid scheme – a scheme that affected hundreds of Chelsea residents.

Authorities reported finding the money hidden in a mattress.

Cleber Rene Rizerio Rocha, 28, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 33 months in prison and one year of supervised release. In October 2017, Rocha pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to commit money laundering and one count of money laundering.

In April 2014, a search warrant was executed at the headquarters of TelexFree Inc., a massive pyramid scheme based in Marlborough that caused billions of dollars in losses to nearly two million victims worldwide. Later that same day, Carlos Wanzeler, one of the founders of the company, fled first to Canada and then to Brazil, his native country. In his haste to flee the United States, however, Wanzeler left millions of dollars hidden in the greater Boston area.

In mid-2015, an intermediary working on Wanzeler’s behalf contacted an associate for help transferring the money from the United States to Brazil. The associate, who later cooperated with federal authorities, arranged with Wanzeler’s representative in Brazil to launder cash through Hong Kong, convert it to Brazilian Reals, and then transfer it to Brazilian accounts. In January 2017, Rocha, working as a courier for Wanzeler’s representative in Brazil, flew from Brazil to New York City. Rocha later met the cooperating witness in Hudson, Mass., where Rocha gave him a suitcase containing $2.2 million of Wanzeler’s hidden TelexFree money, intending that the cooperating witness help launder the cash out of the United States. After the meeting, agents followed Rocha to an apartment in Westborough, Mass., and he was later arrested. A search of the apartment resulted in the seizure of approximately $20 million in cash found hidden in a mattress box spring.

Wanzeler and TelexFree co-founder James Merrill were indicted in July 2014 on charges that they operated TelexFree as a massive pyramid scheme. Merrill pleaded guilty to those charges and was sentenced in  HYPERLINK “https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/former-president-telexfree-sentenced-billion-dollar-pyramid-scheme” March 2017 to six years in prison. Wanzeler remains a fugitive.

United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling and Michael Shea, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. U.S. Attorney Lelling and Assistant U.S. Attorney Neil J. Gallagher Jr. of the Economic Crimes Unit prosecuted the case.

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North Suffolk Mental Health Association Partnering With CHA to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Local Cities

North Suffolk Mental Health Association Partnering With CHA to Fight Opioid Epidemic in Local Cities

Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), an academic community health-system serving Everett and Boston’s metro-north region, is teaming up with the North Suffolk Mental Health Association (NSMHA) to help get individuals struggling with addiction connected to treatment by piloting a new recovery-coach program at CHA Everett Hospital. Two coaches from NSMHA are now available to patients who struggle with addiction or present with mental health issues in the Emergency Department, inpatient psychiatry and CHA’s med-surg units.

The total number of estimated and confirmed opioid-related deaths in Massachusetts, through the first nine months of 2017, was over 1,400 – a 10-percent reduction from the same period in 2016. At the same time, from 2012 – 2016, over 70 people in Everett died from opioid misuse.

The pilot program places recovery coaches in direct contact with patients, on a voluntary basis, following an overdose reversal with naloxone, the lifesaving anti-opioid medication. The aim is to link individuals to treatment and recovery services locally. Other patients may present with medical conditions related to substance use and the recovery coach can use this opportunity to engage the patient in treatment.

“A recovery coach is a person who helps remove personal and environmental obstacles to recovery, noted Kim Hanton, director of addiction services at the North Suffolk Mental Health Association.”

“Coaches serve as personal guides and mentors supporting individual and family recovery where support networks are limited.  NSMHA has incorporated this model throughout the addiction division since 2013.  We are thrilled to partner with CHA sharing each of our expertise to build a continuum of support which begins at the most vulnerable time – entrance into the emergency department”

CHA’s chief of emergency medicine, Benjamin Milligan, MD, and a group of providers in the Emergency Department, including Josh Mularella, DO, Emily Adams, PA, and Christine Trotta, PA, ran the Boston Marathon last year and dollars raised through their efforts helped to fund the pilot initiative.

