In an Op-Ed that appeared in State News on Monday, Dec. 18, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called House Republicans onto the carpet for halting federal funding to the nation’s Community Health Centers like East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) while working on cutting taxes for the ‘wealthy”.
“I love community health centers,” Warren wrote. “They do wonderful work and enjoy widespread support. But I’m worried because Republican leaders in Congress have held these centers hostage by halting federal funding while they focus on passing tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s past time to step up the fight for community health centers in my state of Massachusetts and across the country.”
Warren argued that community health centers, like EBNHC, are a big part of what’s working well in health care today — more coverage at lower cost.
“They are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic,” she wrote. “They provide preventive services and chronic disease management. They are taking the stigma out of mental health treatment. And they save money by promoting disease prevention, providing care coordination, and reducing the use of hospital emergency rooms.”
On Sept. 30, Warren said Congress blew past a major funding deadline for community health centers — a reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund.
“This program provides more than 70 percent of all federal funding for health centers,” she wrote. “Reauthorizing this program should be a no-brainer, and many of my Republican colleagues agree with that. But Republican leadership has been so focused on stripping health care coverage from many of the people who walk through the doors of community health centers that they ran right past this deadline — and they’ve just kept on running.”
Community health centers across the country are feeling the impact.
“They are holding back on hiring new staff or deferring opportunities to make vital improvements to their programs. If they don’t get this funding soon, they’ll have to make even tougher decisions, like laying off staff members, cutting services, or reducing hours,” she wrote. “In East Boston, which is geographically isolated from the rest of the city, the community health center operates an emergency room that is open around the clock.People who work in community health centers know that health care is a basic human right. The dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals at these sites take incredible care of families from every background. And they’re always looking for ways they can better serve their patients and their community. But community health centers can’t do this much-needed work if the federal government doesn’t keep its promises.”
Warren said tax cuts for billionaires shouldn’t come ahead of making sure that children, pregnant women, people in need of addiction treatment, veterans, and other vulnerable populations have access to health care.
“I’ll keep fighting for community health centers and for all of these health care programs that have improved the lives of people in my state and every other state,” she wrote. “I believe everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care. Community health centers excel at providing that care — and they deserve our support.”
EBNHC recently hosted Sen. Warren were she saw first hand the important work that the Health Center and its staff does on a daily basis.
“We were obviously so pleased to host Senator Warren on her visit tour to the Health Center and we are glad she is fighting hard for Community Health Centers like ours across the country,” said Snyder.
On Dec. 22, at 5:20 p.m., officers responded to 165 Walnut St. for a report of a past armed robbery. Upon officers’ arrival, they made contact with the victim and alleged robbery suspect, standing out front of the building. The victim claims the suspect took $200 from him after he left the ATM at the Chelsea Bank on Broadway. The suspect claims the money was used to buy drugs from him and that the victim complained about the quality of the drugs purchased.
Jose Rivera, 32, of 11 Congress Ave., was charged with unarmed robbery.
REFUSED SERVICE AT BAR
On Dec. 22, at 10:49 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Spanish Falcon Club located at 158 Broadway on the report of a fight outside.
Officers observed security outside speaking to a group of men, two of which appeared intoxicated. As Officers spoke to security, they were informed that the two intoxicated males had been causing a disturbance because security refused them entry due to their state of intoxication.
They were asked to leave several times, but were becoming aggressive towards employees. As officers engaged the men in conversation, it was apparent that the men were upset at having been refused entry and wanted to continue their night of drinking. The two men refused the officers’ orders to leave the area and became loud and boisterous, causing a disturbance. The first male was placed into custody after violently resisting officers in their attempt to place him under arrest. The second male, and brother of the male taken into custody, refused orders to leave, and he also became aggressive and was taken into custody after a struggle.
David Garcia, 24, of 141 Marlborough St., was charged with disorderly conduct.
Kevin Garcia, 21, of Lynn, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.
Stephanie Scali, 26, 207 Winthrop St., Medford, was arrested for possessing Class B drug.
Willie Jennings, 37, 251 Heath St., Jamaica Plain, was arrested for trespassing.
Kerven Julce, 33, 10 Lawrence St., Brighton, was arrested on a warrant.
Carlos Diaz, 44, 69 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Salvador Pineda, 30, 153 Saratoga St., East Boston, was arrested on a warrant.
Jodelle Gabelus, 28, 41 Polk St., Charlestown, was arrested on a warrant.
