Chelsea Night Market Inaugural Event Planned for June 8

How much awesomeness can be contained within Luther Place?

The people of Chelsea will soon find out as the first of a series of five monthly events takes place downtown on Saturday, June 8, with the launch of the Chelsea Night Market.

Presented by the City of Chelsea through its downtown initiative called Chelsea Prospers and local events production company Jukebox, the Chelsea Night Market is an ambitious undertaking for a hidden corner of the downtown that’s beginning to awaken.

Last year, GreenRoots took the lead in the block’s transformation by creating a colorful mural with Chelsea artist and one of the state’s top muralists Silvia López Chavez on the Chelsea Walk.

That pedestrian walkway provides the entrance to the next phase of the effort with activation of the space through the Chelsea Night Market.

Edwardo Chacon of Jukebox said, “Vendors are still being accepted for future markets and there’s always room for more artists and performers to join in. Our priority is to engage as much local talent as possible. We’re excited by all the energy growing around the market and the new connections we’re making. This is going to be epic.”

Here, in the large parking lot on Cherry Street behind the businesses on Broadway between Fourth and Fifth Streets, event visitors every month will find the area transformed with activity and something new to discover on each visit.

More than a dozen booths will feature local businesses, artists, merchants and community groups. Merchandise includes both new, vintage, thrift and handcrafted items.

Jack’s Men’s Shop will highlight emerging brands for men’s fashion, while Allen’s Cut Rate features a selection of high-quality fragrances. You’ll find hand-crafted jewelry by Beaded Inspiration and Sacred Soul Fire. Over at the booths for Dandelion District and High Energy Vintage there’s a variety of vintage items including old school video games, nicnacks and clothing.

At Jukebox’s booth, show off your local pride with swag that shouts your love of all things 02150. Among the offerings are T-shirts and totes emblazoned with Chelsea. All proceeds are dedicated to supporting the next projects to improve Luther Place.

A variety of other tents will feature community groups and artists.

Test your aim with Archery Games Boston, show off what you’re proud of with the Chelsea LGBTQ Coalition, and play around with the team from the Phoenix Charter Academy Chelsea.

Several local restaurants are on board with menus of street food as well.

Get a sandwich hot off the grill from the chefs of Broadway House of Pizza, nibble savory Chinese food from Chung Wah, or sink your teeth into an empanada from Pan y Café.

On the main stage a variety of performers will entertain the crowd.

MC for the night is comedian and actor Chase Abel. Host of the podcast “Ready Set Blow” with Randy V, he’s a regular at Boston’s top clubs.

Among them is a band headed by Bengisu and Tuzcu.

It’s impossible to describe their mix of Turkish-funk-rock, but it will definitely get a groove going.

DJ Tempo Sauve’s upbeat house electronica is gathering a strong following, and he’ll keep the energy going throughout the night. There’s a rumor some comedians from the recent show at Tu Casa may stop by too.

The performance highlight, however, undoubtedly will be the crew from the Boston Circus Guild. They’ll be roaming among the crowd to show off their amazing skills and costumes and then at 9:30 p.m., will take the stage for a 20-minute fire performance that will top off the night.

Serving as a backdrop to the main stage and to provide a tangible reminder of the market through the summer, the wall of 456 Broadway will serve as space for temporary mini murals with new designs appearing each month by local artists.

The Chelsea Night Market team is grateful for the support of the Chelsea Record as a media sponsor helping them to spread the word about the upcoming event and to highlight the new happenings of downtown Chelsea.

For additional information check out the Chelsea Night Market’s website at www.chelseanightmarket.com, the facebook event at https://www.facebook.com/events/529915294079626/ or contact at Mimi Graney, at mgraney@chelseama.gov

Future dates include:

•July 13 (raindate 7/20)

•August 10 (raindate 8/17)

•September 21 (raindate 9/28)

•October 5 (raindate 10/12)

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

City Hall, 500 Broadway, Room 301 · Chelsea, MA 02150

Phone: 617.555.1708 · Fax: 617.658.6725 · Email: deptemail@chelseama.gov

CITY OF CHELSEA, MA

Department of Planning and Development

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In Contentious Vote, Council Votes to Allow Change to Insurance

Current and former municipal employees crowded into Monday night’s City Council meeting as the council took up a vote to allow City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to negotiate changes to the city’s group health insurance policies.

Most of those employees did not leave happily or quietly as the council voted 8-2 to grant Ambrosino that authority to negotiate the changes. Councillors Roy Avellaneda and Yamir Rodriguez voted against the order, while Councillor Calvin T. Brown was not present at the meeting.

