BHCC Receives $2.4M in Private Grant Funding

BHCC Receives $2.4M in Private Grant Funding

The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation awarded $2.4 million to Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) to establish the Early College program at BHCC, marking the largest private grant awarded in the College’s history.

The announcement was made in Chelsea Wednesday afternoon at an event celebrating the early college designation to Chelsea High School’s Early College program by the Baker-Polito Administration. Board Members from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation joined Governor Charlie Baker to see firsthand the impact of Early College. At the event, Governor Baker and the legislators in attendance heard from four Chelsea High School students who shared how their experiences in the program influenced their decision to pursue a college-level program.

  • Transformation to a Consolidated Early College Model

The funding from the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation allows BHCC to consolidate its Early College efforts into a core model that anticipates growth in scale and performance, as well as distillation and dissemination of its promising practices to the field. The $2.4 million grant covers a three-year project horizon, and will serve more than 500 high school students, coming from a portfolio of partnerships with high school and community-based organizations in Greater Boston.

“We are so thankful to the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation for this extraordinary grant. It allows us to consolidate and scale our early work, to gather data and evidence of success and to make a strong case to the leaders of the Commonwealth that Early College is a viable and scalable solution to talent and economic development,” said BHCC President Pam Eddinger.

An early adopter of Early College, BHCC currently collaborates with seven high schools and community-based organizations, serving nearly 500 early college students in addition to almost 400 participants in dual enrollment. Increasing demand and initial successes with traditionally underserved students and the potential for greater educational equity and student achievement pressed the College to consolidate the Early College efforts into a core model and make it central to the College’s Mission. The grant supports the Early College effort exactly at this important inflection point and gives the College the financial and structural lift to reach the next level of success.

“The Foundation’s Board of Trustees is pleased to be partnering with one of the Commonwealth’s leading community colleges to bring a transformative model proven in other states to Greater Boston. By bridging high school and college experiences, Early College will help many students graduate from high school ready to succeed in college and enjoy the benefits of the Commonwealth’s strong economy,” said Lynne Doblin, Executive Director of The Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation.

  • Early College: A Cross-Segment Convergence in Education Strategy

This important work signals a convergence of new thinking from education leaders and policymakers around the State.

“An important goal of the Early College program is exposing students to college-level work while they are still in high school so they can envision themselves on a track toward a college degree,” said Governor Baker at Wednesday’s event. “The college-level experience, combined with the credits they earn in the courses, sets many students up for success by the time they arrive on a campus.”

The Secretary of Education, the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education all support the effort to recognize Early College work by awarding designations to strong partnerships around the Commonwealth, with the promise of sustainable funding in the near future. These designations, of which BHCC is a part, will stimulate experimentation, document effective practice and demonstrate impact.

The standard-setting work of BHCC’s Early College will be a powerful proof point, and the data to be gathered over the next three years will provide strong evidence as to the efficacy of Early College as a way to increase high school graduation and college completion and broaden career exploration.

Read More

Michael Albano and Eden Edwards Host Dinner to Support Apollinaire in the Park

Michael Albano and Eden Edwards Host Dinner to Support Apollinaire in the Park

Chelsea residents Michael Albano and Eden Edwards have been supporting the Apollinaire Theatre for seven years by throwing a dinner party in their beautiful eclectic home to raise money to support the theatre’s free, outdoor, summer Apollinaire in the Park productions.  “Of all the things Apollinaire does, it’s their best service to the community,” says Michael.

Michael, a Somerville native, first moved to Chelsea in 1995 and soon began looking for ways to get involved in the city. “My father was always a community activist,” says Michael. “It was just what you did in my family.” He was a part of the Chelsea Collaborative and Green Space (now GreenRoots), and was the chairman of the Chelsea Planning Board for four years. After the downturn in the economy, Michael turned his focus to his business. When he was ready to serve the community again, he found Apollinaire Theatre Company.

Michael joined the Apollinaire in the Park committee, after a decline in funding forced the cancellation on the 2011 show. He and Eden’s generous support of the theatre has grown into an exceptionally fun and memorable annual dinner in their home featuring Michael’s cooking, and performances from the Apollinaire in the Park cast. This summer Apollinaire is producing Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Cast members will be performing “Pyramus and Thisbe,” Midsummer’s play within a play, at the party.

