On Hold:‘Real Discussion’ Unfolds Regarding Small Liquor Bottles, Special Meeting Aug 28

On Hold:‘Real Discussion’ Unfolds Regarding Small Liquor Bottles, Special Meeting Aug 28

The Chelsea Licensing Commission has put on hold the ban of small liquor bottles (100 ml) after a hearing Tuesday night where numerous package store owners from the City came forward to protest the change.

The hearing came on the heels of the ban of “nip” bottles last month, with Chelsea being the first municipality to ban the sale of the one-shot bottles of liquor. That was to be followed up with the potential ban of small liquor bottles too. However, Chair Mark Rossi said the strong turnout from the liquor licensees in the City caused the Board to pause.

“They told us this would essentially put them out of business,” said Rossi. “The sales of small liquor bottles have been up since the ban on nips and the liquor stores were supplementing the lost income from nips with the 100 ml bottles. The positive on this is there was actually a dialog. This is the first time that has happened. Chelsea is the first municipality that has pub in a ban on nips. Based on that, it showed the community is serious about this issues. All parties considered this a problem.”

He said about half of the 16 package store license holders were at the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.

The result is the ban has been put on hold, but a special meeting has been called for Aug. 28 and a voluntary ban has been called for.

“We are calling a special meeting to address this and pick up where we left off,” Rossi said. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this.”

He said the liquor license holders were asked as a show of good faith to meet with the Police Department and voluntarily ban 100 ml bottles (particularly McCormack’s and Ruble) within 30 days. While the License Commission rarely meets in the summer, Rossi said they would call the special meeting for an update, with the hope being the ban can work informally.

Police Chief Brian Kyes said he is still for the ban, but was encouraged by the willingness of the liquor license holders during the meeting.

“Although the Chelsea Police strongly encourages the commission to proceed with the ban as proposed, I am encouraged that these licensed businesses are engaged in dialogue with the commission, the community and understanding their role in this serious issue,” he said. “Moving forward, we will continue to focus enforcement on any business that violates City licensing rules and state law, especially those that have such an adverse effect on the community.”

But not all was lost in the matter, which is an issue pushed by residents and several city councilors, including Councilor Roy Avellaneda.

Rossi said it was impressed on the liquor license holders that they need to be more connected to the community. He said it was interesting to note that none of them were as involved as they thought they were – particularly in things like the Chamber of Commerce or the local non-profits.

“The idea is we’re not looking to push anyone out of business, but to address a systemic, decades-old problem everyone agrees exists in Chelsea,” he said. “This is a positive step forward to address that issue…It’s important liquor store owners realize they are members of the community and aware of their actions on others. No one wants to go to the hair salon next to a liquor store where they have to step over the urine-soaked body of a perons passed out in the doorway.”

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Top 100 City Salary Earners Dominated by Public Safety Employees

Top 100 City Salary Earners Dominated by Public Safety Employees

The Top 100 City employee earners list (below) from 2017 was released this week and it showed that, as has become routine, that it is dominated by police and fire personnel.

A total of 41 of the top 100 came from the Police Department, though it should be noted that some of those earnings come from paid details which aren’t paid for in total by City funds. In the Fire department, 31 members were on the Top 100 list. That rounded out 72 police and fire earners in the Top 100.

The School Department came in third with 24 members on the Top 100 list, but most of them falling in the bottom one-third of that list.

The highest paid City employee in 2017 was Chief Brian Kyes, who said he was grateful for being able to serve as chief in his hometown. He made $219,752 in 2017 – the first year that he did not work details as the chief.

“My current salary is based on an employment contract that was negotiated between the City Manager and myself last year in an effort to allow me to finish my career here in Chelsea,” he said. “Based on the terms of the contract I have agreed to serve as the Police Chief for an additional five-year term and continue to do the job that I absolutely love. Although there are lucrative opportunities beyond the borders of our city whether in the legal world or public safety, my commitment remains here in the city of Chelsea.”

Kyes said his is now beginning his 32nd year with the Chelsea Police, with the last 11 as chief. He said others have recruited him from outside the city and state, but he has decided to stay here under his new contract.

