Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

This is an exemplary retrospective of the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Adam Tooze regales us with a depiction of the horrors that were unfurled during and after the crisis. the book is divided into four parts, each of which attends to different facets of the 10-year period following the financial disaster.

The author does a nice job of holding the reader’s interest. The book is filled with facts and figures pertinent to the monetary emergency, but Tooze does his best to make it accessible to the average reader.

The crisis originated in the United States when Lehman Brothers collapsed, but to quote Tooze: “ To view the crisis of 2008 as basically an American event was tempting,” but in fact the emergency spread all over the world, especially to the Eurozone, which experienced the brunt of the crisis around 2010 and 2011. Tooze divides the blame on liberals and  conservatives alike, although I got the feeling that he is/was a moderate left-winger.

In Europe the difficulties involved Ireland, Spain and most famously and harmfully Greece, which experienced economic turmoil after European authorities imposed austerity measures due to a terrible run on banks. European countries, especially Germany experienced great duress over the prospect of bailing out Greece.

In addition, the world was beset by what was viewed as populist political remedies, in particular the rise of Donald Trump in America and the Brexit vote in Britain. Tooze attributes most of the blame for these maladies to the shaky fiscal situation which arose from the crisis of 2008. The author lumps all these phenomena under the financial banner, and I am not sure they were all interrelated, but he does make an intersecting case for it all.

Tooze’s chapter on Trump elaborates on what the author believes to be the rise of a right wing demagogue, but he barely mentions the positive effect that Trump has had on the U.S. economy.

The crisis of 2008 was widely viewed by many to be the most unstable period since the Great Depression, which germinated in 1929 and lasted beyond the 1930s. During the latest crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and/or homes in the period from 2008 to 2015. President Obama who inherited the mess from the previous Bush Administration, did his best to contain the crisis, but the enormity of the instability was such that government intervention by itself could not contain the onslaught from the failing banks.

Adam Tooze is a gifted writer and his book on the fiscal disaster is filled with minutiae relevant to the duration of the financial difficulties.  I had never heard of Tooze before I read this book, but I will pay great heed to whatever he publishes in the future.

“Crashed” is an excellent read. The reader leaves it well informed on the niceties of finance. You, the reader will find it to be an excellent book. I recommend it heartily.

Bernie Kelly

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Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea announced this week that it’s partnering with  OpenGov – a leader in government performance management – to further increase its effectiveness and accountability.

“Our new open data portal is a valuable resource for residents and businesses interested in understanding how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and learning more about the various projects that the City is engaged in,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We hope it will also help City officials to make data-driven decisions by giving them access to information that was previously in silos.”

The portal, which can be accessed at already features showcases on property values, demographics, crime and Narcan information, and expenditures.

The OpenGov Cloud™ is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution for budgeting, operational performance, and citizen engagement. OpenGov’s open data portal aggregates, organizes, and visualizes various data sets (like budgets, permits, and citizen requests). It’s powered by CKAN – the open-source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data. It also includes tools like APIs that developers can use to build applications.

“Our open data portal is a win-win for Chelsea and the community,” said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. “On average, governments receive 20 percent less requests for information after they launch their OpenGov open data portals. That means citizens are getting the information they need, and it saves governments time and energy that can be spent elsewhere.”

Chelsea joins over 1,900 city, county, and state governments, special districts and schools that rely on OpenGov to be more effective and accountable, including the City of Boston.

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Soccer Program Seeks to Provide Activities, Jobs for Chelsea Youth

By Seth Daniel

Four days a week, soccer is where it’s at for local young people in Chelsea who want to get down to business and score goals.

In its third year, the Chelsea Collaborative’s Summer Youth Employment Initiative (SYEI) and the GOALS program of the Massachusetts Youth Soccer organization have teamed up again this summer to provide soccer games and light instruction to Chelsea young people. The drop-in program started in late June and takes place Monday through Thursday at Highland Park Field from 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The activity is free and supervised by qualified coaches and by Chelsea youth working in the summer program.

