Now that the Encore casino tower has come into full view of Everett, it’s time to learn how to deal a good hand.
Encore Boston Harbor, Cambridge College in Charlestown and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this week that they will begin the first session of ‘Dealer School’ at Cambridge College in early September, focusing on teaching dealer basics, Blackjack games and Poker games. In coming years, they will also offer training on other games such as roulette and craps.
The collaboration is known as the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute and is long in the making, debuting now as Encore begins ramping up for the hiring of 1,100 dealers to fill out its gaming staff. Hirings will take place next spring, and it is expected that two full sessions of the Dealer School will be completed by the Encore opening on June 24, 2019.
Classes will start on Sept. 17, and the cost is $700. However, residents of Everett, Malden, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea and Medford will have the opportunity to win scholarships that will make it free. The deadline to submit applications for scholarships is Sept. 10.
“We have been talking with Cambridge College for a number of months about this and it has worked out well,” said John. “The space is 2,500 sq. ft. and it will hold about 80 students per classroom. They will have three sessions per day.”
The sessions will run Monday to Thursday, with sessions at 8 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A student is expected to stay in their time slot once they start.
The Blackjack training will last nine weeks and the poker training will last 14 weeks.
There will also be a weekend session that only offers Blackjack training all day Saturday and Sunday for nine weeks.
Doug Williams, vice president of table games, Gary Hager, director of poker operations, and John all said that the Dealer School is a great opportunity to be ready when Encore ramps up to hire gaming staff next year. If one does get hired, it can mean a starting salary of $60,000 for a full-time job, plus benefits.
“This could be transformational for certain people,” said John. “In a matter of months for a 16-hour commitment and flexible times, you can begin a new career that starts at $60,000 for full-time work. It’s a chance for you to earn good money and have a career for the rest of your life. This isn’t for someone who likes to play cards and wants to do something fun. This is for someone really looking to make a career change.”
Said Williams, “It’s also a good avenue for someone who isn’t going to college or doesn’t want to go to college now. It’s a career you can take with you for the rest of your life. There aren’t many instances in a major metropolitan area where a new industry just pops up and you can get in on it.”
Added Hager, “When these kinds of jobs open up on the strip in Las Vegas, they don’t stay open long. These are good opportunities and this is getting in on the ground floor here.”
Those enrolled in the school will practice hands-on training, being taught by five former Encore dealers who will teach them all aspects of how to deal and oversee a good game. More than that, they will teach them the basics of being a dealer. That includes how to let people enjoy themselves and how to show off a good personality that will enhance the customer experience.
Basic requirements are that one have an 8th grade level of math competency; be 18 or older; be willing to work weekends, holidays and off hours; and have a great personality.
“The personality is very important,” said Williams. “We hear all the time it’s not whether a customer wins or loses that determines whether they had a great time, but it’s the interaction they have with the dealer. They may enjoy themselves more because you are they’re preferred dealer or you become their lucky dealer. You can go a long way here with a winning personality.”
John said, however, there is no guarantee that anyone who completes the Dealer School would be hired, but they would have preferred status.
“Honestly, we don’t know if they will definitely be hired by Encore,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this. Obviously though, if you get through the program, you’ll have preferential status and you’ll be the first person we look to when we’re hiring.”
The full information about scholarships and enrollment in the Dealer School can be found at www.BetOnU.com.
Once again, classes for the first session start on Sept. 17.
With the Democratic primary coming up on Sept. 4, Congressman Mike Capuano and Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley discussed the issues of transportation and housing, among others, in the Massachusetts’ 7th Congressional District Debate held at UMass Boston on Tuesday, August 7.
From the start, the two sides agreed on their stance against the current administration, although the stance wasn’t simply to be anti-Trump. Capuano pointed to several issues, including healthcare and women’s rights.
“With Donald Trump in the White House, we are in the fight of our lives,” he said. “He’s threatening everything that we care about.”
Challenger Pressley stressed that she wasn’t dismissing the efforts of the incumbent Capuano, who is serving his 10th term in Congress, and his experience, but she emphasized the district’s need for activist leadership.
“What this district deserves, and what these times require, is activist leadership, someone who can be a movement and a coalition builder because, ultimately, a vote on the floor of Congress will not defeat the hate coming out of that White House,” Pressley said. “Only a movement can, and we have to build it.”