“Over the past few years I have been recruited by other agencies both within Massachusetts and outside the state to either lead or compete to run their departments,” he said. “I have also had offers from the private sector as well.  This all being said I honestly know that there is no police department like the one that we have here in Chelsea with the enduring partnerships that serve as the life-blood of our agency. This is in no small part to the dedication and commitment of the men and women, sworn and non-sworn who make up our department.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino appeared at number eight on the list, making $180,209. He said the list is dominated by police and fire because they work hard for their money in Chelsea.

“Public safety officials are paid good money and in this city they earn it,” he said. “This a difficult city to be a police officer and a firefighter. They put their lives on the line all the time. I don’t begrudge the salaries they earn. They work hard for it here.”

Name                                                     Job                                    Location                      Gross Pay

Kyes, Brian                                     Chief of Police                     Police Department               219,752.46

Fern, Joseph                                        Sergeant                          Police Department               205,227.09

Dunn, Thomas                        Captain  Police Department            Police Department               203,853.47

Batchelor, David                     Captain  Police Department            Police Department               196,668.15

Quatier, John T                                Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 194,200.46

Houghton, Keith E                  Captain  Police Department            Police Department               191,969.00

Dana, William J                     Captain  Police Department            Police Department               183,002.94

Ambrosino, Thomas  G                     City Manager                    City Managers Office             180,209.33

Bourque, Mary                             Superintendent 225               Superintendent’s Office            178,697.92

Houghton, Robert                             Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 171,818.69

Delaney,  Daniel                   Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               167,164.94

Moschella, Robert  F                           Patrolman                         Police Department               166,551.53

Addonizio,  Michael J                           Sergeant                          Police Department               165,570.61

Giancola,  Paul R                              Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 159,609.20

Krasco, William N                              Patrolman                         Police Department               159,422.55

Eaves, Paul                                      Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 157,387.51

Cameron, Robert  T                          Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 157,286.42

McGarry, Edward J                          Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 157,039.03

Masucci,  Michael  F                         Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 155,518.72

Conley, Scott                                      Patrolman                         Police Department               155,203.52

Purcell, Stephen M                 Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 153,053.03

Albanese, Leonard  A                          Fire Chief                          Fire Department                 152,062.60

Nelson, Edwin                      Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               151,547.85

McCue, Gerald A                           Director Exempt                      Business Office                  149,881.45

Thompson, Michael                   Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 147,058.30

Doherty, Paul W                      Captain  Fire Department               Fire Department                 146,525.98

Abell, Lyle Robert                              Patrolman                         Police Department               146,403.33

Denning,  Robert                      Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 146,005.01

Gurska,  Michael P                   Captain  Fire Department               Fire Department                 145,917.85

Brizuela,  William F                             Sergeant                          Police Department                I45,799.72

Carroccino, Richard                  Captain  Fire Department               Fire Department                 143,729.68

Noftle, John                                        Sergeant                          Police Department               143,399.35

D’alba, Anthony  F                               Sergeant                          Police Department               142,601.43

Rizzuto, David M                  Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               142,577.35

McLain, Thomas  H               Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               142,257.64

Dunn, Brlan A                      Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               142,075.70

Flibotte,  David A                                Sergeant                          Police Department               139,282.59

Breau, Linda                          Deputy/Asst. Superintendent       Curriculum & Instruction          138,723.52

Johari, Priti                                     Principal  220                    Chelsea High School              137,504.49

Betz, David K                       Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               136,752.02

Merritt,  Philips                        Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 135,078.38

Bevere  Maloney, Jacqueline             Principal  220                   Early Learning Center             134,399.98

Gonzalez,  Hector  L                             Sergeant                          Police Department               134,150.63

Tarraza,  Luis 0                                   Patrolman                         Police Department               132,435.96

Keefe, Edward P                         Deputy City Manager              City Managers Office             131,692.35

Ulwick, Wayne                                 Deputy Chief                        Fire Department                 131,310.43