The city’s current group health plan is governed by a three-year agreement with the Public Employee Committee (PEC) that expires on June 30 of this year.

“During the months of November through March, I did attempt to negotiate with the PEC a new multi-year agreement that would provide some cost savings to the group health plan,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to the council. “Unfortunately, I have not been able to reach agreement with the unions.”

Under Massachusetts General Laws, Ambrosino stated, in the absence of a new agreement, the old PEC agreement will remain in effect indefinitely. Without City Council action, Ambrosino said he cannot put any health care cost savings in place.

The action approved by the City Council allows the city to take advantage of recent state legislation that allows municipalities to implement cost saving plan design changes on its own if no agreement can be reached with the PEC as long as the city agrees to share a percentage of its first year cost savings with the unions.

With the newly granted authority by the council, the City Manager said he will negotiate reasonable design changes to the city’s group health policies, likely by imposing deductibles in line with deductibles paid for health insurance by state employees.

Ambrosino said even with any changes, Chelsea will always have health insurance at least as good as that provided to Massachusetts public employees.

However, a letter to the City Council submitted by the Chelsea Public Employees Committee outlined over two dozen reasons why members believe the adoption of the changes to the group health insurance should not be adopted.

“The PEC strongly believes that the adoption of Sections 21-23 is inappropriate and premature for multiple reasons: the Self-Insurance Trust Fund is running about a $2 million surplus; the PEC has agreed to apply any surplus to reduce future health insurance costs; City Manager Thomas Ambrosino wants the sickest families among City employees and retirees to pay $1 million more on an annual basis currently paid by the City; the PEC and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino agree that no changes to employee/retiree health insurance are needed until FY2022; Ambrosino has failed to bargain in good faith for a successor PEC agreement; a grievance, including an alleged unfair labor practice, are pending at this time; and Sections 21-23 will effectively disable bargaining on health insurance,” the letter summarizes.

City Council President Damali Vidot noted that her husband works for the Department of Public Works and that any changes in health insurance would directly affect her. However, she said the changes are necessary to allow Ambrosino to negotiate with city unions.

“We hire the Town Manager to negotiate with the unions, and I’m not comfortable when he does not have all the tools needed for the negotiations,” said Vidot.

Vidot she said she hopes Ambrosino can go back to the unions with the new negotiating tools and find common ground with the unions. In addition to wanting the best for city employees, Vidot said the council has a fiscal responsibility for the entire community.

The council president also said that there has been some miscommunication on the issue, especially when it comes to retirees. Vidot said changes to group health insurance plans would only affect a very few retirees who do not qualify for Medicare.

District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said he agreed that the City Manager should have all the tools available as he negotiates with the city’s union.

As the vote took place, many in the audience shouted and voiced their displeasure, with several people stating the council should be ashamed of their vote. The meeting came to a brief halt as the crowd noisily filed out of the council meeting, with several audience members individually appealing to councillors.

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Chelsea Fatal Fire Determined to Be Caused by Electrical Problems

Chelsea Fire Chief Leonard A. Albanese Jr., Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes, State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins announced the cause of the May 3 fire at 48 Watts St., a 2-family home in Chelsea, was electrical.

A quick-moving fire on Watts and Highland Streets last Friday, May 3, claimed the life of one 37-year-old man and caused extensive damage. Investigators said there were major problems with smoke detectors in the home and first-responders reported not hearing any alarms upon arrival.

The fire took the life of an adult man believed to be a relative of the occupants of 48 Watts St. The victim was identified as Milton Lopez, 37.

In the dense neighborhood, the fire spread to rear of 107-109 Highland Street.

The fire originated in a void space above the suspended ceiling of an enclosed porch. Investigators determined that an electrical event took place in the area of origin where there were numerous electrical circuits. Just before the fire was discovered, residents reported that the lights in the first floor kitchen, the room next to the porch, went off. The victim was found on the enclosed porch.

Chelsea fire investigators, Chelsea detectives, and State Police assigned to both the Office of the State Fire Marshal and to the Office of Suffolk District Attorney Rachel Rollins jointly investigated this fire. The Chelsea Inspectional Services Department, State Police Crime Scene Services and the Department of Fire Services’ Code Compliance Unit provided assistance.

The home had a mixture of working, missing and disconnected smoke alarms, carbon monoxide alarms and heat detectors. All of the alarms found in the home, whether they were disconnected, lying on a shelf, or actually functional, had expired and were more than 10 years old. First-arriving firefighters report not hearing any alarms sounding.

