May Day Observances

May Day Observances

Chelsea residents held up a sign reading “Chelsea Workers United” as they marched on Broadway for International Workers’ Day on Tuesday, May 1, in the annual May 1st Coalition procession from East Boston to Chelsea and Everett. After the march, a rally was held in Everett with all three communities showing solidarity for numerous causes.

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Award-Winning Chef Matt Morello Creating Elite Edibles for Revolutionary Clinics

Award-Winning Chef Matt Morello Creating Elite Edibles for Revolutionary Clinics

He spent his entire professional career working in the country’s best restaurants and crafting innovative tastes in his own bistros.

Now, Chef Matt Morello is bringing his culinary skills to Revolutionary Clinics, making unique, cannabis-infused edibles. Revolutionary Clinics is a state-of-the-art medical marijuana company with a dispensary at 67 Broadway in Somerville and two planned in Cambridge.

“I have had amazing opportunities to train under some of the finest chefs in the country in world-renowned restaurants and hotels,” Morello said. “Now, I have the chance to be a part of a cutting-edge company like RevClinics.”

Morello says he is bringing his skills to the art of edible cannabis products. “Cannabis edibles present a unique challenge, unlike a cafe or restaurant where food is expected to be eaten right away. We have to be creative and innovative to ensure the highest quality product throughout its shelf life,” he said. “This requires the same attention to detail that is required at the highest level of fine dining.”

Among the morsels available at the Somerville dispensary: strawberry-lemon gummies, concord grape terp chews and passion fruit gummies. They are all created by Morello.

“Our edibles are the perfect mix of chemistry and the culinary arts,” he said. “Chemistry makes sure the products are consistent, of the highest quality, and effective. My job is to make it taste good.”

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GreenRoots Kicks-Off Fundraising Effort for Chelsea Walk

GreenRoots Kicks-Off Fundraising Effort for Chelsea Walk

The Chelsea Walk has, for years, been an uninviting walkway between Broadway and the seedier part of the alleyways behind the business district.

This photo is an example sent out by GreenRoots of some things that could be done to the Chelsea Walk to enliven and brighten it up. GreenRoots and the City are embarking on a campaign to match a state grant for funding to spruce up the Walk.

This photo is an example sent out by GreenRoots of some things that could be done to the Chelsea Walk to enliven and brighten it up. GreenRoots and the City are embarking on a campaign to match a state grant for funding to spruce up the Walk.

But as Broadway gets more attention, the City and GreenRoots are looking to make the Chelsea Walk a comfortable centerpiece, rather than a forgotten stretch.

GreenRoots, together with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, announced Friday night that it had received a grant from MassDevelopment to transform the dark and dingy Chelsea Walk into a safe and welcoming destination attraction featuring art, color and lighting.

The grant, however, has a twist.

In order to get the funding, it needs to be matched dollar for dollar through Crowdfunding by June 8. Crowdfunding is when many people contribute towards a project’s success. At present time, fundraising has exceeded $3,000, so GreenRoots has less than 40 days to raise the remaining $17,000.

Chelsea Chamber of Commerce President Sergio Jaramillo said the project is an effort to “ make the area a place where people feel safe.”

He added, “It is all about making our community better.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino encouraged everyone to contribute where they can.

“To the extent you can donate something, it will really benefit the city,” he said.

The effort follows two fun summer events where GreenRoots and the City developed “park-lets” on Broadway for a day – something that was extremely popular with residents, business owners and the public. The Chelsea Walk effort is another arm of that effort.

GreenRoots is accepting donations towards this project at  www.patronicity.com/chelseawalk.

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City Ready to Complete Last Phase of Everett Avenue, Focus on Downtown Now

City Ready to Complete Last Phase of Everett Avenue, Focus on Downtown Now

The City is preparing to begin construction on the final leg of a five-phase infrastructure redevelopment of Everett Avenue – focusing this construction season on the stretch between Carter Street and Route 16.

The $2 million state-funded project will represent the last of five areas that have been completely rebuilt with sidewalks, road reconstruction, lighting and other amenities.

“We’ve finished all of the environmental studies and design and engineering and we’ve hired GTA Company of Everett as the contractor,” said Planner Alex Train. “We’ll be commencing construction sometime in May.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it is exciting to be able to finish something that has been going on for so long.

“We’ve excited to finally complete the final part of the Everett Avenue Urban Renewal Area,” he said. “It should tie in with the development of the Fairfield apartment buildings where the Chelsea Clock building was at. We’re looking forward to this proceeding to construction.”

