Matt Frank has always carried his own unique
viewpoint of Chelsea, his own deep respect and love for a city he grew up in
during its worst times, and for which he helped shepherd as a City Councillor
during the ascent to some of its best times.
Now, after having retired from politics last
election cycle, the life-long Chelsea resident has turned to a life behind the
camera – taking up photography in a serious way and making more than a hobby
out of it. Last weekend, he premiered his first solo show at the Chelsea
Prospers Gallery in the windows of the former Salvation Army store.
“The show is up and I think we had a great
opening before the Night Market last weekend,” he said. “This is a show I call
‘Modern Nostalgia.’ The focus is the things we know here that we have lost. We
lost the water tower at the Soldiers’ Home and the Chelsea Clock building and
the old Clark Avenue School, which I have pictured aside the new Clark Avenue
School building…There are pictures of the downtown and the Tobin Bridge and one
of kayakers on the Creek by the Bridge at sunset. Many don’t see Chelsea as
elegant and pretty. But I think my photos are how a lot of residents see
Chelsea…It’s an aspirational image and that’s how we feel about Chelsea at its
Frank began playing around with a camera
many years ago when he was working in Harvard Square, taking pictures for his
job there as a necessity. It was a situation where he once got a very iconic
photo of Lady Gaga when she was in Harvard Square visiting.
After he left the Council, he said he was
looking for a hobby and all signs pointed to his camera. He purchased a little
better camera and went to work in his hometown.
Since then, he has captured images that have
gotten great feedback from residents as he showed them prints or posted them
online – motion photos of Bellingham Square, or swans in Mill Creek, or sunsets
over the Mystic/Tobin Bridge.
Soon, he was one of the leading voices –
among many voices – in what Frank and others are calling the ‘Beautiful
That has come not just in the form of
traditional photographs, but also with photo pillows, magnets, mugs and other
“It’s becoming a bit of a movement now,” he
Frank said he would like to continue his
journey by adding more portraits, and more photos of people, but he said he
also likes the idea of continuing on with inspiring photos of Chelsea.
“Maybe I’ll focus on different communities, but
honestly the Chelsea ones get a great reaction,” he said. “That’s because I
know Chelsea. I suspect when I take pictures of other cities, it’s the same
way. I think that what it is. My Chelsea pieces have my spirit in it. I think I
see Chelsea in the way that others from Chelsea see it.”
The Massachusetts Department of
Transportation (MassDOT) began the closure of one of three southbound travel
lanes on Route 1 in Chelsea and the Tobin Bridge the morning of Tuesday, May
14, snarling traffic in many parts of Everett as commuters looked for an
The public was also reminded the one-lane
northbound closure on the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 was expanded the morning of
Tuesday, May 14. MassDOT anticipates that these lane closures will lead to
increased travel times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for
drivers and MBTA bus customers for months to come.
These traffic impacts are associated with
MassDOT’s Tobin Bridge/Chelsea
Curves Rehabilitation Project and lane closures will remain in place for
approximately two years. Additional overnight lane closures will be necessary
throughout the project meaning only one lane of travel may be open during
certain evening hours.
In order to accommodate travelers during
this necessary construction work, MassDOT is opening the I-93 southbound
carpool lane between Medford and the Zakim Bridge to all vehicles regardless of
the number of occupants. This lane will continue to function as an “express
lane” and vehicles in this lane on I-93 southbound will not have access to Exit
28 (Mystic Avenue) or Exit 26 (Storrow Drive).
“North Shore commuters should be aware that
beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 14, a travel lane will be closed on Route
1 southbound in Chelsea, and the lane closure that is already in place on the
Tobin Bridge and Route 1 northbound will be expanded,” said Highway
Administrator Jonathan Gulliver last Friday. “MassDOT is carrying out this
necessary rehabilitation work in order to ensure the continued use and
reliability of Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Viaduct. We appreciate the cooperation
and patience of the traveling public and advise everyone to make smart
decisions such as considering public transit, using the appropriate technology
apps to find the best route and time to travel, and building extra time into
their commutes to account for potential roadway congestion.”