State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said, “May is Electrical Safety Month and electrical fires are the second leading cause of fire deaths in Massachusetts behind smoking. It’s important to have a licensed electrician check out your system every ten years to prevent problems.”

For more information on electrical fire safety go to: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/electrical-fire-safety.

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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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School Committee Passes Budget Without Majority

School Committee Passes Budget Without Majority

The School Committee passed a $95.4 million School Budget last week, but it was passed with less than a majority of the total number of nine committee seats.

The budget, which passed with a $1.9 million funding gap that led to the elimination of 10 teaching positions, was approved by a 4-2 vote.

School Committee members Rosemarie Carlisle and Frank DePatto voted against the budget, while board member Jeanette Velez and Chair Richard Maronski recused themselves from the vote, citing relatives who work for the School Department. Last week, Julio Hernandez resigned from the Committee and his seat has yet to be filled.

School Committee members and administrators said it has been a long struggle to present a budget that attempts to meet the needs of the Chelsea schools.

Supt. Mary Bourque and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino were among those who noted that falling enrollments in the Chelsea schools, as well as an antiquated state funding formula that underfunds urban communities such as Chelsea, were the main culprits in the budget cuts.

“I’ve spent a lot of the time with the superintendent trying to provide city support for the budget,” said Ambrosino. “The City is really trying to do its fair share.”

That included the City providing an additional $1.5 million to the schools to address budget shortfalls.

“Every new tax dollar I can raise in Fiscal Year 2020 is going to the School Department,” said the city manager.

Regardless of how the School Committee ended up voting on the budget, Ambrosino said the $95.5 million figure is the figure he would present to the City Council as the school share of the overall City Budget.

“The budget (Bourque) presented is fair and reasonable,” said Ambrosino.

Once the budget is approved, Ambrosino said attention should be turned towards advocating for change to the Chapter 70 state education funding formula on Beacon Hill.

Bourque said she agreed that the time is now to fix the state funding formula, noting that Chelsea schools will be underfunded $17 million by the state.

The other factor leading to cuts in the budget is falling enrollment, Bourque said. Between January of 2018 and January of this year, she said Chelsea schools have lost 217 students. That is part of a larger trend of falling enrollment over nearly a decade, according to the superintendent.

Carlisle voted against the proposed budget, but said the problem with the $95.4 million figure laid not with the City, but with the state.

“The problem is with the state,” said Carlisle. “They are not doing the right thing, and we have to send them a message.”

School Committee member Ana Hernandez backed the budget, but said it wasn’t a decision made lightly.

“The votes we make are very hard,” she said. “This budget is what we dread every year. We have to make a decision for the best of the entire school system.”

But for DePatto, further cuts to teaching positions was a bridge too far to support the FY ‘20 budget. He said the schools laid off seven teachers in 2017, 20 in 2018, 10 in 2019, and have projected another 10 for 2020.

“Forty seven teachers and 25 paraprofessionals,” he said. “When is it going to stop? I can’t vote for this budget (when) I don’t support these cuts.”

School Committee member Yessenia Alfaro-Alvarez voted in support of the budget, stating that it was in the best interest of the City’s students to pass the budget, and also noting that Chelsea is hamstrung by declining enrollments and inequities in the state funding formula.

•In other business, the Committee voted to forgo School Choice for the 2019-20 school year.

•The School Committee also approved a field trip to New York City for high school and middle school REACH students to participate in the Andover Bread Loaf Writing Conference in May.

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Major Broadway Improvements Could Begin in 2022

Major Broadway Improvements Could Begin in 2022

A major $9.5 million improvement project for the one-mile stretch of Broadway from City Hall Avenue to the Revere line could get underway by the spring of 2022.

On Thursday, March 21, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation held a public hearing on the preliminary design plans for the roadway reconstruction. Although the state officials and engineers outnumbered the residents in attendance for the meeting, there was a good amount of information provided on the shape, scope, and timeline of the road reconstruction project.

“We are finishing the 25 percent design stage,” said Larry Cash, the MassDOT project manager. “After this hearing, we will be advancing to the final design stage.”

The purpose of the project is to increase safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles along the Broadway corridor and intersecting streets in the city, according to Weston and Sampson engineer Larry Keegan. He said there will be new turn lanes, additional vehicle stacking room, and traffic signals at the project intersections allowing for the safer turning of vehicles and improved safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. The plans also include dedicated bicycle lanes through the one-mile stretch.

