Maronski Elected Chair Of School Committee

Maronski Elected Chair Of School Committee

The School Committee elected Richard Maronski as its new chair during its first meeting of 2019 at City Hall. Maronski, who has been a member of the committee for three-and-half years, succeeds Jeanette Velez, who held the position for the past three years.

“I’m honored to be selected by my colleagues to lead the School Committee in the coming year,” said Maronski. “I want to thank Jeannette for her leadership and the commitment he has shown to the students in Chelsea.”

The son of Ann Maronski and the late Charles Maronski, Richard is well known in the community. He was the Chelsea High star quarterback who led coach Bob Fee’s Red Devils to an amazing come-from-behind 34-26 victory over Everett in the 1980 Thanksgiving game. Maronski threw touchdown passes to Paul Driscoll to spark Chelsea’s rally from a 20-0 deficit. Some fans call it the greatest game in the long history of the Chelsea-Everett series that ended in 1989.

Several members of Richard’s family graduated from Chelsea High School, including several uncles and aunts, brothers and sisters, in a time period that ranged from the 1930s to 1990s. His popular sister, Patricia Maronski Yee, was a CHS cheerleader and graduated in 1990. Richard graduated in 1982.

“I’m very proud of my family’s long history of attending Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. ‘Everyone received a good, solid all-around education and each has fond memories of their positive experiences in the Chelsea schools. In particular, my father loved Chelsea. He was there the day we beat Everett on Thanksgiving.”

Maronski also served as president of the Chelsea Youth Basketball League and coached two teams in the league. He was also the CHS freshman boys basketball coach.

A former Chelsea city councillor, Maronski has established his priorities for the new year.

“My first priority is to form a committee of Chelsea residents to help select a new school superintendent (Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque has announced that she will be retiring from the position),” said Maronski. “We are working with the Collins Center at UMass in the selection process.”

Maronski would also like to address the issue of Chelsea teachers leaving the school system for positions in other school districts.

“We have a high turnover in teachers in the Chelsea schools,” said Maronski. “I’d like to see more stability in our teaching positions.”

Maronski said the School Committee meets the first Thursday (7 p.m.) of every month. He welcomes parents to attend the meetings and speak during the public portion.

The School Committee elected Julio Hernandez as vice chair of the board.

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School Committee Votes to Bring in Collins Center for Super Search

School Committee Votes to Bring in Collins Center for Super Search

The School Committee voted last Thursday at its meeting to employ the Collins Center from the University of Massachusetts-Boston to assist in the search for a new superintendent of schools.

At the same time, the Committee put an aggressive timeline on the search, looking to have a candidate chosen by July 1.

New Committee Chair Rich Maronski said they felt the Collins Center did a good job with the City Manager search a few years ago. He said they plan to have a retreat meeting with the Center this week to understand the search parameters and to get things started.

Supt. Mary Bourque announced in late December that she planned on retiring in one year’s time, putting a date of December 2019 as her final month. She has pledged to stay on to help with the search and to acclimate any new candidate to the job through next fall.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was sad to see Bourque go, but is encouraged by the Committee’s quick action on the Collins Center.

“Selfishly, I’m sad because Superintendent Bourque has done a tremendous job as leader of the Chelsea School System, and her and I had a very productive partnership,” he said. “However, she is certainly deserving of her well-earned retirement. As for the search, I was pleased to hear that the School Committee has agreed both to hire the UMass Collins Center to help with the search for a successor, and to hire a Superintendent for July 1 so that the person will be able to work together with Mary for the first six months to establish a smooth transition.”

More information on the start of the search and the process is expected by next week, Maronski said.

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An Amazing Job:Supt Mary Bourque Announces Retirement Plans for 2019

An Amazing Job:Supt Mary Bourque Announces Retirement Plans for 2019

School Supt. Mary Bourque announced this week that she will retire from the Chelsea Public Schools within the coming year, an announcement that few expected outside of Bourque’s inner circle.

Bourque met with the Human Resources Subcommittee of the School Committee on Thursday night, Dec. 20, and informed them of her decision to retire in December 2019.

“I am giving the School Committee 12 months’ notice to give them time to unify around a process to look for and support the next superintendent,” she wrote. “As for me, I will continue over the next 12 months to advocate, champion, and innovate for all our students, families, and staff. I will continue to build the systems that will outlive all of us. Together, we will continue to have Chelsea’s presence known and heard at the State House advocating for equal access, opportunities, social justice, and adequate funding. We will as Chelsea educators continue to be known and highly respected.”

