When most landscaping plans come into shape at a new building, it takes a few years for them to mature.
The HarborWalk along the Mystic River at Encore Boston Harbor is taking shape this summer with about 25 percent of it complete now. Remarkably, more than half of the trees are already mature at planting, with 55 percent of them 20 feet or taller.
It’s not the case at Encore Boston Harbor, where the new HarborWalk is about 25 percent complete, and the first views reveal trees that are already 20- and 30-feet tall.
“It’s going to look spectacular,” said Greg John of Encore. “This is going to be when you walk on the HarborWalk for the first time, it will look like it’s been there decades and it’s going to be amazing.”
Trees in the new HarborWalk come from all over the country, with many of them coming from upstate New York.
John said there will 800 trees on the site, with many of them up to 30-feet tall already. Some 55 percent will be 20 feet or taller when planted. There will be more than 47,000 shrubs and more than 50,000 flowers when all is said and done.
Four Ficus trees have been hand-picked in California, John said, and they will flank the Popeye sculpture when the casino opens. Those trees will be delivered later this summer.
The Encore HarborWalk is approximately one half-mile long and takes up six acres of the development.
John said it is also noteworthy that the landscaping plan will continue on to the entrance of the site, and then out onto Lower Broadway.
Another interesting piece of the HarborWalk is that John said many are noticing the wildlife return to the shore – an area described as a biological desert by consultants just two years ago.
With the clean-up done on the site, and in the river bottom, life is returning to that “desert.”
“One of the workers took a video of birds diving for fish,” said John. “That happens a lot now and it’s definitely turned things around. Prior to our clean up and remediation, every day contamination leaked into the water. When we cleaned it up, we reversed 100 years of neglect and brought things back to their original conditions. There aren’t too many opportunities to do that – to reverse 100 years of neglect.”
The blinking signals at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Broadway have not functioned for years, but after some recent repairs, they are close to being fixed now.
The question, though, has become whether or not the City really wants to get them working.
“The constraint on operating the lights has not just been the control box,” read a letter from City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Rather, there has been real concern that having the lights fully functioning on the typical green, yellow, and red sequence will adversely impact the flow of traffic. Because it has been so long since the lights have functioned in that fashion, I cannot opine of the legitimacy of that concern.”
Two years ago, the City Council approved money to fix the control box on the lights. That work was completed, and now a small $2,000 expenditure is all that stands in the way of another working traffic light.
That said, the flow of traffic at the intersection is fairly smooth, though there is quite a bit of confusion for those coming onto Broadway from Clinton Street.
Ambrosino said the Council should make the decision, but he recommends a pilot program for 30 to 60 days to see if a functioning lights helps matters or hurts them.
He also suggested upgrading the lights to a sophisticated system using smart systems, cameras and sensors that can automatically change the timing of the light based on traffic volumes. Those types of signals have been approved by the Council for the Williams Street corridor.
He said if there is more development on the Creek, these advanced lights might be in order.
“I do believe that, if any further development is to occur at either the Forbes site or the old Midas site, an upgrade to a smart intersection at this location will be an essential precondition to such development,” he said.
On June 4, Chelsea Detectives placed a juvenile under arrest for four counts of theft of cell phones from a city business on Broadway. The thefts occurred between the dates of Feb. 1 and March 24, and detectives were able to verify identity through video surveillance.
A 17-year-old juvenile from Everett was charged with four counts of larceny over $250.
ARRESTED TWICE IN ONE DAY
On June 5, at 9:30 a.m., officers located a male party at the corner of Chestnut and Fourth Streets that matched the description of a male party with active warrants. After further investigation, and confirmation, the male was placed under arrest for five Boston Police arrest warrants. At 4:45 p.m. the same day, officers re-arrested the same individual after he was observed shoplifting at the TJ Maxx store.
Xavier Gennis, 22, homeless of Chelsea, was arrested on warrants. Later, he was arrested shoplifting of more than $100.
THREW CIGARETTE IN CRUISER
On June 6, at 1:40 p.m., officers were in Bellingham Square when they observed a male approach two unoccupied police cruisers, which were parked on the median located between Bellingham and Fifth Streets. The male threw a lit cigarette on the front grill of the unmanned police car.
Officers observed smoke coming from the area. When they approached suspect, he became disorderly and was arrested.
Richard Norton, 57, of 129 Arlington St., was charged with wanton damage and disorderly conduct.
On June 7, members of the Massachusetts State Police and Chelsea Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant on Shurtleff Street.
The target of the arrest warrant had three active warrants issued from Chelsea District Court. After placing the male under arrest, officers located a significant amount of U.S. currency and drugs on his person, and he was additionally charged.
Jeffrey Valenzuela, 19, of 167 Shurtleff St., was charged with trafficking in heroin, possession to distribute a Class A drug and one warrant.
SALVADORAN MAN DEPORTED AGAIN
A Salvadoran national was charged last week at federal court in Boston with illegally reentering the United States after being deported.
Geraldo Reyes Menjivar-Menjivar, 33, was indicted on one count of illegal reentry of a deported alien.
According to court documents, on May 24, 2018, law enforcement in Chelsea encountered Menjivar-Menjivar and determined him to be unlawfully present in the United States. Menjivar-Menjivar was previously deported on Nov. 7, 2014.
