Shark Week is Back

Shark Week is Back

Ocean animals don’t always draw national attention, but once every year, they become a media sensation. That time of the year is back. First aired on July 17, 1988, Shark Week returned to Discovery Channel this week to celebrate its 30-year anniversary.

The 10-show lineup launched with a bang on Sunday, starring the week’s host Shaquille O’Neal and UFC Hall of Famer Ronda Rousey, among others. O’Neal made headlines, when a small shark entered the former NBA star’s protective cage, forcing him to get pulled out of the water.

Shark Week will have featured 26 shows in all, when the two-hour special of Naked and Afraid of Sharks run on Sunday, July 29.

But as visibility of white sharks have seemingly increased in recent years, one must wonder if sharks are as great a threat as Shark Week makes them out to be.

“Shark Week has gotten much better in terms of their science content around [sharks], but as is common to most media and TV, their promotions of it often still promotes the idea of sharks as being dangerous or a threat,” said Tony LaCasse, of the New England Aquarium. “We play on the fear aspect that most people have of large predators.”

People should still be careful around sharks, but the likelihood of a fatal shark attack is fairly uncommon, LaCasse said. In fact, the last fatal shark attack in Massachusetts happened in 1936; the last non-fatal shark attack was in 2014, when two kayakers safely escaped a great white shark that bit their boats.

His biggest tip on cautionary measures against sharks? “If you’re swimming in the outer cape, and you see a seal in the water, get out of the water,” LaCasse said. “That’s going to minimize the chance that you have an accident.”

LaCasse said New England has always been home to a small population of white sharks, but with seals under the protection of the U.S. federal law, population of seals, the preferred prey of white sharks, have increased drastically in areas including Chatham and Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge.

“Over time, all those white sharks [Massachusetts has] that were dispersed throughout New England are concentrating around the elbow of Cape Cod because that’s where their food is,” LaCasse said of the increased visibility of the white sharks.

“If you’re going to the outer cape, the thing that hurts most people are other people,” LaCasse said.

This won’t be the only time this summer will feature sharks on air, as The Meg will be released in theaters on August 10. The film is based on Steve Alten’s 1997 science-fiction novel, Meg: A Novel of Deep Terror.

The film features Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson and Ruby Rose. Despite the name’s similarity, The Meg is unrelated to the 2004 horror Megalodon or the Megashark franchise.

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City Expected to Begin Design on Beacham Street in July

City Expected to Begin Design on Beacham Street in July

The City will begin design of a major rehabilitation of Beacham Street in the New England Produce Center area from Spruce Street to the Everett line, said City Planner Alex Train.

That comes due to the fact that the City was just recently awarded an unexpected $3 million grant for the project from the federal Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.

Train said the City has proposed a $5 million capital investment in the project for the Fiscal Year 2020 Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), giving them $8 million total to complete the project.

He said they will begin as soon as they can.

“We are excited to get this started,” said Train. “We are scheduled to start design and engineering on July 1. We will hopefully break ground on construction July 1, 2019. I expect there would be a three-year construction timeline. During that time and before, we will be coordinating with abutters, residents and businesses.”

The plan includes completely repurposing the roadway from a predominantly industrial truck route to a major automobile/pedestrian/cyclist east-west corridor throughway.

That will mean it will get a new surface, a new roadway, a new sidewalk on one side, a shared-use path on the southerly side with a buffered bike/pedestrian path, stormwater/drainage improvements, new lighting, new street trees, new signals at the intersection of Spruce and Williams Streets.

In addition, Train said they are working with the City of Everett to coordinate the design so that the Everett project matches the Chelsea project.

“They will be mimicking our design so there will be a contiguous and similar cyclable and walkable roadway from Chelsea to Everett,” he said.

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Parenting Journey Announces Chelsea Resident Board Member

Parenting Journey Announces Chelsea Resident Board Member

Parenting Journey announced this week that five new members will join its eight-member board of directors, including Chelsea’s Kate Guedj, vice president and chief philanthropy officer at The Boston Foundation.