Capuano said his run has been a combination of both votes and advocacy. “Votes are important, and, by the way, with Democrats in the majority, we brought healthcare to 20 million people,” Capuano said. “Votes are part of what we do, but advocacy behind those votes and part of those votes is just as important on a regular basis, and my record shows we do both.”
Capuano, who cited how the district has seen its public transportation grow during his tenure, said his experience matters.
“In the final analysis, the votes on the floor of the house are going to be, for the most part, the same,” he said. “The effectiveness of what’s behind that vote will be different.”
Fighting for a majority minority district, Pressley also noted her frustration against the charges of identity politics being lobbied against her. The first woman of color elected to the City Council, Pressley recognized the importance of race and gender but said it can’t be recognized for the wrong reasons.
“[Representation] doesn’t matter so we have progressive cred[ibility] about how inclusive and representative we are,” Pressley said. “It matters because it informs the issues that are spotlighted and emphasized, and it leads to more innovative and enduring solutions.”
The debate was hosted by WBUR, the Boston Globe and UMass Boston’s McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies. It was moderated by WBUR’s Meghna Chakrabarti and the Boston Globe’s Adrian Walker.
The Democratic primary will be held on Sept. 4, while the general election is on Nov. 6. However, the race between Capuano and Pressley will be decided in the Sept. 4 primary.
The 7th district encompasses parts of Boston, Cambridge and Milton, and all of Everett, Chelsea, Randolph and Somerville.
Role model Umemba steps up for the kids of Chelsea
By Cary Shuman
Kyle Umemba has modeled on runways around the world, but his real work as a [role] model is here in Chelsea.
Umemba is one half of the co-founding team with Cesar Castro of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament that will be held on Saturday, Aug. 11 at the Jordan Boys and Girls Boys Club on Willow Street. The fourth annual basketball extravaganza brings to Chelsea some of the best talent in the area.
Umemba, 25, was once one of those aspiring players who carved out an impressive basketball career at prestigious Buckingham Browne and Nichols in Cambridge. A product of the Chelsea Youth Basketball League (CYBL) and an AAU standout, the 6-foot-3-inch guard/forward caught the attention of college coaches.
He thought of walking on at Division 1 George Washington but chose to focus on academics. He graduated with a degree in finance and currently works as a consultant for Price Waterhouse Coopers – in addition to his celebrity appearances as a fashion model in New York, London and Milan for major designers.
“It’s a good balance,” said Kyle.
This month, Kyle is busy working with Cesar on the finishing touches for what has become the most anticipated summer youth tournament in the area.
What was the inspiration for Let It Fly?
“We saw that there was a lack of basketball leagues for the kids,” said Umemba. “We wanted to help out the players and also Chelsea graduates.”
And Umemba and Castro have done that in a big way, presenting $500 scholarships to 11 graduates of Chelsea High School and the Phoenix Charter School.
The unsung hero of the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament is none other than Joan Cromwell, Kyle’s mother and the president of the Chelsea Black Community (CBC).
“Without CBC and Joan Cromwell, this tournament would not be possible,” credited Castro.
Joan’s company, Brown Sugar Catering, is the official
caterer for the tournament.
Kyle Umemba was asked whether he considers himself a role model for Chelsea kids.
“I don’t really look for that – if my actions determine that, so be it, but I’d rather just have some type of positive effect on people,” said Umemba.
Former hoop star Castro mentors players as a coach at CHS
By Cary Shuman
Cesar Castro could dribble, drive, shoot, and pass – but what he did best in his four years on the basketball court for Chelsea High School was: score.
Twelve-hundred-and-fifty-two-points worth, which makes him the second-leading scorer for boys in school history behind the legendary Craig Walker. He was the Commonwealth Athletic Conference MVP and led Chelsea to the conference title in his senior year (2010).
The 6-foot-guard is still very much active in the game. He is an assistant coach on Judah Jackson’s staff at Chelsea High School. Interestingly, the Red Devils won the CAC championship this season.
“It feels good to win a championship as a coach and a player,” said Castro, who went on to become an All-Region player at Bunker Hill Community College.
He is a paraprofessional aide at the Wright Middle School in Chelsea and is close to receiving his bachelor’s degree from Salem State University.
