Legislature Approves Chapter 90 Funds

The Massachusetts Legislature passed a bill authorizing $200 million for Chapter 90 funding to help municipalities complete road, bridge and infrastructure improvement projects. The bill also facilitates the financing of $1.5 billion for highway projects and $200 million for rail projects at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

“Not only will these funds provide critical resources to cities and towns across the Commonwealth and fortify larger regional transportation projects, they will create jobs and spur economic growth,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “These investments support our vibrant economy by improving our transportation infrastructure.”

“Each year, the Legislature invests in Chapter 90 funding to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth with critical improvements to roads, and I am once again proud to support this legislation which will help cities like Revere,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent (D-Revere). “I thank Speaker DeLeo, Chairman Strauss, Boncore and the entire Transportation Committee for their work in crafting this bill that provides needed dollars to help municipalities with roadway infrastructure.”

“The Commonwealth’s roads, bridges and arteries are our economy’s life blood,’ said Transportation Committee Chair Senator Joseph Boncore (D-Winthrop). These appropriations approved today will go a long way toward providing our municipalities with the financial resources they need to ensure our infrastructure is building toward state of good repair.”

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Alumnus Elliot Katzman moderates Salem State University’s Agganis Forum

Former Chelsea High scholar-athlete Elliot Katzman served as moderator for Salem State University’s Agganis Forum Monday night at the university’s Recital Hall.

Katzman appeared at the forum with entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Cummings. Katzman interviewed Cummings about his successful career as the founder of Cummings Properties, Inc., that is responsible for buying, building, and managing over 10 million square feet of commercial real estate in eastern Massachusetts.

Cummings and his wife, Joy, are the founders of New Horizons not-for-profit assisted and independent living communities and the Cummings Foundation that has distributed more than $200 million in charities since 1986.

Asked about his splendid performance as moderator that drew applause from the audience, Katzman said humbly, “It was an honor to moderate the discussion with Bill Cummings. He is not only an incredibly successful entrepreneur, but an amazing individual who is making a big impact in the world.”

Katzman himself is also an incredible success story. He is a Salem State alumnus, a Salem State trustee, and general partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures, a private venture capital firm based in Woburn that invests in early and growth stage technology companies. Prior to joining Commonwealth in 2007, Katzman was a general partner at Kodiak Venture Partners from 2002 to 2006.

Elliot and his wife, Donna (Frangiamone) Katzman, were classmates at Chelsea High. They reside in Marblehead.

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Application Deadline Approaching for Suffolk County

Sheriff’s Department’s paid summer internship program

Launched in 2014, the Summer Enrichment Program provides young people with the opportunity to begin an internship with one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the country, and one of the largest in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, while working alongside established career professionals in the world of law enforcement. Participants will gain insight into the world of law enforcement and criminal justice agencies through job shadowing, weekly presentations by members of law enforcement, roundtable discussions, law enforcement-related field trips, and educational tours.

The Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department Summer Enrichment Program is a seven-week program that begins on Monday, July 8th and ends on Friday, August 23rd. The program will invite twenty participants, selected from a group of local high school students, to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department to learn more about careers in law enforcement. Participants will work 21 hours per-week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 8am – 4pm, and will be compensated at a rate of $12.00 per-hour. During each week of the internship, members will participate in a “meet and greet” with members of the law enforcement community on Wednesdays, and a tour or field trip on Fridays.

At the conclusion of the program, all participants will have completed and received their CPR Certification, in addition to a Certificate of Completion from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department. By the end of their participation, members of the program will have not only gained insight into the world of law enforcement and met a variety of notable law enforcement officials, but they also will have gained transferable job skills they can utilize later on in their careers.

For employment, applicants must participate in a competitive interview process, complete the written application, submit a CORI form, pass a drug test, complete a physical examination from their doctor, possess a valid picture ID (school ID, passport or driver’s license) and have a savings or checking account. Ideal applicants will be mature, professional and have an interest in some aspect of law enforcement. Applicants will be notified of the Department’s decision by telephone. Once admitted, applicants will receive Department-issued polo shirts and be required to wear khakis for the duration of the program.

