Planning Board Approves Eight Units on Spencer Avenue

The Planning Board has approved plans for an eight-unit, four story condominium building at Spencer and Eastern Avenues, despite concerns from some board members about traffic and the size of the project.

The project at 254 Spencer Ave. will now go before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for several variances, including parking relief. The developer is proposing eight parking spots at the site, where 12 are required by the City.

The developer will tear down the existing two-family house on the 5,000-square-foot lot and replace the home with the market-rate condo units. The units will be about 1,000 square feet each and likely sell for about $500,000 each. The project will abut the larger Acadia affordable housing development.

Although several Planning Board members raised concerns about the size of the project, Mimi Rancatore was the only board member to cast a vote against the project.

Rancatore said she appreciated the look and quality of the new building, “but I think it is just too big.”

While Rancatore said the four-story building would be comparable to the Acadia project, it would be bigger than other homes and buildings in the neighborhood. She said it could create a domino effect, with other developers buying smaller homes and knocking them down to build higher in the area.

City Council President Damali Vidot also said she liked the overall look of the project but was worried it could set a precedent leading to denser development in the neighborhood.

However, a number of residents who live in the neighborhood said they supported the project and questioned why the Planning Board had not taken greater action to stop the larger Acadia and 1005 Webster Avenue projects if they were concerned about traffic and overdevelopment.

“Why give (the developer) a hard time about this when it is the same level as the Acadia,” said neighborhood resident Barbara Richard. “We in the area approve of it.”

The Planning Board approved the project with the condition that the developer look at ways to add some more trees and shrubbery near the front of the building.

“In my opinion, the project will make a nice transition from the Acadia down to the two- and three-story buildings next to it,” said Planning Board Chairman Tuck Willis. “Certainly, what is there now is underutilized and in bad condition, and this building would clean that up.”

•In other business, the Planning Board discussed a proposed zoning amendment from the City Council concerning off-street parking regulations. Under the zoning change, residents of buildings where the developers have sought zoning relief for the number of on-site parking spaces would not be eligible to participate in the City’s off-street sticker parking program.

“This would be a way to encourage development but not further burden the residents who live here,” said Vidot.

But Rancatore said she believes the amendment would be hard to enforce and only encourage illegal parking.

The Council, Planning Board and City officials will meet in the fall to further discuss the parking regulations.

•GreenStar Herbals withdrew its site plan for a retail marijuana facility at 200 Beacham St., but are expected to be back before the Planning Board with a revised plan in July.

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Police Briefs 05-23-2019

By Seth Daniel and Paul Koolloian

No Identity

On May 11, at 6:50 p.m., a CPD officer observed a vehicle speeding on Eastern Avenue. The vehicle was pulled over and the operator refused to provide his identification to the officer. He was placed into custody after his repeated refusal to identify himself. He was later Identified and learned to not be properly licensed.

Bryan Nunez, 30, of 63 Shawmut St., was charged with refusing to identify himself, negligent operation, and unlicensed operation.

Breaking and Entering

On May 18, at 1 p.m., officers responded to an apartment at 77 Library St. for a report of a past breaking and entering to the residence. Upon arrival, Officers spoke with the reporting party who stated that an unknown male party had broken into their apartment and fled after her younger brother confronted the male and chased him out of the residence.

The victim was able to utilize her find my iPhone app that led the victim, and police, to a Shurtleff Street address. The victim identified the suspect, and he was placed under arrest.

Ariel Melendez, 42, of 61 Shurtleff St., was charged with breaking and entering in the day, and larceny from a building.

Driving under the Influence

On May 18, at 8:44 p.m., a CPD officer was dispatched to 92 Clinton St. for a report of a motor vehicle accident with no reported injuries. The officer observed two motor vehicles involved in a minor crash. As both were exchanging information, the officer detected a strong odor of alcohol from one of the drivers. The officer formed the opinion that the operator was driving under the influence of alcohol and the driver was arrested on the scene.

Marvin Mancia, 39, of 109 Clinton St., was charged with OUI Liquor.