Travelers are also reminded of options such
as free fares in the inbound direction on the MBTA Silver Line 3 bus line
offered at the Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue
stops for the duration of construction. In addition, public transit customers
will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea
on the Commuter Rail. The MBTA is also running additional MBTA Blue Line trains
to increase capacity. These measures are all being funded by MassDOT Highway
Division project funds.
MassDOT is also advising the public to also
consider using the Haverhill or Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail lines and
note that the Haverhill Line historically has parking capacity at Haverhill and
Bradford stations. The Newburyport/Rockport Line historically has parking
capacity at Newburyport, Salem and Lynn station. Customers can monitor
@MBTA_Parking on Twitter for capacity updates and information. In
addition, the MBTA has installed a digital parking capacity sign at the Blue
Line Wonderland parking lot so drivers approaching the lot can get “real time”
information on parking availability.
carrying out work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 at
the same time so that the most impactful work will be completed by 2021. If the
projects were done at separate times, drivers would be inconvenienced for
additional years. This work will eliminate the need for weight restrictions and
postings, and MassDOT will use accelerated construction techniques to shorten
the overall construction time.
Carlos Fuentes is a flourishing social media
star and mentor who is helping inspire others on their own health and fitness
And when we say star, well, Fuentes has more
than 56,000 followers, a number that is growing every day.
Chelsea residents, classmates, and childhood
friends will remember him well as the personable and multi-talented member of
the Jordan Boys and Girls Club (JBGC), the hard-working and helpful student at
CHS (Class of 2009), or the diligent staff member at the Chelsea Collaborative
where he worked with administrators Gladys Vega and Roseann Bongiovanni.
Fuentes credited former JGBC Executive
Director Josh Kraft for making his visits there a positive and productive
“Josh is definitely a person who helped me,” said Fuentest. “Patricia Manalo was the performing arts director and she was the first one to say to me, ‘it’s okay to put yourself out there and do something different’ “I did ballet, tap, singing, and dancing. She helped me get out my comfort zone and that’s what my current journey has been about.”
Chelsea resident Carlos Fuentes, teen program director at the East Boston YMCA and social media star, is pictured outside the youth development and community sports facility.
Reflecting on his job at the Collaborative,
Fuentes said, “Gladys and Rosie are awesome. They gave me my first job. I
worked at the Collaborative for five years as an environmental Chelsea
One of his childhood highlights was singing
at the Zakim Bridge opening ceremonies with superstar Bruce Springsteen.
Fuentes graduated from Wheelock College with
a degree in Social Work. While a college junior, he began working at the East
Today he is the Teen Program Director at the
East Boston YMCA where he oversees relationships with the surrounding middle
and high schools and manages the academic credit recovery programs as well as Y
In 2016, Fuentes began posting photos of his
workouts, attendance at musicals, and his various travels on social media.
“I was doing cardio workouts and then I
signed up for personal training at the YMCA,” said Fuentes, who has lost 40
pounds on a three-year fitness program.
Fuentes said one of his transformation
photos became an overnight viral sensation, with no less than 800,000 likes
One of his fans praised his healthy
lifestyle and positive attitude, writing, “I believe in you, Carlos.”
Fuentes now posts videos every other day and
the demand for more interaction on social media is growing.
“I just recently learned how to swim, so a
lot of it is my swimming videos and my working out videos,” said Fuentes, whose
father, Jorge Pleitez, is from El Salvador and mother, Suyapa Fuentes, is from
Honduras. He has two older brothers, Miguel and Jorge.
Fuentes is part of the LGBT community and he
is often sought out for advice by people who consider him an inspiration and a
source of support.
James Morton, YMCA of Greater Boston
president and CEO lauded Fuentes who is part of a caring, dedicated staff that
has made the ‘Y’ a true community resource in East Boston.
“Carlos’ story is truly an inspiration to
all,” said Morton, who is an avid runner and fitness advocate himself. “When
people join the Y, they are seeking to improve themselves, but in actuality
they are also part of creating a better community. The Y helps teens with job
training, academic support, and college prep help.”