On making Chelsea their home, Michael says, “Chelsea found me.” Eden, a Nebraska native who moved to Chelsea in 2001 adds that she feels “lucky to have found Chelsea.” The couple describes their home as a “Victorian beach house.” The Victorian details have a nautical flair, such as the banisters with waves carved into them. It was built in 1895 by a shipping captain from Beacon Hill as his second home and was the first home built in its Chelsea neighborhood. At the time it was constructed, the captain would have had an unobstructed view of the beach he could walk to.

-Michael’s journey as a cook began when he was just eight and made his first pizza. His father, who dabbled in the restaurant business, was the cook in the home. Michael’s culinary style is influenced French, American, and of course Italian cuisine (he lived in Italy for a number of years). He worked in the famed Ciro’s restaurant in Boston and enthusiastically describes himself as a food-lover.

Michael will be serving up a variety of hors d’oeuvres, vegetables, ravioli, New York strip steak, and his popular roasted Tuscan chicken and au gratin potatoes with wine, beer, and soft drinks. (Eden looks out for the vegetarians!) Apollinaire actor Ann Carpenter is known for contributing her famous vegetarian lasagna. There will also be desserts from Pan y Café. For wine enthusiasts, there will be a mini wine tasting/pairing offered from Eden and Michael’s reserve as an add-on for partygoers.

While hosting the dinner is big undertaking—Eden’s sister, agents from Michael’s real estate office, and friends often help them prepare—Michael and Eden are very happy that it has become a tradition in the community as well as in their home. “When people involved with the Chelsea community are in my house, it’s the most fun nights here apart from having family,” says Eden. The party always happens in June, not just to poise it to best serve fund-raising efforts for the theatre’s July performances, but also because Michael’s birthday is in June. The party doubles as a celebration for him where he can get friends who are not from Chelsea involved in supporting Apollinaire.

This year’s party is on June 15th at 7:00pm at the couple’s home: 32 Crest Ave., Chelsea.  Tickets can be purchased through the theatre’s website: www.apollinairetheatre.com, at the door, or by calling 617-887-2336.

Apollinaire’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream runs July 11 – 29 at 7:30pm in Chelsea’s waterfront PORT Park, 99 Marginal Street. ALL performances are FREE. Contact the theatre to learn about opportunities to get involved with the show!

Apollinaire in the Park is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre.  ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre; the Riseman Family Theatre, home of their youth program, the Apollinaire Play Lab; and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.

Read More

Auditions Being Held Midsummer Night’s Dream

Auditions Being Held Midsummer Night’s Dream

Apollinaire Play Lab invites youth ages 11 to 16 to audition for their summer production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The youth production will take place in August, following the professional company’s production of the same play this July in PORT Park. All performances are FREE!

Apollinaire Theatre Company is known for environmentally staging its summer park shows. The audience moves with the action of the play, and different scenes are staged in different areas of the park. (If you attended the PORT Park production of Hamlet in 2016 you might recall the titular character delivering his to-be-or-not-to-be speech from atop one of the towering salt piles.) Following in the footsteps of the professional company, Apollinaire’s young actors will employ environmental staging with their youth production. The audience will be taken from in the Riseman Family Theatre out into Chelsea Square!

Armando Rivera, whom you may have seen on the Apollinaire stage (Everyman, First Love is the Revolution), will be directing the show. Armando has been a teacher and director at the Play Lab since 2016, just before the opening of the Riseman Family Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works. Armando says, “This is an amazing opportunity for young artists to create work that will be shared directly with their community. Our production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer will be a hilariously fun learning experience for everyone who gets involved.”

Auditions are being held this Saturday, June 9 at 2:00. You can email apl@aplylab.com to reserve your audition slot. There is no need to prepare a monologue and no previous acting experience is required. Youth who are interested in design and working backstage are encouraged to audition as well! Auditions will be in an open class format, and the entire group will work together over the course of the 45 – 60 minute audition.