The new members include Bithiah Carter, president and CEO, New England Blacks in Philanthropy; Guedj, vice president and chief philanthropy officer, The Boston Foundation; Robert Lewis, Jr., president, The BASE; Travis McCready, president and CEO, Massachusetts Life Sciences Center; and Jay Youmans, principal, Smith, Costello & Crawford.

“We’re excited to welcome these trailblazers to our board. Each shares our vision of equity for all families. Their distinct expertise will greatly enhance our work to empower parents and break down the systemic barriers that affect families,” said Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of Parenting Journey.

Guedj joined The Boston Foundation in 2000, and is vice president and chief philanthropy officer. She oversees the Foundation’s development efforts and works with donors to help them achieve their charitable and philanthropic goals.  In addition, she provides management oversight to the Philanthropic Initiative.

Parenting Journey’s work is inspired by the belief that strong families are the foundation of vibrant healthy communities and the catalyst to ignite social change. The organization is dedicated to providing programs that uplift parents and caregivers and strengthen families and communities, advocating for equitable family policies, and disrupting the social narrative around parenting in poverty.

Parenting Journey envisions a world where all parents and caregivers have access to the resources they need to build resilient families and thrive, no matter their race or socioeconomic background.

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Chelsea Schools Announce Schmidt as Principal for New School

Chelsea Schools Announce Schmidt as Principal for New School

Chelsea has a new leader for what will be a new school, as current Chelsea High Assistant Principal Ron Schmidt has been tapped to lead the new Chelsea Opportunity Academy, which starts on July 1.

Supt. Mary Bourque announced the hire this week, soon after she announced the organization of the Opportunity Academy, which is funded through a $750,000 grant from the Barr Foundation.

“A new school, needs a new principal,” she wrote. “It is therefore, with great pleasure that I announce the appointment of Chelsea High School’s Assistant Principal, Mr. Ronald Schmidt, to Principal of the Chelsea Opportunity Academy, effective July 1, 2018. The appointment of Mr. Schmidt to Principal of COA was an easy one to make as a Superintendent. Mr. Schmidt’s education as well as his deep career experience has prepared him to run his own school – a different type of school. He is committed to students in need of a different high school experience to be successful… Mr. Schmidt was hired as Assistant Principal of Chelsea High School in 2003 and has served the students and families of Chelsea with all of his energy and heart.”

The Barr Foundation awarded Chelsea Schools the ‘Engage New England: Doing High School Differently’ grant to purposefully implement the Opportunity Academy in the 2018-2019 school year. It will be the district’s 10th school and second high school.

The Opportunity Academy will be a school within a school model, so it will be located on the campus of Chelsea High School.

The design of the school is to serve students who are overage, under-credited, and who are struggling with the traditional American high school experience.

It will provide students with flexible scheduling, blended learning, and individualized support in order that students make continual progress towards earning a high school diploma.

“Mr. Schmidt is the only one I want to lead this high school, so great is my faith and confidence in him,” wrote Bourque.

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Police Briefs 04-19-2018

Police Briefs 04-19-2018

DRUG BUST

On April 10, at 8:19 a.m., a well-being check was executed at 93 Parker St. Upon arrival at the address three individuals were observed fleeing the residence. After further investigation, all three were placed into custody for narcotics charges.

Derik Hidalgo-Sanjuan, 19, of 192 Shurtleff St.; David Hurtado, 27, of 725 Broadway; and Pedro Colon, 29, of Revere; were all charged with possession of a Class B drug and conspiracy.

KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME CRACK?

On April 14 at 2:47 a.m., two male parties were observed chasing each other in front of the Fine Mart, located at 260 Broadway. The victim stated that he encountered the suspect near 52 Hawthorne St. when the victim asked the suspect if he knew where he could purchase crack cocaine.  The victim then pulled out $251, at which point the suspect grabbed the money and fled the area. The victim chased him down, and police locked the suspect up.

Johel Mims, 18, of Malden, was charged with unarmed robbery and assault and battery.