Ely Feliciano, 21, Address unknown, was arrested on a warrant.
Frank Dangelo, 64, 9 Sixth St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.
Caroline Cash, 22, 84 Otis St., Winthrop, was arrested on a warrant.
Jose Gonzalez, 20, 64 Beacon St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime for felony, possessing burglarious instrument, larceny from building, resisting arrest, and malicious destruction of property and trespassing.
Juvenile offender, 16, was arrested on a warrant.
Dawid Sanek, 19, 56 Congress Pl., Dedham, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon and unarmed robbery.
Samuel Pensamiento, 26, 61 Meadow Ln., Lowell, was arrested for leaving scene of property damage and leaving scene of injury.
The president will now declare what many of us experience first hand, the opioid epidemic is a national emergency.
Frankly, with as many as 59,000 deaths in 2016, there doesn’t seem to be any other possible description.
So many dedicated people in cities and towns, faith communities and schools, families and hospitals are fighting to save lives and help people escape addiction.
But there are also a lot of people working to keep illegal opioids on the streets.
With 2.6 million opioid addicts in the United States, the scale of drug-running operations is immense, as are the profits. It’s not a mystery why the cartels build these operations, they do it for the money — and there is a lot of money to be had.
The Office of National Drug Control policy estimates that of the $65 billion spent on illegal drugs each year, about $1 billion, or 1.5 percent, is seized by all federal agencies combined. That means some 98.5 percent of the profits from trafficking remain in the hands of the cartels and other narco traffickers.
We can and must stop that free flow of money, which, besides flooding our communities with cheap heroin, helps strengthen these criminal enterprises.
As the bipartisan Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control wrote in 2013: ““[W]e have become convinced that we cannot stop the drug trade without first cutting off the money that flows to drug trafficking organizations.”
There are simple steps we can take now that go after that money. For starters, we must get rid of anonymous shell companies — companies formed with no way of knowing who owns or controls them (known as the “beneficial owner”).
As documented in the report “Anonymity Overdose,” traffickers can hide and move drug proceeds through anonymous shell companies because starting such companies requires zero personal information.
One of the most dangerous chemicals associated with the opioid crisis is fentanyl — some 50 times more potent than heroin. Deaths from fentanyl overdoses are up 540 percent in the last three years.
Law enforcement agents have cataloged how fentanyl is often shipped to the U.S. from China. Sometimes the drugs or drug making supplies are sent from, and addressed to, a set of anonymous companies.
These companies, which are not connected to the real owner (and sometimes not even connected to a real person), can open bank accounts, transfer money, and buy real estate. Law enforcement does not have access to who is behind these entities.
Requiring all companies formed in the United States disclose their beneficial owners would enable law enforcement to more effectively follow the money trail to the top. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both chambers of Congress which would do just that, and we believe this is something Congress should enact as soon as possible.
As we ask ourselves what else can we do to stand against this epidemic, it’s follow the money.
John A. Cassara is a former U.S. Treasury special agent, who spent much of his career investigating money laundering and terrorist financing. His latest book is titled “Trade-Based Money Laundering: The Next Frontier in International Money Laundering Enforcement.”
Nathan Proctor is a co-author of “Anonymity Overdose,” and a National Campaign Director with Fair Share.
On Nov. 5, at 3:15 p.m., a CPD officer, while parked across from the Chelsea Police Headquarters, was approached by a young male. The officer reported that the male seemed to be out of breath and in a panic.
He told the officer that he was riding his bicycle on Central Avenue by the cemetery and observed a truck drive past him four times, and each time the operator made comments to him that made him feel uncomfortable. The officer gave a description out to all Chelsea units to BOLO for a black Dodge Ram truck as reported by the young male. A short time later Chelsea officers observed the truck after it hit a vehicle near Chestnut and Fifth streets. Other Chelsea Units responded and stopped vehicle and placed operator under arrest. The vehicle was reported to be stolen out of Reading.
Michael Valentin, 17, of Revere, was charged with unlicensed operation, reckless operation, leaving the scene of property damage, and receiving a stolen vehicle.
STOLE CELL PHONE
On Nov. 5, at noon, a CPD officer on walking patrol in uniform observed from a distance of 100 feet a known female. The officer observed the female approach the victim, who was sitting against a wall by Cherry Street at Everett Avenue. The officer observed the female grab the victim with both hands and start to push him. The officer then observed female take a cell phone from victim. She was placed into custody on scene.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.