The Play Lab didn’t forget Chelsea’s younger budding thespians! There are also dance & singing performance classes available this summer for youth ages 4-11. Children in these classes will appear as the fairies in two of the youth performances of Midsummer lending extra magic to the production! No audition is required for these classes; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Play Lab makes scholarships available to ALL who need them to attend!

Crista Núñez, who began teaching at the Play Lab in the spring, will lead the dance & singing performance classes. Crista, originally from Guatemala, has taught more than 300 students during her career at Ballet Armonía. She studied ballet for 18 years with the methodology of the Royal Academy of Dance from London. As a vocalist, she has won first place in national contests as a soloist and with her band. “Discipline and art are perfectly combined by participating in this class and performances of Midsummer,” says Crista. “Students will grow as professionals, experience being an integral part of a performance, and gain confidence.”

The Play Lab’s production of Midsummer is part of a larger effort organized by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) in conjunction with the City of Chelsea’s Downtown Initiative to activate Chelsea Square with arts programing this summer. In addition to the two-week run of the youth production of Midsummer (August 10-12 and 17-19), there will be other regular performances in Chelsea Square throughout the summer, including live music. The kickoff event for the summer series in Chelsea Square is Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The Apollinaire Play Lab will be hosting a booth with fairy-themed crafts and sign-ups for the audition and dance & singing classes.

Visit them online at aplaylab.com! Or you can call (617) 615-6506.

The Apollinaire Play Lab is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre.  ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre, the Riseman Family Theatre, and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.

Read More

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.

Read More

Remembering Kathy Finklestein

Remembering Kathy Finklestein

They came from all walks of life, bowlers and business people, friends and family, people of all faiths and backgrounds – and what they all had in common was this: to have known Kathleen “Kathy” (Pawlak) Finklestein was to have known an extraordinary human being.

Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein

Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein

Many, like Joe Surette, who came with his wife, Cathy Walata, to the Welsh Funeral Home to say good-bye, said just so with their words and actions.

“She was truly one of the nicest people I ever met in my life,” said Surette. “We are all so saddened by her passing.”

Kathleen “Kathy” Finklestein died on April 10 after experiencing a sudden and overwhelming advance of cancer that had struck this brave and seemingly indestructible woman four years ago. She was 62 years old.

The daughter of the late Chester P. and Carole M. (Lombardozzi) Pawlak, Kathy grew up in the family home on Broadway. She was an excellent student who attended St. Stanislaus Parochial School on Chestnut Street, Shurtleff Junior High School, and Chelsea High School, Class of 1973.

During her high school years, she started dating another “All-A” student with a similarly warm personality and generousness, Neal Finklestein. They were married in 1979 and shared 39 years of happiness together. As Kathy’s sister, Chrissy Pawlak, told the large assemblage at the Mass at St. Mary of the Assumption Church in Revere, “It was at Chelsea High School where she hit the jackpot of all jackpots, she started dating Neal. Everyone should have a Neal in their lives.”

Many knew Kathy from the candlepin bowling scene. She helped her wonderful father, “Chet,” run Chelsea Square Alleys, a place where the Pawlak family made everyone feel welcomed and safe.

Kathy became an outstanding bowler and she and her sister, Chrissy, reached the top tier of the sport when they appeared on the Channel 5 “Candlepin Doubles” professional bowling show. She also won a mixed doubles championship in the old Chelsea Record Bowling Tournament, leading the way with a record-setting, five-string score of 610.

Hall of Famer Richie “Hawk” Halas, one of so many bowlers who paid their respects to Kathy, said of his fellow professional, “As great a bowler as she was, she was an even better person.”

Known for her keen organizational skills, Kathy directed candlepin bowling leagues in Chelsea and Malden, providing bowlers with a fun night of competition and camaraderie each week.

Chelsea business owners became admirers of Kathy Finklestein and her incredible work ethic through her efforts at the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce. Programs such as the Pot-O-Gold Dinner and the Brighter Holidays Committee Awards presentations brought so much enjoyment to Chamber members because Kathy put her maximum effort in to every endeavor she undertook.

Allan I. Alpert, past president of the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce, said Kathy, who owned Chelsea Secretarial Services, was a tremendous asset to the organization.