The news traveled fast throughout the community, and many praised the job Bourque has done over the last seven years as superintendent.

“Mary has done an amazing job and her position is not easy,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “Every year she has to do more with less resources. Chelsea has been going through a lot of changes  and with her retirement, it’s an opportunity to get another person who has some connection to Chelsea or has a connection to the demographics of the school system. It’s a very hard job.”

Bourque didn’t elaborate on what her post-retirement plans are, but even after having served more than 30 years in the Chelsea Schools, she is not at the typical retirement age.

She said she would continue to serve Chelsea students in the field of education, perhaps hinting at a larger state-wide position.

“Upon retirement I plan to continue to serve Chelsea students and all children in the Commonwealth through the field of education,” she wrote. “I am and have always been a wife, mother, and teacher; I will never stop being all three. I still have much to contribute to the world of education and much to learn. I will never stop giving back and seeking to make the world a more equitable place for our students and families.”

Likewise, she said she has given advance notice so that she can support the School Committee in the superintendent search process. She stated she is fully committed to supporting the School Committee as they begin and carry out a “robust” search for a new superintendent. She also said she would be around to help put together a transition plan.

“My goal for all of us is that this transition will be smooth and seamless; we will not lose ground in all that we have built and achieved,” she wrote. “Our Chelsea Public Schools Five-Year Vision will be attained.”

Bourque was chosen as superintendent in 2011, and has served in that role since. Prior to that, she was the leader of the Clark Avenue School when it became transitioned to the old high school, and she was a teacher for many years before that.

Bourque has deep roots in Chelsea, and still lives in the city – as do many of her relatives.

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Chelsea 500 Committee to Host Career Fair on Dec 14 at City Hall

Chelsea 500 Committee to Host Career Fair on Dec 14 at City Hall

The Chelsea 500 Committee, consisting of local organizations such as the Chelsea Collaborative, TND, the Chelsea Housing Authority, the Chelsea Recreation and Cultural Affairs Division, and Bunker Hill Community College, will hold a Career Fair on Dec. 14 at Chelsea City Hall.

The newly formed committee is working collectively to create a jobs pathway for Chelsea residents with Encore Boston Harbor, the $2.6 billion casino and resort that will open in June, 2019, in Everett.

The committee is working on holding jobs pipeline information sessions, career readiness workshops, case management, interview skills workshops, ESL, computer classes and much more. All members of the community interested in working at Encore Boston Harbor are encouraged to participate in the various workshops and classes.

The “500” portion of the Chelsea 500 Committee’s name represents the committee’s hopes to create a workforce pipeline so that 500 or more residents can gain the skills and support necessary to apply for positions at Encore Boston Harbor.

While Chelsea 500 focuses on the opening of the casino, its longer-term ambition is to build a local workforce development capacity, along with advocacy and job readiness services, to improve Chelsea residents’ chances of securing employment in the near term. Building relationships with businesses in other hospitality-related industries is another goal for the committee.

Chelsea 500 will collaborate with the Casino Action Network, One Everett, Somerville, Boston, and the MassHire Metro North Workforce Board.

(Chelsea 500, MassHire and Encore Boston Harbor will host an information session on Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. at the Mary C. Burke Complex. For more information, please call Sylvia Ramirez at 617-889-6080).

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Police Briefs 10-11-2018

CHIEF KYES TO BE HONORED

The Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (NEMLEC) Foundation will honor Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes for his continuous work on behalf of police departments throughout the Commonwealth.

Chief Kyes has taken the lead on immigration enforcement reform, police accreditation and police training. It was through his leadership and exhaustive work that the Commonwealth received a dedicated funding source for police training. He was instrumental in working with the Baker Administration to establish legislation creating a surcharge from car rental fees to subsidize police training.

Chief Kyes also serves on the Mass Chiefs of Police Executive Committee, the Municipal Police Training Committee, the Massachusetts Police Accreditation Commission and is the Chairman of the Massachusetts Chiefs Legislative Committee.

“Chief Kyes is a tireless advocate for police throughout Massachusetts,” NEMLEC Foundation Chairman Richard Raymond said. “We’re excited to honor him for his constant work to enhance public safety, and celebrate his accomplishments on behalf of all of the communities in the Commonwealth.”