“The GOALS program is the Massachusetts Youth Soccer initiative to promote soccer in the inner city areas,” said Loy Urbina, assistant technical director and GOALS program director. “We give the program to organizations like the Chelsea Collaborative. The only condition that we demand is that the program is free. We don’t charge anyone to play. We supply the balls, the T-Shirts, coaches and we pay the coaches. It’s supposed to be a totally free program. My job is to go around Massachusetts and find sites in inner city or low-income areas and bring the beautiful game of soccer to the area. We now have 29 sites and Chelsea has been a great partner.”

Sylvia Ramirez of the SYEI supervises the site Monday through Thursday and said the youth that she employs enjoy helping out and providing water and support to the popular program. She said upwards of 60 or more young people, depending on weather, can show up in a day.

“This is a very good program to give access to the game of soccer and to provide them an opportunity to play a very popular game in our city on a field that isn’t very accessible because it is so busy,” she said. “This is a really fun activity for the youth, and we do it four days a week. Parents can stay with the kids or drop them off. It’s all supervised with qualified people.”

GOALS also provides coaches to help the kids develop some skills, with most of the coaches being college level players from local universities and community colleges. A site supervisor is also provided, and in Chelsea that is Orminsun Medina – long time Chelsea Youth Soccer coordinator.

Urbina said one thing that could improve the program is to overhaul the field, which is the only artificial surface field in the City aside from Chelsea High School. He said the field is now getting old and in rough shape, but that there could be a grant available from soccer organizations.

“There is an organization called the U.S. Soccer Foundation,” he said. “Their number one goal is to help cities and towns repair soccer fields. They give grants anywhere from $1,000 to $1 million. This field need to be fixed. They could put an application in to get Highland Park Field updated and fixed.”

Meanwhile, Urbina and Ramirez said there is some serious talk about expanding the program in Chelsea so that young people from East Boston, Revere and Everett could come to the site to participate. By having a morning session and an afternoon session, Urbina said he believes they could make it work.

“We envision having kids from Everett, East Boston, Everett and Revere come one day a week for each community in the morning,” said Ramirez. “Then we would have the Chelsea kids come four days a week like they are now in the afternoon session. We really would like to expand and we get requests from those communities all the time.”

Last Thursday, boys and girls from Chelsea were still excited about the previous weekend’s European Cup, where Portugal won an improbably victory over France.

Pretending they were Christian Ronaldo, or any of the other stars, the young Chelsea players dribbled the ball around and kicked goals with stars in their eyes.

The GOALS program by the SYEI is for kids age 5 and older and runs through Aug. 4 at Highland Park Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

For more information or to register, call (617) 889-6080.

Eric Monckada blasts a kick from the center of the field during the free soccer program sponsored by GOALS and the Summer Youth Employment Initiative (SYEI) last Thursday afternoon, July 14. The program is free to Chelsea young people Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Eric Monckada blasts a kick from the center of the field during the free soccer program sponsored by GOALS and the Summer Youth Employment Initiative (SYEI) last Thursday afternoon, July 14. The program is free to Chelsea young people Monday through Thursday from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m.

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Obituaries 12-12-2013

Obituaries 12-12-2013

Madeline Cromwell

Retired Glazier, AME Baptist Church Member

Madeline F. (Hagan) Cromwell, a lifelong resident of Chelsea, passed away early on Tuesday, November 5 at the Whidden Memorial Hospital in Everett after being transferred from Eastpointe Nursing and Rehabilitation Center on Sunday. Celebrating her 82nd birthday in February of this year, she was a member of the AME Baptist Church and worked as a glazier at Cool Ray until it closed.

She was the devoted mother of Maurice Cromwell, Jr. and Jonathan Cromwell, both of Chelsea and the late Donna Cromwell; beloved sister of the late Barbara and John Hagan; cherished grandmother of Maurice Cromwell III of Rhode Island and Lauricia Cromwell of Chelsea and is also lovingly survived by her great grandchildren, Maurice IV and Maurliyah as well as by many nieces and nephews.

A Memorial Service celebrating Madeline’s life will be held in the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea on Wednesday, December 18 at 10 a.m.

