Chelsea Police officers bid farewell last week to one of their own, K-9 Officer ‘Ancho.’
Ancho passed away last Tuesday, Jan. 19, with his handler, Officer Joe Capistran.
“It is with deep regret and heartfelt sorrow that I must sadly take this opportunity to announce the sudden and untimely passing of Chelsea Police Department K-9 ‘Ancho’ while resting at his home with his Handler and Best Friend Officer Joe Capistran,” said Chief Brian Kyes. “Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to Joey and his entire family during this extremely difficult time. As we know Ancho has been Joe’s loyal and always reliable partner for the past several years but more than that he was a beloved member of Joe’s family. He has been an incredible asset for the department and the City during his tenure and will be sincerely missed by everyone at 19 Park Street, but NEVER forgotten.”
K-9 Officer Ancho joins recently passed K-9 Officer Marco, who died not long ago. Both K-9 officers had been with the department for many years.
SATURDAY NIGHT SHOOTING ON ADDISON
Chelsea Police are investigating a shooting Sunday evening, Jan. 24, that occurred in the vicinity of 61 Addison St. and that left a 23-year-old Chelsea resident wounded with a non life-threatening gunshot wound.
The victim stated he was followed by a group of unidentified males who followed him and tried to engage him in conversation. The victim told officers he then observed one of the males, wearing a grey sweatshirt, reach into his pants and pull out a metallic colored firearm. The victim stated that as fled he heard two gunshots and later realized he had been struck in the neck area. Officers and EMS rendered aid and transported the victim to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston to be treated.
Detectives are continuing the investigation and are asking the public help in providing information to identify the suspects in this case. Residents are asked to call the Chelsea Police Detective Unit at 617-466-4849 or contact police anonymously by visiting chelseapolice.com if they have information regarding this incident.
SUSPECT ID’D IN TU CASA STABBING
Chelsea Detectives are actively searching for a suspect in a Saturday night assault that injured two patrons at Tu Casa Restaurant on Broadway. Chelsea units were dispatched to the location at 403 Broadway on Saturday evening, Jan. 23, at 8:12 p.m. Upon arrival, officers observed two victims who received injuries consistent with being slashed.
Both victims were transported to area hospitals and have been treated for serious, but non life threatening injuries. Witnesses inside the establishment provided officers with information that has led to the identification of the person believed to be involved.
Chelsea Detectives secured and arrest warrant for that individual from Chelsea District Court and have issued a BOLO to area departments in an effort to apprehend the subject.
If anyone has information regarding this incident they are asked to contact the case detective at 617-466-4823. Chelsea residents may also contact the police and provide information through the police departments website anonymously at www.chelseapolice.com
The Chelsea High boys basketball team got back to the .500 mark with a victory over North Shore Tech, 58-44, Tuesday evening at the CHS gym.
The Red Devils took control of the contest from the outset, grabbing a 13-6 lead after one quarter and expanding their advantage to a healthy 30-9 bulge at the half.
Chelsea continued to build its lead after the intermission, allowing CHS head coach Jay Seigal to use all of his players extensively in the final two frames.
Angel Alvarez paced the Red Devil scoring attack with 15 points. Steve Lacey (13 points) and Jahro Marshall (10 points) also reached double figures for Chelsea.
Chris Torrez hit for six points, Guillermo Zelata added five, Werner Mazariegos chipped in three, and the trio of Balmeiro Daveiga, Jaime Celorio, and Cobi Molina contributed two points apiece.
Last Thursday the Red Devils hosted Revere in a non-league tilt that has become a rivalry game for both schools in recent years, reminiscent of the many Battles of Broadway in which Chelsea and Revere engaged decades ago. A good crowd filled the CHS gym and were treated to an up-and-down contest that was a close encounter from the opening tip to the final buzzer.
Chelsea took a slim 18-16 lead in the opening period. Revere led 30-29 at the half and 50-46 after three frames. The final quarter saw the Red Devils make many runs at the Patriots in an effort to overcome the Revere edge, but strong free throw shooting down the stretch (the Patriots were 15-of-16 from the foul line on the night) fended off the Chelsea challenge.