STABBED FATHER IN NEW YORK

On April 14, at 1:24 a.m., information was received from New York State Police that suspect had stabbed his father, who was sent to the hospital and required

emergency surgery. New York State Police had information that the suspect was fleeing the State of New York and heading to his mother’s residence in Chelsea. The subject was located at 9 Guam Rd. and placed into custody for being a fugitive from justice out of New York State.

Yunis Aden, 24, of Cleveland, was charged as a fugitive from justice.

A LONG, LONG DISAGREEMENT

On April 9, at 12:34 a.m., officers responded to the New England Produce Co. Bay # 1 (Travis Fruit Company) on the report of a past assault with the victim on scene. Officers learned that the two drivers who occupied the truck had an ongoing argument that started in Virginia and escalated during their travel to Chelsea.

It all came to a head on the dock at the Produce Center when one driver attacked the other by kicking him while he was on the ground. He was placed under arrest on scene.

Andrew Ramirez, 30, of Santa Fe Springs, CA, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot).

CRASH ON CHESTER

On April 14, at 11:15 p.m., officers responded to 138 Chester Ave. for a report of a car crashing into several parked vehicles. Dispatch reported that the driver was attempting to leave the scene. Officers observed a white Mercedes in the middle of the roadway with significant damage to the front end and the suspect standing just outside the driver’s door. Several neighbors were out on the sidewalk who were pointing to the suspect and stating that he was the driver. Based on observations the operator was placed under arrest.

Renato Garcia, 29, of 149 Congress Ave., was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, reckless operation, speeding, stop sign violation and failing to wear a seat belt.

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Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Peabody Properties’ Service Manager Dusanka Caus Recipient of NEAHMA Annual Industry Award

Full-service real estate and property management firm Peabody Properties (http://www.peabodyproperties.com) is proud to announce that Dusanka Caus of Chelsea, Massachusetts, has been recognized for excellence by the New England Affordable Housing Management Association (NEAHMA).

Caus, Peabody Properties’ Service Manager, was awarded Maintenance Professional of the Year at the recent NEAHMA Annual Industry Awards reception, held in conjunction with the organization’s Annual Conference & Trade Show.  The honor is given annually to a NEAHMA member affordable housing professional in recognition of their contribution to the affordable housing industry.  In addition, the award recognizes the difference the recipient has made in residents’ lives, the demonstrated skills needed to operate a well-run property, and the ability to work well with industry partners and residents living in the community.

“Dusanka is an extraordinary member of our team and well-deserving of this prestigious award from NEAHMA,” said Scott Ployer, Vice President of Peabody Properties, Inc.  “The entire Peabody Properties community extends congratulations to Dusanka.”

About Peabody Properties, Inc.

Peabody Properties is a full-service real-estate firm which manages more than 12,000 units of housing, primarily in New England. The award-winning, privately held corporation and Accredited Management Organization (AMO) was incorporated in 1976 and is under the direction of Karen Fish-Will and Melissa Fish-Crane.  In 1995, Peabody Properties recognized its long-term commitment to Resident Services as a unique area of expertise within the field of property management and established a new, specialty sector.  Peabody Resident Services, Inc. is dedicated solely to the development of support services and programs for residents of affordable housing.  Peabody Properties is designated as a Woman Business Enterprise (WBE), is certified by the Massachusetts State Office of Minority and Women Business Assistance (SOMWBA) and was recently ranked in the top 60 on the 2017 National Affordable Housing Management Association (NAHMA) Affordable 100 List, as well as a 2017 Top Place to Work by the Boston Globe.  Peabody Properties maintains headquarters at 536 Granite Street, Braintree, MA 02184. The firm also has offices in New Jersey and Florida. For additional information please visit http://www.peabodyproperties.com.

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Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Local Artist at New England Water Color Society Signature Members Show

Explore the world of watercolors inside the Guild of Boston Artists gallery on Newbury Street, where the New England Watercolor Society (NEWS) is holding its annual Signature Members Show through March 4.

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

Paul McMahan from Chelsea with his painting of Preston’s Bridge

On display are a variety of styles ranging from hyperrealist to abstract, from soulful portraits to detailed images of machinery to sweeping light-struck landscapes.