The deadline for the application is Tuesday, April 30th. Interviews will be held from Monday, May 6th through Friday, May 24th.

Applications can be filled out online at www.scsdma.org or, they can be faxed to (617) 704-6743 or scanned and emailed to nlovinsky@scsdma.org.

For more information, please contact Nadia Lovinsky at (617) 704-6656 or nlovinsky@scsdma.org.

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City Manager Ambrosino Highlights Achievements -Looks to the Future in His State of the City Address to City Council

City Manager Ambrosino Highlights Achievements -Looks to the Future in His State of the City Address to City Council

Fresh off of a new contract, City Manager Tom Ambrosino gave an enthusiastic opening to Monday’s Council meeting during his State of the City Address, where he talked about Chelsea’s accomplishments in 2018 as well as its goals for 2019.

“I feel confident in saying that the state of our City of Chelsea is very good indeed,” he started.

Among the achievements of the past year, Ambrosino noted that the City ended 2018 with an excess of $28 million in its coffers.

“There’s not another city our size in the entire Commonwealth with that level of reserve,” he said. “That is a testament to the shrewd financial planning of City Council.”

In 2018, Chelsea was also one of only 35 cities in the country to be awarded a Bloomberg Challenge grant for its vision to reduce crime with preventative care.

“Because of that award, our model of predicting harm and then engaging in cross-sector collaboration to address the harm got national attention,” said Ambrosino. “It’s gaining interest and it has people seeking to replicate that, not just in Massachusetts, but outside as well.”

Ambrosino cited the City’s increased development in 2018, such as the construction of two new hotels and the multi-million dollar expansion of a pharmaceutical company. He also mentioned the $10 million grant by the state to reconstruct Broadway from City Hall to the Revere Line, as well as a $3 million federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to renovate Chelsea’s waterfront, one of the largest grants given by the EDA to any municipality in the country in 2018, and one of the only grants issued in Massachusetts.

“We kept our promises to our residents in 2018 by doing good services,” Ambrosino reflected. “I think we can achieve the same level of success in 2019 if we have the same level of collaboration from City Council.”

In terms of goals for 2019, Ambrosino highlighted the effort to renovate the downtown Chelsea area, building on the foundational work done in 2018.

“We added police, social services, more lighting, decorative banners, public art,” he said. “We’ve created an atmosphere and foundation for success, so what we need to do now is finalize the work that remains.”

Ambrosino outlined four areas of improvement for downtown Chelsea: finalizing the design for the infrastructure improvements for one-way schemes, adopting the necessary zoning permissions to improve the facade of the corridor, offering a rich array of cultural and artistic activities, and submitting a request for proposal (RFP) for the redevelopment of the former Salvation Army site.

The City Manager threw his support behind the Forbes Proposal, which is up before the City Board of Appeals next month for the redevelopment of the Chelsea waterfront, claiming that it will include affordable condominiums for Chelsea residents looking to become homeowners.

Ambrosino also mentioned the planned infrastructure and capital improvements for 2019, including work to the Chelsea Greenway, the Chelsea Garden Cemetery and Veterans’ Field. This would all be in the context of a master plan, the first of its kind in Chelsea since the 1970s.

The City Manager emphasized the importance of investing in affordable housing as well as in education, specifically for grants to allow high-achieving, low-income high school students in Chelsea to attend Bunker Hill Community College free of charge.

“This idea of public funding for education beyond just high school is gaining momentum in this nation,” he said. “We can feel a sense a pride that Chelsea is in the forefront of that movement.”

The City Manager’s State of the City address can be viewed on the Chelsea Community Cable’s YouTube channel here: youtu.be/lRVWajXR44w.

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Beacon Hill Lawmakers Attend Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Legislative Breakfast

Beacon Hill Lawmakers Attend Chelsea Soldiers’ Home Legislative Breakfast

Last Friday members of the state legislature, including Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Dan Ryan, attended the annual Legislative Breakfast at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

While the breakfast’s format usually gives the opportunity for Soldiers’ Home staff and residents to lobby for more legislation that helps and protects veterans, last week’s breakfast centered around the new long-term care facility being constructed at the Soldiers’ Home.