The Everett Avenue infrastructure project began some years ago when the new Market Basket opened, and proceeded through the area one step at a time using the MassWorks state grants.

“We’ve had five total years and five grants,” said Train. “It’s exciting and it’s exciting that it’s spurring the economic development in the area like the FBI and One North. It’s a dramatic improvement and we’re excited to see it come to a finished point…We still want to rehabilitate Spruce Street between Everett Avenue and Williams Street, but I think we’ll be looking to the downtown Broadway next.”

The current project this year will involve putting in new water mains, new fire hydrants, new sidewalks, ornamental lighting, a full-depth reconstruction of the roadway and improvements to the Carter Street/Everett Avenue intersection at Chelsea High School.

“We’re also coordinating with DCR, who controls the light at the Parkway, to make sure they are synchronized and work in tandem,” he said.

The construction schedule will run for one year and will continue until October of this year, picking up in the spring of 2019 with the final paving.

Beyond that, Ambrosino said they would apply for another MassWorks grant for 2019 that would focus on downtown Broadway.

“I think the focus is now going to move to the downtown for this grant,” he said. “I think our construction costs for what we want to do downtown are going to exceed the $5 million the City has thus far authorized.”

He said the City could potentially get $2 million to $3 million in MassWorks funding to add to the City money already set aside for Broadway rehabilitation. Those two resources should give the City a huge jump on funding improvements to Broadway corridor next spring and summer.

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On May Day, Thousands to March For Worker and Immigrant Rights

On May Day, Thousands to March For Worker and Immigrant Rights

On Tuesday, May 1, International Workers’ Day workers, immigrants and supporters from across the region will join with labor and community organizations, starting at 4:00 p.m. in East Boston, and marching to Chelsea and Everett to participate in an act of unity and defiance against the Trump administration’s attacks against workers and immigrants.

Labor, community and immigrants’ rights organization will make clear that the Trump administration’s systematic attempt to criminalize immigrants not only assaults the civil rights of communities of color, but also opens a dangerous path of intolerance that is already having dramatic consequences in communities across the country as hate crimes against immigrants, and those perceived to be foreign continue to spread.

Organizers and participants will also highlight how unions have been defending their rights’ by collective resistance. Additionally, we will encourage our state legislature to pass safeguards that protect our communities and the rule of law by separating local law enforcement and the federal immigration deportation machinery.

The day will start with a multi-community roundtable at the Chelsea Collaborative, 318 Broadway, at 10 a.m. with Esther Lopez, secretary-treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers International (UFCW).

The march will start in East Boston at 4 p.m. in Liberty Plaza, then head to Chelsea City Hall. At 4:30 p.m., the combined group will march from Chelsea to Glendale Park in Everett. There, a rally and cultural program will take place in the park at 5:30 p.m.

The May 1 Coalition of Chelsea, Everett & East Boston includes the Chelsea Collaborative, La Comunidad Inc., City Life/Vida Urbana, International UFCW, UFCW Local 1445, Raise Up, Fight for $15, MIRA, American Friends Service Committee, MassCOSH, SEIU 32BJ, SEIU 509, Jobs With Justice, New England Carpenters Union, Mass. AFL-CIO, Community Labor United, Chinese Progressive Association, Brazilian Women’s Group, UUMassAction, Chelsea Uniting Against the War, IWCC, Projecto Hondureño, Workers World, EBECC, Painters Union, NOAH, Brazilian Workers Center, CAN, Comite de Hondureños Unidos de Massachusetts.

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Police Briefs 04-19-2018

Police Briefs 04-19-2018

DRUG BUST

On April 10, at 8:19 a.m., a well-being check was executed at 93 Parker St. Upon arrival at the address three individuals were observed fleeing the residence. After further investigation, all three were placed into custody for narcotics charges.

Derik Hidalgo-Sanjuan, 19, of 192 Shurtleff St.; David Hurtado, 27, of 725 Broadway; and Pedro Colon, 29, of Revere; were all charged with possession of a Class B drug and conspiracy.

KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME CRACK?

On April 14 at 2:47 a.m., two male parties were observed chasing each other in front of the Fine Mart, located at 260 Broadway. The victim stated that he encountered the suspect near 52 Hawthorne St. when the victim asked the suspect if he knew where he could purchase crack cocaine.  The victim then pulled out $251, at which point the suspect grabbed the money and fled the area. The victim chased him down, and police locked the suspect up.

Johel Mims, 18, of Malden, was charged with unarmed robbery and assault and battery.