Torrez led Chelsea with 16 points, followed by Marshall with 15, Lacey with 12, Alvarez with seven, Zelata with five, and Mazariegos with three.
“We played well in both games,” said Seigal, whose squad now stands at 6-6 on the season. “Hopefully we can put together a bit of a winning streak to get into the state tournament.”
Chelsea hosts Lynn Tech Friday at 5:30 and travels to Whittier Monday. The Red Devils defeated both teams in their first meetings this season.
Anna C. (DiMichele) Poli, a lifelong resident of East Boston, passed away on November 30 at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after a short illness. She was 87 years old.
Born in Newton Upper Falls, the beloved daughter of the late Crescenzo and Angelina DiMichele, Anna grew up in East Boston, attended Boston public schools and graduated from East Boston High School. After school, she worked briefly outside of her home as a single lady and 62 years ago, she married Domenic Poli, together they raised their two sons, Mark and Dean in East Boston. She remained dedicated to home and family, enjoyed cooking for family gatherings, traveling and spending nearly 30 summers with family in Falmouth. She is survived by her beloved husband of 62 years, Domenic S. Poli and she was the devoted mother of Mark Poli and his wife, Priscilla of Quincy and Dean Poli and his wife, Judy of Melrose; dear sister of Ida DiMichele of East Boston and the late Daniel DiMichele; cherished grandmother of Domenic Poli and his wife, Jennifer of Greenfield and Nicholas Poli of Weymouth. Funeral and visitation will be held from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Saturday, December 5 from 8. to 10 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at Our Lady of Grace Church, 59 Nichols St., Chelsea at 10:30 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, contributions in her memory may be made to the Quincy Public Schools Special Needs, 34 Coddington St., Quincy, MA 02169. For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit: www.WelshFuneralHome.com
A ROYAL THANKSGIVING: The Chelsea Collaborative and St. Luke’s-San Lucas Church held a cooperative Thanksgiving Dinner last Tuesday, Nov. 17, for a select group of needy families – including many residents from the flooded areas in the Broadway Glen apartment tower. The crowded church hall was warm with pre-Thanksgiving cheer as volunteers and friends came together for a special meal. Pictured here are Emerson Vasquez, School Committee- elect Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez, Councillor-elect Roy Avellaneda, Erika Ruiz (Miss Belleza Latina USA) and Kashly Reyes (Miss Teen Belleza Latina USA).
The City and at least two potential partners are looking to establish a short-term wrap around services center in the Bellingham Square area to provide food and shelter to the homeless, prostitutes and drug addicted populations that frequent Bellingham Square.
Yet, it’s not coming without some controversy as details of the plan leak out and some try to envision what it might be like – and how it could negatively affect quality of life in Chelsea’s downtown.
Bob Repucci, long-time director of CAPIC, said in an interview this week that he is ready to move on a plan whereby CAPIC would establish a short-term services building at the old Cataldo site – where Centro Latino was supposed to locate before it went defunct. He said he is aligned with several churches, volunteers, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and other political leaders who are passionate about making a dent in the long-standing problem populations in the Square.
“This is a neighborhood center and that’s basically what we’re going to do here,” said Repucci. “We’re trying to embrace these people in the Square and get them the services they need. These people are not going away. They also are not lepers that should be shipped to the outskirts of town. Most of them are from Chelsea and they have alcohol and drug problems. Many grew up here. Many are Latino. We’re going to take these men and women who need help and show them the compassion they need.
“This is not a shelter, it’s not a detox, it’s not a Methadone Clinic, it’s not a treatment center,” he continued. “It’s a place where people can walk in and get the attention they need to help them change their lives if they want to. These are men and women who need help because they have chronic problems. I haven’t seen anybody come up with any other good ideas to change this because it’s been there for years. We are taking the responsibility to do something and help them change their lives. I know it will be successful.”
Repucci said the Center would potentially be open three times a week and would offer a hot meal, a shower, a change of clothes, a clinician by appointment, counseling, financial management assistance, and temporary shelter.
