In Appreciation: Remembering Elaine Richard

In Appreciation: Remembering Elaine Richard

The greatest legacy of Elaine Marie Richard was seated in the front rows at the Our Lady of Grace Church.

The four loving and devoted sons, Ken, Jim, Jack, and Edward – these four scholar-athletes, all graduates of Chelsea High School and the best universities in the nation – led a beautiful tribute to their beautiful mother.

When it came time to encapsulate all that Mrs. Richard had meant to her family and the great example she had set for her children and the family, it was Jack Richard, who stepped to the lectern to deliver the eulogy.

A brilliant, personable man who excelled at Tufts University and Boston College Law School, Jack rose to the occasion with words that showcased the richness of his talents.

“Before I speak for my brothers, I should first speak for my mother,” he began. “Many of you here today have been so good to her through the years, and I know she would want me to begin by thanking you all and by telling you how much she and we appreciate all your kindnesses to her big and small.”

Jack told the assemblage that the day truly was “a celebration of life, a full life very well-lived and filled with great joys, but also marked by great sorrows.”

Jack said their mother grew up in a big triple decker in Chelsea “in a house full of family and faith” where she was doted on by her older sister, Marjorie, and brother, Edward.

Elaine Doherty Richard was an excellent student herself and graduated at the top of her class at the St. Rose School.

“When Elaine Doherty, that cute little girl, grew to become a beautiful young woman, she met the one and only love of her life,” said Jack. “Ken Richard was talented, handsome, strong, and as we kids would say, ‘wicked smart.’”

Elaine Doherty and Kenneth Richard married when she was 22. “The four of us were always so proud of both of our parents,” said Jack.

The four boys were born five years apart. Mrs. Richard would prepare meals for her four sons and her husband each day. She would send her sons off each morning to Our Lady of Grace School. The boys did their homework at night at the dining room table with the assistance of their mother.

“But day after day, every day, Elaine Richard did it all with grace and with cheer,” said Jack. “All in all, our mom, against all the odds at that time and place, she succeeded. She was proud to say she went 4-for-4 with her sons.”

But just as Elaine and Kenneth Richard “were about to enjoy all the benefits of their work – with all four kids in college, they were finally about to get some well-deserved time together for themselves, my young and healthy dad passed away suddenly,” related Jack. “My mother’s sweet and happy world was crushed. She was only 44 years old.”

Following the death of her husband, Elaine Richard “never quit on life and she soldiered on, and day by day, year by year, she built a new life and she taught us a lesson in grace and in perseverance, a truly good example.”

“If you know my brothers and me,” then you know Elaine Richard,” said Jack. He praised his brothers, “Ken, who was thrust in to the role of the man of the house when he was just a college kid, protective of us all and the most solid dependable man there is; Jim, a deeply spiritual man whose faith and his family are the very center of his life; and Ed, the best guy with the biggest heart who would do anything for you, but also with the strongest will of anyone I’ve ever known. We are what we are because of her.”

Jack Richard said this Christmas their mother gave the family “the most important gift and lesson.”

“She taught us how to die,” said Jack. “For two weeks, we had all been taking turns at her bedside, just as she had done with us so many times when we were sick as children. We got to say how much we loved each other. We held her hand and we told her how good she was. She spoke of how this family she had built would live on, in us, in her 12 grandchildren, in her five great-grandchildren.”

Elaine Doherty Richard died on Christmas day. She was 86 years old. She will be missed.

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A Visit from Santa

A Visit from Santa

Justin Machado holding his new Phlat Ball after his special visit with Santa at the Chelsea Police Station on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The annual pre-Christmas visit to Santa has become a staple for local children, with the Police partnering with the Early Learning Center (ELC) this year.

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Bush Decency and America’s Christmas List

Bush Decency and America’s Christmas List

Christmas is coming and wish lists vary. Here are ideas from which most can benefit.

Medical care for all Americans. Congress must sever ties with lobbyists working on behalf of the pharmaceutical and medical insurance companies and represent the American people. Prescription costs are too high and the government pays too much money to the drug companies for those who receive various medicines from government coverage. All Americans should be able to see a doctor and receive medical care. Working Americans should have access to affordable medical care. Retired and poor/disabled/uninsurable Americans should have access to Medicare and Medicaid. All Veterans and military should be able to choose an alternate doctor or hospital when the VA hospital and doctors are not in close proximity or are inaccessible.