STABBED FATHER IN NEW YORK

On April 14, at 1:24 a.m., information was received from New York State Police that suspect had stabbed his father, who was sent to the hospital and required

emergency surgery. New York State Police had information that the suspect was fleeing the State of New York and heading to his mother’s residence in Chelsea. The subject was located at 9 Guam Rd. and placed into custody for being a fugitive from justice out of New York State.

Yunis Aden, 24, of Cleveland, was charged as a fugitive from justice.

A LONG, LONG DISAGREEMENT

On April 9, at 12:34 a.m., officers responded to the New England Produce Co. Bay # 1 (Travis Fruit Company) on the report of a past assault with the victim on scene. Officers learned that the two drivers who occupied the truck had an ongoing argument that started in Virginia and escalated during their travel to Chelsea.

It all came to a head on the dock at the Produce Center when one driver attacked the other by kicking him while he was on the ground. He was placed under arrest on scene.

Andrew Ramirez, 30, of Santa Fe Springs, CA, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot).

CRASH ON CHESTER

On April 14, at 11:15 p.m., officers responded to 138 Chester Ave. for a report of a car crashing into several parked vehicles. Dispatch reported that the driver was attempting to leave the scene. Officers observed a white Mercedes in the middle of the roadway with significant damage to the front end and the suspect standing just outside the driver’s door. Several neighbors were out on the sidewalk who were pointing to the suspect and stating that he was the driver. Based on observations the operator was placed under arrest.

Renato Garcia, 29, of 149 Congress Ave., was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, reckless operation, speeding, stop sign violation and failing to wear a seat belt.

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Photography Contest to Capture Richness of Life in Chelsea, and Fame for Local Artists

Photography Contest to Capture Richness of Life in Chelsea, and Fame for Local Artists

Amateur and professional photographers of any age are invited to participate in the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest.  The contest is presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s initiative for vitality in the downtown, and the Facebook group Chelsea MA Photography Club coordinated by photographer and former City Councillor Matt Frank.

The organizers seek images that capture the richness of life in this dynamic city.

“What people, places and things tell you that you are home?  What image serves as invitation for others to visit Bellingham Square, Chelsea Square, Broadway? What does Chelsea mean to you? Everyone sees the city through a different lens, and we want you to show us your view!” they declare.

Entries will be accepted until May 31, 2018 via the contest website at https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea. An illustrious panel of judges will then select multiple winners in the categories of Local Business; The People of Chelsea; Community; and Chelsea, Past and Present. The panel will nominate a slate of finalists for a People’s Choice award to be determined via popular votes on the Chelsea MA Photography Club Facebook page.

All of the top images will be reproduced in large print format and displayed in the new storefront gallery, Gallery 456, coming soon to the former Salvation Army store on Broadway.  At the conclusion of the summer-time exhibit the winners will take home their high-quality, framed images with the Best in Show and People’s Choice winners receiving additional prizes.

The judging panel includes:

  • Darlene DeVita, an award-winning fine art photographer who specializes in portraits that capture the energy and humanity of her subjects. Her creative eye, patience, humor and unobtrusiveness have made her one the most sought-after photographers in Greater Boston. Between photographing weddings and exploring her fine art world, Darlene shoots portraits at her studio in Chelsea. She was Co-Director of the Gallery@Spencer Lofts for fourteen years, served as a member of the Chelsea Cultural Council and is a co-founder of CHARCOLL (Chelsea Artists Collaborative).
  • Matt Frank is a life-long resident of Chelsea and served on the Chelsea City Council for ten years after four years on the Planning Board.  His government, non-profit and community-based work focuses on policy and project-based initiatives that serve the public interest. His interest in communications and community building combined with a deep appreciation of the beauty of city life led Matt to pursue an interest in photography. Matt captures our beloved city with a painterly eye as he celebrates the colors, textures and moods of Chelsea’s ever-changing landscape.
  • Roselee Vincent holds the16th Suffolk District Seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, comprised of the communities of Revere, Chelsea and Saugus. A champion for the arts, Rep Vincent served on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, giving her an opportunity to visit with arts advocates across the state and learn how the arts are vital to local economies across the Commonwealth.
  • Sury Chavez, a painter, was born in Los Angeles but spent much of her childhood in her ancestral home of Guatemala. While East Boston is where she now resides, the colors, flora and fauna of Central America continue to inspire her work. Local businesses, The Cuscatlan, Bella Isla Express and Pan y Café, have partnered with Sury for decorative murals and menu boards and she’s working with Chelsea’s Beautification Committee to illustrate “Welcome to Chelsea” signs for key locations throughout the city.
  • Marianne Ramos is a self-taught “outsider artist” who believes everyone can express themselves through art. A resident of Chelsea for the past 35 years, she serves as Program Coordinator for the Chelsea Senior Center. What began out of economic necessity became the foundation of her artistic philosophy as Marianne embraces a Do-it-Yourself approach and environmental stewardship through the use of recycled and non-toxic materials. An extension of her civic involvement, Marianne’s works are typically presented in settings that foster community building.