Ashley Genrich, aquatics director at the
East Boston YMCA, taught Fuentes how to swim.
“Carlos is one of hardest workers I’ve ever
met in my life,” said Genrich. “He figured it out pretty quickly and was hungry
to learn all the different strokes. Now he assists with our swim classes. The
kids love him. East Boston is such a family here and Carlos models what it is
to be a huge member of the this community and the family. He’s an awesome guy.”
Added Kate Martinez, 17, who works part time
in the teen program, “Being at the Y has always felt like a second home because
of Carlos. He helps me balance my schoolwork and sports. He’s also given me the
opportunity to support other youths with their homework and taking part in ‘Y’
Meanwhile, Fuentes is becoming so popular
and uplifting across many age groups and lifestyles that he is being approached
by clothing companies to promote their products. A local film maker has also
reached out to Fuentes for a project.
“I’m trying to see what endorsements are
available,” said Fuentes. “The response has been overwhelming. A lot of people
on Instagram say they appreciate me being vulnerable. Because of this platform
that I have, I am looking to expand my outreach.”
Fuentes said he’s pleased that the East
Boston ‘Y’ is attracting members from Chelsea. “It’s great that some of our
participants are from Chelsea. I’ve tried to make it known that Chelsea
residents are welcomed. My heart has always been Chelsea.”
And Fuentes is happily putting his hometown
and the East Boston YMCA on the map through his tremendous following on social
With his ability to lead and inspire others,
is an entry in to the political arena in his immediate future?
about it,” he admits. “But not right now.”
The Massachusetts Department of
Transportation (MassDOT) announced the Department will be rehabilitating the
surface of the Tobin Bridge and complete required maintenance to improve the
structure which will require lane closures and result in significant traffic
impacts on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1
beginning April 1.
These impacts will lead to increased travel
times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for drivers and MBTA bus
The Department also released details about
transit options available to travelers such as free fares in the inbound
direction on the SL3 bus line offered at the Chelsea, Bellingham Square,
Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction. The
MBTA also announced that they will be running additional MBTA Blue Line trains
to additional capacity, and these measures will be funded by MassDOT Highway
Division project funds.
Beginning April 1, lane closures on the
Tobin Bridge northbound will be put in place, although two of three travel
lanes will be open during daytime hours. One of the three travel lanes on the
Tobin Bridge northbound will be open during overnight hours.
Beginning by early May, Route 1 travel lanes
in the Chelsea Curves area will be reduced so that two of three north
and southbound travel lanes will be open in the daytime. One of three north and
southbound travel lanes will be open during overnight hours.
“MassDOT is carrying out simultaneous work
on this infrastructure which was constructed in the middle of the
20th century and hasn’t been rehabilitated since the 1970s in order to
ensure its continued use and reliability and minimize the overall impact on
commuters and the local community,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan
Gulliver. “We thank travelers for their patience as MassDOT begins this
necessary project, and we encourage everyone traveling throughout the Route 1
area to make smart commuting decisions such as considering public transit,
using the appropriate technology apps to find the best route and time to
travel, and building extra time into their commutes to account for potential
The MBTA said they will be offering the free
fares on the Silver Line and the Commuter Rail during construction.
“During construction, free fares are being
offered for Silver Line 3 (SL3) inbound customers at certain station stops and
additional Blue Line train capacity is being added. In addition, public transit
customers will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea on
the Commuter Rail,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Some MBTA
customers on certain bus routes will experience delays, so we urge riders to
consider taking advantage of these additional travel options being offered
MassDOT’s traffic modeling suggests that on
Route 1 northbound, afternoon peak travel times could increase in duration and
have significant delays. Vehicle backups are expected to extend onto the I-93
ramps, along the Leverett Connector, and towards Rutherford Avenue. On Route 1
southbound, morning peak travel times could similarly increase in duration with
significant delays expected.
MassDOT is carrying out work on the Tobin
Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 at the same time so that
these projects will be completed in 2021. If the projects were done at separate
times, drivers would be inconvenienced for additional years. This work will
eliminate the need for weight restrictions and postings, and MassDOT will use
accelerated construction techniques to shorten the overall construction time.
