Aug. 15, and it revealed that the resort
casino is showing strong on table games, is a little weak on slots and had
almost $300 million wagered in the month.
The first revenue reports for Encore last
month contained only one week’s worth of revenues, so the July report was much
anticipated and showed overall strength in total wagers and in table games.
The casino had $289.4 million wagered in
slots and table games, and logged total gross gaming revenues of $48.5 million.
That resulted in $12.1 million going to the state for taxes.
In particular, the table games showed
strength, reporting gross gaming revenues of $27.4 million.
The slot gross gaming revenues were at
$21.15 million, with a 90.5 percent payout. There was a total coin in amount on
the slots at $262.4 million.
At the same time, MGM Springfield showed a
total wager amount of $184.5 million, with gross gaming revenues of $20.39
million – less than half of what Encore produced in the same period.
Noticeably, MGM’s table games were far lower than Encore, coming in at $4.88
million, which was nearly seven times lower than at Encore.
Paul DeBole, a professor at Lasell College
and a gaming expert, said he viewed the results with interest. He said the
table games were very strong, but the slot revenues were weaker than expected.
“The table games number is much larger than
was anticipated,” he said. “A good number for table games is around 25 to 33
percent. They were at 56.45 percent. That gives the indication there is a lot
of table game traffic.”
However, he said the opposite is true for
the slot machines.
“Logging $21 million for the slot machines
was pretty unimpressive for the first month,” he said.
He said they averaged about $216 per machine
per day, with the gold-standard of success in the industry being about $300 per
machine per day.
“If a gaming machine is doing $300 per
machine per day, they are happy,” he said.
The same weakness showed in Springfield too,
with them coming in at $196 per machine per day. Contrary to that, he said
Plainridge Park did well on its slots (it is only allowed slot machines). That
facility did about $323 per machine per day, subtracting out the 50 multi-game
station from the total of 1,250 machines.
“Plainridge Park is doing well and I think
they’ve turned the corner in getting people through the door,” he said.
He said he will be watching to see how the
Encore casino performs in cold weather, as things such as that are known to
drop off in the winter months. He said other facilities showed a small loss in
December, January and February, and then a pickup in activity around March.
“We’ll have to watch it over time to see how
it fluctuates and what the seasonal variations are,” he said. “They don’t have
a cold weather casino where they are subject to winter weather storms. We’ll
see how that plays out and how they’ll handle that.”
Another key thing to watch, he said, is the
activity of the Connecticut casinos. He said they are down now 13 of the last
Senate Assistant Majority Leader Sal
DiDomenico and his team are proud to announce that Christie Getto Young, chief
of staff to Sen. DiDomenico, is the 2019 recipient of the National Conference
of State Legislature (NCSL) Legislative Staff Achievement Award.
This national award is given annually by the
NCSL Leadership Staff Professional Association and was created to recognize an
individual who demonstrates excellence in support of the work of a state
legislature and strengthening of legislative institutions.
Getto Young is the first staff member from the Massachusetts Legislature to
ever receive this top national award, and she will be honored at the 2019
National Conference of State Legislature Summit in Nashville on August 4-5.
“Christie truly deserves this award, and I
am excited that others around the country will see what we already know in our
office and in the Senate – Christie is a leader who others look up and she is a
huge asset for the Legislature. Not only are we fortunate to have her as
our Chief of Staff, but the residents of my district and the Commonwealth are
the beneficiaries of her passion and dedication to serve,” said Sen.
DiDomenico. “We look forward to joining her in Nashville as she receives
this well-deserved recognition for being the best in her field. I am very
proud of Christie, and she is a friend, advisor, trusted colleague and partner
who I rely on and have had the honor of working with since our first days in
the Senate. Christie has an impressive record of accomplishments throughout
her career, and she has built strong relationships inside and outside the State
House. I am thrilled that she will be given this national Legislative
Staff Achievement Award because Christie is a kind and compassionate person who
is a fierce advocate for those who need our help the most. This is the
Christie Getto Young we all know, and I am pleased that others on the national
stage get to see this as well.”