Lubarsky,  Adele                              Principal 220                     Edgar Hooks School              130,524.94

Ramirez,  Emilio                                Patrolman                         Police Department               130,435.94

Wilcox, Richard J                   Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 129,511.67

Nee, Michaela                                      Sergeant                          Police Department               129,262.60

Tiro, Anthony J                      Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 127,929.36

Lee, Michael W                        Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 127,554.60

Gobin, Rony R                         Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 126,838.72

Rogers, Philip R                       Captain  Fire Department               Fire Department                 126,715.84

Rosenberg, Cindy D                          Director/Sped                Special  Education  Office          126,704.50

Bower, John C                      Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               126,621.69

Lam,Longt                                         Patrolman                         Police Department               126,017.51

Torres, Jose                                        Firefighter                          Fire Department                 126,016.67

Grajal, Randy A                                   Teacher                         Edgar Hooks School              125,460.58

O’Brien, Joanne  M                             Patrolman                         Police Department               122.517.49

Bellomo,  Richard  R                           Patrolman                         Police Department               122,434.05

Barber.  Linda                       Assistant Principal 220 Days          Chelsea High School              122,340.06

Andreottola, Miguel                   Director- Admin Union           Information Technology           122,263.17

Martinello, Michelle                          Principal 220                   Eugene  Wright School            121,300.01

Schmidt,  Ronald L                Assistant  Principal 220 Days         Chelsea High School              120,863.05

Bevere, Joseph                                     Sergeant                          Police Department               120,723.24

DeleiDi, Adam  M                            Principal 220               William A Berkowitz School        119,725.05

Sanchez-Gleason, Magdalena             Principal 220                     George Kelly School              119,725.05

Chung, Starn                                      Patrolman                         Police Department               119,622.05

Fisher, Cheryl  W                             City Solicitor                       Law Department                 118,212.79

Kent, Sarah A                             Assistant  Super 220              Superintendent’s Office            118,180.01

Casucci,  Augustus  M                         Patrolman                         Police Department               118,042.21

Talbot, Michael                                Principal  220                   Clark Avenue  School             117,799.89

Noone, Michael J                                Patrolman                         Police Department               117,652.42

Sanchez, Miguel                    Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               117,208.79

Crowley, Kevin M                  Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 116,736.44

Griffin, Robert  E                 Lieutenant Police Department           Police Department               116,607.77

Perisie, Rjchard                        Captain Fire Department                Fire Department                 116,068.89

Almquist-Cevallos, Kristen L  Assistant Principal 220 Days          Chelsea High School              115,766.02

Cooney, Joseph F               Director Of Buildings & Grounds      Buildings & Grounds             115,378.83

Maldonado, Jonathan                           Patrolman                         Police Department               114,386.68

Valdes, Reinaldo                                 Firefighter                          Fire Department                 113,953.54

Dent, Sarah E                        Assistant Principal 220 Days          Chelsea High School              113,563.97

Rodriguez, Luis R                               Patrolman                         Police Department               113,325.68

Vazquez, Sylvia E                                Teacher                         George Kelly School              113,032.18

Ostler, Ryan P                                    Patrolman                         Police Department               112,945.35

Glass, Carter R                       Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 112,886.11

Conlon, Joseph                       Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 112,711.04

Stutto, Joseph C                                  Patrolman                         Police Department               112,582.33

Peters, Albert W                     Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 112,509.80

Griffin, Kevin M                   Assistant Principal 205 Days      Joseph A. Browne School          112,400.07

Shea. Julie C                                    Principal 220                 Joseph A. Browne School          112,196.08

Davis, Cove J                              Assistant Super 200               Superintendents Office            112,086.00

Meyers, Nathaniel S                          Principal 220               Frank M. Sokolowski School        111,946.05

Caissie, Arthur J                     Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 111,895.39

Taverna. Bertram                     Director Of Public Works                  Admin dpw                    111,811.66

Vega. Carlos J                                    Patrolman                         Police Department               111,585.26

Aliberti, Mark A                     Lieutenant Fire Department              Fire Department                 111,494.68

Lawlor, John W                      Lieutenant Fire Department               Fire Department                              111,374.27

Garcia, Stephen  Patrolman                         Police Department              111,132.25

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Chief Albanese Declares June is Porch Fire Safety Month in Chelsea

Chief Albanese Declares June is Porch Fire Safety Month in Chelsea

In the wake of two major rear porch fires in Chelsea – one just last Sunday – Fire Chief Leonard Albanese is declaring June to be Porch Fire Safety month.

