Chelsea’s Chavez to Offer Workshops at Gardner Museum

Chelsea’s Chavez to Offer Workshops at Gardner Museum

Drawing on the themes of Life, Death & Revelry, local artist Silvia López Chavez will offer workshops at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum designed to engage visitors in the exhibition with hands-on activities. Chavez’s Saturday Open Studio series will run every Saturday, starting June 30. She will also host studio workshops as the visiting artist on Saturday, June 30 as well as during Third Thursdays on June 21.

“The workshops are inspired by the Life, Death & Revelry exhibition,” says Chavez. “My hope is to allow visitors to experiment with the art materials and techniques I use in my own studio practice while having fun with color and creating personal meaning around the idea of Life Cycles.”

With roots in the Dominican Republic, Chavez is an interdisciplinary artist who believes in the power of the creative process as an agent for positive change. The Chelsea resident has collaborated on projects and public art works throughout the city and the Greater Boston area, including murals at Uphams’ Corner, the Charles River Esplanade, Punto Urban Art Museum in Salem, and Northeastern University, among others. Her exhibit record includes the Fitchburg Art Museum, Boston Children’s Museum, and the New Hampshire Institute of Art. She is also an artist-in-residence at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Chavez is an award-winning graphic designer and has worked with high-profile companies and institutions for more than 15 years. She holds a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and continues her studio art practice at the Boston Center for the Arts.

Through the Polly Thayer Starr Artist Series, the Museum supports four artists in the Boston area by providing them with opportunities to develop artistic experiences and engaging workshops for visitors. The series allows artists to consider their work within the rich cultural context of the Gardner Museum and the unique legacy of the Museum’s founder, Isabella Stewart Gardner, through a structured three-month collaboration period of thought, exploration, and workshop implementation.

The Polly Thayer Starr Artists design and implement curriculum for Saturday Open Studios and lead hands-on activities at the Museum. Chavez’s workshop series evolved from her collaboration with the Museum throughout April, May, and June.

Chavez’s workshops will run every Saturday, June 30 through September 1, from 11 am to 4 pm. Open Studio events are included with Museum admission.

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Three Sisters to be at Apollinaire

Three Sisters to be at Apollinaire

Apollinaire Theatre presents Chekhov’s masterwork ‘Three Sisters’ in an intimate production staged in three locations in the theater for what will be a 30-person limited performance at each show.

Chekhov’s dark human comedy of longing for a better life is presented in an adaption by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Tracy Letts. Stuck in a provincial outpost after the death of their army general father, the Prozorov sisters dream of returning to the cosmopolitan Moscow of their childhood. Desire battles reality as they struggle to find their place in a society on the brink of upheaval. Three Sisters is a story of yearning and denial, and finding love, beauty, and meaning even in the darkest hour.

Performances of Three Sisters are Dec. 22, 2017-Jan. 14, 2018 on

Fridays and Saturdays, 8 p.m. A special performance will be on Thursday, Dec. 28 and Jan. 11 at 8 p.m. and on Sun., Jan. 7 and 14, at 3 p.m.

Performances are at the Chelsea Theatre Works, 189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea.

Tickets are $35, $15 student rush.

Tickets can be purchased by calling (617) 887-2336 or on-line at

Information and directions at

The production will feature: Paul Benford-Bruce, Barbara Bourgeois, Siobhan Carrol, Michael John Ciszewski, Olivia Dumaine, Demetrius Fuller, Deniz Khateri, Becca A. Lewis, Robert Orzalli, Juan Carlos Pinedo, Zaida Ramos, Brooks Reeves, Evan Turissini, Jon Vellante, Arthur Waldstein

It is directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques.

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May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

By Sheldon Bycoff

One problem of modern life is social isolation.

Described in journals as a person’s “perceived social isolation,” i.e., a subjective belief that they are socially isolated, another way of summarizing this condition is simply “feeling lonely.”

The opposite feeling – that you have a network of supportive relationships – provides numerous psychological benefits, including a sense of belonging, an increased sense of self-worth, and a feeling of security.

Thankfully, there are actions people can take to reduce a sense of isolation (discussed below).


  • Causes of Isolation

Many circumstances can lead one to feel isolated, including: a job loss; a divorce; injury or illness; the death of a loved one; having a family member with an illness that requires extensive care; etc.

  • Implications of Feeling Isolated

Besides negatively affecting one’s mood, feeling isolated and lonely is a risk factor for many medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, depression, and impaired executive functioning.

In fact, the influence of social relationships on the risk of death is comparable to well-established mortality risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceeds the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.

  • Ways to Reduce Isolation

Numerous authorities, including the Mayo Clinic, have suggestions for increasing one’s social network, such as:

Take a weekly class, whether at a gym, a local college, or as part of adult education, so that you will have regular contact with the same people and be more likely to establish friendships.


  • Volunteer.  

Join a lecture series.

Consider getting a roommate.

Change your housing situation to one where there are more opportunities to be a part of a community.

Go online (especially helpful for people who are homebound).

Options abound: join a chat room for people who share one of your interests, e.g., writing, cooking.