For nearly a decade, Getto Young has been a
steadfast leader in the Massachusetts Senate and a key resource for legislative
staff, non-profit organizations, and advocates working to pursue policies that
support our Commonwealth’s children and families. Christie was nominated by
Sen. DiDomenico and her colleagues in light of her many accomplishments. From
writing legislation to protect human service workers, promoting education
equity, working to repeal devastating policy decisions made decades ago that
hurt vulnerable families, and spearheading a multi-year Senate initiative known
as Kids First to take a holistic approach to the way our Commonwealth supports
children and families Christie has helped contribute to the well-being of
hundreds of residents who will never know her face or name, but they can be
sure that there was someone advocating for them and making lives a little
better for themselves and their families.
“Everyone, from constituents to her Senate
colleagues to the children and families she has advocated for, has a reason to
be grateful that Christie has chosen to dedicate her life to public service,”
said Senate President Karen Spilka. “Christie’s combination of
professionalism and kindness make her a natural leader, and she has served as a
role model for many staff members in the Senate. On behalf of the entire
Massachusetts State Senate, I wish to congratulate Christie Getto Young for
this very well deserved award.”
In her nomination letter,
Christie’s Senate colleagues wrote “while Christie’s list of legislative
accomplishments are impressive her greatest career achievement is the
long-lasting impact and influence that she had on young staffers, especially
female staffers. Christie has not only inspired dozens of young people to
pursue careers in public policy, she has become a mentor to many in the
Christie Getto Young has
worked in the Massachusetts Legislature for a total of 11 years. Her career in
public service began working as a Research Analyst for the Massachusetts
Legislature’s Joint Committee on Human Services from 1993-1995. After pursuing
a career in the nonprofit sector, serving as Senior Director of Public Policy
at United Way of Massachusetts Bay, Christie returned to the Legislature in
2010 working for Massachusetts Sen. Sal DiDomenico, first as his Budget &
Policy Director and eventually becoming his Chief of Staff in 2013.
Getto Young has a Bachelor of
Arts in Psychology from Kenyon College in Ohio, Masters in Social Work from
Boston College, and a Juris Doctor degree from Northeastern University in
Juan Gallego came to the United States from
Colombia in 2004. He could not speak English.
He enrolled in the second grade and was an
English Language Learner (ELL) at a Boston public school for two years.
In 2007, his family moved to Chelsea and he
began attending the St. Rose School. He graduated from Matignon High School in
2015 where he was a football captain and star quarterback and involved in
several school and community service projects.
The son of Maria Barrientos, Gallego
attended Bridgewater State University for a year.
“During my freshman year in college, I had a
realization that I needed to try and succeed academically in order for me to
help my community,” said Gallego.
At that time, he had begun coaching high
school football at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and continued on
as the head freshman coach at Randolph High School.
“The coaching was the motivation for me to
really get my act together and try to do more, not only for myself, but to give
back to these communities that are being disenfranchised to a large extent,”
On to Northeastern and a Call From the College President
Coinciding with his desire, in his words,
“get my act together,” Gallego decided to transfer to Northeastern University,
Boston. He was drawn to the school’s outstanding co-operative education program
and interested in the Northeastern law school.
“When I first came to the United States, I
lived in my aunt’s house which was a two-minute walk to Northeastern,” recalled
Gallego. “My mom said I should strive to go to law school there and ever since
then, I’ve wanted to go to law school at Northeastern.”
Everything has clicked well for Gallego at
Northeastern where he is studying Political Science with a minor in Urban
Studies. One of his favorite instructors at NU was former Gov. Michael S.
Gallego is a Dean’s List student with a 3.7
grade point average. He was recently notified that he has received a Harry S.
Truman Scholarship in recognition of his community service and his aspiration
to continue in public service. He was the recipient of a $30,000 scholarship to
be used toward his graduate degree.
“I was really excited to receive the Truman
Scholarship,” said Gallego. “The opportunity that I will have through this
scholarship is going to open a lot of doors for me personally and help me give
back to the many communities that I have been a part of.”
Gallego received notification of the
prestigious award from Joseph A. Oun, president of Northeastern University.
“I was studying abroad and I was in Athens,
Greece, the foundation of democracy, and I got a call from the president of
Northeastern,” he said with a smile. “What a thrill. It was amazing.”