“The Chelsea Fire Department is sponsoring a Porch Fire Safety campaign for the month of June,” he said. “Rear porch fires are a major cause of fast moving fires that can threaten our densely populated neighborhoods. These fires can burn undetected by occupants or interior smoke alarms.”

The Chelsea Fire Department wants residents to take three steps to help prevent porch fires:

  • Grilling Safety: Grilling is not allowed on porches in the city. One must grill in the yard, at least 10 feet from any structure.
  • Smoking Safety: If you smoke, put your cigarettes out. All the way out. Every time. Please wet your butts down and dispose in heavy metal cans with sand. NEVER discard cigarettes in mulch or potted plants. NEVER toss cigarette butts from windows or porches.
  • Storage safety: Your back porch is your family’s second means of egress out of your home in case of fire or other emergency. Unnecessary storage adds weight and fire load to your porch. Don’t use your porch for bulk storage. Always keep your pathway and stairway clear for easy egress.

“Porch fire safety is important,” he said. “Last year there were approximately 100 grill fires in Massachusetts, almost half extended to a dwelling. Some 70 percent of these fires occurred between May and September. Nearly 150 residential fires were started outside by cigarettes and extended to a building. Please do your part to help protect our neighborhoods.”

The Chelsea Fire Department said it thanked residents for their cooperation, and want to make sure everyone has a safe and enjoyable summer.

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Parenting Journey Announces Chelsea Resident Board Member

Parenting Journey Announces Chelsea Resident Board Member

Parenting Journey announced this week that five new members will join its eight-member board of directors, including Chelsea’s Kate Guedj, vice president and chief philanthropy officer at The Boston Foundation.

The new members include Bithiah Carter, president and CEO, New England Blacks in Philanthropy; Guedj, vice president and chief philanthropy officer, The Boston Foundation; Robert Lewis, Jr., president, The BASE; Travis McCready, president and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; and Jay Youmans, principal, Smith, Costello & Crawford.

“We’re excited to welcome these trailblazers to our board. Each shares our vision of equity for all families. Their distinct expertise will greatly enhance our work to empower parents and break down the systemic barriers that affect families,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of Parenting Journey.

Guedj joined The Boston Foundation in 2000, and is vice president and chief philanthropy officer. She oversees the Foundation’s development efforts and works with donors to help them achieve their charitable and philanthropic goals.  In addition, she provides management oversight to the Philanthropic Initiative.

Parenting Journey’s work is inspired by the belief that strong families are the foundation of vibrant healthy communities and the catalyst to ignite social change. The organization is dedicated to providing programs that uplift parents and caregivers and strengthen families and communities, advocating for equitable family policies, and disrupting the social narrative around parenting in poverty.

Parenting Journey envisions a world where all parents and caregivers have access to the resources they need to build resilient families and thrive, no matter their race or socioeconomic background.

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Chelsea Police Participating in Life Saving Click It or Ticket Campaign

Chelsea Police Participating in Life Saving Click It or Ticket Campaign

The Chelsea Police Department will be teaming up with Massachusetts State Police and more than 133 local police departments state-wide to crack-down on motorists who are not buckling up. Chief Brian A. Kyes confirmed Chelsea Police will be taking part in the national Click It Or Ticket (CIOT) seat belt enforcement mobilization which is federally funded through the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division.

“Memorial Day traditionally kicks off the busy summer driving season,” said Chelsea Police Chief Thomas Dunn. “Safety belts and properly installed child safety seats are your best defense against drunk, aggressive and distracted drivers, as well as your own mistakes.”  Beginning May 14 and until June 3,  law enforcement officials will be out in full force, looking for safety belt violators.