 “Kathy was very active as an outstanding member of the Chamber of Commerce as our secretary, and when we didn’t have an executive director, she pretty much filled the role on a voluntary basis, and would not take any compensation from the Chamber that she loved so dearly,” said Alpert. “She is really going to be missed.”

Peter Zaksheski, also a past president of the Chamber, said of Kathy, “You could not have a truer friend and confidante than Kathy. When I was Chamber president, if I were good, Kathy was the reason. She was the backbone. She was such a great person.”

The Rev. Richard A. Uftring presided over the funeral Mass at the church. He knew Kathy personally through her being a faithful parishioner and a Eucharistic Minister and her membership in the Church Crochet Club.

“Kathy lived her faith, she loved her family – this is her family of friends,” said the Rev. Uftring.

 Kathy’s cousin, Judy Covino, and sister, Chrissy Pawlak, each delivered beautiful words of remembrance.

“Kathy was all about giving and she gave it all to her involvement in the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce where you would find her on the planning committees for the Pot-O-Gold, the Christmas Holiday Children’s Holiday Party, and of course my favorite, the annual trip to Foxwoods or Mohegan,” said Covino.

“She was a great behind-the-scenes person who never took the credit. The success of so many fundraisers were the results of her tireless efforts.”

Covino noted how Kathy and Neal loved going to the Boston Garden to cheer on the Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. “She also attended many Red Sox games, including Big Papi’s last game.”

Covino told how Kathy would assist others as the family caregiver.

“If you look up caregiver in the dictionary, Kathy’s picture would be right beside it. She was always there for everybody.”

Chrissy Pawlak said as time went on, “Kathy became my first and forever best friend. Following her through life was easy, even though those were really big shoes to follow. My sister was the smartest person I will ever know academically and in life.”

Chrissy recalled how much Kathy and Neal enjoyed being with their family and friends at gatherings and on trips. “I know Kathy loved every minute of it. She took over the holiday traditions, keeping everybody together at her house. The summertime was her favorite where the backyard and the pool were open and the barbecue was going.”

Chrissy perfectly articulated what everyone, including their good friend, Jimmy Manzo, will know forever, “Kathy really was a beautiful person and a blessing to the world. She was the first one to step up to help anyone. She loved doing a lot of things for a lot of people. She will always be my hero. Give mom and dad hugs and kisses. I will forever be proud to be Kathy’s sister and you, Kathy, truly were the wind beneath our wings.”

Read More

Obituaries 12-28-2017

Obituaries 12-28-2017

Henry Shaffer

Of Revere, formerly of Chelsea

Henry Shaffer of Revere, formerly of Chelsea, died on December 24.

He was the beloved husband of the late Beatrice (Pirkovitz) Shaffer, loving son of the late Avrum and Ethel Shaffer and dear uncle of Johanna Alper and Amy Alper of Colorado, Susan Cohen of New York, Russell Pirkot of Greenfield, Donald Alper of W. Roxbury, Andy Cohen of Tennessee, Gerald Pirkot of Randolph, Murray Bass of New Jersey, Joshua Alper of Belmont and Daniel Cohen of Massachusetts.

Graveside services were held at Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, on December 26.

Donations in Henry’s memory may be made to the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, 165 Captains Row, Chelsea, MA 02150.  Torf Funeral Service 151 Washington Ave., Chelsea assisted the family with arrangements. For guest book and directions please visit www.torffuneralservice.com.

David Rantz

Of Lynn, formerly of Revere and Winthrop

David M. Rantz of Lynn, formerly of Winthrop and Revere, passed away on Monday, December 18. He was 82 years old.

The cherished son of the late Morris and Marjorie (Rehal) Rantz and Anne (Staretz) Rantz, he was the beloved husband of the late Marie (Blundo) Rantz, cherished father of Laura Rantz Moyer and Nadine Rantz Casey and their mother, Margaret Casey, Lisa Giambartolomei Luise and her fiancé, Michael Hayes, Diana Giambartolomei Santheson and her husband, Carl, Maria Giambartolomei Calla and her loving companion, Paulie Christie and the late Audrey Buchanan.  He was the adored grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of eight; caring brother of Lois Vasel, who was his best friend, Joan Estabrooks, Florence Hodgkins, Selma Pomeranz, and the late Harvey Fischler, Marjorie Ferrara, and Freddie Rantz.  He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A Memorial Service will be held in David’s honor on Saturday, December 30 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.  Inurnment will follow the service.  At the family’s request, please OMIT flowers, donations may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284.  For directions and guestbook, please visit: www.vazzafunerals.com.