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Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project Started May 14

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) began the closure of one of three southbound travel lanes on Route 1 in Chelsea and the Tobin Bridge the morning of Tuesday, May 14, snarling traffic in many parts of Everett as commuters looked for an alternative route.

The public was also reminded the one-lane northbound closure on the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 was expanded the morning of Tuesday, May 14. MassDOT anticipates that these lane closures will lead to increased travel times on sections of Route 1 northbound and southbound for drivers and MBTA bus customers for months to come.

These traffic impacts are associated with MassDOT’s Tobin Bridge/Chelsea Curves Rehabilitation Project and lane closures will remain in place for approximately two years. Additional overnight lane closures will be necessary throughout the project meaning only one lane of travel may be open during certain evening hours.

In order to accommodate travelers during this necessary construction work, MassDOT is opening the I-93 southbound carpool lane between Medford and the Zakim Bridge to all vehicles regardless of the number of occupants. This lane will continue to function as an “express lane” and vehicles in this lane on I-93 southbound will not have access to Exit 28 (Mystic Avenue) or Exit 26 (Storrow Drive).

“North Shore commuters should be aware that beginning the morning of Tuesday, May 14, a travel lane will be closed on Route 1 southbound in Chelsea, and the lane closure that is already in place on the Tobin Bridge and Route 1 northbound will be expanded,” said Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver last Friday. “MassDOT is carrying out this necessary rehabilitation work in order to ensure the continued use and reliability of Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Viaduct. We appreciate the cooperation and patience of the traveling public and advise everyone to make smart 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.”

Travelers are also reminded of options such as free fares in the inbound direction on the MBTA Silver Line 3 bus line offered at the Chelsea, Bellingham Square, Box District, and Eastern Avenue stops for the duration of construction. In addition, public transit customers will be able to use a CharlieCard to travel between North Station and Chelsea on the Commuter Rail. The MBTA is also running additional MBTA Blue Line trains to increase capacity. These measures are all being funded by MassDOT Highway Division project funds.

MassDOT is also advising the public to also consider using the Haverhill or Newburyport/Rockport Commuter Rail lines and note that the Haverhill Line historically has parking capacity at Haverhill and Bradford stations. The Newburyport/Rockport Line historically has parking capacity at Newburyport, Salem and Lynn station. Customers can monitor @MBTA_Parking on Twitter for capacity updates and information. In addition, the MBTA has installed a digital parking capacity sign at the Blue Line Wonderland parking lot so drivers approaching the lot can get “real time” information on parking availability.

MassDOT is carrying out work on the Tobin Bridge and Chelsea Curves section of Route 1 at the same time so that the most impactful work will be completed by 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.

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Sports 01-24-2019

Sports 01-24-2019

CHS Roundup

CHS track teams defeat Greater Lowell

The Chelsea High girls and boys indoor track and field teams remained undefeated with victories over Greater Lowell this past week.

For the Red Devil boys, who triumphed by a score of 45-33, the highlights were as follows:

1st in the two-mile — Ian Padilla

1st in the 300 — Jesus Matos (44.7)

1-2-3 in the shot put — Rigo Flores (40’5), Anthony Del Rosario, Josue Rios

1st in the high jump — Jesus Matos

1-2-3 in the mile — Justin Turner (4:57), Jazmany Reyes, Julio Valladares

For the Lady Red Devils, who won their side of the meet by a score of 50-32, highlights included:

1st in hurdles — Stephanie Simon

1st in the 300 — Ana Chang (49.5)

1-2-3 in the shot put — Masireh Ceesay, Jessica Martinez, Deanna Christmas

1-2 in the 600 — Jocelyn Poste, Yarelis Torres

1st in the high jump — Stephanie Simon

1st in the 1000 — Yarid Deras (3:43)

4×400 win — Jocelyn Poste, Yarelis Torres, Denali Mejia, Ana Chang

Steph Simon wins two events at the Dartmouth Relays

Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simon won two events this past Saturday at the Dartmouth Relays in Hanover, New Hampshire, a meet that annually attracts some of the best track and field athletes in the Northeast.

Stephanie won the long jump by a quarter of an inch with her leap of 17′-7″ and captured the triple jump with a distance of 38′-5″, the latter being a national-qualifying mark.