Keep in touch with out-of-state friends and family thru Skype, Facebook (or FaceTime on an iPhone).

Visit sites designed specifically for people going through stressful times, such as a divorce, or the arrival of a new baby. Expand your social sphere through social networking sites such as Facebook.

  • Primer on Building and Nurturing Friendships

Respond and Reciprocate. Answer phone calls, return emails, and reciprocate invitations in order to let people know you care.

Don’t compete. Be happy (not jealous) when your friends succeed.

Be a good listener. When someone is talking, really listen to what they’re saying (as opposed to formulating in your mind your next response).

Don’t overdo it. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family with phone calls and emails.  In addition, be wary of “oversharing” with new or casual acquaintances and on social networking sites.

  • Summary

Taking the time to build a social support network is a wise investment in your mental well-being and physical health.  Research also shows that those who enjoy high levels of social support live longer.  Whether you make more friends or improve the quality of relationships you already have, you’ll reap a plethora of rewards.

By Sheldon Bycoff is President, Mental Health Programs, Inc.

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Police Briefs 06-02-2016


Chelsea Police detectives and State troopers assigned to the Suffolk DA’s office are investigating the death of a 4-month old boy discovered around noon on Monday, Police Chief Brian Kyes and District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

A family member found the child unresponsive in their Washington Avenue apartment at about noon. He was transported to Whidden Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased. A preliminary examination of the body did not reveal immediate signs of violent trauma and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of his death. Detectives have likewise not developed evidence of foul play but their investigation remains active.

As with all death investigations, anyone with additional information is asked to share it with police. Chelsea Police detectives may be reached at 617-466-4805 and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit, which has jurisdiction over unattended deaths in Chelsea, may be reached at 617-727-8817.


On Tuesday evening, May 31, at 6 p.m. Chelsea 9-1-1 received multiple calls reporting a building fire at 144 Bellingham St. Upon arrival firefighters under the command of Acting Deputy Robert Denning reported a heavy smoke condition and fire in a bedroom ceiling on the second floor. Crews from E2 and T1 stretched a 1 ¾ attack line to suppress the fire while E3 and L2 opened up the affected areas and performed ventilation and roof operations.

Crews quickly knocked down the fire which was confined to a second floor bedroom. Cataldo Ambulance was requested to the scene to evaluate a second floor tenant that suffered smoke inhalation in an attempt to put out the fire. The tenant was eventually transported to the hospital. CFD Arson Investigator Captain Michael Gurska responded to the scene to determine the cause of the fire. Members from Chelsea Inspectional Services Electrical and Code Enforcement. Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone also responded to the scene to assist the Red Cross in the relocation of several residents that were displaced by the fire. Everett and Revere Fire provided mutual aid coverage during the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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Enjoy the Weekend — Safely

We saw a statistic the other day that seemed baffling: The death toll on our nation’s roads and highways once again is on the rise. Last year, there were 38,000 highway fatalities in America. That’s about 100 Americans killed every day in motor vehicle-related crashes and accidents.

In addition, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans who receive serious injuries in motor vehicle crashes, especially brain injuries, that can have devastating effects on victims.

The reason that we say this statistic is baffling is because motor vehicles never have been safer. Air bags, anti-lock brakes, and other technological innovations have made surviving a high-speed car crash far more likely than at any other time in the history of the automobile.

But we venture to guess that there are a lot of reasons why the carnage on our nation’s highways is increasing: We have an aging population; distracted driving is epidemic, thanks to cell phones and radios with 100 channels that require more hand-eye coordination than the old push-button radios; motor vehicles with all of those high tech featurers not only make speeding more attainable, but also lull us into a false sense of safety; our roads are in terrible shape and constitute a safety hazard; and our national epidemic of sleep deprivation that results in more people than ever falling asleep at the wheel.

But whatever the reason, those factors multiply during holiday weekends, when the roadways are filled and drunk driving becomes a huge factor in public safety. It is predicted that more Americans will be on the road than ever for this Memorial Day weekend.

So please be sure to be safe this Memorial Day weekend — especially when driving — and most especially, do not drink and drive and make sure that you do not allow anyone you know to drink and drive.

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Honoring Dr Martin Luther King Jr

The nation will honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Monday on the annual holiday that pays tribute to this great civil rights leader and humanitarian.

Dr. King would have been 87 years old Friday and we can only imagine how proud he would be of the America we live in today.

Many Americans remember Dr. King for his famous “I Have A Dream” speech that he delivered in Washington, D.C. as part of The March on Washington in 1963. It is truly one of the greatest speeches in American history, one that we admire for its message and Dr. King’s splendid delivery of its content.

Dr. King was deservedly recognized universally for fighting for what he believed in and for what was right. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and following his death in 1968 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal.

We recently came across a poem that was written by a local junior high student following the death of Dr. King. Following is the conclusion of that poem:

Martin Luther King had many talents for one single man

Such as making speeches and bettering his land,

But too bad all great things must come to an end,

We have lost Martin Luther King, everybody’s friend.