Because of daily interaction with Chelsea students in the schools and in the CHS basketball program, Castro, 27, saw the need for a summer tournament that could unite the community and bring some excitement to young players.
And he’s not resting on the past success of the Let It Fly Tournament that filled the gym to capacity last year with a succession of exciting games. There are free refreshments, musical entertainment by DJ Max Max, and Raffles.
“We’re going to start something new this year with a middle school division with four teams,” said Castro. “And we still have an eight-team high school division. It should be another great tournament.”
Teams from Lynn, Boston, Cambridge, and Chelsea will compete in the older division. Some of the top prep school players in New England will be playing in the tournament.
“It’s a one-and-one format so they have to come ready to play,” said Castro. “There’s no time for feeling it out. The players were talking about this tournament on social media back in December so they’ll be ready to compete.”
Castro said he and Umemba were members of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chelsea while growing up in the city.
“We want to thank [Executive Director] Gina Centrella, Jonathan Perez, and John Perez for all their cooperation and allowing us to hold our tournament there,” said Castro. “That’s our home and we thank them a lot.”
Castro also thanked Chelsea Police officers Sammy Mojica, David Batchelor Jr., and Keith Sweeney, and Chelsea firefighter Jonathan Morilli for their assistance at the event, along with City Councillors Damali Vidot and Jamir Rodriguez, who have been big supporters of Let It Fly.
The question of being a role model for Chelsea youths was posed to Castro.
“It’s not my intention to be a role model,” said Castro. “I just try to be genuine. And when I grew up, I truly appreciated someone pointing me in the right direction and that’s what I try to do in the schools and in the basketball program.”
On the heels of record-setting flood events in January and March 2018, the Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) announced today that it is updating its core mission and resources to help municipalities manage the extreme weather associated with climate change.
“Slowing down climate change is all about managing energy,” said Patrick Herron, MyRWA’s executive director. “Adapting to climate change is all about managing water—both flooding and drought. Water is something that we have thought about for over four decades.”
The Mystic River watershed spans 21 cities and towns from Woburn through Revere. This spring, MyRWA staff met with nearly fifty state and local stakeholders to best understand how a regional watershed association could help municipalities become more resilient to flooding, drought and heat.
“We heard over and over from cities and towns that they can’t manage flooding from just within their municipal boundaries,” explained Herron. “Stormwater flooding in Medford for example, has its origins in upstream communities. Coastal storms below the Amelia Earhart Dam threaten both New England’s largest produce distribution center and Logan Airport’s jet fuel supply.”
“We’re concerned about the neighborhoods and residents living in the shadows of massive petroleum storage tanks and other industries which are projected to be severely impacted by climate change. When the flood waters and chemicals reach homes, how will our communities be protected?” asked Roseann Bongiovanni, executive director of GreenRoots in Chelsea. “We’ve seen neighborhoods in Louisiana, Puerto Rico and Houston be decimated. Chelsea and East Boston could be next.”
Based on this feedback, MyRWA requested and received a $115,000 grant from the Barr Foundation that will allow the non-profit to work with municipalities, businesses and community organizations on an action-oriented, regional, climate resilience strategy for the Mystic River Watershed. This grant will allow MyRWA to hire Julie Wormser to lead this new program.
“The Barr Foundation’s climate resilience grantmaking has historically focused on Boston. Yet, we know climate change is no respecter of city boundaries. If some act in isolation, neighboring communities could actually become more vulnerable,” said Mary Skelton Roberts, co-director of Barr’s Climate Program. “It is our privilege to support MyRWA’s efforts to advance solutions at a more expansive, watershed scale.”
As executive director of The Boston Harbor Association, Wormser was instrumental in in drawing attention to Boston’s need to prepare for coastal flooding from extreme storms and sea level rise. She coauthored Preparing for the Rising Tide and Designing With Water and co-led the Boston Living with Water international design competition with the City of Boston and Boston Society of Architects. She will join MyRWA as its deputy director beginning July 1st.
“Three of the US cities most engaged in climate preparedness—Boston, Cambridge and Somerville—are located in the Mystic River Watershed,” said Wormser. “This grant will allow us collectively to share information and lessons learned since Superstorm Sandy with lower-resourced municipalities. By working regionally and with the State, we can also create multiple benefit solutions such as riverfront greenways that double as flood protection. It’s very inspiring.”