Beyond the photography exhibit on Broadway, all submitted photographs will contribute to a collection of images for the promotion of the City of Chelsea as a great place to live and to visit. Submitted photos will become part of a collection of images for use by the City in materials like municipal reports, the city website and informational brochures.

For more information about the Welcome to Chelsea Photography Contest visit https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea.

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New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New, early morning bus routes on several area MBTA lines began on Sunday, April 1, for a one-year early morning pilot program on the routes.

The pilot will be on the MBTA’s busiest key bus routes serving neighborhoods within the immediate Boston core traveling to downtown Boston, the Seaport, and key stops in between beginning as early as 3:20 a.m. Serving residents who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring, the new routes are part of the MBTA’s continued commitment to expanding offerings for those riders who need them most.

There are nine routes on the pilot, and four of them serve the areas of Everett, Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and downtown Boston. Those routes in this area include:

  • Route 104 – Lynn Street Revere via Broadway Everett to Sullivan Square.
  • Route 109 – serving Broadway Everett.
  • Route 117 – serving Wonderland Revere to East Boston, via Revere, Chelsea and Eastie.
  • Route 455 – Salem to Wonderland Revere.

“The T’s expansion into early morning bus service will provide an important opportunity for the changing needs of Massachusetts’ workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Throughout this one-year pilot, the MBTA will be able to gather important information about changes in bus ridership and analyze that data to better inform future transportation plans around the Greater Boston area.”

“The launch of early morning service demonstrates that the MBTA is acting on its top priority to put the needs of its customers first,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “This new transit option will serve workers who must start their day earlier than most. Other commuters and city residents depend upon these essential workers and the MBTA’s ability to get them to their work places safely and on time.”

The changes also include additional service on existing routes during pre-dawn hours. Some routes will extend beyond their normal end points during the early morning to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport, allowing customers to reach those destinations even before trains start running. Early morning service is already a part of the MBTA’s bus service on several routes, but these added services represent earlier and/or extended routes on several bus lines. This expansion is the result of a year-long ridership study and planning initiative at the T, which resulted in the identification of key routes where early morning demand is heaviest.

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St Rose Students to Stage Walkout on March 14 to Draw Attention to Gun Control

St Rose Students to Stage Walkout on March 14 to Draw Attention to Gun Control

Students at the St. Rose School in Chelsea have organized a walkout on Weds., March 14, to make a statement about how the federal government is handling gun issues as related to school shootings.

Trinity Hoffman, 13, and an eighth grader at St. Rose, said she and several students felt it was important to be part of the national effort, which encourages students to walk out of school for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 students killed recently in a Florida high school.

“We just really want a lot of people to hear how we feel about this and how the government is  failing to deal with the problem.”

Hoffman said students would leave class on March 14 and march on Broadway to Chelsea City Hall for a gathering. There, they will mark the 17 minutes, which is being done at many schools nationwide. Revere High students are also staging a similar effort in that city.

When the solemn moment is over, students at St. Rose will return to class. The walkout will entail about 50 students from the St. Rose 7th and 8th grade classes.

Hoffman said they are encouraging students from other Chelsea schools to join them.

Teacher Cristina Rivera said the staff and school are supporting the student decision, and believe it to be a good learning experience.

“It came about because of conversations that we were having in class,” said Rivera. “Students were very concerned about Florida and about an incident that happened in Wakefield. Even though it wasn’t credible, students came back to St. Rose and initiated a discussion. We had heard about the March 14th date already and we let the students vote on it and they wanted to do it.”

She said the students have taken charge making signs and mapping out the route and planning the action. She said the school believes it’s a great learning experience for the kids, especially around getting involved civically.

“We feel it’s really an important part of learning democracy and something we want to support in our students,” she said. “In four years, our oldest students will be allowed to vote. However, having a voice and learning to participate starts before that. Exercising their right to assemble freely on an issue they are passionate about is the start of learning about this democracy.”

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State of the City:Ambrosino says City Needs to Continue Spending on Residents

State of the City:Ambrosino says City Needs to Continue Spending on Residents

City Manager Tom Ambrosino delivered his State of the City address on Monday night, Feb. 26, prior to the Council meeting, and he implored the Council that the time to fill the storehouses is not now.