Bruins Beat

Bruins enjoying bye week

Without the excitement of the Patriots win over the Kansas City Chiefs, on their way to the Super Bowl, this would have been a boring week for Bruins fans. With the bye week before the All-Star break, the Bs have been blessed with a 9-day hiatus. The reason for feeling blessed is due to the concussion suffered by goaltender Tuukka Rask versus the New York Rangers last Saturday. Recent comments from Rask’s agent, Brett Peterson, were a shade encouraging, stating that he believes, “There isn’t “anything to be too concerned about in respect to Rask’s recovery, and I think it is day to day for him right now.” Rask’s concussion extended the list of Bruins concussed this season, adding his name to the list that included, David Backes, Urho Vaakanainen, Jake DeBrusk, and Charlie McAvoy. Boston resumes their regular season schedule on Tuesday, January 29, when they face the streaking Winnipeg Jets on Garden ice.

The Bruins can certainly count their lucky stars, as one of the major reason for the team currently holding on to sixth place (27-17-5) in the Eastern Conference has been the goaltending duo of Rask and Jaroslav Halak’s steady performances in net. Numbers wise, Rask is 14-8-3, 2.43 goals-against, and a .919 save percentage – Halak is 13-9-2, 2.47 goals-against, and a .919 save percentage. The mirrored numbers attest to their outstanding and mostly consistent play. Add to that the powerful first line, Patrice Bergeron, David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand, the trio responsible for 60 of the Bs 143 goals scored, and an impressive 150 points to date. Combine those stats with the solid play on the defense, and it certainly looks promising for this team when their full roster is on board.

As is the case every season, each point is crucial, as it shows in the present playoff picture, where seven teams are clustered in the East, battling for position. Teams trailing the Eastern Conference-leading Tampa Bay Lightning (76 points), New York Islanders (63), Toronto Maple Leafs (60), Washington Capitals (60), Bruins, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Montreal Canadiens, all with 59 points, and the Pittsburgh Penguins hanging in there with 58.

David Pastrnak is the lone Bruins representative at the 2019 NHL All-Star game in San Jose, California. Fans tuning in are reminded of the change in programming, this year’s event will be played this Saturday, January 26th at 8:00pm EST, instead of the usual Sunday date, with the Skills Competition moved from its traditional Saturday night to this Friday, January 25. Following the All-Star break, the Bruins return to Garden ice for a two-game homestand, beginning Tuesday (1/29 at 7 p.m.) to take on the Winnipeg Jets, and back on the ice again Thursday (1/31 at 7 p.m.) to host the Philadelphia Flyers.

ZDENO CHARA TO CAPTAIN 12th ANNUAL PJ DRIVE

The Boston Bruins and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners are teaming up with Cradles to Crayons and DCF Wonderfund, both non-profits that ensure positive living conditions for children, to present the 12th Annual “PJ Drive” to benefit Massachusetts’ youth in need. The drive will run from February 1, until March 15. The PJ Drive provides new, unused pajamas to babies, children, and teens in communities across Massachusetts. Bruins Captain Zdeno Chara will lead this year’s PJ Drive for the fourth time. The PJ Drive originally started during the 2007-2008 season by former Bruin P.J. Axelsson and his wife Siw. Since then, over 100,000 Massachusetts children have received PJs through the Bruins PJ drive.

The Boston Bruins will be hosting an in-game PJ collection on Saturday, February 9, at the Boston Bruins vs. LA Kings game at 1 p.m. at TD Garden. Fans who donate PJs or $10 at this game will be entered in a raffle to win Bruins autographed prizes. Please note that all PJs must be new and unused to be donated. Fans can register their own organization to be a PJ Drive donation site. The top three organizations that collect the most PJs will receive five tickets to one of the following games: Bruins vs. New York Rangers on Wednesday, March 27, at 7:30 p.m., or Bruins vs. Florida Panthers on Saturday, March 30, at 7 p.m.