To send a message of condolence to Madeline’s family, please visit


Stefania Krawczyk

Devoted Wife and Mother; longtime supporter of St. Stanislaus Church; worked at Beacon Wiper in Chelsea

Stefania (Krzyszton) Krawczyk, a longtime Chelsea resident, passed away at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston on December 9 following a brief illness. She was 96 years old.

Born, raised and educated in Bobrawa, Poland, the daughter of the late Benedykt and Magdalena Krzyszton, upon her arrival in America, she settled with her family in Chelsea. A devoted wife and mother, Stefania also worked outside of the home for many years at Beacon Wiper in Chelsea. She was predeceased by her beloved husband, Jan in 1994. She was a longtime supporter and parishioner of St. Stanislaus Church.

The beloved wife of the late Jan Krawczyk, she was the devoted mother of Urszula Bosek and her husband, Roman and Rozena Renik, all of Chelsea; dear sister of Maria Willgusiak and Bronislaw Krzyszton of Izbica, Poland; cherished grandmother of Elizabeth, Ala, Jeremy Renik and his fiancee, Lindsey and Monica Bosek and her, fiancee Shawn and adored great grandmother of Mathew, Chloe, Skyla and Lexia.

Her Funeral will begin from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Friday, December 13 at 9 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Stanislaus Church, 163 Chestnut St., Chelsea at 10 a.m. Services will conclude with interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held at the Welsh Funeral Home today, Thursday, from 6 to 8 p.m.  For directions or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit


Arlene Fletcher

Longtime Antique Dealer

Arlene R. (Adamo) Fletcher died on Friday morning, December 6 surrounded by her family after a courageous battle with cancer at her home in North Revere. She was 70 years old.

The former wife of the late Robert J. Fletcher, she was born in Malden,  the daughter of the late Biagio “Wassie” and Blanche (Marrone) Adamo. Mrs. Fletcher worked for many years as an antique dealer. She loved her family, her grandchildren, antiques, cooking and crafts.

She is survived by four children: Annette M. Foote of North Revere, Robert J. Fletcher Jr. and his wife, Loree of Bellingham, Paul A. Fletcher of Chelsea and Michael K. Fletcher of Winthrop; her grandchildren: Bianca, Jason, Danielly, Anthony, Gia, Megan and Nicholas and her great grandchildren: Jared and Tristian. She was the sister of Frank Adamo and his wife, Frances of Saugus. Mrs. Fletcher was the granddaughter of the late Stefano and Josephine Riggio and niece of Stefano and Virginia Riggio of North Carolina, Christine and John Behrakis of Waltham, Antonio Riggio of Saugus, the late Antonia and Charles Flickinger, the late Joseph and his wife, Marge Marrone of Essex, the late Jack and Josephine Marrone, the late Catherine and John Cambriello and the late Mary and Walter Lindquist. She is also survived by her nephew and niece, Joseph Adamo and his wife, Kathleen of Florida and Theresa Tillas and her husband, Chris of Saugus and her friend, Yolanda Puccino of East Boston.

A funeral service was held in the Bisbee-Porcella Funeral Home, Saugus on Wednesday, December 11.  Interment followed at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to the American Cancer Society, 20 Speen St., Framingham, MA. For condolences:


John ‘Jack’ Keefe, Sr.

Of Saugus, formerly of Chelsea

John “Jack” Keefe, Sr. of Saugus, formerly of Chelsea, died on November 26.

He was the beloved husband of the late Nola Louise (Richards); loving father of Nola and Bob Stewart of Tewksbury, Jack and Maureen Keefe of Wilmington, Paul Keefe of Taunton, Betty and Bob Rock of Saugus, Kathy and Steve Darragh of Chelsea and Barbara Moran of Billerica; cherished grandfather of James, Michael, Robert, Justin and Joshua Stewart, Rachael (Keefe) and her husband, Cliff Esher, Erin Keefe, Amanda and Daniel Keefe, Cameron, Margaret and Thomas Murphy-Keefe, Robert, Sean and Timothy Rock, Jason and his wife, Kaitlynn, Steven and Michael Darragh, Robert and John Moran. He was the great grandfather of the late Melody Amber and Ali, Sam, Liam, Lily and Jack.