BREAKING AND BARRICADING

On Oct. 7, at 12:15 p.m., officers were dispatched for a report of an unwanted male party that had forced himself into the residence at 13 Beacon Place and then barricaded himself into a bedroom. Officers were eventually able to arrest the subject for breaking and entering as well as malicious destruction of property.

Andres Aguilar, 36, of 13 Beacon Pl., was charged with breaking and entering in the day for a felony with a person in fear, wanton destruction of property under $1,200, and threatening to commit a crime.

EVICTED FROM UNDER THE BRIDGE

On Oct. 2, at 10:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to Carter Street under the Route 1 on-ramp, for individuals sleeping. The officers identified two individuals who were on state property inside a fenced-in area designated and posted “No Trespassing.”

Both were taken into custody.

Jose Tejada, 61, homeless, and Jose Burgos-Murillo, 61, homeless, were charged with trespassing on state property.

UNWELCOME COUSIN

On Oct. 3, at 11:12 a.m., officers were dispatched to 74 Bellingham St. for a report of a female party waving a knife at a male party. The victim told officers that he was putting his trash barrels away when he observed his female cousin banging on his door. He attempted to ask her to leave his property when he alleges she threatened him with a knife. She was placed under arrest.

Valerie Fields, 48, of 55 Cottage St., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and one warrant.

ROAD RAGER CAUGHT

On Oct. 5, at 11 a.m., Officers responded to the area of Everett Avenue and Spruce Street for a report of a road rage incident in which a knife was displayed. The reporting party followed the suspects’ vehicle and informed dispatch of the updated location while awaiting officers’ arrival. Officers stopped the suspect vehicle and placed an occupant under arrest.

Carmen Claudio, 48, of 295 Spruce St., was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon.Police Log

Thursday,  Sept. 20

Shreya Baskota, 31, 74 Parker St., Acton, was arrested for failure to stop for school bus, operating motor vehicle with restricted license.

Santiago Rodriguez Mendez, 18, 85 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Friday, Sept. 21

Egdon Padilla, 43, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Tia Tavares, 26, 466 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Joseph Swan, 31, 101 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct, threat to commit crime and vandalize property.

Saturday, Sept. 22

Alexander Palencia, 23, 277 Carter St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct, assault with a dangerous weapon, malicious destruction of property, resisting arrest, assault and battery on a police officer (2 counts), malicious destruction of property (2 counts).

Komlanvi Agogo, 25, 10 Louis St., Chelsea, was arrested for larceny from building (2 counts), possessing ammunition without FID card (2 counts) and threat to commit crime (2 counts).

Sunday, Sept. 23

Alberto Garcia, 51, 303 Carter St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and shoplifting.

Monday, Oct. 1

Edward Hardy, 36, 39 Boylston St., Boston, was arrested on a warrant.

Hilda Villanueva-Sanbabria, 27, 63 Eustis St., Revere, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed and Immigration detainer.

Hilton Nunez Chavez, 25, 103 Leyden St., East Boston, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed.

Tuesday, Oct. 2

Joe Tejada, 61, Homeless, Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.

Wednesday, Oct. 3

Van Thornhill, 27, 170 Newbury St., Peabody, was arrested on a warrant.

Valerie Fields, 48, 55 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, threat to commit crime.

Leonides Bones, 61, 4 Fernboro St., Dorchester, was arrested on a warrant and possessing Class E drug.

Elbin Aguilar, 35, 127 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested for ordinance violation.

Thursday, Oct. 4

Cesar Valentin, 32, 23 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Lekia Lewis, 40, 90 Malden St., Everett, was arrested on a warrant.

Friday, Oct. 5

Carmen Claudio, 48, 295 Spruce St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Luis Chamizo, 48, 140 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested for witness intimidation and warrants.

Justin Delloiacono, 30, 27 Page St., Revere, was arrested for shoplifting.

Sunday, Oct. 7

Andres Aguilar, 36, 13 Beacon Pl., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime, wanton destruction of property and threat to commit crime.

Komlanvi Agogo, 25, 10 Louis St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Alberto Garcia, 51, 303 Carter St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.

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Chelsea High Class of 2018 will Graduate this Sunday

Chelsea High Class of 2018 will Graduate this Sunday

The Chelsea High School Class of 2018 will hold its Commencement Ceremonies Sunday at 1 p.m. at the high school.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque will address the large gathering and offer her official congratulations to the graduates.