My medical insurance company recently informed me that my doctors must always gain their consent when prescribing any kind of medicine. They not only demand final approval on any medications I might need, they frequently dictate that my doctor prescribes a medication that is less expensive. I would like to think that my doctor prescribes medicines based on his opinion that they will work.  If I decide to follow my doctor’s direction and the medical insurance company doesn’t agree then I will be totally out of pocket for my prescription.

My wife and I were in France once and she had to see a doctor. There were doctor offices everywhere in Paris. Seeing a doctor and getting two prescriptions were less than $35. We didn’t use an insurance card and a visit to the doctor and going to the pharmacy around the corner both took less than 90 minutes. France does not have socialized medicine. They are involved in controlling the costs of drugs. The life expectancy for those living in France is longer than us living in America. France’s medical world is not perfect but we should take notes.

Christmas will be good if Americans can have access to jobs across the country. Big cities are booming with jobs it seems but rural America does not have the same options. I suppose it will always be this way but everyone cannot live in Provo, Utah, Austin, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. A friend of mine recently moved to Indianapolis and has job opportunities galore. The federal government must spend some of the money we give away to the Middle East on rural America. Roads, bridges, parks and investing in small companies that will locate in rural America must be a government priority. We’ve spent too many years nation-building throughout the planet and let Appalachia and other rural communities drown.

I don’t have enough space so here are musts for Americans this Christmas:

Small interest loans so our youth can afford to go to college. Make college as affordable as possible.

Turn Social Security around and keep our promised retirements solvent for our graying Americans.

Reward the corporations who stay in America and let those who want to be out of America pay the price for abandoning us.

Keep America safe with strong borders and a strong military and take care of those who do and have served our country.

Insure that sane Americans can have their Colt-45 revolvers by their bedside tables when they turn out the lights and say their prayers.

Finally, may we all be a little more like President George H.W. Bush who wrote newly elected President Bill Clinton a very gracious note welcoming him to the oval office and assuring him of his support saying “…that you will be ‘our’ President when you read this note.”  He led by living the example that it doesn’t hurt any of us to be respectful, gracious, decent people who help, love and encourage others.

May all Americans have a Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Ecumenical Memorial Service at Woodlawn Cemetery on Nov 29

Christmas Ecumenical Memorial Service at Woodlawn Cemetery on Nov 29

Woodlawn Cemetery has announced it will be holding its 18th annual Christmas Ecumenical Memorial Service in the chapel on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 7 p.m.

Francis J. LaRovere, III, esquire president and chief executive officer, in making the announcement said, “This is a difficult season for those who have lost a loved one; we hope that in offering this opportunity to share in this memorial service, the loss will be less painful.” LaRovere continued, “We are gratified with the response we have received form the public regarding this event and are pleased to be able to offer it each year during the holiday season.”

In addition to the service, Woodlawn will again light a memorial Christmas tree while the carolers sing traditional Christmas hymns. Reverend Thomas Coots and Father Vincent Gianni will celebrate the service.

Staring at 6:30 p.m., a seasonal music program will be performed by the Figgy Puddin Holiday Carolers. This acappella quartet of Dickensian carolers will perform traditional Christmas music in beautiful Victorian costumes.

This program is not recommended for children under 12 years old. Following the program, a collation will be held in Patton Memorial Hall. Gates will open at 6 p.m. seating is limited and may not be held for late arrivals, therefore; it is suggested you arrive early. For additional information please contact Paul M. Maniff, director of sales.

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Flooding Issues Must Be Solved with Regional Efforts

Flooding Issues Must Be Solved with Regional Efforts

Two of the highest tides ever recorded on Boston Harbor have happened in the last three  months, with one of those being last Friday, March 2, around 11:15 a.m.

Last Friday’s storm caused some severe flooding in Chelsea, particularly on Marginal Street where the Chelsea Creek breached its banks. However, the storm also packed a punch with heavy winds, which blew Chelsea’s official Christmas tree Down.

Last Friday’s storm caused some severe flooding in Chelsea, particularly
on Marginal Street where the Chelsea Creek breached its banks. However, the storm also packed a punch with heavy winds, which blew Chelsea’s official Christmas tree Down.