NSMHA’s recovery coaches are trained and certified professionals who guide or mentor patients seeking recovery support from alcohol and other drug addictions. Recovery coaches do not provide clinical services, instead they offer the critical support or link to the services and resources that a person needs to achieve and sustain recovery.

“We are excited to have recovery coaches embedded at CHA Everett Hospital and believe they will strengthen the hospital’s role as a link in patient’s long-term ‘chain of recovery,’” commented Melisa Lai- Becker, MD, site chief of emergency medicine at CHA Everett Hospital. “The ability to partner a patient immediately with a peer who is able to help them navigate to the next link in the chain is invaluable. We are optimistic that the program will have a lasting impact and we may expand the initiative in the future providing a model for a potential statewide network of peer recovery coaches.”

Immediate support when a crisis occurs is vital for effective engagement in recovery and treatment. When a patient arrives at the CHA Everett Hospital Emergency Department he/she is offered a NSMHA recovery coach during peak hours (Friday, Saturday and Sunday).

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Police Briefs 02-15-2018

Police Briefs 02-15-2018

OPERATING UNDER THE INFLUENCE

On Jan. 31, at 4:43 a.m., officers were dispatched to the area of Bellingham Square for an erratic operator. The caller stated that it was a black Lexus swerving on Hawthorne Street heading towards Bellingham Square. Officers noticed a black Lexus operating on Broadway without the lights on. The vehicle took a left turn into Cross Street where it was stopped. Officers performed a field sobriety test and based on that exam placed the party under arrest for OUI.

Helen Correa, 47, of Ashland, was charged with OUI Liquor, motor vehicle lights violation and possession of an open container of alcohol.

GESTURES IN COURT

On Feb. 1, at 9:45 a.m., officers responded to Chelsea District Court for a report of Witness Intimidation. Officers were met by the reporting party who stated while awaiting a hearing for an ongoing case, the subject of that case made gestures and remarks while awaiting the proceeding to begin. The subject was placed under arrest.

Wayne Giangregorio, 55, of East Boston, was charged with intimidation of a witness.

ASLEEP BEHIND THE WHEEL

On Feb. 2 at 5:48 p.m., Chelsea Police responded to a report of motor vehicles being struck by a white box truck traveling down Washington Avenue towards Fay Square. The white box truck was observed by officers parked in the area of 63 Washington Ave. The operator was observed asleep behind the wheel. After further investigation, the male was placed into custody for OUI. During the booking process, five baggies of Heroin were located on his person.

John Williamson, 59, of Malden, was charged with operating under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of property damage, failing to wear a seatbelt and possession of a Class A drug.

UNDER THE INFLUENCE

On Feb. 5, at 2:16 a.m., a Chelsea Police officer observed an oncoming vehicle without his headlights on. The officer tried to get the operator’s attention and proceeded to follow the vehicle. The officer observed erratic operation and pulled the vehicle over. After a conversation with the operator, the officer formed the opinion that the driver was operating under the influence of alcohol and placed him under arrest.

It was the driver’s fifth offense for drunk driving.

Manrique Martinez, 47, of 250 Clark Ave., was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol (5th offense) and reckless endangerment to children.

Police Log

Monday, 1/29

Jose Rivera, 32, 11 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Alberto Garcia, 50, 303 Carter St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Wednesday, 1/31

Helen Correa, 47, 280 Main ST., Ashland, MA, was arrested for lights violation, possessing open container in motor vehicle.

Thursday, 2/1

Wayne Giangregorio, 55, 12 A Seaver St., East Boston, was arrested for witness intimidation.

Glenn Kerivan, 58, 171 Old Cambridge Rd., Woburn, was arrested for shoplifting.

Lawrence Polidor, 20, 41 Woodville St., Everett, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.

Friday, 2/2

John Williamson, 59, 33 Maple St., Malden, was arrested for operating under the influence of drugs, leaving scene of property damage, failure to wear seat belt and Possessing Class A drug.

Santos Ventura, 47, 24 Malden ST.,  Everett, was arrested for incapacitated person and on a warrant.