For more information on traffic conditions
travelers are encouraged to:
•Dial 511 before heading out onto the
roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
“http://www.mass511.com” t “_blank” www.mass511.com, a
website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information,
access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email
alerts for traffic conditions.
•Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive
regular updates on road and traffic conditions.
•Check parking availability at the T’s 8
largest garages @MBTA_Parking.
•Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view
real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.
The City Council has asked that City Manager
Tom Ambrosino use the next month to figure out some new parking strategies for
the city instead of spending a hefty sum on a major Parking Study.
Ambrosino said the Council had instructed
him to put out a bid for a parking study late last year, but there was only one
bidder on the project. That bid did not include the whole city and was more
On Monday, the Council held a Committee
meeting to discuss the next steps, steps that don’t include spending such a sum
on a study.
“The Council at the end of the meeting on
Monday wanted to explore the idea of internal remediation before proceeding
with an expensive outside study,” he said.
Ambrosino said he and his administration
will spend the next month “brainstorming” some ideas and recommendations to
help with the parking bottleneck in many areas of the City – including the
Ambrosino said they do see it as a problem
in several aspects of the city.
“There’s no question it’s a problem in the
city,” he said. “There are way too many cars and not enough parking spaces.
There is no simple solution to that problem. Long-time, we do have an agreement
as part of the Tobin Bridge Viaduct project to add 135 spaces only a short walk
from downtown. That might help a little bit, but that’s three years away.”
One solution he will not suggest is to
reduce parking requirements for new development. While many might think that is
counter to solving a parking problem, many planners now believe that one
solution to reducing the numbers of cars is to build developments without
That won’t be a solution he suggests again,
after having had lower parking requirements rejected by the Council only two
“I don’t see the Council reducing parking any
time soon,” he said. “It’s not something I’m going to re-submit.”
In a move that could dramatically reduce the
commute times for Chelsea 111 bus riders, the City of Boston announced they are
planning on installing a dedicated bus lane on North Washington Street from
Causeway to Haymarket – a key clogging point for riders heading into Haymarket
It would be a move that would accommodate
the 111 bus routes and two Charlestown bus routes, and Boston officials said
the new lane could reduce travel times by as much as 25 percent.
“We are planning on building an exclusive
bus lane on North Washington Street from the intersection at Causeway Street
after the bridge to Haymarket,” said Vineet Gupta, director of planning at the
Boston Transportation Department (BTD). “It would be a dedicated bus lane 24/7
on the inbound side. Right now, we’re working with the MBTA to install that bus
BTD Director Gina Fiandaca said they have
been working closely with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the MBTA on the North
Washington Street bus lane, and hope that they can get it done as early in 2019
as possible. She said that stretch of the bus route is often the most
congested, and riders often find themselves waiting longer on the bus for the
last leg than it would take them to walk.
“This inbound bus lane will have the
opportunity to move along at a quicker pace than the rest of the traffic,” she
said. “Another good part of this is in the future when the North Washington
Street Bridge is completed, it will have a bus lane as well. That will provide
a connection with this new lane to have one unbroken exclusive bus lane from
Charlestown when the Bridge is done.”
In order to accomplish the new lane, the
City will have to remove some metered parking spaces and a commercial parking
space, but a large chunk of the stretch is a large bus stop and ‘no parking’
Gupta said they have no clear data yet on
the time it could save commuters going inbound – though they will begin keeping
that data very soon. However, in Roslindale where they installed a bus lane last
year, commutes were shortened by 25 percent. The same data also presented
itself in Everett two years ago when they put a dedicated bus lane on Broadway
The announcement was one of several made by
Boston Mayor Walsh at the Greater Boston Municipal Research Bureau meeting on
The North Washington Street bus lane would be
the first one in effect 24 hours a day in Boston.
The City might have to put up with traffic
backups for nearly three years on the Chelsea Viaduct, but there will be a
mitigation package for the City when the dust all settles.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they have
received a mitigation package to go along with the Viaduct project, which
starts on April 1.