And on Friday, and on Jan. 4 before that, the tides and coastal storm surge combined to inundate areas of Chelsea that normally stay dry – particularly on Marginal Street and its tributaries up the hill.

This past Friday, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said floodwaters breached the banks of the Chelsea Creek once again – just as they did during the blizzard and coastal surge on Jan. 4.

He said there isn’t much the City can do short-term to alleviate that kind of powerful force.

“There just wasn’t a whole lot we could do about that situation when the Creek comes over its banks, onto the roadway and floods the entire road,” he said. “We may have to be thinking about – like other cities and towns – very long, long-term solutions because I think these types of storms are going to continue more and more. I think like everyone else we’re going to have to start thinking about Coastal Climate Resiliency. I don’t know what that would mean for Marginal Street, but it would have to mean something because we can’t keep having this kind of flooding.”

Ambrosino said the tidal action on Marginal Street is also what caused the closure of several streets on the hill, including Congress, Willow, Highland and others. Fixing that would mean years of planning and millions and millions of dollars, but perhaps that is something, he said, that needs to happen.

Beyond that, flooding issues on Eastern Avenue on Friday near the Burke School Complex may have a solution. He said there is some infrastructure work they intend to do in the coming years that should make a difference in that flooding situation.

On Friday, high tides inundated the area near the Burke and caused some disruptions in school activities.

The same is true for flooding on the Island End River, which exceeded its banks on Friday too. That type of flooding issue threatens the food supply at the New England Produce Center, but like Eastern Avenue, Ambrosino said there are solutions that have been planned.

“There are long-term solutions there, but they are expensive,” he said. “However, there are ideas that can make a difference with that situation.”

Beyond the flooding, the storm packed a punch with wind gusts that often went above 80 mph. That wreaked havoc with many trees in the city, and particularly with the City’s official Christmas tree in Chelsea Square.

That tree was knocked down in the winds, and had to be removed from its long-time home.

“The Christmas tree did get  knocked over,” said Ambrosino. “As I understand, it was transplanted some years ago and didn’t have very deep roots. The Tree Board will look at that and try to figure out what we’ll do about a new Christmas tree. Luckily, we have plenty of time to think about it.”

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Chelsea Trailblazers Honored

Chelsea Trailblazers Honored

ChelseaRecord

The Chelsea Trailblazers were honored on Monday, Feb. 26, at the Chelsea City Council. The Trailblazers award was given as part of the Black History Month celebration, and a celebration for them was given on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Pictured (L-R) Gerry McCue, Daniel Cruz, Joanne Lee Nieves, Councillor Leo Robinson, Shaquor Sandiford, Betty Boyd, Joan Cromwell, Johnnie Lee, Joe McNamee,Shelagh Mahoney, Sharon Caulfield and Dakeya Christmas.

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Doors Now Open:Medical Marijuana Clinic Opens in Sullivan Square, Sees Large Amount of Customers

Doors Now Open:Medical Marijuana Clinic Opens in Sullivan Square, Sees Large Amount of Customers

By Seth Daniel

Revolutionary Clinic Product Consultant Sarah-Jaana Nodell displays two strains of marijuana buds that are dispensed at the clinic’s Somerville/Sullivan Square location. The two types are grown at their Fitchburg farm, and are among several products – from chocolates to tinctures to salves – that the clinic sells to state-registered patients.

Revolutionary Clinic Product Consultant Sarah-Jaana Nodell displays two strains of marijuana buds that are dispensed at the clinic’s Somerville/Sullivan Square location. The two types are grown at their Fitchburg farm, and are among several products – from chocolates to tinctures to salves – that the clinic sells to state-registered patients.

The first medical marijuana dispensary in the Lower Mystic region has opened its doors in Sullivan Square on Broadway, Somerville, and operators of the clinic, Revolutionary Clinics, said last week at an open house they are seeing many new patients and believe people in the area with chronic pain are turning away from the black market to get a medicine that helps them deal with their illnesses.

Last Friday, Revolution – which sees itself as a regional dispensary serving the entire Lower Mystic region – said that it has been open every day since November (except Thanksgiving and Christmas) and the business has been ramping up every week – with an average of 38 new state-approved patients per week.