Saturday, 2/3

Manuel Escobar, 20, 45 Addision St., Chelsea, was arrested on warrants and not in possession of license after accident.

Sunday, 2/4

Manrique Martinez, 47, 250 Clark Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor (5th offense) and Reckless endangerment to Children.

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Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Explore the world of watercolors inside the Guild of Boston Artists gallery on Newbury Street, where the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) is holding its annual Signature Members Show through March 4.

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

On display are a variety of styles ranging from hyperrealist to abstract, from soulful portraits to detailed images of machinery to sweeping light-struck landscapes.

The exhibit offers an exceptional opportunity for anybody to come in and appreciate the high degree of artistry and technical mastery attainable in this challenging medium.

“Watercolor is an amazingly diverse medium,” said Wendy Hale, president of NEWS and a Back Bay resident. “The palette extends from richly saturated colors to muted tones. Our members’ styles are equally varied, from the traditional Andrew Wyeth to today’s modern-edgy.”

NEWS was founded in 1885 as the Boston Watercolor Society and became the New England Watercolor Society in 1980. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious watercolor societies in America.

Some early members included American art as Thomas Allen, F. Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and more.

The Society has grown to over 400 members from all six New England states, of which nearly 200 are signature members.

The mission of the Society is to promote the advancement of aqua media arts throughout New England and to bring exceptional paintings using both traditional and innovative techniques to a wider public.

NEWS sponsors two juried shows each year. This show features the work of the Society’s signature members. The other show is open to all water-media artists in New England (in odd-numbered years) and throughout North America (in even-numbered years).

To become a signature member, a New England-based artist must be juried into four NEWS shows within a 10-year period, including at least one North American show.

“The one thing that is unique about the Signature Members Show is that it is always held in Boston every year and is always in February,” said Hale. “People can count on it.”

This year’s exhibition judge is Frederick C. Graff, a distinguished member of the American Watercolor Society. Graff had the hard job of determining the top 10 winners out of 79 pieces. He said he determined the winners based on their impact, composition and originality.

“With watercolor you’re not going to have a perfect painting,” said Graff. “So you take the best and see what they did with the composition and with their artistic ability.”

But what it really comes down to, Graff said, “Is what is the first thing that sticks out to you when you first walk into the room? For me, I usually know right away if I think something is on the top of the awards list.”

In connection with the exhibitions, the Society sponsors receptions and award presentations, gallery talks, demonstrations, and workshops led by nationally recognized water media experts.

Community artists and other interested supporters of NEWS can join as associate members. Signature and associate members are eligible for reduced fees for workshops for the regional and North American shows.

The Signature Members Show reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 – 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public. All of the artwork on display is for sale.

New England Watercolor Society Signature Members Show, Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, Boston, through March 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 12-4 p.m. Painting demonstrations Sundays 1-3 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, and 25, and gallery talks Saturdays 1p.m. February 17 and 24 and March 3.

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Dockless Bike Sharing Program Finds Success Here

Dockless Bike Sharing Program Finds Success Here

ofo, the world’s first and largest station-free bike-sharing company, has been popular among Chelsea residents and has big plans to expand its presences in the area, according to company representatives.

ofo operated pilot programs in four Boston area cities, including Chelsea, from September to December 2017, and looks forward to building on those programs and further expanding in the coming months.

In Chelsea, as across the Greater Boston area, ofo has hired a local team, including experienced fleet managers and mechanics who together have more than 30 years of experience in the local bike industry.

“I was thoroughly impressed with the ofo pilot program as company officials were very responsive from start to finish,” said Councilor at-Large Roy Avellaneda. “As an advocate for eco-friendly and improved public transportation for Chelsea, I was thrilled to be able to have the city offer a bike sharing program to Chelsea residents. The amount of positive feedback from users and the usage data provided by ofo at the end proved two things: 1. That a bike sharing program is needed in Chelsea; 2. There is much room for growth and use in our community.”