“There have been 97 collisions over a three-year period” along that portion of Broadway,” said Keegan. “That is above the state average.”

Keegan pointed to poor intersection layout, outdated traffic signals, and deficient pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit accommodations as being among the chief culprits for the high number of accidents. All of those issues will be addressed during the roadway reconstruction, he said.

In addition to the repaving of the road itself, a major component of the work includes new sidewalks and improved drainage.

Sidewalk improvements will mean the removal of some trees.

“The existing trees are old and unhealthy, lifting up the sidewalks themselves so that they are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant,” said Keegan.

Other areas that will get major upgrades are the MBTA bus stops along the route. Keegan noted that there is deterioration of pavement and pavement markings from years of use along the mile of Broadway, and that the deterioration is especially pronounced at the bus stops.

The proposed project will require permanent and temporary easements from adjacent property owners, but Cash said those easements are either temporary to allow for construction work along the road, or are for the installation or minor regrading of sidewalks.

As with any project that involves ripping up pavement and sidewalks to make way for improvements, there will be traffic and construction impacts once work gets underway.

But Keegan said the plan is to keep disruptions to a minimum and traffic flowing as easily as possible.

“No detours are anticipated at this time,” he said.

During the day, the plan is to have a single lane of traffic closed and have the traffic managed by police. At night, there will be two-way traffic, according to Keegan. Access to schools, businesses, and residences will be kept open as much as possible, he added.

Chelsea resident John Gunning asked if the bus stops would remain in the current locations and if there would be improvements to the bus shelters.

Keegan said engineers will be working with the MBTA during the next phase of design to address some of those issues.

“The T wants certain things and the city wants certain things (for the bus stops),” he said. “We are looking at different options at this point.”

Dunning said he would like to see fresh, new bus shelters and stops that will complement the surrounding area and completed improvements.

Cash said design, permitting, and right of way acquisition for the project will continue through 2019 and 2020 with construction anticipated to start in the spring of 2022.

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Chelsea Viaduct Project to Begin on April 1

Chelsea Viaduct Project to Begin on April 1

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the Department will be rehabilitating the surface of the Tobin Bridge and complete required maintenance to improve the structure which will require lane closures and result in significant traffic impacts on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 beginning April 1.

These impacts will lead to increased travel times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for drivers and MBTA bus customers.

The Department also released details about transit options available to travelers such as free fares in the inbound direction on the SL3 bus line offered at the Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction. The MBTA also announced that they will be running additional MBTA Blue Line trains to additional capacity, and these measures will be funded by MassDOT Highway Division project funds.

Beginning April 1, lane closures on the Tobin Bridge northbound will be put in place, although two of three travel lanes will be open during daytime hours. One of the three travel lanes on the Tobin Bridge northbound will be open during overnight hours.

Beginning by early May, Route 1 travel lanes in the Chelsea Curves area will be reduced so that two of three north and southbound travel lanes will be open in the daytime. One of three north and southbound travel lanes will be open during overnight hours.

“MassDOT is carrying out simultaneous work on this infrastructure which was constructed in the middle of the 20th century and hasn’t been rehabilitated since the 1970s in order to ensure its continued use and reliability and minimize the overall impact on commuters and the local community,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “We thank travelers for their patience as MassDOT begins this necessary project, and we encourage everyone traveling throughout the Route 1 area to make smart commuting decisions such as considering public transit, using the appropriate technology apps to find the best route and time to travel, and building extra time into their commutes to account for potential roadway congestion.”

The MBTA said they will be offering the free fares on the Silver Line and the Commuter Rail during construction.

“During construction, free fares are being offered for Silver Line 3 (SL3) inbound customers at certain station stops and additional Blue Line train capacity is being added. In addition, public transit customers will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea on the Commuter Rail,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “Some MBTA customers on certain bus routes will experience delays, so we urge riders to consider taking advantage of these additional travel options being offered during construction.”

MassDOT’s traffic modeling suggests that on Route 1 northbound, afternoon peak travel times could increase in duration and have significant delays. Vehicle backups are expected to extend onto the I-93 ramps, along the Leverett Connector, and towards Rutherford Avenue. On Route 1 southbound, morning peak travel times could similarly increase in duration with significant delays expected.

MassDOT is carrying out work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 at the same time so that these projects will be completed in 2021. If the projects were done at separate times, drivers would be inconvenienced for additional years. This work will eliminate the need for weight restrictions and postings, and MassDOT will use accelerated construction techniques to shorten the overall construction time.