Offers praise for Sen. Edward Markey
Gallego had served as an intern in the
Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Sen Edward J. Markey. He had the opportunity to
travel to Korea to participate in an academic exchange program.
“It was a great experience to be exposed to
foreign policy and expand my horizon at what else is out there in the world,”
said Gallego. “I owe a large extent to where I am today to Sen. Markey and his
staff. They’ve been great mentors, supporters, and friends.”
Gallego said he admires U.S. Rep. Alexandria
Ocasio-Cortez “for her grassroots efforts and the shock that she has brought to
national politics overall.”
“She’s been able to galvanize support from
all over the country,” said Gallego. “She’s been able to really be the star of
the Democratic Party.”
He also cited State Rep. Andy Vargas of
Haverhill as “a force of nature and a voice for the Latino community in
Gallego hopes to return to Washington
following his academic career.
Washington was an amazing experience in all aspects and if I do aspire to be a
public servant one day, I think that experience is much needed in order to be
able to understand the many different opinions and the gridlock that can happen
in politics and government,” he said.
The surf is up for Chelsea’s Deedee
Hernandez, who might be the first and only Chelsea High valedictorian that
doubles as a surfer, a trumpet player and Ivy League student.
Hernandez has been very active in the school and community over the last four years, but being at the top of her class wasn’t something she thought would happen.
Valedictorian Degree Hernandez with Salutatorian Jocelyn Poste after graduation on June 9
“Honestly, I wasn’t aspiring for the
valedictorian of the class,” she said. “My only goal was just to get into a
college. That was a goal since I entered middle school. My mother always told
us that we had to go to college. That was always a goal we were reaching for.”
And not only did she reach it, but she
grabbed onto a great school in the Ivy League Dartmouth College in New
Hernandez, 18, said she was drawn to the rural landscape – being interested in the outdoors and hiking – but was also impressed with the alumni network.
“I was really drawn to the alumni network
they have,” she said. “A lot of them come back to the college and have
relationships and share their experiences with students. I thought that was
very unique. The college is very small and it felt like a family and people
At Dartmouth, Hernandez hopes to major in
environmental science – something she was drawn to by her swim coach, Traverse
Robinette, at the Jordan Boys & Girls Club.
In addition to swimming twice at the
National Championships in Florida, Hernandez and several other Chelsea kids
joined Robinette’s surf club. When surfing in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the
students learned about the various animals in the ocean.
“My swim coach was passionate about the
environment and pointed out the animals we saw,” she said. “I did research on
it and was drawn to the idea of preserving these animals. I love nature and
being outside, so it’s something I’m very interested in.”
In addition to those pursuits, Hernandez is
well known for playing the trumpet in the band – having been the designated
performer of ‘Taps’ for the City and the Soldiers’ Home for four years.
She said she started playing in fifth grade
when her former band teacher, Mr. Thomas, picked up a trumpet and played
“I heard him play that and I knew I had to
play the trumpet,” she said.
She does plan to pursue the trumpet in
college and hopes to play in their orchestra.
Hernandez has gone to Chelsea schools her
entire life, starting at the Silber ELC, moving on to the Kelly School, then to
the Clark Avenue Middle.
Hernandez credits her mother, Ana Moscoso,
for always pushing her to reach higher.
“My mother was always the type of person to
asked me what I would do next after I had accomplished something,” she said.
“I’ve found that to be useful because you see what else you’re capable of doing
and don’t get satisfied with one thing.”
Hernandez has two
brothers, Mike, 16, at Chelsea High; and Akanni, 10.
The story of the Chelsea High Class of 2019
won’t be complete with just a rundown of what happened in the hallways of the
In fact, it’s what this class did at City Hall, on social media and in rooms with powerful decision makers that will define the 312 seniors who will walk across the stage on Sunday to collect their diplomas and celebrate a journey concluded.
Workers on Monday began cobbling together more than 20,000 hard plastic squares over the new Chelsea Stadium turf field to protect it for the first outdoor graduation in many years. The new situation was a hard-fought win for the Class of 2019, and will likely define them for years to come, school officials said. Graduation takes place at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 9.