The company has worked closely with local city officials to ensure smooth operations leading up to and through launch, and will continue its collaboration to help improve urban travel and ensure all corners of the city have access to this new affordable and convenient way to get around. ofo has also sponsored local events, such as Chelsea’s bike-marathon.

“Collaborating with local officials to bring this affordable, convenient and green transportation option to Chelsea has been a great experience,” said Head of ofo U.S., Chris Taylor. “Thank you to the residents who’ve welcomed us into the community. We look forward to continuing this partnership, growing our business and offering more bikes to folks throughout the Boston area this year.”

ofo currently operates in more than 20 cities across the U.S. and more than 250 cities worldwide. Since ofo’s launch in the greater Boston area in September, users have taken more than 35,000 trips and traveled nearly 70,000 miles.

ofo’s founders pioneered the concept of station-free bike sharing, which eliminated the inconvenience of docking stations and their expense to city taxpayers. The bikes can be parked anywhere and cost only $1 per hour.

To get started, Chelsea residents can download the ofo app available for iOS and Android. The app helps users find a nearby bike via GPS and unlock it by scanning a QR code. Once a ride is complete, locking the bike ends the trip automatically and the user will receive a digital receipt and map of their route.

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East Boston Savings Bank Awards $1,000 to Seventh Grader for Her Patriotism in Saving the American Flag

East Boston Savings Bank Awards $1,000 to Seventh Grader for Her Patriotism in Saving the American Flag

East Boston Savings Bank’s President and CEO, Richard Gavegnano invited seventh  grader, Ashley Reardon to the bank’s Peabody Headquarters where he presented her with a community scholarship of $1,000 for retrieving an American flag she found entangled high in a tree.  Reardon, a Saugus resident and 7th grader at St. Mary’s School in Melrose, noticed the American flag in a tree while riding in the car with her mother after a snowstorm. She knew that it was wrong for the flag to be tangled in the tree instead of on the flag pole showing the highest honor of respect.

When asked, “What does the flag symbolize to you”? Ashley responded, “There are people out there in the army and in the navy risking their lives every single day for us, our country, so we can sleep safely at night knowing that we are safe and sound. We take it so much for granted; I feel like we need to show how thankful we are and it really shows respect for our country and flag and for those who have fought and died; and put their lives on the line everyday”.

“I am always impressed to see the younger generation support the troops and show their patriotism.  After seeing Ashley on the news for climbing a tree to retrieve the American flag made me want to meet her and present her with a special scholarship”, said Gavegnano.

To watch Ashley’s full interview with Fox News, click here: https://youtu.be/vvqBgC2VVx4

Founded in 1848, EBSB is a proven community bank that offers products and services that meet the deposit and financing needs of both consumers and businesses. East Boston Savings Bank currently operates 35 full-service branches and operates a Mobile Banking Unit in the greater Boston metropolitan area and offers a variety of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses located in its primary market, which consists of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.

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Marshall the Lions:Chelsea Man Brought His Love of Africa to Pictures

Marshall the Lions:Chelsea Man Brought His Love of Africa to Pictures

Most children pretend to encounter lions in the wilds of Africa, but Marshall Lawrence Reiner Jr., of Chelsea’s Cohen Florence Levine Estates, actually did encounter lions while growing up in Africa.

Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner's work. Reiner’s amazing wildlife and landscape photography come from his love of Africa due to his upbringing in colonial Tanzania.

Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner’s work. Reiner’s amazing wildlife and landscape photography come from his love of Africa due to his upbringing in colonial Tanzania.

Reiner, 82, has lived in Chelsea for about two years, a retired accomplished physician, and he raised many eyebrows last fall when he exhibited his marvelous photos of Africa – photos taken when he returned to his childhood home as an adult.

“At some point, I just knew I needed to go back to Africa and get back to my roots,” he said. ‘I wanted to take my wife out there and show her where I grew up – how I grew up in Tanzania. I went back about six times. It became something we did every year, and I loved taking photographs there. My favorite subject was Mt. Kilimanjaro.”