In Massachusetts in 2012, an estimated 50 lives could have been saved if everyone wore their seat belts. Statistics also show that passenger vehicle occupants are buckling up more during the day, but not enough at night.  While Massachusetts data is still being compiled, nationally, nighttime drivers are less likely to buckle up compared to daytime drivers. 10,480 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in motor vehicle traffic crashes at night (6 p.m. to 5:59 a.m.) in 2012.  Of those killed in nighttime crashes, 55 percent were not wearing seat belts (compared to 41 percent of occupants killed during daytime hours of 6 a.m. to 5:59 p.m.).

As part of the day or night, state and local police departments including Chelsea will join law enforcement agencies across the East Coast in mobilizing the CIOT “Border to Border” Operation which aims to provide increased seat belt enforcement at State Borders, sending a ‘zero tolerance’ message to the public: driving or riding unbuckled will result in a ticket, no matter what state, no matter what time.

“As we kick-off the busy summer driving season, it is crucial that everyone buckles up every time they go out, day and night – no excuses,” said Chief Thomas Dunn. “Our officers are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt, including drivers that have neglected to properly buckle their children. Adults must remember that if they don’t buckle up then they can become unguided missiles during a crash and can severely injure other vehicle occupants, especially children.”

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Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Lynn Man Arrested in Assault of Chelsea Waitress

Chief Brian Kyes announced late last week the arrest in Maryland of Gerardo Reyes Menjivar, 36, of Lynn, who was wanted in connection with the stabbing of a waitress at a Chelsea Restaurant on Monday night, May 7.

Menjivar was placed in custody in Beltsville, MD, May 10 by the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force.

Chelsea Police Detectives placed a Nationwide BOLO for Menjivar and the vehicle he was operating on Tuesday, May 8. Investigators worked tirelessly in their efforts to track Menjivar’s movements over 24 hours, and those efforts led to the arrest.

Chief Kyes praised his officers, the community members who came forward with information and a host of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that coordinated together to bring Menjivar into custody.

“Today after a successful nationwide law enforcement effort we placed a violent individual into custody and our community is safer,” he said. “I thank the many agencies involved that worked in unison with our department to apprehend Menjivar.”

Menjivar will be held in Maryland as a fugitive from justice as the Suffolk Court District Attorney’s Office work on his rendition back to Massachusetts.

Menjivar will face multiple charges including Assault to Murder.

The following agencies were instrumental in the investigation:  The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, Boston PD Detectives, Denver CO PD, the Bennet CO Sheriff’s Office, NYPD, US Marshals Service, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency, and  the regional HIDA (High Intensity Drug Apprehension) Taskforce.

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Chief Warns of Safety on Porches Following Major Fire Last Week

Chief Warns of Safety on Porches Following Major Fire Last Week

Following a six-alarm fire last Wednesday afternoon, May 2, on John Street – where two dwellings were a complete loss – Chief Leonard Albanese warned this week for residents to be extremely careful with activities on back porches – though he said the cause last week wasn’t yet determined.

Chelsea firefighters fighting the John Street blaze on May 2 with heavy smoke.

The fire last week originated on a second-floor, back porch of 10 John St.

“We haven’t determined the official cause yet,” he said. “We know it’s not arson, and it’s accidental. I want to emphasize that porch fires are a significant threat to our community and residents need to use extreme caution with the fire load on their decks, not smoking on their decks and not cooking on decks. No one is allowed to use a grill on any floor above the ground level.”

Chief Albanese said the firefighters and mutual aid partners did a great job with the fire on a day that was extremely busy in Greater Boston, as there was a fire in Cambridge and Somerville on the same day.

The fire came in on the afternoon of May 2, and it originated on the second-floor rear porch of 10 John St., a three-story multiple wood frame dwelling. Companies arrived with heavy fire conditions on all three rear porches at 10 John St., extending into the structure with fire threatening the immediate three-story exposures to the left (6 John St.) and right (12 John St.). The end result was the total loss of both 6 and 10 John St.; along with minor damage to 12 John St.