The exhibit offers an exceptional opportunity for anybody to come in and appreciate the high degree of artistry and technical mastery attainable in this challenging medium.

“Watercolor is an amazingly diverse medium,” said Wendy Hale, president of NEWS and a Back Bay resident. “The palette extends from richly saturated colors to muted tones. Our members’ styles are equally varied, from the traditional Andrew Wyeth to today’s modern-edgy.”

NEWS was founded in 1885 as the Boston Watercolor Society and became the New England Watercolor Society in 1980. It is one of the oldest and most prestigious watercolor societies in America.

Some early members included American art as Thomas Allen, F. Childe Hassam, John Singer Sargent and more.

The Society has grown to over 400 members from all six New England states, of which nearly 200 are signature members.

The mission of the Society is to promote the advancement of aqua media arts throughout New England and to bring exceptional paintings using both traditional and innovative techniques to a wider public.

NEWS sponsors two juried shows each year. This show features the work of the Society’s signature members. The other show is open to all water-media artists in New England (in odd-numbered years) and throughout North America (in even-numbered years).

To become a signature member, a New England-based artist must be juried into four NEWS shows within a 10-year period, including at least one North American show.

“The one thing that is unique about the Signature Members Show is that it is always held in Boston every year and is always in February,” said Hale. “People can count on it.”

This year’s exhibition judge is Frederick C. Graff, a distinguished member of the American Watercolor Society. Graff had the hard job of determining the top 10 winners out of 79 pieces. He said he determined the winners based on their impact, composition and originality.

“With watercolor you’re not going to have a perfect painting,” said Graff. “So you take the best and see what they did with the composition and with their artistic ability.”

But what it really comes down to, Graff said, “Is what is the first thing that sticks out to you when you first walk into the room? For me, I usually know right away if I think something is on the top of the awards list.”

In connection with the exhibitions, the Society sponsors receptions and award presentations, gallery talks, demonstrations, and workshops led by nationally recognized water media experts.

Community artists and other interested supporters of NEWS can join as associate members. Signature and associate members are eligible for reduced fees for workshops for the regional and North American shows.

The Signature Members Show reception will be held on Saturday, Feb. 10 from 2 – 4 p.m. It is free and open to the public. All of the artwork on display is for sale.

New England Watercolor Society Signature Members Show, Guild of Boston Artists, 162 Newbury Street, Boston, through March 4, Tuesday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sundays 12-4 p.m. Painting demonstrations Sundays 1-3 p.m. Feb. 11, 18, and 25, and gallery talks Saturdays 1p.m. February 17 and 24 and March 3.

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High Water:Recent Blizzard Storm Surge Forces Tidal Flooding to the Forefront

High Water:Recent Blizzard Storm Surge Forces Tidal Flooding to the Forefront

By Seth Daniel

When the Jan. 4 blizzard hit Chelsea and Greater Boston, it was a lot of snow – which was par for the course in January – but the eye-opener was the 14.99 foot high tide that accompanied a storm surge.

Suddenly, blizzard conditions were matched with heavy flooding on Marginal Street, Congress Avenue and Beacham Street – where the Island End River actually went over its banks and threatened the New England Produce Center, which is a key cog in the region’s food supply.

To top it all off, the Chelsea Street Bridge was actually closed because the Creek was too high to keep it open.

“It really puts a lot of things into perspective,” said Roseann Bongiovanni of GreenRoots. “It’s predicted that all the way up to the Market Basket will be under water by 2030 and beyond, but you see something like the storm on Jan. 4 and it seems like it could be 2025 or 2020, maybe sooner…There are a lot of people who think they don’t have to worry about this now because the predictions are way off in the future. Well, the Chelsea Street Bridge closed down because the Creek overflowed. Nobody would believe that would happen in 2018, but it did. It’s real. That’s what I think we should take from this.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there was some significant flooding in the Island End River area, coming up by Signature Breads, the marina and to the DPW Yard. However, the Produce Center didn’t have significant flooding. At the same time, it put into perspective that such a critical facility for the food supply in New England, some mid-Atlantic states and southern Canada could be in a very risky location.