“I was proud to once again attend the Chelsea Soldiers Home Legislative Breakfast and see first hand how this facility takes care of those who have served our country,” said Speaker DeLeo. “It was also a chance to hear about the progress on plans for the new building, which reflects our ongoing commitment to our veterans.”

State lawmakers, including Speaker Robert DeLeo and Rep. Dan Ryan, attended last week’s legislative breakfast at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home.

In October Gov. Charlie Baker broke ground on the new long-term care facility. The current facility will continue to be fully operational, caring for 154 veterans, during the construction process with an anticipated project completion date in 2022.

“Friday I joined my colleagues to hear from Superintendent Cheryl Poppe of the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea and Secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, Francisco Urena, about the incredible new treatment center that will soon be built on their campus,” said Rep. Ryan. “This investment will ensure that our veterans continue to receive the best possible care in a new, state of the art facility.

In May 2017, Baker announced plans for a new long-term care Community Living Center (CLC) and signed legislation authorizing funding needed to advance the project in Chelsea.

The Baker Administration also has received funding authorization from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for the $199 million project. The federal funding was awarded through the VA’s State Home Construction Grant Program which provides reimbursement of up to 65 percent of construction costs for approved projects. The Administration, with strong support from the Legislature, plans to spend approximately $70 million net of federal reimbursement on the project.

“Great to be with many legislative colleagues, including Speaker DeLeo, as well as Secretary Urena, at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home annual legislative breakfast this morning,” said Rep. RoseLee Vincent. “Thanks to Superintendent Cheryl Poppe and Paul Moran for your hard work and dedication in making sure our veterans are well cared for at the Soldiers’ Home.”

Rep. David DeCoste (R-Norwell), a U.S. Army veteran, also attended the breakfast and said, “I had a great meeting at the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home as we discussed an updated overview of the services that the Commonwealth is able to provide our veterans, particularly their new Community Living Center project. I will continue to support and advocate for the men and women who have fought for our country.”

The Soldiers’ Home first opened its doors to Massachusetts veterans in 1882. The first residents were Civil War veterans who were wounded or unable to care for themselves, many of whom had previously resided in the Commonwealth’s “alms houses”.

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Simon Captures Division 2 State Long Jump Title

Simon Captures Division 2 State Long Jump Title

There is no stopping Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon.

Simon continued her spectacular junior season by winning the Division 2 state long jump title Saturday at the Reggie Lewis Track Center in Roxbury.

Designated as the No. 1 seed in the competition based on her performance this season, Simon jumped 17 feet, 9 inches to claim the first-place medal.

Stephanie Simon.

Simon, who was undefeated this season in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC), became the first female athlete in school history to win a divisional state indoor track title.

Chelsea High girls track coach Cesar Hernandez said Simon had an outstanding day, putting the 17-9 jump on the scoreboard on one of her first jumps.

“I was very excited to see her win the Division 2 state championship,” said Hernandez, a 2010 CHS graduate who competed in the Red Devils’ boys track program.

Simon reigned over the CAC indoor track circuit this winter as a champion in the long jump, 55-meter dash, and 55-meter hurdles.

The talented 5-foot-5-inch athlete will compete in the All-State Championships this Saturday. Simon is the No. 3 seed in the event.“Stephanie is working hard and I think she has put herself is in great position to contend for the title,” said Hernandez

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Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Smiles All Round – Dr. Fatima Maarouf Celebrates Second Year in Winthrop

Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.

Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist, Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.

“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.

One of the first orders of business was selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”

“I think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.

Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the Cottage Park Yacht Club.

Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop their home.

There have been some noticeable changes made in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other state-of-the-art equipment.

Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental care and hospital-based dental care.

“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the area,” said Dr. Maarouf.

She became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of having her own practice.

“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility, so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”

Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.

“We do a variety of fillings, crowns, fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework, implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals and implant placement.”

Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.

She has begun a series of educational visits to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care. “Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”

Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7 p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).

And she is also expanding her knowledge, keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars throughout the country.”

Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop and excited about her future here.

