There is no stopping Chelsea High track star
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.
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.
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
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.”
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.”
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
“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
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
•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.
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
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
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
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
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.”
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.
State administration officials announced on Tuesday that former Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash has left his cabinet post as Secretary of Housing and Economic Development – a post he has held for the past four years since leaving Chelsea.
Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the departure of Ash late Tuesday afternoon, and introduced current HED Assistant Secretary for Business Growth, Mike Kennealy, as incoming Secretary. A press conference was to be held in the State House on Wednesday afternoon and incoming Secretary Kennealy will be sworn in on Friday, Dec. 28.
There was no word what Ash might do next, but some have postulated he might be entering the private sector as a business-based lobbyist. Rumors persisted earlier this fall that Ash might be headed to MassPort as the new executive director. However, at the time, he said that he isn’t considering that post.
“From day one, Jay has worked tirelessly with members of the Legislature, local officials and private companies to enhance economic development, housing and the life sciences industry in Massachusetts,” said Gov. Baker. “Our administration will always be particularly thankful for his work to help reduce the number of homeless families living in hotels and motels, from over 1,500 to less than 40, and his focus on achieving economic growth across the entire Commonwealth. We thank Jay for his public service, wish him well in the future and look forward to welcoming Mike to the cabinet.”
Ash said he was proud to have served in the administration.
“I am proud of what we have accomplished together to grow and strengthen Massachusetts’ economy over the past four years as we worked to empower communities to achieve their economic potential, ensuring prosperity could be shared across the Commonwealth,” said Ash. “Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito led by example, engaging local and state officials and our vibrant business and nonprofit sectors in an active dialogue, and we followed by identifying opportunities for investment and areas where we could create more support. It was an honor to visit over 200 cities and towns over the last four years. I have been energized and inspired by the ingenuity and tenacity of our municipal, community and business leaders, and I am grateful to Gov. Baker and Lt. Gov. Polito for asking me to serve in this capacity. Incoming Secretary Mike Kennealy is uniquely qualified and played an instrumental role in our first term achievements. Finally, I would like to thank the talented and committed professionals in EOHED and across the administration, who have been generous with their time and talent, and totally committed to the Commonwealth.”
Under Secretary Ash’s leadership, the Baker-Polito administration conceived and pursued an economic development strategy entitled “Opportunities for All,” to bring vitality to communities, prosperity to people and growth for businesses in all regions of the Commonwealth. Key accomplishments include:
Transitioned over 1,400 homeless families out of hotels and motels, from 1,500 in 2015 to under 40 today.
Partnered with the Legislature to pass two billion-dollar economic development packages in 2016 and 2018, the $1.8 billion housing bonding bill and a $623 million life sciences bill to ensure our continued leadership in this sector on a national and global basis.
Delivered $12.5 million in state funding to the Berkshire Innovation Center in Pittsfield, a state-of-the-art facility that will have the potential to serve as life sciences hub for the region.
Supported Worcester’s revitalization, including the redevelopment of the Canal District with a recently-announced $35 million infrastructure and HDIP affordable housing investment, made in conjunction with Pawtucket Red Sox relocation, announced in August.
Partnered with Springfield on six projects designed to revitalize its downtown revitalization, including the October announcement of the $2.5 million refurbishment of the Paramount Theater, a lynchpin project for the city.
Played an important role in Lynn’s economic revitalization as a member of the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) Team – launching a number of commercial and housing projects, including Gateway North residences, which opened in 2018.
Served on Gov. Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet (comprised of EOLWD, EOHED, EOE secretaries) and drove the creation of 7 regional workforce plans, over $50 million in Skills Capital Grants and the launch of the first registered tech apprenticeship program in the state.
Helped facilitate expansions from leading companies like GE, Kronos, MassMutual, MilliporeSigma and Siemens.
But, as School Committeeman Rich Maronski recalled, Scottie Holden did climb the Soldiers’ Home water tower and it was the stuff of legend growing up in Chelsea.
“The biggest news with the tower as a kid was when Scottie Holden actually climbed it,” said Maronski. “It was the talk of the town for more than a week. I grew up beside this tower all my life. It’s the thing I look at when I’m on an airplane. I know when I’m leaving and I know when I’m home by looking at that tower.”
His remembrance was but one of many that were shared at a special farewell to the Soldiers’ Home water tower last Friday, Nov. 30, in the shadow of the tower, which was constructed in 1958 and will come down in the next few weeks. It has to come down to make way for the $199 million Community Living Center that will provide long-term care for veterans in a modern, home-like setting. Currently, the Quigley Hospital provides great care, but it is laid out in open wards, which are no longer acceptable.
“Today is an opportunity to say farewell to the water tower that served as a beacon or a landmark to so many in and around Chelsea,” said state Veterans Secretary Francisco Urena. “This is a bittersweet moment, but this is also a happy moment for the veterans at the Soldiers Home who will reap the benefit of the largest investment ever in the Commonwealth for long-term veterans care. It’s going to be a beacon of care for veterans across the Commonwealth now.”