There would be 25 people there at at time and no one would be allowed inside if they are intoxicated. It would also be for Chelsea residents and people in Chelsea who are homeless.
“This isn’t going to be a hang out,” he added. “It’s going to be well supervised and fully supervised…If people come over from Boston or Everett thinking there is a handout happening here, we will refer them to a provider in their area. This is for Chelsea residents and those in Chelsea who are homeless and want to change.”
Those at the service center would also be able to obtain short-term employment by cleaning roofs, shoveling snow and doing other such tasks under supervision.
Ambrosino said he does support the proposal out of a stance of compassion and also out of a stance to develop the Square and the Broadway Business District.
“You have a serious problem in the Square and on the Broadway corridor,” he said. “These people need services. Nothing is going to change unless we get them services and they are able to move elsewhere. This business district and downtown won’t change unless we change this situation. Ignoring it and putting our heads in the sand is not an answer. I’m willing to try anything except doing nothing.”
Ambrosino said the effort by CAPIC to move downtown is independent of the City, but there is potential cooperation through two line-items approved by the City Council on Oct. 19.
In fact, two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have just gone out with $100,000 available for each. The first one will be to provide emergency food and shelter in the form of dedicated short-term detox beds. The second will be to provide a clinician to treat the population in the Square.
Ambrosino said he expects CAPIC will bid on one or both of the RFPs and he said he also expects Bay Cove Human Services to bid as well.
“I do expect CAPIC is going to bid on one or more of these services that we’re putting out to bid, but those services have nothing to do with the independent project of CAPIC to move some of its services downtown,” he said.
Ambrosino said he would expect that the first RFP could be used for folks who need a night or two of shelter until they can get into permanent housing.
“This will help folks who have an apartment lined up on Nov. 1, and it’s only Oct. 28 and they need somewhere to go,” he said.
Repucci said his plan to move existing services downtown, and perhaps to be a winning bidder on the City’s RFP, is something he believes many in the community are already rallying around – in particular the faith-based community that has noted and discussed the large homeless population in Chelsea.
Repucci himself learned firsthand of the problem from City Navigator Ruben Rodriguez last winter, when he was given a tour of the places under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge where may of the homeless and drug addicted/prostitutes tend to live and congregate.
He said he learned about the people down there, and he learned their personal stories.
He said that gave him a passion to do something about it, and he said he’s a little turned off by the push back from some folks – as he believes this can help a troubled population and solve a long-standing problem for residents.
“These people should be rallying around our efforts to change people’s lives,” he said. “That’s the only way to get them off the streets unless they are found dead under the Bridge due to exposure from the cold. We need to embrace these folks and help those who want to change and stop characterizing them as people who don’t want to change. Many of them lived in Chelsea and had decent lives and lost it all due to drugs, alcohol and other circumstances…Those against this should be more concerned about the men and women on Broadway unsupervised.
“We’re going to be successful in helping these people and showing them there’s a better life they can lead off the Square,” he continued. “I believe it will be the long-term solution to the poverty problem in Bellingham-Shurtleff.”
Repucci said he would like to try the idea for two years and collect data and see if it is working. If not, perhaps there’s a better idea.
“Again, people maybe don’t support this, but I don’t hear anyone coming up with any other suggestions,” he said.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week that he believes it’s time for the City to invest in everything from Broadway infrastructure to more firefighters.
Ambrosino said the City has been very conservative in its financial approach over the years, and thus, the finances are in tremendous shape. Now, he said, it might be time to use some money to enhance resident services and beautify the City.
“I agree (that the City has been conservative) and it probably is time that the City start spending on services,” he said. “I think the infrastructure on the Broadway business corridor should be done. I think we could probably spend more in our departments. I’m thinking in particular DPW and the Fire Department. They probably could use a few more individuals.”
In particular, Ambrosino said he has been taken by the potential of City Hall, Bellingham Square and the Broadway business corridor.
He has asked the Planning Department and The Neighborhood Developers to put a fresh set of eyes on the streetscape and on reconfiguring the Square.