BLOOD DRIVE THIS WEEKEND

The Bruins will host their annual Blood Drive with the American Red Cross on this Sunday, January 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at TD Garden. The day will be filled with family-friendly activities, including a kids’ obstacle course, plus touch-a-truck, and appearances by Bruins mascot Blades. Donors can make appointments by calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767), visiting RedCrossBlood.org, and by entering sponsor code BRUINS, or by using the American Red Cross Blood Donor app. All donors will receive a long-sleeve American Red Cross T-shirt. Free parking for the Blood Drive will be provided at the North Station Garage. Also taking place on this day at the Garden will be the First Responder Challenge powered by National Grid.

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City Looks to Residents to Name, Define Neighborhoods

City Looks to Residents to Name, Define Neighborhoods

Ask 100 people where the Mill Hill neighborhood separates from the Mill Creek neighborhood and one would probably get 100 different answers.

Neighborhoods in Chelsea have been loosely defined for decades, with some not even named at all, but now Downtown Coordinator Mimi Graney is looking to residents of Chelsea to define the City’s neighborhoods more precisely.

“It came up because City Planner Karl Allen has been working on a project by the Produce Center and he kept calling it West Chelsea,” she said. “Every time he did that, people would laugh at it. It brought up the question as to what do you call that area. It was the same thing for the Walnut Street Synagogue area. Then you have people talking about Prattville. We decided to try to figure out what you call the various neighborhoods of Chelsea.”

That started with a query of the Chel-Yea group last month, and during that event and with online follow ups, Graney said she got very impassioned responses.

People, she said, took it very seriously.

“Several people said everything was just Chelsea, but others had strong opinions about Admiral’s Hill and Prattville,” she said. “It has solicited a lot of interested conversations.”

Graney has produced a map with suggested boundaries and names. So far, they have included Prattville, Mayor’s Row, Chelsea High, Addison-Orange, Soldiers’ Home/Powderhorn Hill, Cary Square, Mill Creek, Mill Hill, Spencer Avenue, Eastern Ave Industrial Area, Box District, Bellingham Hill, Salt Piles, Waterfront, Downtown (including Chelsea Square and Bellingham Square), Williams School, Carter Park, Mystic Mall, Produce District and Admiral’s Hill.

It was difficult, she said, to find the real boundaries of the Soldiers’ Home neighborhood versus Cary Square, she said, and many said the Spencer Avenue area should be called Upper Broadway. Mill Creek, on the other hand, has been confused in some ways with the Parkway Plaza.

She said the exercise is one that moves beyond the fun of talking about it, and moving towards making it a place.

“The legacy of the fire in the Mystic Mall area sort of upended most boundaries there,” she said. “People are uncomfortable with the area beyond Carter Park and Chelsea High area. If it doesn’t have a name, it becomes this no man’s land. Naming a place has a power to it. I’m hoping people in these areas claim that power in that naming.”

Graney said they will continue to take input on the neighborhood boundaries, and will likely present something to the community in the near future.

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City has Negotiated Three Host Community Agreements with Marijuana Operators

City has Negotiated Three Host Community Agreements with Marijuana Operators

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said this week that the City has negotiated three Host Community Agreements (HCA) with marijuana operators looking to establish dispensaries in the City.

Ambrosino said all three HCAs are identical and are really a formality for the dispensaries, which include the one at the former King Arthur’s, the one on Eastern Avenue and the one on Webster Avenue at Chelsea Commons. He said the City’s policy is they would negotiate an HCA with any entity that had gotten through the process and wanted to proceed to state approval.

“My guess is that it’s another year or so before any of them are set up,” he said. “It’s my understanding that all of the enterprises with HCAs here are not very close to being approved by the state Cannabis Control Commission (CCC).”

The HCAs are the next step after the community meeting, which all three have completed. To go before the CCC, an entity must have an HCA in place, and Ambrosino said the law is clear towards what can be in those agreements.

In Chelsea’s case, the City has asked for 3 percent of gross revenues from the sales of marijuana products. Those payments will come annually and will be in addition to the 3 percent local sales tax already approved. The first 3 percent mitigation payment would come 14 months after the dispensary opens.