On Monday, we hope you will take the time to honor this great American, who forever changed this country for the better by bringing the advancement of civil rights into the nation’s focus

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Irish Night Celebration Easter Sunday

Irish Night Celebration Easter Sunday

On Sunday, many churches will be overflowing as parishioners go to church to celebrate Easter.

Easter is always a magical time for children.

As a family, we always held off hiding the Easter candy around the house until after Mass. This action prompted our youngest to go to church a few years back and pray that the Easter Bunny remembers to come to our house and then he proceeded to put our address in his prayers just in case the bunny might have forgotten where he was to go in all his haste.

For adults, Easter usually means putting on a new spring outfit that celebrates the arrival of warmer weather after a too long and cold winter.

However, Easter is more than just these two events.

For Christians, Easter is a celebration of eternal life shown by Jesus Christ’s resurrection.

It appears to be more than coincidence with Easter on Sunday that during the last two months, through courtroom accounts, of accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsanaev, we as a community had to relive that terrible day two years ago when bombs exploded at the finish line killing three and injuring hundreds. We reflect on how close to danger members of our community were on that day as they came to view the Marathon.

For the last two months we have heard from bombing survivors and the wounds that they suffered.

On Monday during the trial, we heard about the autopsy in gruesome detail of the youngest victim, Martin Richard, and how his eight- year old body was just destoryed by the bomb.

Now we are hearing from Tsarnaev’s defense team in their attempt to spare him the death penalty.

We are not going to debate whether the death penalty should be applied in this case. What we are going to ask is that our readers reflect upon the meaning of Easter as examplified by Jesus Christ in his passion and resurrection and decide if the death penalty should be invoked.

While the death penalty decision rests with the men and women of the jury, we as a community need to decide what we would do if the decision was ours to make and whether we truly would follow Jesus Christ’s example.for the healing of that terrible day to be complete.

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Officials Now Suspect Woman Was Murdered

Officials Now Suspect Woman Was Murdered

For months, the general public has believed that an 88-year-old Washington Avenue woman died due to the extreme heat last July.

There were even warnings put out as a result of her death for people to look out for the elderly during the heat wave last summer.

However, law enforcement officials from the get-go knew that foul play was involved, but they had to remain mum in order to catch their suspect.

As it turns out, Hilda DeVincenzo, 88, who has lived in Chelsea for decades, was actually murdered last July 3.

Her body wasn’t discovered for four days, despite neighbors hearing her scream frantically and then not seeing her for days.

The heat wave played no factor in her death.

Instead, investigators and District Attorney Dan Conley’s office believe that Chelsea resident Felix Melendez, 35, murdered the woman. On Wednesday, they charged him in Boston’s Suffolk Superior Court with first-degree murder.

Melendez was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court Wednesday morning on charges of first-degree murder, robbery of a person over 60, and receiving stolen property over $250.  At the request of Assistant District Attorney Tara Burdman, Clerk Magistrate Connie Wong ordered Melendez held without bail.

“Thanks to the professionalism of Chelsea’s first responders and the careful, methodical work of investigators, we now have a much clearer picture of what happened in Ms. Devincenzo’s apartment,” Conley said. “It is, unfortunately, a deeply disturbing picture. We will do everything in our power to hold accountable the person responsible for this tragedy.”

DiVencenzo lived by herself in the second-floor apartment of a triple decker at 649 Washington Ave. Earlier this year, she had rented out the third floor to Melendez and his girlfriend.

Prosecutors said that on July 3 Melendez allegedly told a neighbor that he was performing electrical repairs for DeVincenzo and that she was “driving him crazy” with her requests that everything be fixed. Later that afternoon, the neighbor heard running, a scream, and a bang from the victim’s apartment and recognized the scream as being DeVincenzo’s voice.

That neighbor – also a tenant of DeVincenzo’s – never alerted police to the matter.

Four days later, on July 7, Chelsea firefighters responded to the address after the smell of smoke was reported inside the building.  Melendez allegedly told first responders that he had discovered a fire in the basement that he was able to extinguish. While at the home, firefighters were asked to perform a well-being check on DeVincenzo.

They found the 88-year-old woman dead inside her apartment.

Her remains were in a state of decomposition, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner determined after autopsy that she died of compression to the neck and torso, causing fractures to her thyroid cartilage, ribs, spine, and sternum.

Investigators soon learned that several of DeVincenzo’s personal items were missing from her bedroom.  The victim’s wedding band and engagement ring – which DeVincenzo’s family told investigators she always wore – were also missing from her body.

The wedding band was recovered at Gold ‘N Oldies jewelry shop in Everett where Melendez sold it, having had to provide his driver’s license as identification in order to complete the exchange. Investigators obtained a photocopy of the license from the shop.

The engagement ring was found inside Melendez’s apartment by officers executing a search warrant.

In addition, a fingerprint found on a plastic bag in the victim’s bedroom was a match to one of Melendez’s fingers.

An investigation by the Chelsea Fire Department, Chelsea Police, and State Police detectives assigned to Conley’s office later revealed that the fire that initially drew authorities to the Washington Avenue residence had been intentionally set.

Melendez will return to court on Nov. 26.


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