“I think Broadway could require some significant investment to improve its aesthetics in the Bellingham Square and Broadway, down the business corridor… I think we need to make it ‘pop’ a little. It has big bones. It has the people and it has the businesses. It has the right mix of residential above the businesses. Again, it has the bones of being something special, but it really needs some attention.”
According to sources, employees of Centro Latino had an outing to celebrate their successful move from their long-time headquarters on Broadway to their new building at the former Cataldo Ambulance building on Hawthorne Street.
After several months of hard work in making that move, a pot luck celebration to bring about a new start for the organization – which was looking for a new executive director – seemed appropriate.
On Monday, quite suddenly, the celebration came to a halt as those same employees and administrators were told by the Board of Centro Latino that, as of that day, they were all laid off and the organization was going to shutter its doors after 26 years of providing educational services and Citizenship classes to the Latino population in Chelsea and surrounding communities.
The story has reverberated throughout the community over the last few days, with many in the non-profit world of Chelsea being shocked by the way that the organization closed up – with little notice to employees or clients, they said.
Chelsea City Manager Thomas G. Ambrosino said, “I’m very sad to hear about the closing of Centro Latino. This organization did outstanding work in the City of Chelsea for many years. The City will work with existing Community Based Organizations in Chelsea to ensure that the critical programming previously provided by Centro Latino continues in some form or fashion.”
Chelsea Collaborative Director Gladys Vega said Centro’s board indicated it had reached out to local organizations to help with the sudden closure.
“I haven’t gotten any calls,” she said. “They haven’t reached out to us. I found out when the employees found out, which was Monday. I’ve had employees there calling me in tears. I am appalled and can’t believe it. The audacity to have an outing showing gratitude and appreciation for the staff on Friday and then fire them on Monday – that’s absurd…It also shows a lack of thought about what to do with the clients. Before you just shut down, you have the staff calling everyone in the Citizenship classes to let them know and to work out a new situation and give them time to get their documents and applications. They should have done this over a month’s time. I believe they knew this was coming. Again, I am appalled and I can’t believe it.”
Vega said her organization, the Collaborative, was born out of the work of Centro Latino and has a completely different focus than the educational mission of Centro.
Though rumors persisted about the closure when the office didn’t open as scheduled on Monday, there was no confirmation from anyone until Wednesday afternoon.
At that time, Board Vice Chair Anthony Galluccio – a former state senator – issued a letter signed by the board. The letter indicated that they could no longer make the finances of Centro work despite repeated efforts.
“Centro Latino’s Board of Directors announced today that it is winding down business and will file for dissolution and close in the coming weeks,” read the letter.
The letter explained Centro took on Concilo Hispano and its debts in 2009 and expanded services to Cambridge and Somerville, read the letter. Unfortunately, in 2012, Centro suffered major cuts to its ESL programs and was forced to reduce staff and look for new ways to generate revenue.
“Throughout Centro’s existence, our employees have been incredible,” read the letter. “We stood together and tried to save the agency. As Kelly Guenther, Chair of the Board recently explained, ‘We tried every cost cutting measure possible including renegotiating obligations, reducing work hours, furloughing staff and reducing our space by twenty percent. Subsequently, we lost two contracts and knew we could not maintain operations. We worked with Third Sector New England searching for answers like merger and other structural options, but we hit a dead end. Over the past years we made appeal after appeal to anyone who would listen, and we are grateful to those who stood with us.’”
The letter also indicated that Centro will be working on transitioning clients to programs in the coming weeks, and that 70 percent of the agency’s ESL students live in Chelsea and still desperately need the services that Centro offered.
“It was critical that this board work to leave clients and employees in the best possible position and focus on transition,” said Galluccio. “We never recovered from the original cuts in 2012. Recent events made it impossible to continue and we could not keep incurring bills knowing there was no turning point.”
Centro’s letter stated it has been meeting with organizations such as Chelsea Collaborative, ROCA, Bunker Hill Community College, Connect and others to determine how best to transition clients and employees.
Vega, however, disputed that.
“The only thing they’ve done is reached out to us to get used furniture for their new offices; that’s it,” she said.