That story starts and ends with having graduation under what (hopefully) will be bright blue skies and sunshine – as the class celebrates their year-long fight to get graduation back outdoors and open up the celebration to many more family members.
will be bright blue skies and sunshine – as the class celebrates their year-long fight to get graduation back outdoors and open up the celebration to many more family members.
Principal Alexander Mathews said the class
is very accomplished academically, socially and athletically, but it has taken
an extra step of moving outside the school and advocating in the community.
“It’s a class that more than any I’ve seen
is driven to show leadership in a way that feels organized and professional,”
he said. “I’ve been really, really impressed with what I’ve seen at Chelsea
High this year – even in the face of discord among the adults at times…They
remained calm and serious even when so much was happening around them. It’s a
very community-minded ethic in the group. They are genuinely of a belief that what
they’re doing is best for the community and not necessarily their families
only. They believe they are doing this for the future of the other classes
behind them. That’s pretty impressive in a teenaged mind.”
The Class of 2019 decided early on that they
wanted to be able to graduate outside, and it wasn’t just to get some sun.
In fact, since the graduation moved into the
indoor gym, many family members have been excluded from the ceremony due to
space reasons. With larger classes and larger families, many parents found they
had to go and watch the graduation on a telecast in the cafeteria.
Students in the Class of 2019 didn’t think
it was right and fought back against that.
“In some cases, relatives traveled hundreds
or thousands of miles to be there, but weren’t able to be with the family in
the gym,” said Mathews.
It seemed like an attainable goal, but then
they ran into the red tape of consumer affairs.
That came in the form of the warranty of the
brand new turf field at the Stadium where graduation would take place. That
warranty would be void, City officials learned, if the graduation were held on
the field without and protections in place.
And those protections cost nearly $200,000.
School officials and City officials
seemingly told the class members that it was a good effort, but couldn’t be
Leaders like President Jocelyn Poste and
activist Manuel Teshe would not take ‘no’ for an answer. They began to
fundraise and attend City Council meetings to speak in favor of finding a
solution to their predicament.
After a lot head scratching, City Manager
Tom Ambrosino, Supt. Mary Bourque, the School Committee and the Council found a
solution, but it cost $175,000. Students advocated that the expense was well
worth it so that families could be together on what was a very big day.
And the City agreed.
This week, workers have been cobbling
together 25,000 hard plastic pieces over the new turf field that will protect
it on graduation and preserve the warranty as well.
“I think these students have realized the connection
between their growing academic skills and their ability to influence policy and
important decisions around the city,” he said. “Seeing that connection is
really motivating for students.”
And those students, in what is another one
of the largest classes in several years (last year had a record 344), will take
the academic and advocacy lessons they have learned this year to a number of
great colleges, universities and workplaces.
Students will be attending schools such as
Dartmouth College, Tufts University, Boston University, Suffolk University and
others. There are also several full-ride Posse Foundation Scholars attending
schools such as Bucknell University, Denison College, Union College, and Centre
University in Kentucky.
take place on Sunday, June 9, outdoors at the new Chelsea Memorial Stadium at 1
p.m. – rain or shine.
Route 1 Northbound:
Approaching the Tobin Bridge from Boston, the workzone begins in the righthand
lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. –10 p.m.)
and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5
Route 1 Southbound:
Approaching the Chelsea Curves from the North Shore, the workzone begins in the
lefthand lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m.
–10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10
Ramps: All on- and
off-ramps will remain open at this time.
Local Streets: The
Spruce Street temporary reconfiguration will remain in place for approximately
Most work will occur in
during daytime working hours (6 a.m – 2 p.m.) on weekdays. Some work will take
place during the afternoon (2pm – 7pm) and nighttime working hours (9 p.m. – 5
a.m.) and on Saturdays (6 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
There will be no work on
Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.
Summary of Work Completed
In the two weeks prior to
May 19, crews implemented additional lane closures to establish the median work
zone, installed new drainage in Carter Street parking lot, and prepared,
painted, and repaired portions of the bridge deck and joints.
Description of Work
Route 1 Northbound:
Demolish and excavate grid deck concrete fill, power wash grid deck, repair
bridge deck and joints, clean and weld new deflector plates.