For more information on traffic conditions travelers are encouraged to:

•Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.

•Visit HYPERLINK “http://www.mass511.com” t “_blank” www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.

•Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions.

•Check parking availability at the T’s 8 largest garages @MBTA_Parking. •Download MassDOT’s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

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Boston to Install Dedicated Bus Lane on North Washington Street, Helps 111 Riders

Boston to Install Dedicated Bus Lane on North Washington Street, Helps 111 Riders

In a move that could dramatically reduce the commute times for Chelsea 111 bus riders, the City of Boston announced they are planning on installing a dedicated bus lane on North Washington Street from Causeway to Haymarket – a key clogging point for riders heading into Haymarket from Chelsea.

It would be a move that would accommodate the 111 bus routes and two Charlestown bus routes, and Boston officials said the new lane could reduce travel times by as much as 25 percent.

“We are planning on building an exclusive bus lane on North Washington Street from the intersection at Causeway Street after the bridge to Haymarket,” said Vineet Gupta, director of planning at the Boston Transportation Department (BTD). “It would be a dedicated bus lane 24/7 on the inbound side. Right now, we’re working with the MBTA to install that bus lane.”

BTD Director Gina Fiandaca said they have been working closely with Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the MBTA on the North Washington Street bus lane, and hope that they can get it done as early in 2019 as possible. She said that stretch of the bus route is often the most congested, and riders often find themselves waiting longer on the bus for the last leg than it would take them to walk.

“This inbound bus lane will have the opportunity to move along at a quicker pace than the rest of the traffic,” she said. “Another good part of this is in the future when the North Washington Street Bridge is completed, it will have a bus lane as well. That will provide a connection with this new lane to have one unbroken exclusive bus lane from Charlestown when the Bridge is done.”

In order to accomplish the new lane, the City will have to remove some metered parking spaces and a commercial parking space, but a large chunk of the stretch is a large bus stop and ‘no parking’ zones.

Gupta said they have no clear data yet on the time it could save commuters going inbound – though they will begin keeping that data very soon. However, in Roslindale where they installed a bus lane last year, commutes were shortened by 25 percent. The same data also presented itself in Everett two years ago when they put a dedicated bus lane on Broadway Everett.

The announcement was one of several made by Boston Mayor Walsh at the Greater Boston Municipal Research Bureau meeting on March 7. The North Washington Street bus lane would be the first one in effect 24 hours a day in Boston.

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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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Rep. Ryan Pleased with Assignments

Rep. Ryan Pleased with  Assignments

State Rep. Dan Ryan said this week he is pleased in what is considered a step up in becoming the vice chair of the Post Audit Oversight Committee – a powerful committee that runs investigations of government operations and actually has subpoena powers.

“I want to thank Speaker DeLeo for this appointment, and my House colleagues for voting to affirm his trust in me,” said Ryan. “I look forward to working with Chairman Linsky and other committee members in continuing to bring solid, cost-effective government programs to the electorate.”

Ryan said Post-Audit Oversight certainly isn’t a household name for most people in the Town, but said it has a unique mission and is a sought-after committee on Beacon Hill.
“The Post-Audit Oversight Committee is a select House committee that has a unique mission,” he said. “Members of the committee are tasked with ensuring that State agencies are abiding by legislative intent and the program initiatives put forth, by the legislature, through the budget process. When necessary, the committee will work with administrative agencies to propose corrective actions to best serve citizens of the Commonwealth.”

One of the most visible investigations conducted by the Committee came several years ago in the previous administration when the Department of Children and Families (DCF) came under fire for its handling and management of numerous cases involving children.

Ryan has also been assigned as a member of the Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery Committee, and as a member of the Transportation Committee.

•Just across the North Washington Street Bridge, State Rep. Aaron Michlewitz came away with one of the biggest scores for the Boston delegation in getting assigned as chair of the powerful Ways & Means Committee.

Rep. Ryan said that having such an important chair nearby will be very good for Charlestown as well as the North End. That will particularly be apparent with projects like the North Washington Street Bridge, which affects the North End as much as Charlestown.

Michlewitz told the Patriot-Bridge that he is humbled by the appointment, and that while he has to build consensus across the state, he will keep his district and Boston in the forefront.

“I am honored that Speaker DeLeo believes I can do the job,” he said. “The first order of business is creating and debating a $42.7 billion budget. A lot of work has been done in committee, but we have a short timeframe to get a lot done. The thing I was to stress is my district is my number one priority.”

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