Encore, Strong July in Table Games

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 13 months

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Getto Young to Receive Top National Award : Chief of Staff to Sen. DiDomenico Is First Person in Mass. To Be Accorded This Honor

Special to The Independent

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 Massachusetts Legislature.”

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 Boston.

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A Prestigious Honor

Juan Gallego Receives Harry S.Truman Scholarship

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,” said Gallego.

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. Dukakis.

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 Massachusetts.”

Gallego hopes to return to Washington following his academic career.

“Being in 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.

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CHS Class of 2019: Deedee Hernandez is 2019 Valedictorian; Salutatorian is Jocelyn Poste

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 Hampshire.

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 were friendly.”

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 ‘Reveille.’

“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.

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Sun-Shining Moment CHS Graduation Heads Outdoors for 2019

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 high school.

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 done.

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.

Graduation will take place on Sunday, June 9, outdoors at the new Chelsea Memorial Stadium at 1 p.m. – rain or shine.

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Construction Look-Ahead: May 19 – June 1, 2019

Traffic Impacts

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 a.m.).

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 p.m.–5 a.m.).

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 2-3 months.

Work Hours

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.

Travel Tips

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:

Stanley Cup 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 7:10 p.m.

Boston Calling Music Festival (Harvard Athletic Complex): May 24 – May 26

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 President.

“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 difference.”

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.

Also honored 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 Montrond.

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Bunker Hill CC Changes Mascot

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 visit bhcc.edu/athletics.

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Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi Continues Family Tradition

Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi Continues Family Tradition

When it comes to dentistry it seems that the apple does not fall far from the tree and Dr. Jeffrey Benecchi, DMD is living proof.

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.

“I 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 said.

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 added.

“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 impressions.

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 load.

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BHCC Names New Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

BHCC Names New Dean of Workforce and Economic Development

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 supported environment.

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 bhcc.edu/ce.

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Appreciation:Remembering Frankie Bernard, Who Had a Gift for Art and a Gusto for Life

Appreciation:Remembering Frankie Bernard, Who Had a Gift for Art and a Gusto for Life

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.

We were so lucky you were around.

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