“That was a scary situation,” he said. “I know it came up very close to our DPW yard.”

There are already several grants in hand to do some infrastructure work to shore up the Island End River (about $1.5 million in one grant), but Ambrosino and Bongiovanni said the storm on Jan. 4 puts an exclamation point on getting it done faster.

“That’s been one of our focuses at GreenRoots for quite some time because it is a very key facility for the region,” said Bongiovanni. “We have been working with the Produce Center and they say the bays are high enough that the produce won’t be compromised. We know they keep about three day worth of produce on hand, but what if the trucks can’t get there for three days or more. That Center provides all the produce for a large area, and that food supply would be cut off for as long as the flooding there persists.”

Bongiovanni said they have been working with the City on some ideas.

City Planners have suggested salt marsh restoration that could naturally prevent flooding, as well as new sea walls and green infrastructure.

A more ambitious project, Bongiovanni said, is a study to create a Micro-Grid in Chelsea that would be able to power places like the Produce Center and Beth Israel Medical on Broadway if the electrical supply were cut off.

“Besides sea level rise and flooding, we want to think about what would happen if the electrical grid were down and they couldn’t power their refrigeration units to keep the produce cold,” she said.

Partners in that upcoming study include the Produce Center, the City, Chelsea Public Schools, Chelsea Housing Authority and Beth Israel. They would all host renewable energy generators that could be used just for Chelsea in an emergency.

“It’s the first stages of making the City completely energy independent,” said Bongiovanni. “That’s the kind of thing we really need to start thinking about when we see water coming up as high as it did.”

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City, State Facing the Challenges of New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

City, State Facing the Challenges of New Arrivals from Puerto Rico

By Seth Daniel

With virtually nothing left in Puerto Rico after two devastating hurricanes this fall, many from the island are flocking to family in the mainland United States to try to put their lives together – and with a huge Puerto Rican population in Chelsea, many are arriving here with questions and needs.

Chelsea Collaborative Director Gladys Vega and a team of stakeholders from the City have been meeting to try to solve the many issues that are coming up or likely will come up as more and more arrive in the City.

Vega said the situation has now turned from sending aid to the island, to focusing resources in the City.

“There are no schools and no electricity and there are a lot of problems there, so many are coming here,” said Vega at a recent meeting in Chelsea High School with about a dozen stakeholders. “We are extremely certain that folks will continue to come because Chelsea has a Puerto Rican community that is very established. Already, some of them are coming to the Collaborative, the Housing Authority, CAPIC and the School Department…We are really at this moment turning our efforts. Before, we were all about collecting donations and sending them to Puerto Rico. Now we are realizing that we need to use some of those same resources and donations right here in Chelsea because people are starting to come here and they have tremendous needs.”

Some of the situations that have been brought up at the state level surround housing in public housing.

Juan Vega, a Chelsea resident who is the Undersecretary of Housing for the state, said there is a team trying to work out situations that will certainly arise.

Those include family members who show up at a public housing complex with nowhere else to go.

Juan said they cannot stay for more than a week as a visitor, but at the same time, they have nowhere else to go. He said the state is aware of it and is working with the federal government to secure some sort of emergency waiver program.

Gladys Vega said one family has already experienced this, with relatives coming to an elderly housing apartment.

“Now they are here in an elderly housing apartment,” she said. “They are told they can stay 10 days and then they have to leave. They’re here now. If they stay past the 10 days, the tenant could be kicked out. We don’t want our established members of the community to lose their housing or their jobs trying to deal with these situations.”

Meanwhile, some that are  coming are elderly and in need of medical accommodations, such as handicap ramps built onto homes. Rich Pedi of the Carpenter’s Union has volunteered workers to build such ramps on an emergency basis.

In the schools, Supt. Mary Bourque said they are working to be creative in registering new arrivals for school. In many cases, they don’t have a birth certificate or any documents. All of them were lost in the hurricane for the most part.