“There are challenges that you don’t anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf concluded.

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Text 9-1-1 Service Now Available in Massachusetts

Text 9-1-1 Service Now Available in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts State 9-1-1 Department is pleased to announce that Text to 911is now available throughout the Commonwealth. All Massachusetts 9-1-1 call centers now have ability to receive a text message through their 9-1-1 system. The Baker-Polito Administration has supported making these system enhancements since 2015.

Text to 9-1-1 allows those in need of emergency services to use their cellular device to contact 9-1-1 when they are unable to place a voice call.
“This is a significant improvement to our 9-1-1 system that will save lives,” said Public Safety and Security Secretary Tom Turco. “By giving those requiring emergency services this option we are greatly expanding the ability of first responders to provide critical assistance to those in need.”
To contact emergency services by text message, simply enter 9-1-1 in the “To” field of your mobile device and then type your message into the message field. It is the same process that is used for sending a regular text message from your mobile device. It is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can. “Having the ability to contact a 9-1-1 call center by text could help those being held against their will or victims of domestic violence unable to make a voice call,” said Frank Pozniak, Executive Director of the State 9-1-1 Department. “Text to 9-1-1 also provides direct access to 9-1-1 emergency services for the deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired, which is a service that these communities did not have access to until now.”
It is important to note that the 9-1-1 call center may not always have your exact location when they receive your text. For this reason, when sending a Text to 9-1-1 it is important to make every effort to begin the text message indicating the town you are in and provide the best location information that you can.
The State 9-1-1 Department encourages citizens to Text to 9-1-1 only when a voice call is not possible.
Remember: “Call if you can, text if you can’t.”

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Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Gov. Baker Re-files Bill to Protect: Communities From Dangerous Individuals

Chelsea Chief Brian Kyes introduced Gov. Charlie Baker to a room of police chiefs from around the state during Tuesday’s meeting of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association. The meeting took place in Everett, and Gov. Baker made a major public safety policy announcement at the gathering in regard to criminal background checks. See Page 5 for more photos.

Standing alongside Chief Brian Kyes, Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday re-filed legislation to provide law enforcement and the courts with additional tools to ensure dangerous criminals are held in custody pending trial.

First filed on September 6, 2018, the proposal would expand the list of offenses that can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing and close certain loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. Governor Baker made the announcement in Everett at the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs of Police Association Meeting, an Association Chief Kyes is the leader of.

“Public safety is a fundamental responsibility of government and in order to fulfill that duty, we must allow local police and district attorneys to effectively deal with people who repeatedly break the law,” said Governor Baker. “Last session we enacted several provisions to ensure that a small lapse in judgment doesn’t ruin a life, and we must now give law enforcement, prosecutors and the courts the tools they need to keep our communities safe. We look forward to working with the Legislature to pass this important bill.”

The proposal will strengthen the ability of judges to enforce the conditions of pre-trial release by empowering police to detain people who they observe violating court-ordered release conditions; current law does not allow this, and instead requires a court to first issue a warrant.

“Loopholes in the current system limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “This bill will empower law enforcement with the flexibility and tools they need to protect their communities from dangerous defendants.”

Under this proposal, judges will be empowered to revoke a person’s release when the offender has violated a court-ordered condition, such as an order to stay away from a victim, or from a public playground. Current law requires an additional finding of dangerousness before release may be revoked.

“A defendant’s past criminal history should absolutely be considered as a factor at any such dangerousness hearing rather than just the alleged crime that is currently before the court,” said Kyes, Chelsea Police Chief and President of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs. “It is essential that in conducting a proper risk analysis in order to determine whether the defendant is to be considered a potential danger to any victim, witness or to the public in general, that their past criminal history – especially as it pertains to previous convictions for violent crimes – is considered and weighed based on its relevancy pertaining to a demonstrated propensity to commit violence. This bill will rectify the existing gap that currently occurs during a dangerousness hearing.”