“The company is growing here and the patients are returning on a regular basis,” said Keith Cooper, CEO of the company, which is based in Colorado. “We are very, very excited about this location and obviously disturbed and concerned about what is being said at the national level. We hope that it will be just posturing and not hurt the patients taking advantage of this incredible plant.”

The open house at the dispensary was a chance for the media and for state legislators, including Somerville Sen. Patricia Jehlen, to see one of the area’s first functioning clinics in progress.

At a small panel discussion afterwards, the topic of the black market for marijuana came up.

Revolutionary Managing Director Meg Sanders said they don’t inquire, but they assume people in the area were getting marijuana somehow before there was a place like Revolutionary that is regulated and legal.

“We don’t ask that, but people who need the medicine were going to get it if they needed it,” she said. “There are a lot of black market operators out there. That’s the last place we would want patients to have to go because its unregulated and you don’t know what’s really in it. All of our products are tested and we know what’s in them.”

The clinic is only for those approved by the state for medical marijuana – though there is a desire to convert to recreational sales if permitted later this year. The system is set up with many security checks, from the parking lot to the entrance to the point of sale and delivery of the product.

After going through the procedures, one can work with a clerk to discuss the products available and options. There is an education area and an area for private consultation.

The clinic dispenses everything from traditional marijuana “flowers” or “buds” to salves, vaping cartridges, tinctures, oils, waxes, cookies, biscuits and chocolates.

The actual “buds” are produced in Massachusetts, and right now Revolutionary has a farm in Fitchburg that is producing two varieties now sold in the clinic.

The many different products, said clerk Sarah-Jaana Nodell, are only a matter of preference. Some people come in with arthritis and only want a salve. Some people have lung problems and cannot smoke buds, so they need a tincture or an edible product.

Others just need very low doses for their ailments, while others need to smoke strong buds to relieve chronic pain.

“The flower is really just the delivery mechanism for the oils,” she said. “The primary element is the concentration of oils and there are other ways to deliver it. If someone comes in with lung disease, the last thing we’ll do is give them something to smoke. I’m not going to give you edibles if you can’t digest things. That’s when a patient might be a better fit for a tincture.

“We have so many people saying they don’t want to get high,” she continued. “You don’t have to. You don’t have to get high. We’re here to help patients find the product that is going to make them feel better in any way we can. Many of our products are non-hallucinogenic so they will not get anyone high.”

However, for others, the hallucinogenic effect is precisely the medicine they need in smoking the flower – and the side effects, such as giggling, can be helpful too.

“We have some strains that make you giggly and happy,” she said. “Some people say they want something that will make them giggle. We can do that. For a lot of people with chronic pain, giggling is an easy thing to do.”

Nodell said she can relate to such pain, as she and many of the product consultants are medical marijuana users who have survived and coped with chronic pain for years.

“I lived with chronic pain and was allergic to most pain medications,” she said. “I was 15 when I discovered medical marijuana and never turned back. Six surgeries later and no morphine for me. Chronic pain is a hard thing. That 1-10 scale gets mixed up and it’s hard when 10 is all the time.”

Bringing the 10 down to a manageable level – whether dealing with cancer, Crohn’s Disease or arthritis – is what Revolutionary said they are all about.

“These products really help and provide relief,” said Sanders. “I have seen so many Crohn’s patients find great relief with these products after so many steroid treatments.”

After one finds the product they need and pays for it, the product is picked up in a secure dispensing area – much like a traditional pharmacy counter. After that, a patient can leave, and they do so with a great deal of security in the parking lot and with a network of cameras to prevent theft or assault.

“We haven’t had an incident since we opened,” said Sanders. “It is as secure or more secure than any bank or jewelry store you might enter…With all the cameras around here, we actually end up helping to solve crimes in our experience. In a store we have in Colorado, the police frequently ask us for footage from our cameras to catch things that happen around us. We are actually solving crimes.”

The clinic is open Monday, Weds., and Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, they are open 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. On Sundays, they are open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

They are located at 67 Broadway in Somerville, just two blocks from Sullivan Square.

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City Hall Clock Tower Unveils New Lighting Scheme

City Hall Clock Tower Unveils New Lighting Scheme

By Seth Daniel

Let there be light atop the Chelsea City Hall.