Centro’s letter concluded with the following:
“This is a sad day for Centro and our community, but hopefully this unfortunate outcome will bring awareness to the dire need that exists to support vulnerable new immigrants and families who need to integrate into our communities, become part of the workforce and improve their lives. The need is as great as ever. We offer special thanks and gratitude to our staff, board members, funders, community partners and clients that have worked with us over the years.”
The letter was signed by Guenther, Galluccio, Linda Cundiff, Jose Lopez and Oliver Sanchez.
Chelsea Police and Fire, along with the State Fire Marshal, are investigating an intentional flooding of the Broadway Glen high-rise apartment building early last Saturday morning using a fire protection standpipe, and the owners of the building could find themselves in a lot more trouble after the situation allegedly uncovered some questionable living conditions.
Fire officials said there was about $500,000 in damages and that they, and police, have secured video footage that clearly shows a male party open a fire system water valve on the sixth floor and then run away. Fire officials estimated that the standpipe valve was open for about 15 minutes before crews from Engine 2 were able to locate it and turn it off.
“We send an additional engine (three engines, two ladders and a Deputy Chief) to all alarm activations and it was a good thing we do because it was a very chaotic scene,” said Deputy Chief John Quatieri. “When we arrived, water was pouring from both elevator shafts. The fire alarm panel indicated water flowing on floors five and six, so the crews from Engine 3 and Ladder 2 started their way up the south stairwell to investigate. Both crews had difficulty getting to floors five and six due to the large number of occupants who were self evacuating. We thought for sure there was a fire on the either floor five or six. As additional companies arrived they were immediately staged in the lobby which was quickly filling with water. Ladder 2 reported they had located an open ‘standpipe connection’ on floor six and was attempting to shut it down. Water flowed for approximately 10 to 15 minutes from the time it was opened until Ladder 2 shut the valve causing substantial damage to the floors below.”
Broadway Glen at 855 Broadway is an 11-story tower with 120 units, so a standpipe for fire suppression is required. The ‘standpipe connection’ is used by the Fire Department in high-rise structures. It is not feasible to stretch hose lines form a pumper to the 10th or 11th floor, so firefighters carry several hundred feet of hose up the stairwells and connect to the Fire Department standpipe connection, which is usually located on each floor in the stairwells.
As firefighters and police began to deal with the flooding, they found water in light fixtures and electrical panels, which was a serious hazard. They evacuated everyone from floor six down, about 150 people, and they took shelter in MBTA buses for several hours. Those on floors seven to 11 sheltered in place.
Fire crews worked the scene for about three hours before residents were allowed inside their apartments.
Two people were injured when they slipped and fell on wet floors, injuring their heads, while trying to evacuate. One was treated on scene and the other was taken to the Whidden. A third man suffered a cardiac issue and is in the cardiac unit at Beth Israel Hospital.
Captain Richard Perisie from the Fire Department’s Fire investigation Unit followed up early this week with the Chelsea Police, Massachusetts State Police and the Massachusetts Fire Marshal’s Office and obtained video footage
They are in the process of identifying that individual.
Beyond that, the flood seemed to uncover a host of living conditions that might be against the City’s Building Codes.
Shortly after the residents returned to their homes, advocates and volunteers began to report terrible living conditions in the units that likely existed long before the flooding.
The Chelsea Collaborative held a tenant meeting with City officials at their Broadway headquarters on Monday afternoon and learned of several stories about mice and unsanitary living conditions that allegedly existed.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino attended that meeting and said this week the City will look at any such problems.
“The City plans to document all existing Code violations and take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that those violations are remedied in an expeditious manner,” he said.
Broadway Glen is an affordable housing complex and it sold in early 2014 to a New York group for $9.5 million.
Sam Horowitz of Capital Realty Group in Spring Valley, NY told the Record at the time that his company was excited to be doing business in Chelsea.
They have more than 5,000 units in 13 states and specialize in affordable housing buildings.
The Taste of Chelsea has not only been one of the most popular events of the year, it’s also been one of the most successful fundraisers for any local organization.
Joseph Vinard, co-founder and chair of the Taste of Chelsea, said that the event has raised more than $500,000 for HarborCov, a Chelsea-based organization that provides free safety and support services, along with housing and economic opportunities that promote long-term stability for people affected by violence and abuse.