Menjivar-Menjivar faces a sentence of no greater than two years in prison, one year of supervised release, a fine of $250,000, and will be subject to deportation upon completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The Boston Bruins will be returning to Massachusetts and New Hampshire libraries this summer to continue their “When You Read, You Score!” reading programs, presented by Velcro Companies. They will be at the Chelsea Public Library (569 Broadway), on Tuesday, July 10th from 2 – 3 p.m.. On Wednesday, June 27, the Bruins will host a kick-off event pairing Bruins Development Camp prospects and local students for games and other reading activities at the Waltham Public Library (735 Main St., Waltham).
2018 marks the ninth year the Bruins will partner with the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Massachusetts Library System, and the third year partnering with the Children’s Librarians of New Hampshire to support literacy programs and encourage reading among youth across the two states.
Throughout the summer, Bruins Mascot Blades and members of the Bruins promo team will visit libraries across Massachusetts and New Hampshire in an effort to promote youth literacy. At each “When You Read, You Score!” library visit, children and teens will be able to meet and interact with Blades, participate in Bruins arts and crafts, fun backyard games, and have the chance to win official Bruins prizes by competing in hockey trivia.
“Literacy is one of the most important abilities for students to develop and builds a strong foundation for success in life; so we are proud to be working with the Bruins to bring educational and literacy programs to the kids,” said Fraser Cameron, CEO, Velcro Companies. “‘When You Read, You Score!’ is an innovative way to connect with kids and sharpen their reading skills by making learning engaging, exciting and fun outside the classroom.”
To help inspire children and teens to keep reading over the summer, Bruins players, including Patrice Bergeron, ZdenoChara, Brad Marchand and Tuukka Rask have helped libraries develop a summer reading list that also includes librarian picks for the best hockey books. To see the “Favorite Books of the Boston Bruins” list, visit BostonBruins.com/SummerReading.
The Chelsea Girl Scouts hosted their 7th annual Memorial Day Parade on Monday morning, May 28, on Broadway.
Despite the rain, they had a great turnout for the annual march up Broadway for the official exercises. Here, Kaylee Bird and Skye Travassos keep dry before the parade.
The bottles are little, but their size does not hide the volume of litter they create, nor the public drunkenness they spark.
And so it is, the License Board and City leaders worked together with Chelsea Police recently to ban alcohol nip bottles (1.7 oz. plastic bottle liquor shots) that litter the City’s streets and are believed to be a major cause of the open drinking in Bellingham Square and other locales.
The decision came down on May 22 with a 4-0 vote, with the impetus for the ban coming from City Councillor (and former License Commissioner) Roy Avellaneda. The measure not goes to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for final approval, but it is expected to meet muster there.
License Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said it was quite a coup for the City to make this step.
“The licensing board took a big step forward in trying to crack down on the proliferation of public drinking and drunkenness by banning the sales of nips throughout the entire city,” she said. “We will also be discussing banning the sale of pints of alcohol and single beer cans at our upcoming meeting in June. I’d like to thank Captain Houghton, Officer McLaughlin and the full CPD team who made a robust presentation about how alcohol abuse is far more problematic in Chelsea than heroin addiction is, yet the latter gets so much more attention. I also offer our deep gratitude to Gladys Valentin from CAPIC who spoke about the efforts she is leading to curb substance abuse and help those with addiction get the services they need.”
Avellaneda said he had always wanted to ban nips when he was on licensing, but was told it couldn’t be done legally. However, he said he read an article about Everett banning nips recently, and decided it was time to revisit the issue.
He wrote a letter to the License Commission, and once new Chair Mark Rossi took the reins, he scheduled the hearing – which took place on May 22.
“This alcohol abuse in public has been going on since I was a kid and I walked back and forth from St. Rose School and my dad’s baker on Broadway,” said Avellaneda. “You have to go the point of the source and we believe part of the problem is the sale of these nips. We hope this is a first step. We also want to stop the sale of single-cans of beer. I think anyone who wants a single serving can get that in a bar instead of in a brown bag on a park bench…This is about cleaning up the downtown and making it more family friendly and business friendly.”
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes said the Department has been pushing for the ban for many years.
“This extremely important decision by the Chelsea Licensing Board is a huge step forward…,” he said. “For well over a decade the Police Department has been pushing for the elimination of sales of these so-called ‘nips’ – comprised of 1.7 ounces of alcohol – and single cans or bottles of malt beverages from our local licensed liquor and convenience stores. Far too often we have made observations of individuals in an inebriated state in the area of Bellingham and Chelsea Square because of the overconsumption of these particular alcoholic beverages. They have secreted the containers in their clothing only to be tossed in the street after their use. This local measure should go a long way towards reducing open air intoxication in our vibrant downtown neighborhoods.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino also supported the measure, saying it will help solve part of a long-standing problem.
“I think the impact on the downtown will be very positive,” he said. “We have an issue with litter and alcohol consumption in public. This is one of many positive steps we’re trying to address the problem.”
Avellaneda said it could end up helping the stores that depend on the sales of nips.
“We may see an environment created downtown that helps these stores in terms of sales in a different way to a different clientele,” he said. “Maybe they will increase their sales to other customers and that could make up the difference.”
Amateur and professional photographers of any age are invited to participate in the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest, with this being the last week to enter submissions.
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 deadline to apply is next Thursday, May 31 and the group is eager to see the community’s contributions. To apply or for more information visit:https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea.
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.
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.
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.”