The legislation also expands the list of offenses which can provide grounds for a dangerousness hearing including crimes of sexual abuse and crimes of threatened or potential violence. It also follows the long-standing federal model in including a defendant’s history of serious criminal convictions as grounds that may warrant a dangerousness hearing. Current law requires courts to focus only on the crime charged and ignore a defendant’s criminal history when determining whether the defendant may be the subject of this sort of hearing.

Additional provisions of this legislation:

•Improves the system for notifying victims of crimes of abuse and other dangerous crimes when a defendant is going to be released by creating clear lines of responsibility among police, prosecutors and corrections personnel to notify victims about an offender’s imminent release from custody, and create a six-hour window for authorities to inform a victim before an offender is allowed to be released.

•Creates a new felony offense for cutting off a court-ordered GPS device.

•Requires that the courts develop a text message service to remind defendants of upcoming court dates, reducing the chance they will forget and have a warrant issued for their arrest.

•Allows dangerousness hearings at any point during a criminal proceeding, rather than requiring a prosecutor to either seek a hearing immediately or forfeit that ability entirely, even if circumstances later arise indicating that the defendant poses a serious risk to the community.

•Requires that the probation department, bail commissioners and bail magistrates notify authorities who can take remedial action when a person who is on pre-trial release commits a new offense anywhere in the Commonwealth or elsewhere.

•Creates a level playing field for appeals of district court release decisions to the superior court by allowing appeals by prosecutors, in addition to defendants, and giving more deference to determinations made in the first instance by our district court judges.

•Creates a task force to recommend adding information to criminal records so that prosecutors and judges can make more informed recommendations and decisions about conditions of release and possible detention on grounds of dangerousness.

The legislation also closes loopholes at the start and end of the criminal process that currently limit or prevent effective action to address legitimate safety concerns. It extends the requirement that police take the fingerprints of people arrested for felonies to all people arrested, regardless of the charge, to ensure that decisions about release can be made with knowledge of a person’s true identity and full criminal history. It also allows, for the first time, bail commissioners and bail magistrates to consider dangerousness in deciding whether to release an arrestee from a police station when court is out of session.

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State Rep Dan Ryan Inaugurated Wednesday for New Term

State Rep Dan Ryan Inaugurated Wednesday for New Term

Chelsea’s State Rep. Dan Ryan has been inaugurated for another term in the legislature this week, and he said he is ready to tackle issues from transportation to opiate recovery research in the new term.

On Wednesday, with the new class of the state legislature, Rep. Ryan took the oath of office along with Gov. Charlie Baker and the rest of the Commonwealth. It will be his third full term in office, and he said it will be an interesting term with new faces and a Republican governor in his second round.

“I think the voters of Chelsea and Charlestown first and foremost for giving me two more years,” he said. “It will be my third full term and Gov. Baker’s second term. We’ll have some big changes in the House and it will be very interesting to see what those changes look like. It will be interesting to see what happens with Gov. Baker’s second term. He was easy to work with in the first term with very moderate Republican stances. Second terms are different so we’ll see what that dynamic looks like.”

Ryan also praised House Speaker Bob DeLeo for his leadership in 2018, and his new term in 2019 – having also been sworn in as the House Speaker again on Wednesday.

“I’ll be supporting the Speaker in this next term,” he said. “He’s had a strong hand in this legislative session with everything going on in the Senate, the House needed to be the grown up in the room and the Speaker was very pragmatic in moving things forward.”

Ryan is now the vice chair of the Substance Abuse/Mental Health Committee, and also serves on the Transportation, Post Audit and Veterans Affairs Committees. He said he has also been appointed to Task Forces charged with looking at the Commuter Rail and looking into issues related to the Opiate Bill passed last year.

“There’s going to be a lot of movement in the chairmanships, but I think I’m going to be on the same committees,” he said. “I’ll be spending a lot of time doing transportation work. That’s not always the issue that gets a lot of attention, but it’s very important.”

Ryan said the last session was very progressive, including legislation on criminal justice reform, the opiate bill, pay equity, the transgender accommodation bill and banning bump stock firing devices for firearms.

“We got a lot of progressive legislation though in the last two years,” he said. “Even though some didn’t think we were progressive enough, I think it was one of the most forward looking sessions in a long time.”

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