Supt. Cheryl Poppe said CBI Corp. put up the six-legged water tower in 1958, and the purpose was to help the water supply and water pressure at the home. Over time, however, the tower became less useful and a permanent pump station was implemented in 2011. The tower was decommissioned at that time, but allowed to stay in place. Over time, it has deteriorated and vandals have painted it.
“It was a noticeable part of the Chelsea skyline, but now our Community Living Center will serve as a special vision on the horizon as it will serve our veterans for the decades to come,” she said.
Tom Kasiecki said he has watched the tower all his life.
“I watched this tower go up when I was a kid in 1958,” he said. “I sat there at my window over there and watched them build it. Now, as a senior citizen, I am going to sit over there and watch them demolish it.”
Former City Councillor Matt Frank said he is going to miss the tower, and that it is special to him, but he also said he will choose to remember it now as a place of hope and rest for those who have served their country – as it was for his grandfather when he was there.
“That’s what I’m going to remember moving forward is we’re going to have a brand new facility for the veterans,” he said. “When I look up and see the skyline without the tower, I will be sad. I will miss the tower because I’ve had it there all my life. It’s always been there. However, when I look up and don’t see it, I’m going to think of the wonderful care that the veterans are receiving there.”
Added Barbara Richards, “It’s going to be very hard to see it go. Whether you go by boat, train, plan or car, you can always see the tower.”
Dottie Kusmierek has lived across the street from the tower for most of her life. She said it holds a special place in the hearts of her family members. She said it will be hard to see it go, but she understands the reasoning.
“My older brother was in Vietnam and he saw the water tower when he came back home and said, ‘At last, I’m home,’” she recalled. “There are a lot of changes now in Chelsea, and a lot of them I’m not happy about. Good bye old friend and on with the new.”
Councilor Luis Tejada said he would definitely be sad to see it go, and it’s a part of the local history to him.
“It’s sad to me because New England and Greater Boston have so much history, and it’s why people are jealous of us in other parts of the country,” he said. “The tower was an historical marker for Chelsea. My generation and up recognize that certainly. Sometimes in the name of progress you must give up some things to get others.”
Cross Country standout Yarid Deras may not talk much about her achievements, but the senior Chelsea High scholar-athlete has plenty of others to tout her accomplishments.
Aside from her coaches and Athletic Director Amanda Alpert, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has also honored her.
On Nov. 14, at the MIAA Recognition Breakfast, Deras was named the Commonwealth Athletic Conference’s Female award recipient. It’s an honor she will add to being the upper division league MVP this year in Cross Country.
“It’s very surprising to me how fast four years have gone,” she said. “I didn’t start running until my freshman year. It was the first thing I really did my freshman year. I didn’t really think I would enjoy it. I enjoyed the team and not so much the running. The summer after my freshman year, something happened and I really learned to love the sport for what it is. I will definitely continue running after high school, maybe for a club team in college.”
Deras’s coach, Don Fay, had nothing but good things to say for his senior leader and league MVP.
“I have coached Yarid for the last four years,” he said. “She is one of the most impressive young ladies I have ever met. Extremely smart, hard-working and competitive. She never misses practice, and never complains. Yarid is a truly nice, genuine person.”
Alpert said Deras is soft-spoken and very humble, always the last person to talk about any of her achievements.
Deras said the team is small, with about eight girls, but they are very competitive. She said over the years she has learned to be a leader, but that may not always come vocally.
“I think I don’t really lead vocally,” she said. “I don’t say much, but I think I lead by example. I don’t do much with words, but I set the example for the younger runners on my team. That’s how they have come to respect me as a leader.”
Even though she was this year’s league MVP, Deras said the highlight of her Cross Country career was last year when the team won the league meet and went undefeated for the entire season. Her sophomore year, she also won the league MVP and turned in an excellent 21.04 time in the 5K.
As a senior, she still has outdoor track to look forward to, and the Chelsea girls are also very strong in that sport as well. She said she will run the one-mile and two-mile races for the team.
She is currently looking at several colleges, including Smith College and Providence College.
Two years ago, Massachusetts joined 17 states and Washington, D.C., by enacting protections for transgender individuals in public accommodations that serve the general public. As I sat in the House of Representatives gallery on the day the vote was taken, I could not help to be overjoyed by the ongoing effort to make Massachusetts an inclusive and welcoming state.
On the November 6 ballot, Massachusetts’s voters make a simple decision: to uphold commonsense public accommodations protection for these individuals by voting YES or get back equal rights by voting NO.
I urge people to vote YES on question 3. Without those legal protections, transgender people would face a multitude of discriminatory challenge on a daily basis. The sky has not fallen since the 2016 vote and we are better as a society for it.
For the past two years transgender people have enjoyed the same rights and protections as everyone else in the Commonwealth, that was not the case before hand. To lose these rights now would be a terrible reversal in efforts to give all people equal protections under the law.