At the age of 3, Reiner’s parents moved the family from Oak Park, IL, to Tanzania on a missionary trip.

“We took an old freighter around the southern tip of Africa and up the East coast of Africa, landing in Kenya,” he said. “From there, we traveled inland to Tanzania. It was colonial Africa, and very different than now. I had a very interesting upbringing as a little boy who didn’t know where he belonged with all his African buddies. No doubt, I have a lot of crazy stories of wandering around and coming across lions and other animals…The lions don’t just go chasing anybody and they won’t really chase human beings. The only ones that will chase human beings are the older ones that are worn out and can’t catch anything else. People here think every lion is a man-eater and every human is a target. No. They save their prey. If they’re hungry, they go for it. That’s it.”

Reiner grew up in Tanzania most of his life, going to British schools and finding that they were quite adequate as he began to look at colleges and universities. When it came time to further his education, sadly he said, he had to leave what had become his homeland.

He attended Wheaton College in Illinois, then decided to study medicine in Houston at the Baylor University. He said he originally thought about being a psychiatrist, but didn’t appreciate what was being taught in that discipline at the time.

So, he decided to specialize in pediatric childhood nutrition, something that wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today.

After medical school, he landed at Children’s’ Hospital in Boston, and stayed her for the rest of his career.

“Most of my career was on Beacon Street in Brookline in practice and on staff at Children’s, Beth Israel and Brigham & Women’s,” he said.

While those days in Boston hospitals might have been fulfilling in his career, he was longing to get back to Africa.

Along the way, he met a professional photographer who was kind enough to show him how to use a camera.

“He took me under his wing and taught me all his tricks,” he said.

Reiner combined his desire to get back to Africa with his new photography skills and came back with a wonderful archive of photos from his Tanzanian home.

Now, with numerous images from Africa, he has no shortage of stories to impart with those photos.

“I always say what a lucky kid I was,” he said. “I have such wonderful memories from those days back in colonial Africa.”

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Major Recycler Cheering Plastic Bag Bans, Including Chelsea’s Potential One

Major Recycler Cheering Plastic Bag Bans, Including Chelsea’s Potential One

One of the largest recycling plants in the nation, Casella Waste in Charlestown, is hailing the recent spate of plastic bag bans in the area, including the discussions happening right now in Chelsea about a potential ban.

Casella handles about 200,000 tons of recycling per year and is the number one plant in Greater Boston – and a top five plant in the U.S. They handle all of the recycling for Chelsea, but one thing they hope is that the City might follow Boston in banning plastic bags – known in the industry as Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPEs).

“By far, plastic bag getting into the facility are the number one contaminants in single-stream recycling,” said Bob Cappadona of Casella. “By themselves, they are a very recyclable product. However, there just isn’t any market for the product. Second, with everything else, they get caught up in our machinery and cause us a lot of problems. If they come into our facility and get past our pre-sorters, they tend to get wrapped up in our disk screens and they wrap around them and cause stoppages.”

He said when bags get caught up in the disk screen machinery – which separates plastic jugs from paper/fibre products – the only way to remove them is the old fashioned way:  with a razor blade.

“There are so many that get in there that at lunch or at break time we have to keep two or three people there to clean the disk screens of plastic bags,” he said. “Every three or four hours we have to go in and clean it up.”

Cappadona said he doesn’t want to malign plastic bags because they are a good recycled product on their own, if people were to take them back to the grocery store as directed.

However, many people throw them in the recycling, many times because they don’t know. On its face, it looks like something that could be recycled in the traditional curbside barrels. However, it is one plastic item that isn’t accepted, but routinely gets in the stream.

In Chelsea, Russell Disposal picks up all the recycling on the curb, and from there, they take it to Casella on Rutherford Avenue, behind Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown.

Once there, that’s when problems come.

“They are a good recycling product on their own, but when they get here with everything else, they are a contaminant,” he said.

In terms of the ban that will go into effect in Boston, Cappadona said they aren’t really preparing, but they are excited about it. And they hope others might follow suit to make their recycling product purer.