Route 1 Southbound:
Install negative pressure containment system, powerwash and excavate around
support column footings, install micropiles, conduct surveys, upgrade
utilities, and deconstruct the median barrier.
Local Streets: Prepare and
pave new Carter Street parking lot.
The North Washington
Street Bridge Replacement is also underway which requires local traffic
impacts. For information or to sign up for project-specific construction
look-aheads like this one, visit the project website.
Drivers should take care
to pay attention to all signage and police details and move carefully through
the work zone. Police details, changes in lane markings, temporary controls
such as barriers and traffic cones, signage, and other tools will be used
throughout the project to control traffic and create safe work zones.
The contractors are
coordinating with local event organizers and police to provide awareness and
manage traffic impacts during events. For your awareness, during this
look-ahead period, the following events are scheduled:
Playoffs (TD Garden): To be scheduled
Red Sox (Fenway
Park): May 19 at 1:05 p.m., May 27 at 4:05 p.m., May 28 at 7:10 p.m., May 29 at
Boston Calling Music Festival (Harvard Athletic Complex): May 24 –
BHCC Honors Class
of 2019 at 45th Commencement Ceremony
On Thursday, May 23, Bunker Hill
Community College (BHCC) awarded 1,754 degrees and certificates to the
Class of 2019 at the 45th Commencement Exercises.
BHCC President Pam Eddinger opened the
ceremony with the annual “ritual of gratitude,” where
graduates thank family and friends in attendance for their support
throughout their educational journey. Eddinger also reflected on the cultural
wealth of the graduates and how it left a positive impact on her as College
“I am braver today because I have learned
from your struggles and have seen your courage,” said Eddinger. “I am more
hopeful, because you have shown me, in your multiple languages, your ancestral
songs, and your lived experiences that while life can be harsh, it is also
limitless and ever-renewing.”
Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher
Education Carlos E. Santiago delivered the keynote address. In his remarks to
the graduates, he encouraged the graduates to use their education to give back
to their communities. “Your communities benefit from your time and
talents,” he said. “As students at our community colleges, you are uniquely
connected to your cities and towns. I urge you to stay connected – to hold
tight to your civic compass. Let it point you to where you can make a
Santiago also received the President’s
Distinguished Services Award in recognition of his extraordinary service to the
community and BHCC. Santiago has served as Commissioner of Higher
Education since July of 2015. Santiago has made a great impact on important
issues affecting the BHCC’s students; in particular his commitment to equity in
higher education is something that resonates with us at the College.
The BHCC Nurse Education
Department was awarded with the Trustees Distinguished Service
Award, presented by William J. Walczak, Chair of the BHCC Board of
Trustees. The department was recognized for the success of its
collaborative leadership, steadfast resolve and decisive actions toward a
secure and thriving program, and in recognition of the increased success of
their graduates on the NCLEX Examination.
For the past two years, new leadership
and the full and ongoing engagement of the Nursing Education program’s faculty
and staff were all critical during an intensive reaccreditation process. The
program’s faculty and staff have implemented high impact student success,
pedagogical and post-graduate student interventions that have achieved
immediate results: most notably an NCLEX Examination pass rate of 94% for its
fall 2018 graduating class. Dean of Health Sciences Maryanne Atkinson,
Assistant Dean Donna Savino, Director Elizabeth Tobin and Associate Professor
and Chairperson Kristen Wenger accepted the award.
at Thursday’s ceremony were faculty speaker Bryan D. Craven,
Student Government Association President Joan Acosta Garcia, and
President’s Leadership Award recipients Cam Do and Eva
After more than a year of research, reflection and evaluation, Bunker Hill
Community College (BHCC) has revealed a newly designed bulldog mascot to
represent the College’s Athletics program. The new BHCC Athletics Bulldog was
revealed at the College Faculty/Staff Forum on March 12.
The refreshed mascot design features a running bulldog, energetic and with
its eyes focused forward, seeking success in a manner congruent with the
program’s mission and consistent with the uniqueness of BHCC.