UNLICENSED LIVERY DRIVERS
On Nov. 6, at approximately 6 a.m., a traffic officer was monitoring the intersection of Crescent and Eastern avenues. At that location, the officer observed a vehicle take a right hand turn from Crescent Avenue onto Eastern Avenue without stopping. The operator was discovered to be unlicensed and was allegedly employed by Nunez Livery of East Boston.
The Traffic Division has been monitoring the practice of this livery company hiring unlicensed drivers. The operator was placed into custody and the vehicle was impounded.
Osmin Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, of 743 Broadway, was charged with unlicensed operation and failing to yield at an intersection.
HIGH COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION
The state’s highest court this month upheld a Suffolk Superior Court jury’s murder verdict in the 2006 homicide of Yolande Danestoir by her son.
The 33-page unanimous decision affirms the conviction of Norton Cartright for first-degree in his mother’s slaying inside the Reynolds Street home they once shared – where Cartright had continued to live in a crawlspace after being ordered to stay out of the residence. Evidence at trial established that Cartright beat her with a hammer, causing fatal injuries, after she found him inside the apartment.
Cartright’s primary argument on appeal was that his videotaped and audio-recorded admissions to State and Chelsea police detectives were not voluntary, that his prior motion to suppress should have been granted, and that his statement should not have gone before the jury. The high court disagreed.
“We conclude, as did the motion judge, that the defendant’s confession was voluntary, and therefore admissible,” the court wrote, noting that the detectives “pointed accurately at the evidence arrayed against him” and that their suggestion of possible mitigating circumstances “were within the bounds of acceptable interrogation methods.”
Cartright also argued that the detectives’ appeals to let the victim “rest in peace” in the “afterlife” by telling “the truth” were improper. The high court rejected this claim, as well, finding that they were not “calculated to exploit a particular psychological vulnerability of the defendant” and did not render his incriminating statements involuntary.
“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the religious references here were of a type that other courts have concluded were permissible,” the high court wrote. “Nothing indicates that police took advantage of, or knew of, the defendant’s personal religious beliefs, or of any special susceptibility he might have had to religious appeals.”
Juan Valle, 38, 127 Division St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Laura Fontanez, 52, 152 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.
Christopher Rivera, 25, 54 Maverick St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Alisha Cohen, 38, 36 Winthrop Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and disorderly conduct.
Alexandra Corn, 60, 49 Bromfield Rd., Somerville, was arrested for larceny over $250.
Carlos Sanchez Renderos, 29, 140 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Kevin Merrill, 37, 240 Albany St., Cambridge, was arrested on a warrant.
Marcio Mezabaca, 32, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, leaving scene of property damage, failure to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.
Jose Orozco Dias, 44, 73 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, 106 Mountain Ave., Revere, was arrested for unarmed robbery.
Pedro Mejia, 34, 1641 Shore Rd., Revere, Larceny over $250.
Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, 743 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, failure to yield at intersection.
Jenry Lopez-Alvarez, 29, 106 Webster Ave., Chelsea, waas arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Pena Aguilar Bonifacio, 48, address unknown, was arrested for trespassing.
Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 47, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.
Alexander Hubbard, 45, 14 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested on warrants.
Allan Tzalam Hernandez, 18, 48 Harvard St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
German Sanchez, 23A Philomena Ave., Revere, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Robert Daniels, 18, 73A Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Hundreds of young people and families in Chelsea were put on edge Tuesday when President Donald Trump announced he would end the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program – though with the caveat of keeping it intact for six months to allow Congress to attempt to enact a law.
The DACA program prevents the deportation of people brought to the United States illegally by their parents when they were under the age of 16. When President Barack Obama initiated it in 2012 via executive order, it allowed young people to do things they had not been able to do previously, like getting student loans, working legally and qualify for other programs. Anyone with a criminal record, however, was barred from qualifying for the program.
Now, all of that is up in the air for many people.
Joana (whose last name is shielded) is a freshman at Northeast Voke and a resident of Chelsea who said she has family and friends who are now in flux due to the decision – as well as the uncertainty as to whether Congress will act in the next six months.