A large three-story, six-unit building at 68-70 Clark Ave. also sustained water damage. The home at 66 Clark Ave. sustained radiant heat damage only in the rear. Also, 56 Parker St. had exterior radiant heat damage only to the rear; and 50 Parker St. had a damaged fence from fire operations.

At 6 John St., 18 residents were displaced, and at 10 John St., 12 residents were displaced. Both structures were considered a total loss by fire officials.

The Red Cross provided immediate assistance to displaced residents.

There were no reported civilian injuries.

There were three immediately reported firefighter injuries, and all were treated and released. There were multiple other injuries sustained with the extreme conditions in which this fire was fought. All firefighters were exposed to smoke and products of combustion inhalation with an estimated three to five additional injuries being evaluated after the fire.

“The members of the Chelsea Fire Department along with our mutual aid partners engaged in a major fire operation under extreme conditions, which led to the containment of the fire to the loss of two structures only,” said the chief. “Without their valiant efforts, we could have lost several other structures further devastating the effected neighborhood. This was without a doubt a great job done by all.”

He also praised 9-1-1 dispatch for coordinating all six alarms.

“Additionally, Chelsea 911 did a great job allocating resources for the six alarms and guiding them to the scene,” he said. “This is difficult on a normal day, but Somerville had a multiple alarm fire that was tying up companies in the Metro Fire region at the same time, making this task a challenge.”

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Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

Suffolk County District Attorney Candidates Forum Sparks Debate Among Contenders

A heated discussion between the candidates for Suffolk County District Attorney took place in a packed room at Suffolk University Law School on Thursday, May 3.

The event was moderated by Meghan Irons, the social justice reporter at The Boston Globe, and was hosted by Boston Wards 3, 4, and 5 Democratic committees, Suffolk Law School, Boston NAACP, MassVOTE, and the Mass. Dems Latino Caucus.

Candidates Evandro Carvalho, Massachusetts state representative from Dorchester, Attorney Linda Champion, Greg Henning assistant district attorney, Shannon McAuliffe director at Roca, an organization that disrupts the cycle of poverty, and Rachel Rollins, Chief Legal Counsel to the Massachusetts Port Authority, were ready to answer questions during the forum.

“About 77 percent of DA races go un-contested across the U.S.,” said Rahsaan Hall, Director of the Racial Justice Program and “What a Difference a DA Makes” campaign for the ACLU of MA, to a crowded room. “There is a lack of opportunities for communities to engage but, this is what democracy looks like.”

Hall said that many folks don’t even know what goes on in a DA’s Office and most don’t even know that it is an elected position.

“We are working to make sure the country and residents of Suffolk County are engaged and active,” said Hall.

Candidates were allowed 90 seconds to answer questions and 30 seconds for rebuttal. Questions ranged from are you too much of an insider or outsider to change things, to how to stop cycle of repeat offenders to how will the candidates make the office more diverse?

Champion said she has three areas she will focus on as District Attorney beside safety: education, housing and jobs.

“When you have all of these things you can have an environment that everyone can feel safe,” she said. “I’m in this race to focus on what is the problem and that’s the lives of our residents.”

Henning said his goal as DA would to make sure that everyone is protected, and to re-connect the community with law enforcement.

“I will not only ensure community policing to keep the streets safe but to help people to not to engage and re-engage with the justice system.”

Rollins said that to make a real difference more people of color and women need to work in the justice system.

“To get fairness, equity and justice you need more diversity in the people that serves those decisions,” said Rollins.

McAuliffe distanced herself from the pack by focusing on her current work at Roca, a non-profit that takes young adults who have a high chance of repeat offense and steers them in a different path by providing job training and other opportunities.

“I’m the only one here that hasn’t worked for a job opening,” said McAuliffe who took on the current DA during the last election. “Reform needs a reformer, and that’s who I am.”

Carvalho said that in order to seek justice you need to look at who is making the decisions. He pointed out that the people making the decisions are largely white and those going in and out of the DA’s office are largely people of color.