The Chelsea Rotary Club will hold its 91st Annual Installation of Officers at 6 p.m. at the Homewood Suites Event Center on Thursday June 21. Past President Allan Alpert will be Master of Ceremonies for the evening celebrating Rotary’s 2018-19 Theme, “Be The Inspiration.” Installed officers will be Maureen Foley of Colwen Hotels as President, Peter Zaksheski of Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Services as President-Elect, Todd Taylor of KSM Staffing as Vice President, Past President D. Bruce Mauch of Chelsea Clock as Secretary, Frank Kowalski, Retired as Sergeant-at-Arms and Past President Joe Vinard of Chelsea Bank a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank as Treasurer. Todd Taylor will be honored as Chelsea Rotarian of the Year. The Club will also be awarding Paul Harris Fellowships, one of Rotary International’s highest honors to LediaKoco, Administrative Assistant to Chelsea City Council and to seven Chelsea Rotarians; Robert Alconada, Paula Barton, Daniel Flores, Susan Gallant, Arthur Michaud, Jackie Moore and Joseph Panetta. Outgoing President David M. Mindlin, Esq. of Kraft and Hall will be thanked for his past year of dedicated service to the Rotary Club of Chelsea.
Everyone is invited to attend this Chelsea Rotary event honoring many outstanding business people in our community. If you would like to attend, please contact Maureen Foley at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 781-964-6576 for tickets.
Known for its comedy, magic, and romance, Midsummer has a disturbing dark side too.
The play kicks off with an engagement forged in war, a father threatening death to his daughter, and an escape into the woods where the environment has been decimated by the force of a fairy feud.
“And thorough this distemperature we see the seasons alter… and the mazed world, By their increase, now knows not which is which.”
In these times of environmental destruction and climate change, it’s striking to see these concerns front and center in Midsummer. Only by setting aside their pride and desire to dominate can the inhabitants of the world of Midsummer (fairies and mortals both) create harmony and rebuild the world they want to live in.
The play begins and ends in the court of Athens, with those scenes staged in the park’s lush green waterfront “amphitheater,” but as the lovers flee the unjust justice of the court, they enter into a world destroyed by wind and flood where only salt remains.
This now barren landscape is being created by artist Marc Poirier as an extension of the massive salt piles looming next to the harbor below the Tobin Bridge. Marc’s company, Longleaf Lumber, has donated large timbers salvaged from the Hingham Naval Shipyard to construct a crib structure reflecting the
marine architecture of Boston Harbor’s piers and bridge abutments, which thanks to Eastern Salt will be filled with road salt to create this haunting world.
Marc Poirier began his career as a painter, and received his MFA in painting and sculpture from Columbia University School of the Arts. He went on to found Longleaf Lumber, a Cambridge based reclaimed and antique lumber mill, and has recently merged his passions to create large scale site specific sculpture. Most recently at Apollinaire he created the multi-level maze set for the production of Everyman, and the centerpiece bar in the new Black Box theater. At over 5’ tall and 60’ across, with Midsummer he is taking his work to a much grander scale.
Sound Designer/Composer David Reiffel will be creating the sonic world with a full size upright piano mounted on the salt. This is David’s 18th show with Apollinaire. His work has also been heard coast to coast from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to Boston’s SpeakEasy Stage. He recently won the Norton award for Outstanding Musical Direction. Lighting Designer Christopher Bocchiaro will be lighting the two worlds of the play and designer Susan Paino is creating the costumes.
One of Boston’s great comedic actors will take on one of dramatic literature’s great comedic roles.
Actor Brooks Reeves, who was widely recognized for his portrayal of Kulygin in this season’s Three Sisters (receiving both Norton and Irne nominations), stars in the role of Bottom. Brooks’s most recent Boston appearance was in dual roles in Love, Valor, Compassion, which DigBoston’s Christopher Ehlers recognized as “one of the best performances of the year.”
Audience members are encouraged to bring blankets and beach chairs, a picnic to enjoy along with the harbor views, and walking shoes for the 2 moves during the performance.
Performances are July 11-29, 2018 • Wed.-Sun. • 7:30 • Free!
PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street, on the Chelsea Waterfront.
Free parking is available on site.