This Monday, the City officially unveiled a light illumination feature in the clock tower of City Hall – a feature that can be seen prominently from Rt.

The Chelsea City Hall clock tower has finally been illuminated after many years of advocacy by Councillor Matt Frank. The project was unveiled on Monday and displays holiday-themed colors at the moment.

The Chelsea City Hall clock tower has finally been illuminated after many years of advocacy by Councillor Matt Frank. The project was unveiled on Monday and displays holiday-themed colors at the moment.

1 and the Soldiers’ Home and adds some variety to the Chelsea skyline.

When it went on Monday night, the new lighting scheme alternated green and red colors to match the City’s new Christmas decorations in the downtown area.

The lighting coincided with the last meeting of Councillor Matt Frank, who has long asked for the City to look into introducing some creative lighting on the exterior of City Hall.

Afterward, he said he was very happy to see that the City had taken his request seriously and had actually implemented it before he left office.

“I am beyond delighted that the City was able to complete the first phase of the clock tower light project on the eve of my last City Council meeting,” he said. “It’s a project I have been pushing for since the late 2000s and I am hoping they take the next step by installing outdoor lights to also bring light to the outer structure. Currently the lights are going red and green for the holidays and I’ve been told they are considering using the new lights for snow emergency purposes with a blinking blue.

“Combined with the fixing of the lights on the clock tower, this gives the City a powerful new tool when it comes to civic pride,” he  continued. “The lights can be used to signal victory for our high school teams, to show holiday spirit and to showcase City Hall as a beacon for miles in every direction. Symbolism is a powerful thing. Hopefully this light will play it’s part in helping to bring more civic engagement to City Hall.”

Meanwhile, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he gives all the credit to Frank and to Fidel Maltez of Public Works.

“It’s just another small part of our efforts to improve the Downtown,” said Ambrosino. “I have to give the credit for the idea to Councilor Frank. I would have never thought of that on my own.”

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The Big Comeback: Once Gone, Turkeys are Now a Common Sight in Most Communities, Even in the City

The Big Comeback: Once Gone, Turkeys are Now a Common Sight in Most Communities, Even in the City

By Seth Daniel

Wild Turkeys have shown up in the craziest places over the last few years, including on city streets, and that's due in part to a 35-year effort to restore them to the state. The native species was pushed out by European settlement and industrialization in the mid-1850s. Now, they have come back in a big way and frequently come to city streets or parks.

Wild Turkeys have shown up in the craziest places over the last few years, including on city streets, and that’s due in part to a 35-year effort to restore them to the state. The native species was pushed out by European
settlement and industrialization
in the mid-1850s. Now, they have come back in a big way and frequently come to city streets or parks.

There aren’t too many comeback stories that begin with the phrase, ‘Gobble, Gobble,’ but the story of the once-prolific wild turkey in Massachusetts certainly begins and ends with just such an utterance.

Though the wild turkey disappeared from Massachusetts for nearly 180 years, the Thanksgiving bird was once everywhere in the state, including throughout Chelsea and neighboring locales.

It was so common in the wild that it is likely the precise reason turkey is served for the Thanksgiving meal. With so many wandering around, it’s likely that the first Thanksgiving took advantage of cooking up the bird because it was so common.

It was also such a common sight that Ben Franklin argued for it to be the national bird instead of the American Bald Eagle – saying it symbolized the early Americas more than anything else.

But by 1850, it was gone from Massachusetts.

“Really, by the early 1850s, it was extricated from the state,” said Wayne Petersen of the Mass Audubon Society. “Because of all the changes brought by coming Europeans with land uses, as well as hunting and targeted removal of them, they just didn’t make it. They were gone for a good long time.”

That said, the wild turkey in the last three or four years has re-established itself and made a complete comeback to Massachusetts – becoming so prevalent that they’ve adapted to not only living in the wild and the suburbs, but can often be found wandering around city streets in very urban environments as well.

It’s a story that Petersen said is fun, amusing and a great example of re-introducing a native bird that had been long-lost.