A second monetary piece in the agreements includes two, $30,000 payments over two years to the City’s non-profits that have an anti-drug focus.

An important aside, Ambrosino said, is that the HCA doesn’t mean the City has agreed to support the license of any entity.

“My signing off on these is not a substantive decision on them,” he said. “I’m just giving them the chance to move forward and you have to have these in place to move forward. We’ll make the substantive decisions on these proposals not behind closed doors in a negotiation, but rather at the Zoning Board and Planning Board in a public as part of a process.”

Before any of the three dispensaries could open their doors, they would need state approval from the CCC. Then they would have to come back to Chelsea and get a special permit after visiting the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and the Planning Board. If that permit is achieved, they would then have to get a license to operate from the Chelsea License Commission.

Only then could an establishment open for business.

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Science Central:Ronald and Leo Robinson Plan Latimer Society’s Science Carnival

Science Central:Ronald and Leo Robinson Plan Latimer Society’s Science Carnival

If you’re a Chelsea student who enjoys scientific exploration, then the Latimer Society’s third annual Chelsea Science Festival is a must-go on your summer calendar.

Latimer Society Co-Directors Leo Robinson and Ronald Robinson are calling this year’s event, “Science Carnival,” which means it will be both educational and fun.

The Carnival will be held on Friday, Aug. 10, from noon to 5 p.m., at the Port Park, 99 Marginal Street. Joseph and Shelagh McNamee of Eastern Minerals have generously donated the facility for the event, and it’s proven to be a perfect venue with its waterfront location.

“What we’re trying to do is bring practitioners of science together with members of the community, children, and families,” said Ronald Robinson. “We’re trying to get our younger students involved in STEM, science, technology, engineering, and math, but we do STEAM and the ‘A’ stands for art.”

Robinson said the event will have local and regional scientists and science-oriented organizations in attendance.

“It’s our big event of the summer,” said Robinson. “We’re also working with CAPIC’s youth development center once a week this summer with a program that helps youth learn about designing.”

What activities can students expect when they arrive at the Science Carnival?

They will have access to interactive stations staffed by representatives from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the Suffolk County Mosquito Board, and of course, the Latimer Society, which is named for the brilliant scientist and inventor Lewis Howard Latimer, who was born in Chelsea in 1848.

“We’re all about promoting science because he [Latimer] was a noted scientist,” said Ronald Robinson.

The event is free of charge and open to students from Chelsea and other communities. Refreshments will be available.

“We expect students from Chelsea, Everett, East Boston, and Revere to be at the carnival,” said Leo Robinson, a longtime city councillor in Chelsea whose life has been dedicated to helping local students and athletes.

In concluding the interview about the Aug. 10 event, Ronald Robinson told a heartwarming story about two Chelsea students, ages 14 and 15, whom he had asked about their future career aspirations.

“One student said he’d like to play at Duke and in the NBA,” said Robinson. “I asked him what else he would like to be doing after college. So now I have him and his friend rebuilding a 3-D printer and they’re really enthusiastic about the project. And that’s what we do at the Latimer Society. We connect our youth with the sciences.”

And Ronald and Leo Robinson having been doing that well at the Latimer Society for more than 20 years.

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Eastern Avenue/Broadway Signal: To Fix It, or Not to Fix It

Eastern Avenue/Broadway Signal: To Fix It, or Not to Fix It

The blinking signals at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Broadway have not functioned for years, but after some recent repairs, they are close to being fixed now.

The question, though, has become whether or not the City really wants to get them working.

“The constraint on operating the lights has not just been the control box,” read a letter from City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Rather, there has been real concern that having the lights fully functioning on the typical green, yellow, and red sequence will adversely impact the flow of traffic. Because it has been so long since the lights have functioned in that fashion, I cannot opine of the legitimacy of that concern.”

Two years ago, the City Council approved money to fix the control box on the lights. That work was completed, and now a small $2,000 expenditure is all that stands in the way of another working traffic light.

That said, the flow of traffic at the intersection is fairly smooth, though there is quite a bit of confusion for those coming onto Broadway from Clinton Street.

Ambrosino said the Council should make the decision, but he recommends a pilot program for 30 to 60 days to see if a functioning lights helps matters or hurts them.