“I feel like it wasn’t a very thoughtful decision because most of the kids in Chelsea are from other countries,” she said, noting that she has family who are in the DACA program. “It feels scary because you don’t know what is going to happen to a loved one. It’s a wait and see situation and something bad could happen in seconds, minutes, hours, months or even years…I find it all very pointless because families are scared and they tried everything in their power to bring their children here and all the sudden that opportunity they found so hard for is going away. They have sacrificed everything to get kids here and now that opportunity could end.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was discouraged by the decision also, knowing that hundreds of Chelsea residents are enrolled in DACA and now find themselves in limbo as they wait to see if Congress will do anything.
“It is incredibly discouraging that our President is prepared to terminate a program that has been so beneficial and meaningful to childhood arrivals, many of whom have no knowledge of nor connection to their native land,” he said. “I’m hopeful that Congress will act quickly to remedy this unnecessary and heartless executive action.”
Supt. Mary Bourque said she has put out letters to parents and students, as well as guidance to staff and teachers about how to handle the anxiety around the decision, which affects so many Chelsea students and their families.
“Many of our students and their family members are DACA immigrants consistently contributing to our community and therefore our country,” she wrote. “We support our students and their dream for a future in the United States. I want to reaffirm to our Chelsea Schools community that the Chelsea Public Schools is committed to our mission statement, ‘We Welcome and Educate ALL Students and Families.’”
Bourque also affirmed to all parents that the schools are safe havens from immigration enforcement if, indeed, the program ends after six months.
“Our schools have been deemed by our Chelsea School Committee as Safe Havens for all students to learn and thrive,” she wrote. “It is through education that the doors of opportunity are opened for all our students. We, as the Chelsea School Community will continue to advocate for and support our students and their families as they embrace the American Dream through education. We will work on behalf of our students and families alongside our community based organizations and legislators in the coming weeks and months.”
Bunker Hill Community College President Pam Eddinger also reaffirmed a similar viewpoint in a letter signed by all of the state’s community college presidents.
“Those with DACA status attend and graduate from our K-12 schools and benefit from the ability to attend excellent post-secondary education in order to bring the skills and credentials needed in our workforce today,” read the letter. “Individuals with DACA status live in our communities, pay taxes, and are ready and willing to continue to positively contribute to our local economies and communities. Ending DACA and subjecting these individuals to deportation not only contradicts our shared values and the inherent principles in our educational missions, but also threatens the economic well being of our region, state, and country.
“We remain committed to meeting the needs of every person who walks through our doors looking to learn and achieve, regardless of their immigration status,” it continued. “We stand together to fight for the continued protection of all the young people with and eligible for DACA.”
The Trump decision did allow for anyone with a DACA permit expiring between now and March 5, 2018 to re-apply for another two-year renewal – giving protection through 2019. The application for renewal must be submitted by Oct. 5, 2017.
Senator Sal DiDomenico recently joined State Senators and Representatives from throughout the United States during the 2017 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit held in Boston. Each year elected officials meet to share information and best practices at this conference held in different part of the country. This year’s summit was the largest in several years with over 6,000 legislators convening in our Capitol. Senator DiDomenico is a member of several NCSL committees, including Student Centered Learning, and he participated in several sessions on topics such as redistricting, education, intergovernmental affairs, media relations, and manufacturing. This summit was also attended by associations, foundations, and governmental agencies and DiDomenico met with many of these organizations including the Nellie Mae Foundation to speak about their work funding educational initiatives throughout New England. “It was great to join colleagues from throughout the country, and gather information that we can use in our own districts and throughout the Commonwealth,” said DiDomenico. “Having this summit in Boston also allowed us to showcase our collaborative approach to governing that has moved our state forward.”
Since 1975, NCSL has been the champion of state legislatures. They have helped states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems. They fought against unwarranted actions in Congress and saved states more than $1 billion. They strive to improve the quality and effectiveness of the state legislatures, promote policy innovation and communication, and ensure states have a strong cohesive voice.
The City is in the midst of significant roadway and utility work, which includes paving of roads, sidewalk improvements and related water, sewer and drainage improvements. These are all projects that the City has funded through a combination of Capital Improvement Funds or state Chapter 90 monies.
Tudor/Lawrence/Clark/Crescent — This is complete reconstruction of water, sewer and drainage infrastructure, as well as new streets and sidewalks, for the portion of these streets surrounding the New Clark Avenue Middle School. Construction is ongoing. The goal is to complete by the end of this Calendar Year 2017. The next Abutters Meeting for this project will take place on Wed. July 12 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Shurtleff St. – This is complete reconstruction of water, sewer and drainage infrastructure as well as new street and sidewalk work on Shurtleff Street from Broadway to Congress Avenue. The work has just commenced. The first abutters meeting for this project will be today, Thurs. July 6 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall.