The bulldog has long been the mascot of BHCC Athletics. New Director of
Athletics Dr. Loreto Jackson, who joined the College in 2017, felt that the
mascot needed a refresh to better align with the College’s purpose and
values. “The former bulldog had many different renditions,” explained Dr.
Jackson. “The designs were not unique to BHCC, and, more importantly, did not
embody the philosophy of BHCC.”
The College enlisted national brand identity firm Phoenix Design Works to
assist with the mascot development. After research and discussion with
department stakeholders, Jackson wanted to remove the common ideas of
bulldogs—that they are mean-spirited, arrogant, combative or lazy. Instead, the
BHCC Bulldog should portray respect, tenacity, a competitive spirit and
loyalty. Also important was a gender-neutral mascot, unrestrained by the
classic bulldog spiked collar.
Bunker Hill Community
College is a member of the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association
(NJCAA), Division III. For more information on BHCC Athletics, please
When it comes to dentistry it seems that the
apple does not fall far from the tree and Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi, DMD is living
Sure he could have become an
environmentalist, he graduated from Bates College with a degree in
environmental science and economics, but it was the influence of his father
John, also a dentist, and grandfather Leo, a physician in Revere, who steered
him toward dentistry and to being a 2009 graduate of the Tufts Dental School.
think it’s in our family history. I always had it in me with my father being a
dentist,” Benecchi said from his office at 140 School St. He loves dentistry
from the hands-on nitty gritty parts of the business to the patient
interaction. His father John graduated in 1976 from Tufts Dental School and
started his practice a couple years later
Today Jeffrey runs the practice by himself
since his father retired at the end of last year. He has 10 employees. Most who
also had worked for his father.
“He’s still says hi to everyone,” Jeffrey
Jeffrey has always liked working with his
hands and he felt dentistry was a natural fit. He liked being around the
patients and see what his father was working on. Not the corporate model of
dentistry but a hands-on approach.
“I still like that personal touch,” he
“It’s been a good job to help people and be
able to see things done with the artistry of dentistry,” Jeffrey said. “I like
everything there is to do with dentistry.”
The Benecchi dental practice specializes in
general dentistry for everyone from children to the elderly.
“Basically we offer what a lot of people
need to have done.” Jeffrey said.
Keeping up with the latest technology, Dr.
Benecchi uses digital scanners to avoid goopy mouth molds for dental
There are also digital x-rays and cameras
now that they use when working with a
local laboratory for caps and crowns.
He noted that he will also be having a
couple of associates added to the practice to help with an increasing patient
Bunker Hill Community College
(BHCC) appointed Kristen P. McKenna as Dean of Workforce and Economic
Development. In this role, McKenna will oversee corporate learning and
development and community education programs at the College. The
renamed Division of Workforce and Economic Development supports area
businesses and community based agencies with career pathway building,
customized training and individualized support to grow workforce and economic
development for the greater Boston metro area.
McKenna possesses over 20
years of professional implementation, management and policy development
experience in higher education, workforce development, nonprofit and government
funded programs. She has held senior leadership positions focused on program
improvement, enrollment and the development of industry supported training for
workforce development at River Valley Community College in Lebanon, New
Hampshire, and Bristol Community College in Fall River, Massachusetts.
Working with the Rhode
Island Governor’s Workforce Board and the Institute for Labor Studies and
Research, McKenna has also implemented a number of projects designed to
accelerate credential attainment with technology-based solutions. She’ll bring
expertise to the College’s workforce development initiatives and the development
of non-credit to credit career pathways.
The Greater Boston
community has come to rely on BHCC’s community education programs for English
language instruction, test preparation, continuing education and international
learning programs. In the 2018 academic year, over 2500 students enrolled in
customized training, community education and adult basic education at the
College. With a focused commitment on workforce and economic development, BHCC
will expand access and equity with additional course development and innovative
pathways development so all community members have options and flexibility in a
The division is working
with partners like Facebook to offer future opportunities that will support
local entrepreneurs with workshops on social media marketing and more.