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino and School Committee Chairperson Jeanette Velez will also be part of the ceremony.

Former CHS director of athletics Frank DePatto said he is looking forward to attending the ceremony for the first time in his capacity as a member of the School Committee.

“I know this class very well and they are an accomplished group academically and athletically,” said DePatto. “I look forward to being present as our graduates attain this important milestone in their lives. Graduation represents the ending of one chapter and the beginning of another. I wish the graduates continued success as they move on to college, the military, and the work force.”

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School Shuffle:Several Key Members of the CPS Make Moves

School Shuffle:Several Key Members of the CPS Make Moves

The Chelsea Public Schools are making some big moves at the end of this school year, with the biggest news being Chelsea High Principal Priti Johari moving to the Central Office from CHS to an assistant superintendent position.

Her departure from CHS follows the departure of Assistant Principal Ron Schmidt – who now will lead the new alternative high school within CHS.

“I am announcing that effective July 1, 2018, Chelsea High School Principal, Priti Johari, will be promoted to the position of Assistant Superintendent for Strategic Programs and Accountability,” wrote Supt. Mary Bourque. “To replace Ms. Johari, we will be posting for principal candidates as soon as possible. We are also convening a ‘Selection Committee’ to do the first round of interviews. The job of the Selection Committee will be to narrow the field of possible candidates to the top 2-3 highest qualified for me to interview. I will choose from the 2-3 finalists.”

Bourque told the Record that right now the Committee is looking at five or six semi-finalists. She said they would forward two names to her soon, and she expected that an announcement could come as soon as Friday.

She said with two key leaders at CHS leaving, the thought of a slip-back is on some people’s minds, but she said they are prepared not to let that happen.

“One of the good things we’ve put into the CPS is we build the system so that we collaborate very well,” she said. “One of the things about Chelsea is because of our turnover, we have gotten very good at picking things up quick and making sure they don’t go back…As superintendent, that’s why you always build a deep bench.”

Another piece of big news is that Principal Maggie Sanchez Gleason is leaving the Kelly School as her husband has received a promotion that requires them to move to London.

That opened up the position for Assistant Principal Lisa Lineweaver, who is a former School Committee member and a Chelsea resident. Lineweaver has two children in the schools and came to Chelsea last year after teaching in Boston for many years.

In the realm of retirements, the biggest news is that long time Director of Administration and Finance Gerry McCue will be retiring.

Bourque said she is still looking for a replacement for him, and will be engaging the Collins Center from UMass Boston to help locate and choose replacements. The Collins Center was engaged by the City Council a few years ago to help choose a city manager.

Other notable retirements include:

The six Central Office and district wide administrators retiring are:

  • Tina Sullivan, Director of Human Resources
  • Linda Breau, Deputy Superintendent (who will be moving to Human Resources for one year before retiring).
  • Linda Alioto Robinson, Director of REACH
  • Miguel Andreottola, Director of Technology
  • AnnMarie LaPuma, Director of Assessment and Planning

For Andreottola, Bourque announced this week that long-time resident Rich Pilcher has been promoted to director of technology. Pilcher is also a Chelsea High graduate.

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Community Preservation Funds Waiting for Distribution

Community Preservation Funds Waiting for Distribution

By Seth Daniel

The first-round of Community Preservation Act (CPA) money in Chelsea has been collected from the taxpayers and amounts to around $600,000 locally.

A state match under the CPA is not yet known, but it will likely be known in November.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they are estimating that the state money will likely come in at a 15 percent match of what was collected – which would be $90,000.

That would make the total CPA money available in Fiscal Year 2017 to be estimated at $690,000.

The CPA Committee has begun meeting and did meet this week, but they are still getting organized.

Soon, however, it is expected that they will begin considering requests for CPA dollars this year.

“They did meet this week, but we are still in the planning stages of getting operational,” said Ambrosino. “At some point, they will submit proposal and they will have to dole out that money.”

By statue, 10 percent of the funds each have to go to historic preservation, affordable housing and open space. The remainder can be given out at the Committee’s discretion for community needs.

The City Council has the final vote on any awards.

The electorate voted overwhelmingly last November to approve the CPA, and the City has been diligently putting it in place with an aggressive schedule over the last 10 months.

Many municipalities that approved the CPA last year are still in the early planning stages and haven’t even begun to make collections on the tax bills.