“We got what I thought was a reasonable
mitigation package from MassDOT,” he said. “It wasn’t perfect, but at the end
of the day it was reasonable.”
One of the major improvements will be two
new, fully constructed public parking lots under the Tobin curves when the
project is done.
Ambrosino said it will include 135 public
parking spaces just a block from downtown Chelsea, something he hopes will help
alleviate some of the parking crunch in the area.
There will also be parking constructed under
the curves at Carter Street too.
One key piece of the puzzle that will remain
as part of the package is the Arlington Street onramp by the Williams School.
MassDOT had toyed with the idea of eliminating that ramp in early designs, but
pushback from the community seemed to keep that idea at bay.
Other pieces of mitigation include:
•A robust snow fence for noise mitigation.
•Money for community engagement to inform everyone
of the project over the three years.
•Repaving Fourth Street.
•lighting improvements under the Bridge after
the project is completed.
On Feb. 11, at 10:05 a.m., an officer on
foot patrol in Bellingham Square observed a group blocking the foot traffic in
front of 427 Broadway – forcing a family with a small child to walk onto the
street. One male became agitated at the officer’s request to move and
became load and disorderly while refusing to move. The officer with the assistance
of other officers placed the male into custody after a brief struggle.
Michael Catino, 35, of East Boston, was
charged with assault, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Crack Cocaine Bust
On Feb. 12 the Chelsea Police executed
a search warrant at 90 Chestnut St. #3. The search warrant was the result of an
investigation into a male subject for the distribution of crack cocaine from
that address. During the course of the investigation, the CPD purchased
narcotics from the address. The male subject was placed into custody.
John Venete, 33, of 90 Chestnut St., was
charged with possession to distribute cocaine.
Squattin’ in the Cellar
On Feb. 15, officers were dispatched to
26-28 Spencer Ave. for the report of two unwanted individuals. The
officers spoke to the landlord who led them to the basement of the property.
Officer’s located two males in the basement. Next to the men was a handful of
needles and drug paraphilia. One male was found to have illegal pills on his
person. Both were arrested.
Jeff Bosquet, 36, of Everett; and Stephen
Morgan, 30, of 55 Heard St., were both charged with trespassing and possession
of a Class C drug.
Broke into Van
On Feb. 16, at 2:45 a.m., officers were on
patrol in the area of the Bellingham Street Bridge by the Silver Line Overpass
when they observed a motor vehicle in the middle of the road with its lights
off, parked next to a van. As the officers approached the vehicle, two males
and a female known to the officers exited the vehicle. The car had a broken
rear window. The officers made contact with the owner who responded and told
officers the window had no damage when he parked the car earlier. The victim
also told officers that tools were also missing from the car. All three were
placed under arrest.
Jeff Bosquet, 36,
of Everett; David Kerns, 43, of Revere; and Jaclyn Doucette, 29, of Revere;
were all charged with breaking and entering in the night for a felony and
larceny/receiving stolen property under $1,200.
State Rep. Dan Ryan said this week he is
pleased in what is considered a step up in becoming the vice chair of the Post
Audit Oversight Committee – a powerful committee that runs investigations of
government operations and actually has subpoena powers.
“I want to thank Speaker DeLeo for this
appointment, and my House colleagues for voting to affirm his trust in me,”
said Ryan. “I look forward to working with Chairman Linsky and other committee
members in continuing to bring solid, cost-effective government programs to the
Ryan said Post-Audit Oversight certainly
isn’t a household name for most people in the Town, but said it has a unique
mission and is a sought-after committee on Beacon Hill.
“The Post-Audit Oversight Committee is a select House committee that has a
unique mission,” he said. “Members of the committee are tasked with ensuring
that State agencies are abiding by legislative intent and the program
initiatives put forth, by the legislature, through the budget process. When
necessary, the committee will work with administrative agencies to
propose corrective actions to best serve citizens of the Commonwealth.”
One of the most visible investigations
conducted by the Committee came several years ago in the previous
administration when the Department of Children and Families (DCF) came under
fire for its handling and management of numerous cases involving children.