Ambrosino once again – as in the previous two State of the Cities – praised the former City governments for putting the City in a firm and solid financial position with a lot of reserves and savings.

However, he said the City just received $34 million in Free Cash from the state, and having that kind of money to save doesn’t sit well with him.

“Now, I give full credit this Council and others that preceded you for that incredible financial stewardship,” he said. “But, having that level reserves has to give us a little pause. There’s always been something just a little unsettling to me about this City having that much money in reserve. Government is not intended to be a profit making enterprise.  Our goal isn’t to make money year after year. As a local government, our goal, our mission is to provide services to our residents. So, it is my strong opinion that with this level of reserves, we have an obligation, a fiduciary duty, to start investing more in our City. And, that will be something you will see from me this year and beyond.”

One of the major examples he quickly turned to was the $11.4 million Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that he proposed two weeks ago to the Council – a plan that calls for more than $4.5 million in Free Cash to get started. The CIP plan focuses on projects like water and sewer repairs, sidewalks, public parks, street repairs and public building improvements.

Beyond those nuts and bolts spending measures – which Chelsea has neglected for many years – he said he will present plans in the next few months for things like more youth programming, a local workforce training program to prepare for the coming casino jobs, standardized trash barrels to reduce rodents, and a pilot program for Senior Citizen transportation.

“All of these are ideas that cost money to implement, and, if they are approved, they will reduce our reserves,” he said. “But, at the end of the day, we’re not going to be judged by how much money we have in the bank. We are going to be judged by whether we improved the lives of our residents. That is my overriding motivation as City Manager.”

Another piece of investment he noted – and one that Ambrosino will likely focus on more than any previous City Manager – is investing in the School Department.

“We have to avoid the temptation, which often happens in Massachusetts Municipalities, of looking at it as just another department competing for limited resources,” he said. “Instead, we have to consider it as our co-equal partner in making our community better.”

He said he wants to do more to help the students in the school system from the City’s reserves, and he rolled out an idea that would use City funds to pay for Chelsea High students to achieve higher education.

The program, he said, would be a pilot program for any Chelsea High student already enrolled in the dual enrollment program with Bunker Hill Community College. Under the pilot, any student in that program could go on to complete an Associate’s Degree at Bunker Hill after high school at no additional cost. City funds would cover the cost of students to finish that degree they started in high school.

“Again, I don’t look, and we shouldn’t look, at funding for the School Department needs as a burden,” he said. “Instead, it is a pure investment.”

Another area he said he would like to think about spending more reserves is in the possible acquisition of properties in the Broadway business district in order to build mixed-use affordable housing. Such an acquisition was successful at the Salvation Army Store on Broadway last year, and the City hopes to find a developer to complete the job this year.

He said if the City buys property, they can control the affordable component. That, he said, could spur large amounts of affordable housing that will sit aside what is expected to be a lot of private market-rate development on Broadway in the coming years.

“Because we own it, we can dictate the level of affordability in any development,” he said. “Maybe we consider other similar acquisitions, particularly in the Downtown, using either Reserves, as we did in acquiring the Salvation Army site, or through a tool we now have for the first time, Community Preservation Funds. I don’t have anything specific in mind at this time, but if another opportunity presents itself, particularly on Broadway, a further acquisition is something I might advocate to the Council.”

When it comes to development, Ambrosino was upbeat as well, saying there is great interest in the City.

On the Chelsea Creek, he announced that in the next few months, he would announce a significant mixed-use development for the Forbes Plant site. Much of the development, he said, is expected to be as of right and would need no extra relief at the Zoning or Planning Boards.

“Our goal for that project there is to ensure that the public benefits, particularly the public access to the waterfront, are not just significant, which they will need to be, but are also early action items, so that our residents benefit from the very start of the project, not just when the project is completed years from now,” he said.

On the same front, that being the waterfront, Ambrosino said the long-awaited Municipal Harbor Plan effort has finally moved forward. He announced that a contract has been signed with Utile Design of Boston to conduct the plan, and they are waiting for the Notice to Proceed from the state. He expects the first public meeting on that plan to take place in the spring.

With the Silver Line starting full operations on April 21, he said there is and will be great interest for development along that new public transit corridor.

“Developers have already been in to see us for parcels on Cottage Street and Sixth Street, and there will inevitably be more,” he said.

In conclusion, he said that he has enjoyed the “unique cohesiveness” that continues to exist in Chelsea.

“It’s why I love my role here; it’s why I’m optimistic; and, it’s why I can say without reservation that the State of the City in 2018 is very, very solid,” he concluded.

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