Garfield Ave – Isolated sidewalk work has been completed. Milling on roadway is now completed, and the remaining Roadway work is scheduled for mid-July.
Suffolk Street – Sidewalks completed. Roadwork is scheduled for mid-July.
Lynn Street Extension – Sidewalk work will begin in early July, and roadwork is also scheduled for mid-July.
Lower Broadway – Sidewalk work will begin mid-July; Roadwork scheduled for late summer.
Locke Street – Sidewalk work will begin in mid-August, with roadwork scheduled for late summer.
Beacon Place/High St./Pine St./Howell Ct. – State Chapter 90 sidewalk work is possible in the Fall, with paving in the spring of 2018.
Woodlawn/Winthrop/Hysil/Meadow – State Chapter 90 sidewalk work is possible in the Fall, with paving in the spring of 2018.
Hawthorn Street Road / sidewalks – Sidewalk work will commence in June of 2018 and will occur throughout the summer, along with roadway repaving that will follow.
Everett Avenue Reconstruction – This is complete reconstruction of water, sewer, drainage, and all attendant infrastructure on Everett Avenue from Carter Street to Rt. 16. This project also calls for full depth roadway reconstruction, reconstruction of all sidewalks and crossings, installation of street trees, and the replacement of traffic signalization equipment at the intersection of Carter Street and Everett Avenue. Construction is projected to commence in the Fall of 2017.
Say goodbye to the weeds! Councillor Giovanni Recupero walks along a sidewalk on Suffolk Street that seems to have more grass than sidewalk and it’s something he said is going to go away soon. Major resources have been allocated to District 6 this year and next year, it being the most neglected area of the city for years.
There’s a light shining in District 6 – a street light to be exact.
A major investment into the infrastructure of District 6 – located along the Chelsea Creek and back of the hill neighborhoods – is about to take place this fall and coming spring, and Councillor Giovanni Recupero is all smiles.
On a recent afternoon, while walking on a sidewalk that contained more grass that concrete due to years of neglect, Recupero pointed up to a street light on Lynn Street Extension, as well as new poles dotting the street all the way up Lynn Street and even down on Charles Street, next to the Boston Hides and Furs.
The poles are the locations for new streetlights, and not replacements, but rather locations on a street that was pitch black most nights and the center of a good amount of Chelsea’s street violence.
“It’s been dark over here for decades and it made it unsafe,” he said. “People didn’t feel safe. It was too dark at night. I asked for streetlights here for years and they told me that it could never be done, especially on Charles Street. Now it’s done. It was done with the help of the new City Manager and the new City Council who all have the best intentions of the people in mind. That’s why District 6 is finally getting attention. District 6 was the most neglected district in the city for years. It’s falling apart, but we’re going to get it back together now.”
In addition to that, Recupero happily announced that Lynn Street would be paved all the way to the top, which was a joint project with Councilor Enio Lopez.
He also said Suffolk Street would be paved and sidewalks re-instituted – it being one of the worst streets in the entire City for pavement and sidewalks. In fact, Recupero pointed to sidewalks on Suffolk that no long exist because they’ve become so overgrown and other sidewalks that seem like lawns interspersed with a little bit of concrete.
“The money is already allocated for Lynn Street and Suffolk Street,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
Another major improvement, and something Recupero said he was also told could never be done, is getting a traffic stoplight on Charles Street so residents can cross Marginal Street to the PORT Park.
Using a little-known neighborhood improvement fund provided by Eastern Salt, Recupero said he was able to secure $141,000 to get the light placed on Marginal Street.
“We have this great new park over there, but no on goes to it because there is too much dog (waste) there and because, most important, it was too dangerous to cross the street,” he said. “There was no crosswalk to get there and cars go too fast. The Council never wanted to let me get that because it was so expensive, but I found the money. That money was meant for my district and now we’re going to use it for the traffic light.”
Next on his list, he said, will be the other side to the district. He said Hawthorne Street is scheduled to be done next year, and he’s working on Park, Division and Shurtleff Streets.
“This is the most neglected portion over here so I’m working on that first,” he said. “It’s the worst part, but it’s getting better. Next, I’m going to concentrate on the other side of District 6 by Congress Street.”