“It’s great to have them back,” he said. “In most cases, they are entertaining and the worst they can do is cause problems with traffic if they get into trouble on the roads. By and large, most people are mildly amused by them when they see them in the neighborhoods for the first time. I think it’s just a great story. They are indigenous and we have a whole holiday built around the wild turkey…Wild turkeys are to Thanksgiving what Santa Claus is to Christmas. I think it’s great.”

Turkeys didn’t just pop back into Massachusetts out of thin air though.

The effort to restore them began as early as the 1950s. Serious efforts were made to reintroduce them back then, but the varieties brought to the state were usually from the Southern states where they are still prevalent. Unfortunately, those birds could not acclimate to the harsh winters of Massachusetts and didn’t survive. In the 1970s, though, another group of turkeys from the Adirondack region of New York – where they are also very easily found in the wild – were introduced into the western Massachusetts region.

Later, after that group found some success, preservationists introduced them into the Quabbin Reservoir area. That was also successful, and the birds just kept moving further east in greater numbers until now you can find them almost anywhere – sometimes in the craziest places.

“Now you find them all over,” said Petersen. “Over the years, that group took hold in a huge way. It is no longer a surprise to anyone to see them in the suburbs or even in the cities. They have learned to live in close contact with people here and are very safe. Many people enjoy them. Other than being huge, they are quiet and passive. They are not known as being vicious birds.”

Petersen said they get reports all the time of turkeys in the middle of the city, in car lots, sleeping on doorsteps or holding up traffic in a congested business district.

“There are lots of reports of turkeys being turkeys,” he said. “They can hold up traffic and can be a pain if they get hit on Rt. 128 or Rt. 3, but that is spot on about where people are finding them. There is no question we get reports of them being in very odd places.”

Beyond the fun of the new and surprising sights of turkeys back in the communities where they haven’t been for 180 years or more, there is also the serious subject of brining a native species back to where it belongs – somewhat like the Bald Eagle’s success story.

“The wild turkey in Massachusetts is just another great argument for restoration efforts,” he said. “They were a native species here that was lost in time. They were here before we were here and it was our introduction that pushed them out. Now we have helped to bring them back. That’s certainly worth noting.”

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Chelsea Salvation Army Kicks Off Kettles at Market Basket

Chelsea Salvation Army Kicks Off Kettles at Market Basket

By Seth Daniel

Jane Gianatasio – a life-long Chelsea resident – has been a Salvation Army bellringer for 10 years, helping the local Salvation Army to raise money each holiday season. On Tuesday, she helped a contingent of bellringers to kick off the holiday season at the Market Basket. “My Kettle is always full,” she said.

Jane Gianatasio – a life-long Chelsea resident – has been a Salvation Army bellringer for 10 years, helping the local Salvation Army to raise money each holiday season. On Tuesday,
she helped a contingent of bellringers to kick off the holiday season at the Market Basket.“My Kettle is always full,” she said.

When the holiday season hits, Chelsea’s Jane Gianatasio can be found in one obvious place – ringing a bell for the Salvation Army Kettle Drive.

For the past 10 years, the life-long Chelsea resident has been a bell-ringer for the organization, helping to raise money in their biggest fundraiser of the year.

One of the key places, she said, is the Market Basket, where bellringers are stationed at both doors.

“I do this for the kids,” she said. “I do it so they can have food and Christmas toys. That’s why I’ve been doing it so long. My kettle is always full. Even when my husband comes to pick me up at night, he sometimes sits here for a bit while I take a break, and even he can make $15 in a short period of time. I truly enjoy this time of year.”

The Salvation Army on Chestnut Street kicked off its efforts last weekend, but officially kicked them off with a small ceremony at Market Basket on Tuesday morning.

“The Kettle drive is very important because this is how we make money for our programming and 83 cents of every dollar we raise goes back to the community,” said Capt. Isael Gonzalez. “It is one of our biggest fundraisers of the year. We have 450 families signed up already for Christmas toys and we have 300 families signed up for Thanksgiving.”

Capt. Gonzalez said the goal this year is to raise $90,000 through Dec. 23 with the Kettles.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino joined the kick-off and put in his own donation to start things off.

Ambrosino said he fully supports the Salvation Army efforts and hoped that Chelsea residents would be generous this holiday season.

Capt. Gonzalez said they are still looking for volunteers to be bell ringers, and encouraged local organizations to volunteer for some time during the holidays.

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