Donations in his memory may be made to Hospice, 75 Sylvan Street, Suite B-102, Danvers, MA 01923.


Rita Norftill

One of God’s Very Special Angels

Graveside services were held on December 6 at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden for Rita I. Norftill, a lifelong Chelsea resident, who died at Boston Medical Center unexpectedly on December 2. She was 55 years old.

Born and raised in Chelsea, she was educated in special needs programs and was one of God’s very special angels

Her parents, Raymond E. Norftill and the late Rita T. (Thibault) Norftill cared for her continually in their home. Her mom, Rita, passed in May of 1998 and for the past few years she has made her home at Marquardt Nursing Center of Waltham where she thrived and was most content.

In addition to her dear father, Raymond E. Norftill, Sr. of Chelsea, she was the devoted sister of Raymond R. Norftill, Jr. and his wife, Lou Ann of Pepperell;  the cherished aunt of Amanda L. Norftill-Towne and her husband, Andrew of Milford, NH and Jonathan R. Norftill of Boston and is also lovingly survived by her two grand nieces Alexia R. and Rayla A. Towne and several cousins, aunts and uncles.

Remembrances may be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation, 60 Walnut St., Wellesley, MA 02581. The staff at the Vertuccio & Smith Home for Funerals of Revere was honored to have served the family. For more information, visit:


James Ray Watson

Decorated Veteran, Retired Longshoreman, Owner of Thoroughbred Horses

James Ray Watson of Reading (known to his family as “Jimmy” or “Uncle Buddy”) passed away on Saturday afternoon, December 7 at the Sudbury Pines Extended Care. He was 88 years old.

Born in Boston, the son of the late Joseph P. and Helen (Miller) Montefusco, Jimmy enlisted in the US Army on June 14, 1943 during World War II. Staff Sergeant Watson served overseas for 13 1/2 months in the European Theater. He coordinated a squad of riflemen in action against enemy personnel and positions in the Rhineland and Central European campaigns. He received the Bronze Star Medal, Good Conduct Medal, American Theater Campaign Ribbon, European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon and the Victory Medal for his honest and faithful service to this country. He was honorably discharged on March 9, 1946.

Upon returning home from the service, Jimmy worked on the docks in Charlestown as a Longshoreman for over 30 years. He was a former Union Delegate and a late member of BSA International Longshoremen’s Association. He had a passion for horses and was a thoroughbred horse owner for many years.

He was the husband of the late Selma (Tufts) Watson; beloved father of James Watson and Joseph Watson; brother of the late William Watson and Jean French; dear uncle of William Deering, Brian Deering, Lisa Cox and Valerie French; sister-in-law of Elaine Deering; step-grandfather of Edward “Eddie” McCarthy, Sean McCarthy and Derek McCarthy.

A memorial service will be celebrated at a later date. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the William R. Carafa & Son Home For Funerals in Chelsea.


John Francis Sennett

Decorated Veteran, Retired Automobile Mechanic and Chelsea Crossing Guard

John F. Sennett of Chelsea passed away Monday evening, December 9 at the Chelsea Soldier’s Home.

Born in Boston, the son of the late Leo R. and Mary (Steele) Sennett, he was a US Army Vietnam veteran who enlisted in the Army on August 24, 1967. PFC Sennett received the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal for his years of service. He was honorably discharged on May 2, 1969.

Upon returning home from the service, John worked as an automotive mechanic for several years and also enjoyed his time as a crossing guard for the city of Chelsea. He assisted many school aged children safely cross the streets before retiring in 2011.

He was the beloved brother of Frederick W. Sennett of South Boston and dear friend of James Burke of Bedford.

A Memorial Service will be celebrated at a later date. Funeral arrangements were entrusted to the William R. Carafa & Son Home For Funerals in Chelsea.