“We have raised over a half million dollars and it all goes to HarborCOV,” proudly stated Vinard, who co-founded Taste of Chelsea with former director Laurie Holmes.
Lynn Peters and Kourou Pich are the current co-directors of HarborCOV, which was founded in 1998 and has been lauded for its professional, comprehensive approach to addressing violence within families and communities.
The 12th Annual Taste of Chelsea 2015 will be held Monday, Sept. 21, from 5 to 8 p.m., at 99 Marginal Street in Chelsea. The event was held at the old Massport Garage on Broadway before being moved three years ago to the current location, a new park that was generously offered as a site for the event by Eastern Minerals.
According to Vinard, thirty-one local food vendors and restaurants will participate, tying the record for most vendor participation in the event’s 12-year history.
Most of the vendors are from Chelsea, but East Boston, Revere, Everett, Winthrop, and Saugus businesses, as well as some from other communities, will also be represented.
Three Chelsea hotels, the Terranova Grille at the Wyndham Chelsea Hotel, the Residence Inn by Marriott, Boston Logan Airport/Chelsea, and TownPlace Suites by Marriott, Boston Logan Airport/Chelsea, will have food stations at the event.
Taste of Chelsea’s ability to consistently draw a large following is impressive. Vinard said between 500 and 700 people will buy tickets and attend the food festival, making it one of the most well attended in the region.
“It’s a great event,” said Vinard. “People look forward to it.”
Vinard, who is division president of Chelsea Bank, which is a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank on Broadway, Chelsea, is being assisted by a committee of 15 volunteers.
Asked if the excitement is building toward Monday’s Taste of Chelsea, Vinard replied, “We’re very excited. The event is a few days away and we’re ready to rock and roll.”
Parking is available on Marginal Street. Cataldo Ambulance will provide a bus to transport attendees to the site. Tickets are available online at $35 in advance. Tickets will be $40 at the door. Blocks of ten tickets or more are $30 apiece.
The featured restaurant and food vendors include:
Adriana’s Pastry and Café, Winthrop
Albert A. Russo Imports – BelGioioso Cheesea, East Boston
Al fresco, Chelsea
Arthur’s Deli/Meho Place, Chelsea
Blackstrap BBQ, Winthrop
Bobby C’s Ristorante, Melrose
Boston Yogurt, Chelsea
The New Brown Jug, Chelsea
Buccieri’s Pizzeria, Chelsea
Chelsea Fire Hot Sauce, Chelsea
Crown Coffee, Wakefield
Dockside Restaurant, Chelsea
Dunkin’ Donuts, Everett Avenue, Chelsea
Fusion Foods, Chelsea
Golden Cannoli, Chelsea
Kowloon Restaurant, Saugus
La Siesta Restaurante, Chelsea
Mandarin Buffet, Chelsea
Naked Juice, Boston
Peach’s and Cream, Chelsea
Piantedosi Baking Company, Malden
Polar Beverages, Worcester
Pollo Campero, Chelsea
Residence Inn by Marriott, Boston Logan Airport/Chelsea
Spinelli’s Pasta and Pastry Shop, East Boston
Starbucks Coffee, Chelsea
Stop & Shop, Everett
Terranova Grille, Chelsea
The Taste of Chelsea Committee is ready for the 12th annual food festival fundraiser for HarvorCOV on Monday, Sept. 21, beginning at 5 p.m. at 99 Marginal St. Pictured at a committee meeting at the Chamber of Commerce office are, front row, from left, HarborCOV co-executive directors Lynn Peters and Kourou Pich, and Renee Caso Griffin; back row, from left, are Maureen Foley, Chrissie Miele, event co-founder and committee chair Joseph Vinard, and Dr. Sayra Owens Pinto.
TownPlace Suites by Marriott, Boston Logan Airport/Chelsea
Volare Cucina Italiana and Bar, Revere
(Editor’s Note: Some factual information used in this story regarding HarborCov and Taste of Chelsea, including the list of food vendors, was taken directly from the HarborCov Web site).