The Chelsea City Council has been exploring the idea of a ban for the last month, with two meetings so far on the issue. While many are calling for a ban to prevent litter and for environmental reasons, businesses in the area are concerned about the increasing cost burden it will put on them to use alternative bags that are more expensive.

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Appreciation:Jeanette Weiner Lee is Fondly Remembered

Appreciation:Jeanette Weiner Lee is Fondly Remembered

Jeanette (Weiner) Lee, of Wayland, formerly of Chelsea, matriarch of a longtime and well-known Chelsea family and a, died on January 23, 2018.

Jeanette Weiner Lee.

Jeanette Weiner Lee.

She was the beloved wife of the late Charles L. Lee. and the devoted and loving mother of Donald Charles Lee and wife Nancy of Holbrook, JoAnne D. Lee-Nieves and husband Carlos Juan of Mattapan, Michele L. (Lee) LaCosta and husband Charles of Holbrook and Brian R. Lee and wife Jodi Pages-Lee of Wayland. She was the loving daughter of the late Morris Paul Weiner and Anne (Babner) Weiner. She was the dear sister of Esther Wexler of Norton, Irving D. Weiner of Norton, and the late Lily Celata, Evelyn Sweeney and Rae Cummings. She was the loving grandmother of 12 and great-grandmother of 3.

Mrs. Lee was born and raised in Chelsea and educated in the Chelsea School System. In her later years, Jeanette influenced and impacted many young lives in Chelsea. She taught Sunday school at the People’s Baptist Church Chelsea for 25 years. She was the Past President of the PTA at the Williams School, Chelsea, Secretary of the Women’s’ Progressive Club in Everett, a member of the Wayland Women’s Club, Secretary of the Greater Boston Baptist Association, Secretary of the Sister International and most recently a member of the Women’s Ministry of Ebenezer Baptist Church but her greatest love of all time was her family.

Mrs. Lee regularly attended her children’s school activities and took considerable pride in their accomplishments on the athletic field and in the classroom.

Throughout their lives, the Lee children exhibited the kindness, generosity, warmth, and personable manner of their parents, reaching out to those less fortunate and mentoring young people through their exemplary actions and uplifting words.

The Lee family was admired in Chelsea.

Longtime Chelsea softball fans will fondly remember Mrs. Lee’s husband, the late Charles Lee, who made umpiring in the Chelsea Fast Pitch Softball League a work of art.  Players, coaches, and fans admired the charismatic umpire who called balls and strikes with aplomb and grace and was always impeccably dressed in his official uniform. Mr. Lee sponsored the Charles Lee Disposal team in the Chelsea Men’s Basketball League, reuniting Donald Lee with his former high school teammates, including his cousin, Leo Robinson, Bobby Long, Dale Johnson and Donald Wolcott.

Joanne Lee-Nieves became a highly successful women’s basketball coach, receiving state Hall of Fame honors. She was a role model to the inner-city women whom she coached and mentored.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson said his aunt, Jeanette, was “a big influence on many young people in Chelsea who grew up to lead very positive lives.”

“She was a beautiful, wonderful person – a great lady,” said Robinson. “She was a very sensitive human being who really loved people.”

The city of Chelsea has lost a wonderful woman who brought much love and joy to her proud family and to all who had the honor of being in her company.

A Funeral Service will be at the Torf Funeral Chapel, 151 Washington Avenue, Cary Sq, Chelsea on Monday, January 29th at 11AM. Relatives and friends invited to attend. Interment in North Cemetery, Wayland. A Memorial Service will be held in Jeanette’s honor on Saturday, February 3rd at 11AM in the Ebenezer Baptist Church-157 West Springfield St., South End, Boston, MA. In lieu of flowers donations in Jeanette’s memory may be made to the Animal Rescue League of Boston-10 Chandler St., Boston, MA 02116 or to the American Kidney Fund-11921 Rockville Pike, Suite 300, Rockville, MD 20852. Visit www.torffuneralservice.com for guestbook and directions.

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