Ryan has also been assigned as a member of
the Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery Committee, and as a member of
the Transportation Committee.
•Just across the North Washington Street
Bridge, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz came away with one of the biggest scores
for the Boston delegation in getting assigned as chair of the powerful Ways
& Means Committee.
Rep. Ryan said that having such an important
chair nearby will be very good for Charlestown as well as the North End. That
will particularly be apparent with projects like the North Washington Street
Bridge, which affects the North End as much as Charlestown.
Michlewitz told the Patriot-Bridge that he
is humbled by the appointment, and that while he has to build consensus across
the state, he will keep his district and Boston in the forefront.
“I am honored
that Speaker DeLeo believes I can do the job,” he said. “The first order of
business is creating and debating a $42.7 billion budget. A lot of work has
been done in committee, but we have a short timeframe to get a lot done. The
thing I was to stress is my district is my number one priority.”
The people of Chelsea are demanding increased
frequency on the Silver Line, more reliability, and additional bus connections
from the MBTA. Over the next two years there will be three major construction
projects in Chelsea that will adversely impact bus traffic, and City leaders
and residents are concerned that the already poor services will worsen.
“There have been big shifts in population and
ridership, and the bus routes have stayed largely the same,” admitted Steve
Poftak, the newly appointed MBTA General Manager. “The T is playing catch-up.”
On January 24, Poftak sat with locals and
members of the City Council during the first inaugural Chelsea Transportation
Task Force meeting at City Hall. The goal of the committee is to gather once a
month for six months of interactive discussions with the community and Poftak
to develop solutions.
“For a lot of us who live on both of the
hills, buses are the only means of transportation,” commented a Bellingham
Square resident. “Every year or two, they threaten to cut off both of the
hills. That would leave us totally stranded, and I’m not having it.”
Many aren’t content with the massive traffic
that builds with the 20 minute rising and 20 minute lowering of the Chelsea
Street bridge, which slows bus travel. The MBTA noted that active discussions
with the Coast Guard regarding the creation of a period of time during peak
hours of commuting when the bridge does not open have been hindered by the
“We have limited control over the bridge.
Maybe we could have some predictability with windows when we know the bridge
will be active and when we know it won’t,” said Poftak.
The Better Bus Project is investigating the
quality of the current bus network and working on cost-neutral proposals that
will result in more frequent services for customers. Researchers have been
speaking with riders to learn more about where people’s trips begin and end,
the economic demographics of the area, and where jobs are located.
“We are advocating for fair mitigation,” expressed
Council President Damali Vidot. “We’ve needed quality service for years and are
working at a sub-par level. Chelsea was an afterthought in the Better Bus
Project. We want to make sure we’re getting the service we deserve.”
The Better Bus Project has 47 proposals for
changes in the MBTA bus system that will impact 63 out of the 180 routes in 35
of the 50 communities that are served. Proposals include removing bus routes
with low ridership, and re-investing resources elsewhere.
The Transportation Task Force is suggesting
more inspectors, less cancellations, and easier transfers between Chelsea and
Lynn on the Commuter Rail.
“We are re-imagining the infrastructure on
Broadway,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We will be presenting the City
Council with alternatives that do away with two fast lanes to make travel
safer. One idea is incorporating a dedicated bus lane.”
Gentrification has also forced many Chelsea
residents to relocate to Lynn because of the high cost of rent. One Chelsea
resident, who works in Lynn, voiced that it takes her up to two hours to
commute from Lynn to Chelsea using public transportation. She commented that
the only line that directly connects Chelsea to Everett is the 112 bus, and
many avoid it due to the lifting of the bridge; and recommended that the 426
bus through Lynn could stop in Chelsea, as it already passes over the Tobin
“In the overall bus network redesign, people
on the north side of the city are particularly interested in going to Lynn and
Malden,” Poftak concluded.
Better Bus Project proposals will be available
at www.MBTA.com with maps and data. The MBTA will also be providing riders with
a warm place to view proposals at Haymarket Station, where they see the most response from Chelsea residents.