He also suggested upgrading the lights to a sophisticated system using smart systems, cameras and sensors that can automatically change the timing of the light based on traffic volumes. Those types of signals have been approved by the Council for the Williams Street corridor.

He said if there is more development on the Creek, these advanced lights might be in order.

“I do believe that, if any further development is to occur at either the Forbes site or the old Midas site, an upgrade to a smart intersection at this location will be an essential precondition to such development,” he said.

A proposal is expected in the fall.

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Erin Barker Recognized by Care Dimensions

Erin Barker Recognized by Care Dimensions

Care Dimensions, the largest provider of hospice and palliative care services in Massachusetts, celebrated National Nurses Week, May 6 -12 by honoring its nurses, many of whom are board certified in hospice and palliative care

. Care Dimensions’ new President & CEO, Patricia Ahern, a 41-year veteran in the field of nursing, said, “The capacity to explain complicated medical information is something that everyone values about nurses and the confidence that people have in the technical skills of nurses is remarkable. More importantly, nurses are gifted with the ability to discern the worry and apprehension that folks can’t quite get into words when they are feeling vulnerable and isolated.”

Erin Barker, RN., a Care Dimensions nurse from Chelsea was recognized for her professionalism, leadership and commitment to excellence in patient care at Care Dimensions:

Since the founding in 1978, nurses have helped to make the time of advanced illness dignified and meaningful for patients and their families. We welcome new members to our team of caring, compassionate nurses. Visit www.CareDimensions.org/careers to learn more.
About Care Dimensions

Making a Difference in Countless Lives for 40 years

Care Dimensions is the largest hospice and palliative care provider to adults and children in Massachusetts. As a non-profit, community-based leader in advanced illness care, Care Dimensions provides comprehensive hospice, palliative care, grief support and teaching programs in more than 90 communities in Eastern Massachusetts. Celebrating 40 years of service, Care Dimensions was founded in 1978 as Hospice of the North Shore, and cares for patients wherever they live – in their homes, in skilled nursing facilities and assisted living communities, in hospitals, or at our two inpatient hospice facilities (the new Care Dimension Hospice House in Lincoln, and the Kaplan Family Hospice House in Danvers). To learn more about Care Dimensions or to view a tour of our hospice houses, please visit www.CareDimensions.org.

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MCU Selected to Take Part in Equity Builder Program

MCU Selected to Take Part in Equity Builder Program

Metro Credit Union (MCU)  has been selected to participate in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Equity Builder Program, which assists local homebuyers with down-payment and closing costs assistance. Metro received $110,000 through the program, which is available on a first come first serve basis. Homebuyers, at or below 80 percent of the area median income and complete a homebuyer counseling program are eligible to receive up to $11,000 to be used in conjunction with Metro’s flexible loan programs and reduced fees.

“We are pleased to be able to offer this assistance to help ease some of the challenges associated with a home purchase. Homeownership is key to building wealth and creating financial stability, and programs that assist homebuyers are a critical component in ensuring that our communities continue to thrive,” said Robert Cashman, President & CEO, Metro Credit Union.

Since 2003, the Equity Builder Program has awarded more than $35 million in EBP funds assisting 3,150 income-eligible households to purchase a home.

 To learn more about applying for assistance, please contact a Metro Mortgage Specialist at  877.696.3876 or visit MetroCU.org.

About Metro Credit Union

Metro Credit Union is the largest state-chartered credit union in Massachusetts with over $1.3 billion in assets, and serves more than 170,000 members. It is a growing, federally insured financial institution and a leading provider of a full range of financial services to anyone living or working in Essex, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Plymouth, Barnstable, Bristol or Worcester counties in Eastern Massachusetts, as well as Massachusetts state employees and retirees throughout the Commonwealth. Founded in 1926, Metro Credit Union is a non-profit cooperative institution, owned by and operated for the people who use and benefit from its products and services. Metro uses superior customer service and technology to deliver a full range of financial products to consumers and businesses in eastern Massachusetts. Learn more about Metro Credit Union at www.metrocu.org

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