“I live in Dorchester and my constituents deal with it every day,” he said. “They are trapped without help every day, and that has to change. As DA I will be sure to change things.”

Current DA Dan Conley announced earlier this year that he will not be seeking re-election. Conley has held the office since February 2002.

This will be the second open candidate forum of the year. The primary for the Suffolk Country District Attorney race will be on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The general election will be Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

The Chelsea City Council passed a unique pilot program by a vote of 8-2 on Monday night that would allow qualifying students at Chelsea High an opportunity to finish their Associate’s Degree after high school on the City’s dime.

The program is a partnership with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and was championed by City Manager Tom Ambrosino this year in his State of the City. It is seen by him and the School Department as a logical extension of the dual enrollment program at the high school that allows students there to take college level courses at BHCC.

The problem with the program in Chelsea, Ambrosino and others said, is that many students after graduation don’t have the financial resources to continue on and finish the Associate’s Degree they have been working towards.

The pilot program would use $150,000 in the first year, and would be open to students who have completed 12 credits while still in high school within the dual enrollment program. They also must remain Chelsea residents while receiving the benefit.

If a student applies for and gets a Pell Grant, BHCC will provide a subsidy as well and will waive tuition for the student as part of their end of the bargain.

“I had concerns at first, but I did some digging and it’s a good program,” said Councillor Leo Robinson. “I will be supporting this.”

“Many of the students in dual enrollment can’t complete their degree by the time they graduate high school, and they just don’t have the resources to complete it afterward,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “I think now is a great time to invest in our young people.”

But not everyone was on board, and some who voted for it had concerns as well.

Councillor Luis Tejada ended up voting for the matter, but said he was challenged by it.

“My challenge is with the money going to just Bunker Hill,” he said. “What I have a bigger problem with is you take care of your household first before you take care of your extended family. If you take care of everyone else before your household, you will tank…We have a $3 million deficit in our school system and Free Cash should be devoted to that first…If there is excess cash, maybe it should be devoted to the public schools.”

The chief detractor, however, was Councillor Bob Bishop, chair of the Finance Committee. Bishop said it’s a good program, but shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayers.

“To me, it’s a big problem because we’re using taxpayer money on something we’re not required to spend it on,” he said.

“This $150,000 is a pilot program and next year it could possibly be a lot more money,” he said. “I don’t understand how we can get involved in the business of paying for college for a select few…I suspect this is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. This is $150,000, but it will be $500,000.”

Councillor Giovanni Recupero agreed with Bishop, saying it should be funded by private money and not taxpayer dollars.

Councillor Roy Avellaneda said it was about investing in the future of students in the modern era.

“The school education system we have is outdated,” he said. “Everyone knows you need more than a 12th grade education in this economy. You need advanced courses beyond high school. As a City, we have to prepare them. It only makes sense to prepare them for today. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, a college education is required for that.”

Councillors Judith Garcia was absent for the vote, but had vocally supported the matter in previous meetings.

  • On a related note, the Council voted 10-0 without much discussion to approve a $50,000 program to help City Hall employees pay for courses to advance their education. That program was also proposed by Ambrosino and championed by the Council.

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Chelsea Police, Cops for Kids with Cancer Assist Local Family

Chelsea Police, Cops for Kids with Cancer Assist Local Family

Cops For Kids With Cancer collaborated with the Chelsea Police Department collaborated to present a donation to a local family during a ceremony at the station.CHEL_20180405_A1

Through a translation by Chelsea Police Officer Sammy Mojica, Sandra Ingles said her family was “very grateful” to the Chelsea Police and the Cops For Kids With Cancer charity for their assistance during this tough time.

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes praised Cops For Kids With Cancer as “a great charity and an awesome program.”

“They go to police departments throughout New England and assist families with children afflicted by this illness,” said Kyes. “They help out these families during difficult times. We thank this organization very much for coming to Chelsea today.”

Captain Mike Drummy of the Massachusetts State Police said families are referred to the charitable organization by local police departments and social workers. The organization has donated more than $3 million to families.

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