McKenna holds a Masters of Education in Adult Learning and Higher
Education Administration from Eastern Nazarene College, a Masters of Education
in Educational Leadership from Bridgewater State University and a Bachelor of
Fine Arts from Rhode Island College. To learn more about BHCC’s Workforce and
Economic Development program and to view the courses that are offered visit
Frankie Bernard was an inspiration to all, a man who never let his physical challenges deter him from his pursuits in
Frankie Bernard was a noted newspaper cartoonist and caricaturist whose artwork was enjoyed by many people.
life. With the support of a loving family and friends who enjoyed being in his presence, Frankie lived each day to its fullest.
Born with Spina Bifida, Frankie graduated from Chelsea High School in 1986 and attended the Massachusetts College of Art. He became an accomplished cartoonist and caricaturist, delighting readers on the pages of the Chelsea Record and its sister publications with his creativity and keen sense of humor.
He brought joy to visitors to Faneuil Hall Marketplace with his caricatures and taught others the craft of art and to appreciate it while serving as an instructor at Bunker Hill College and in school programs in Chelsea. Through social media, he developed friendships with other artists all over the country.
Francis J. ‘Frankie’ Bernard Jr., son of Mary L. (Manning) Bernard and the late Francis J. Bernard Sr., died on Dec. 18 after a brief illness. Frankie was 51.
“The most important thing I would want people to know is how strong he was, what he endured, and he just took it with a grain of salt,” said his sister, Maureen Bernard Jurgelewicz. “The hospitalizations, the procedures, and the tests, things most people couldn’t endure, Frankie met them head on as a fact of life.
“Interestingly enough, they told my mother that Frankie would live to be about 2 years old, so he defied that by a lot,” said Maureen. “He surprised the doctors with surviving and flourishing.”
And he did flourish, demonstrating an early gift of proficiency in art and caricatures. “That came out pretty much when he was a toddler – he was able to draw and he could pick up any song and play it on the keyboards, even though he never had lessons,” said Maureen. “You could see he had that gift at a young age. He was very artistic.”
Maureen recalled how Frankie would engage in recreational activities with the other children on Gardner Street and in the neighborhood, participating regularly in games like kickball and kick the can.
“He would try to keep up with us and he could,” said Maureen.
She describes her mother, Mary Bernard, as “an angel,” who devoted her whole life to Frankie with her care, her uplifting manner, and her kindness.
“Frankie and I had a good relationship, sometimes I was like a second mom to him, though he didn’t always like that too much,” said Maureen. “We did a lot together, the past two years especially.”
Maureen said her brother loved Chelsea. “I tried to get him to move closer to me, but he wouldn’t budge – he loved everything about Chelsea. He loved his Chelsea friends.”
Sean Richards was one of Frankie’s closest friends, according to Maureen.
It was Maureen who wrote the beautiful eulogy that was delivered by Frankie’s nephew, Michael Bernard Jr., at the funeral Mass Dec. 22 at Our Lady of Grace Church.
Following is the eulogy:
Eulogy for Frankie
Love can cure your problems/You’re so lucky I’m around/Let my love open the door.
These are the lyrics to one of Frankie’s favorite songs from one of his favorite bands. They seem so fitting today as we pay tribute to our beloved friend, uncle, brother and son Frankie.
We love your strength and hope Frankie. Your Chelsea-strong fighting spirit. You showed us that strength means never giving up in the face of another hospital stay, another surgery or another social rejection. Your hope was for a better new day, each day, and that never waivered.
Frankie, we love that God blessed you with the gift of art. You loved to draw your caricatures and cartoons. It was your passion and profession. Other than a big tip or paycheck, you liked nothing more than to make people smile with your caricatures.
We loved your gusto for life. It was there as a kid playing kick-the-can on Gardner and Parker. Always keeping up with the neighborhood kids. It was there for concerts and karaoke as an adult. For attending your beloved Celtics and Red Sox games. You were always ready, willing and able to pursue a good time.
Frankie we love that you were a great friend. You loved nothing more than spending time with your friends. From your friends awakening you from hospice care in the ICU to meeting you at the PPC or the Brown Jug, you cherished each and every moment with them.
We love your love for family. As an Uncle, Brother and Son you have taught us so much. You gifted us with the lessons of patience and perseverance. You were a living example of never sweating the small stuff. You and Mom were a living example of dedication and truly unconditional love. This love was truly the best medicine of all.