The CPA is funded by an extra collection on municipal property tax bills.

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Chelsea Collaborative Celebrates Unveiling of Workers Rights Mural

On May 31st, members of the Chelsea Collaborative, Chelsea city councilors, workers rights activists and Chelsea Community members gathered for the unveiling of the Chelsea Collaborative’s new workers rights mural. The mural creator, artist Nancy Guevara met with members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee an Environmental Chelsea Organizers a several times over the past few months to create the design for the mural.

The mural is part of a statewide education campaign to bring more awareness to the worker’s rights violations that immigrant workers face throughout Massachusetts. Organizations like the Collaborative, have long been fighting issues of wage theft, especially in industries with a high level of subcontracting, where cleaning, construction and

Artist Nancy Guevara speaks during the unveiling of the Worker’s Rights mural at the Collaborative on May 31.

Artist Nancy Guevara speaks during the unveiling
of the Worker’s Rights mural at the Collaborative on May 31.

painting workers often see their wages and overtime stolen by predatory subcontractors.

Currently, a coalition made up of local unions, workers centers like the Collaborative, and the Boston-based organization Community Labor United is pushing a bill that would further protect sub-contracted immigrant workers. Representative Dan Ryan and Senator Sal DiDomenico, who is the co-sponsor of the bill, both attended the mural unveiling and spoke about the importance of continuing to fight for the rights of immigrant workers. At noon on Thursday June 23rd, workers, union members and other supporters of the bill will gather for a Wage Theft Speakout on the steps of the State House to call on their Senators and Representatives to pass the bill. For more information and the action and the problem of wage theft, check out www.StopMassWageTheft.org.

The mural also seeks to highlight the strength workers find through culture, community unity and organizing and features figures modeled after active members of the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee and Somali Bantu Girls Group. As artist Nancy Guevara wrote in the inscription accompanying the mural, “This mural celebrates the different cultures found in this city and our shared commitment to hard work and a passion for justice. Together, we weave our future, our battle giving us the strength to fight and move on. We need fairly paid and dignified work in order to realize and inherit our dreams. We came to this country to live the American dream, but we have realized it was not for us, but with the strands of our battle, our collective voices amplified and the power of our love and effort, we continue to demand the right to dream.”

Anyone interested in taking a look at the worker’s rights mural, should feel free to visit the Collaborative anytime between 10 and 5pm. The mural is meant to be an inspiration for all in our community to keep on fighting for a more just and equitable city where all workers and community members are treated with respect and dignity.

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Residents,City Work Together to Make Cleaning Up A Year-Round Affair

By Seth Daniel

Over the last few years, the Chelsea Shines event on Earth Day has brought out hundreds of people to help spruce up the City at the start of spring, but participants in the effort, such as Sharon Fosbury and Mike Sandoval, said there had been a growing sense of dissatisfaction with even

Members of the Community Enhancement Team (CET), and offshoot of Chelsea Shines, have decided to volunteer their time year round to make a lasting and consistent difference in targeted areas of the City. Here, they are seen focusing on the Willows on Marlborough Street - an overlook with a guardrail that has for decades been littered with trash and illegal dumping. Members pictured here include Councilor Enio Lopez, Sharon Fosbury, Mike Sandoval, Ellen Godfrey and others.

Members of the Community Enhancement Team (CET), and offshoot of Chelsea Shines, have decided to volunteer their time year round to make a lasting and consistent difference in targeted areas of the City. Here, they are seen focusing on the Willows on Marlborough Street – an overlook with a guardrail that has for decades been littered with trash and illegal dumping. Members pictured here include Councilor Enio Lopez, Sharon Fosbury, Mike Sandoval, Ellen Godfrey and others.

t.

While surveys did show it helped build morale and positive views of the neighborhoods, all the work was often for not in just a few hours.

“We did surveys and found that after people participated in Chelsea Shines, they did feel like they had more power to make a difference in their community and they were more receptive to recommending their neighborhood as a place for people to move to,” said Fosbury. “However, another thing we started to notice is that after a week, and sometimes even within the same day, it didn’t seem like we’d even been there to clean. The place had been trashed again and looked the same as when we started. We changed the perceptions, yes, but not the behaviors. We want to do this kind of effort and do it in a way where the work will be sustained all year.”