Information/Directions: www.apollinairetheatre.com or (617) 887-2336.
In case of rain, call (617) 887-2336 to check status.
Running Time apx. 1 hour 30 minutes, plus 2 short intermissions to change location.
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.”
Another harsh New England winter has thankfully come to an end. As the colder time of year comes to a close, allergy season is right around the corner. Itchy and watery eyes, runny noses, coughing and sneezing, and pollen make for a difficult few months for many as we all try to enjoy the outdoors and warmer weather.
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year. In order to prepare for seasonal allergies, CHA ENT physician Ayesha Khalid, MD, FACS and Jaime Silva, PA-C, at CHA Cambridge Hospital, provide an update on what to expect this season by answering several common questions.
Are allergies the same for everyone?
People’s pollen allergies can vary between seasons. However, some allergies can last throughout the year if they are allergic to dust mites, animal dander, and molds.
What is the difference between allergies and a cold?
Allergy symptoms such as itchy, watery eyes, and nose are triggered by histamine. A cold is a viral infection.
How are allergies treated?
Allergies are usually treated with medications known as antihistamines. Some symptoms can be treated with nasal steroids or pseudoephedrine. If allergy symptoms are not well controlled with medication or if symptoms last throughout the year allergy shots or allergy drops can be considered.
What other strategies can people use?
Studies show effective measures of controlling dust or pet dander allergy symptoms include eliminating carpets and rugs in the bedroom, dust covers for pillow cases, and a HEPA filter near the bed.
What else can people do to survive allergy season? Are there home remedies?
Rinsing the allergens out of your nasal passages and sinuses with a saline rinse that can be purchased over the counter can be helpful. This also helps moisturize your nasal passages if you are using a nasal spray for allergies.
If your symptoms tend to be harsh or worsen please consider scheduling an appointment with your doctor today. Also, here are a few additional resources provided by the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services.
About Cambridge Health Alliance
Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health system committed to providing high quality care in Cambridge, Somerville and Boston’s metro-north communities. CHA has expertise in primary care, specialty care and mental health/substance use services, as well as caring for diverse and complex populations. It includes three hospital campuses, a network of primary care and specialty practices and the Cambridge Public Health Dept. CHA patients have seamless access to advanced care through the system’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. CHA is a Harvard Medical School teaching affiliate and is also affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard School of Dental Medicine and Tufts University School of Medicine. For more information, visit www.challiance.org.
Nathan Smolensky, a non-profit manager from Somerville, has announced that he will be running as an Independent for Massachusetts’s 7th District Congressional seat.
“We need Independent voices to speak up,” says Smolensky, “now more than ever. The parties are becoming increasingly polarized, and that means more strong-arming and undermining in our politics, and somehow even less getting done. The Democrats and Republicans are locked in this endless tug-of-war, and the American people are paying the price. But we can break the partisan stranglehold by demonstrating a formula for Independent success, and if we do that we can really change things.”
Smolensky’s own brand of non-partisan politics is focused on themes of empowering local solutions by making the federal government more symbiotic with local efforts, improving government efficiency by addressing wasteful and unsustainable spending programs, and making long-term policy possible by creating a blueprint for Independent success that can pave the way for a shift of the political landscape away from the volatile pendulum swings of the current paradigm.
The 27-year-old Somerville resident is currently best known for his work with the non-profit Massachusetts Chess Association, where he has served as president since 2013. In that role, he has spearheaded the organization’s educational initiative, Chess for Early Educators, which currently has pilots for curricular programs run by regular schoolteachers in several Somerville public schools.
Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District is comprised of the municipalities of Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Randolph, roughly 70 percent of the city of Boston, and about half of the city of Cambridge and the town of Milton. Since taking its current shape in 2013, it has been won by incumbent Democrat Michael E. Capuano, also of Somerville, without a general election challenge. Its lopsided nature, however, can be a boon for independents, argues Smolensky:
“That’s the beauty of running in a district like this one. There’s no third-party or spoiler stigma. You’re not asking anyone to throw their vote away. You don’t have that bogeyman of the greater evil to scare people away from voting Independent. This is the kind of environment we [Independents] can thrive in, and, thanks in part to gerrymandering, there are a lot of places we can find it.”
Currently, Capuano is facing a primary challenge in Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. No other candidates have announced intentions to run.