Bourque said everyone should come to the Parent Information Center (PIC) to enroll children, even without any documents.

“That’s the first message to get out there,” she said. “If you’re coming to Chelsea and need to enroll students, come to the PIC. We will work with you. The second thing we’re worried about is the trauma once they are enrolled. They have been through a traumatic situation and they will need to see social workers.”

Meanwhile, with November now here, the other thing that will soon be necessary is winter clothing. Many are from an island where a coat is rarely necessary. Now, in Chelsea, they’ll need far more than what they have.

“We’re coming into winter and they don’t have the supplies one needs for a New England winter,” said Bourque. “We need volunteers to donate coats, pants, shoes and warm clothes in all sizes.”

The Collaborative is setting up a welcome center and brochure to help people who are arriving.

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Chelsea’s Commitment to Industrial Areas Spurs Major Purchases

Chelsea’s Commitment to Industrial Areas Spurs Major Purchases

By Seth Daniel

Residential is king in today’s development world, with developers vying for land to build luxury apartments where previously no one would have even parked their car.

That means, however, that industrial areas are shrinking or disappearing in the Greater Boston area, and places like Chelsea’s industrial area on Eastern Avenue and Marginal Streets are commanding high prices and great interest from developers intent on grabbing committed industrial property before it disappers.

That couldn’t be more true in Chelsea, where industrial/commercial properties are commanding a premium after several recent notable sales, and major developers from the region are scooping them up before it’s too late.

On Eastern Avenue, National Development – a well-known development company with major holdings in Boston, including the trendy new residential Ink Block development – has purchased 130 Eastern Ave. for $10 million in August from the Cohen Family, according to property records.

Pending a zoning variance, they plan to demolish the entire existing 38,000 sq. ft. warehouse on the seven-acre site.

Ted Tye of National Development said they hope to start construction on the new 32-foot clear height building in late 2017 upon completing final designs and receiving all the permits and approvals. They expect construction to conclude  in fall 2018.

Tye said they have one tenant for the new property, but that tenant hasn’t been disclosed yet.

“There is an increasing demand in Greater Boston for quality distribution space close to Boston,” said Tye. “Chelsea is ideally located and has been great to work with on expanding the City’s commercial base.”

Part of the certainty comes from the fact, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said, that Chelsea has committed itself to keeping things industrial – unlike other areas, such as Everett’s Lower Broadway area by Wynn Boston Harbor casino where all bets against residential creeping in are off right now.

“I think we have made a commitment to see industrial areas that are now industrial to remain industrial and that these areas are relatively important to the City,” he said. “We have plenty of areas for residential expansion, including the Forbes site. I think we’re committed to retaining a vibrant industrial district. Chelsea historically has done a great job. We’re not likely to create residential developments in our industrial areas.”

Ambrosino said one thing the City requires is that in the development of these new properties, that they are improved aesthetically a bit. For example, National Development will landscape its property upon completion, and the new LTI Limo Company – which moved from Everett’s Lower Broadway area to Chelsea’s Eastern Avenue this year after being bought out by Wynn – is also going to landscape its property significantly.

“There aren’t a lot of industrial areas in Greater Boston and so this industrial area has become quite desirable,” said Ambrosino.

Meanwhile, just last week, more significant action took place in the district with the sale of two prominent warehouse to the Seyon Group, a Boston commercial development firm with 30 years of experience.

E-mails to Seyon Group were not answered in time for this story, but property records – first reported by Bldup.com – showed that Seyon purchased two warehouses for more $10 million total last week.

They purchased 201 Crescent Ave. from New England Lighting Company, which is closing down, for $3.75 million. New England Lighting bought the warehouse in 2009 for $2.65 million. The building is empty and for lease.

Meanwhile, at the same time, Seyon Group bought 150 Eastern Ave. from O’Brien Realty for $7.475 million. O’Brien also owns 140 Eastern Ave., and it purchased 150 Eastern Ave. in 2015 for just $4 million – nearly doubling their money in two years time.

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