Sandoval, who works for the City but is volunteering his time to the new effort as a resident, combined efforts with Fosbury – who works for The Neighborhood Developers and is a resident of Chelsea – to create the new Community Enhancement Team (CET). It acts like a division of the Chelsea Shines program, but stays in overdrive long after the annual, larger Earth Day efforts.

Sadoval said it’s something that has been about residents organizing themselves, wanting nothing but the City’s blessing to make things better.

“This is not just about saying things; it’s about being a doer,” he said, sweat coming from his brow as he dumped donated coffee grounds onto newly-planted sunflowers last week. “It’s about getting something done that lasts. We don’t want the DPW to do the clean up. We want to engage in it by ourselves. It’s our community and we want to make it better ourselves. We just need the help and support of the City in small ways.”

The CET has focused on shortening the effort and bringing the community into the fold in that smaller patch of Earth.

First, they have concentrated on the Willows – a guardrail area on Marlborough Street that overlooks the Chelsea Creek and has been known as a dumping ground for decades. Beginning on April 16, they reported to the short stretch and began to do things little by little.

On that first day, curious neighbors in the area who have kept their properties immaculate despite the filth on the streets outside their fences. Families like the England family and others in the area slowly began wondering what they could do to help.

“On the first day we went there, it was just filthy,” said Fosbury. “We found seat cushions, used hypodermic needles, asphalt chunks, cell phones and we even had to call the police because we found a machete that looked pretty serious,” she said.

The group came back on Earth Day, April 23, and neighbors started joining the effort.

They’ve had cleaning sessions, weeding sessions and recently they started planting sunflowers along the ugly chain link fence that breaks up a remarkable northward view. They have also fortified the soil continuously using spent coffee ground donated by Common Ground coffee shop on the Everett Parkway.

“We’re just an informal group that wants to make the City look better,” said Fosbury. “On April 16th, this was a complete dumping ground. Now, it’s sunflowers. One day cleanups are only so successful. But when you go back and back and back, it’s sustainable. Maybe not this year, but maybe next year we might have that entire fence covered with sunflowers. Then we’ve changed the way the place looks.”

Added Sandoval, “And we don’t do it with an effort of hundreds of people. It’s been a few people here and there helping out consistently. People are coming out one day to spread coffee grounds, and then other people will come out another time to do weeding. The reward we get is simply making the community we live in look better. We get to see these flowers instead of trash. Next year we’re going to have sunflowers and lilies coming up. We know it’s our community and we want the rest of the community to buy into it and we can do it ourselves.”

In between work at the Willows, the CET has also spent time doing routine clean ups in Bellingham Square, Broadway and Kayem Park – a much larger effort that they said they will continue also with regularity.

In addition to the smaller, consistent effort by the CET, City Manager Tom Ambrosino has planted the seed for a Chelsea Beautification Committee – a similar group to what he and the community in Revere formed back in 2001 when he first became mayor of that City.

The Committee is comprised at the moment by CET, TND, Chelsea Greenspace, the ECO Youth Team, and other interested parties.

Each month they meet with Ambrosino to go over issues like problem properties, potholes, unsightly City properties, areas to enhance and new initiatives they want to start. At the same time, they keep a list of issues that have been discussed and not resolved. By maintaining that list and providing updates on the status of each item at the meetings, there has evolved an accountability for getting the big and small things done.

At the moment, the Beautification Committee has decided to focus on the initiatives of eliminating cigarette butts from Bellingham Square and dog waste from the entire City.

“One small thing is the cigarette butts, which don’t compost and aren’t biodegradable,” said Fosbury. “We want to keep them off the streets, but at the same time there are cigarette receptacles in Bellingham Square for people to put the butts into. We certainly don’t want them in the trash because they could cause a fire. That’s the kinds of small changes that could lead to a bigger change in the way things look.”

The biggest thing is that the community has brought about the efforts, both Sandoval and Fosbury said.

“This is the community speaking and it’s not coming from the top down,” said Sandoval. “When we had members of the community working to clean up the Willows, and then we got the Mass DOT (Department of Transportation) to pitch in and clean up the other side of the fence, it was just an incredible feeling of community and working together to do something that will last.”

Added Fosbury, “It’s not 100 people, but rather 10 or 12 people making a big difference. By making these consistent efforts, we believe people will see this isn’t a dumping ground and someone is caring for these places. We are setting a model and being consistent with it. That’s how you change behaviors and changing behaviors is the hardest thing to do.”

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