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An Art Heist in Chelsea?: Hard to Believe,but It Happened

An Art Heist in Chelsea?: Hard to Believe,but It Happened

Chelsea City Cafe Owner Josh Cook said he has been dumbfounded by an art heist that took place at his cafe late last week. Thieves broke into the cafe, touched nothing, but removed four, five-foot tall paintings and took them out the front door. The paintings were by wellknown urban artist David 'DS7' Taylor.

Chelsea City Cafe Owner Josh Cook said he has been dumbfounded
by an art heist that took place at his cafe late last
week. Thieves broke into the cafe, touched nothing, but
removed four, five-foot tall paintings and
took them out the front door. The paintings were by wellknown
urban artist David ‘DS7′ Taylor.

When one thinks of art heists, they think of the Gardner Museum, or palatial European galleries with centuries-old masterpieces.

They think of crafty burglars evading laser beam security systems and seasoned safecrackers breaking impossibly-encrypted access codes.

There wouldn’t be too many people who would admit connecting art heists to smash and grab jobs at Cary Square in Chelsea, but perhaps they should.

Chelsea City Cafe owner Josh Cook said he is as dumbfounded as he is angry about last Friday morning’s theft of four very large paintings that were hanging on the wall of his quaint coffee shop at the nexus of Washington and Cary Avenues.

“It’s just a really strange time to have an art heist in this area at this time,” said Cook. “It’s funny in a way, but it’s terrible for us. You tell someone that people stole four five-foot-tall paintings from a coffee shop in Chelsea and they look at you like you’re crazy. You have to really put some thought behind this to pull it off. It’s not like going by and seeing jewelry and just grabbing it. It’s not tragic, but it’s certainly a ‘wow’ type of thing and a bit unbelievable.”

The paintings had been hanging on the wall about eight weeks before they were stolen last Thursday night or Friday morning. They were about five feet tall and four feet wide and were by edgy, urban artist David Taylor – who goes by the name ‘DS7.’ Taylor does graffiti-style art in large scale paintings using aerosol paints and depicting urban themes or celebrities.

Some of the stolen paintings featured boxer Mike Tyson and singer Grace Jones.

The paintings are as remarkable and unique as they are large.

“There are so many questions I have,” said Cook. “Was this pre-meditated? Did someone actually case the place? Were they really going around outside and watching us? The ‘how’ and the ‘why’ are very perplexing with this. What in the world was the motive? I just wonder where they’re going to put these huge paintings and I wonder how they carried them out of here at night without somebody noticing. Do they think they’re going to just hang them up in their apartment?”

Those are questions that may never get answered.

Chelsea Police are looking into the matter, but are as befuddled by the robbery as Cook, and it might be a hard case to track down. First of all, putting a value on the paintings is tough to do. Cook said that Taylor values them at about $4,000, but there is a good chance they could be worth more given that Taylor has a well-known name with those in the urban, hip-hop art scene.

Cook said Taylor is very upset and disappointed, as he had put up some of his most treasured works and was trying to re-enter the art world after working for years in commercial nightclub design.

Cook said the thieves apparently smashed in his door to get in. Once inside, they didn’t go for any money. They didn’t take antiques, and they didn’t even trash the store.

They went straight for the paintings, clipped them off the wall and left with them.

“We realized right off that we had been broken into due to the smashed door,” said Cook. “I walked in and everything seemed to be untouched. I began looking around and soon noticed the walls were empty. I looked around and thought ‘They took the paintings?’”

Indeed they did.

Cook said he is frustrated too, because he was trying to change things up and appeal to a larger crowd. Rather than a more traditional art show, he had put up something edgy with urban appeal, thinking he might draw interest from the numerous young people in the area.

“I wanted to put up something edgier than normal to relate to the surroundings here in Chelsea and appeal to an urban audience,” he said. “Now, I’m feeling that maybe I just shouldn’t have done that. If people are just going to steal it, then we’ll just put up more old lady landscapes and nobody will look at the pictures again. I didn’t bring buyers to this artist, I brought thieves. It’s terrible.”


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