Winifred Dorothy Churchill

Lifelong member of First Congregational Church and Winnisimmet Union of Chelsea

Winifred Dorothy (King) Churchill passed away Friday morning, December 22 surrounded by her loving family.  She was 85 years old.

Born in Chelsea, the daughter of the late James and Dorothy (LeGrow) King, Winifred grew up in Chelsea, attended Chelsea public schools and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1950.  Although Winifred received her Associate’s Degree from Salem State College, she was a homemaker all her life.  She tended to her home in Everett where she lived most of her life and cared for her husband and two daughters.  In her later years, she and her husband moved to Peabody.

Winifred was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church in Chelsea, as well as the Church’s social organization, the Winnisimmet Union.  She will be deeply missed by all her family and friends.

The beloved wife of Charles Robert “Bob” Churchill of Peabody with whom she shared 65 years of marriage, she was the devoted mother of Nancy Ellen DiMinico and her husband, Chris, Janet Elizabeth Herbert and her fiancé, John Vitale, all of Chelmsford and she is also lovingly survived by five grandchildren: Timothy, Christy and Lauren DiMinico, Katherine Herbert Muniz and her husband Derrick and Rachel Herbert, all of Chelmsford.

Funeral services will be conducted at the First Congregational Church, 26 County Road, Chelsea on Friday, December 29 at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend.  Visiting hours will be held at the Carafa Family Funeral Home, 389 Washington Avenue, Chelsea today, Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m.  Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.

Read More

Plan, Wash Hands and Stay Healthy for the Holidays

Plan, Wash Hands and Stay Healthy for the Holidays

By Seth Daniel

The holidays present a unique month-long time of the year when people often can find themselves in a much different pattern than during the rest of the year. Such changes can often lead to unhealthy behaviors or illnesses – and triggers for those struggling with overeating disorders or substance use disorders.

Going into the holidays with a plan and a watchful eye – from the dinner table to the kids’ toys – is a necessity.

To learn how to stay healthy during this unique time of year, why not ask the best?

Dr. David Roll, a primary care physician for all ages and the medical director at the CHA Revere and CHA Everett Primary Care practices, was recently named on of the region’s Top Doctors in the Boston Magazine December issue. The annual list looks at top doctors in every specialty and in primary care as well.

Roll said he is fortunate to have a good team around him, and that is crucial in medical care delivery.

“I’m very fortunate to have a great team in Cambridge Health Alliance and at our clinics in Everett and Revere, with a great range of physicians, physician assistants, nurses and other staff to help improve the health of our communities,” he said. “Medicine today is a team sport and there are no top doctors without top teams.”

From the area’s Top Doctor, here are some things to watch for on the holidays as it relates to one’s health.

Q: Many people find it hard to stay healthy over the holidays. There are numerous flus, colds and other maladies that are brought into parties and celebrations. What are the best precautions to take over the holidays?

A:  I make sure everyone in my family gets a flu shot and I advise all my patients to do the same. It’s not possible to get the flu from the shots we use today. If you won’t do it for yourself, do it for the kids and grandparents in your family, who could end up in the hospital if they get the flu from you. Also, cover your cough and wash your hands frequently – simple but important.

 Q:  Food and the holidays are literally tied at the hip. For a lot of people, keeping to a diet or keeping a healthy eating pattern is difficult. What do you recommend?

A:  It’s all about balance. If you’re snacking more during the day, take a small plate for dinner. If you’re planning for a big holiday meal, eat light and drink lots of water throughout the day. If you want to try everything, take a bite or two of each dish.

 Q:  Everyone always talks about post-holiday depression. Is that really a thing? If so, how can people prepare for it and do they need to?

A:  I think it’s real. Sometimes people feel there’s nothing to look forward to after a long-awaited vacation and time with family. One solution is to schedule an event or a long weekend two or three weeks after the holiday – something else to look forward to. As the new year approaches, you might also want to think about scheduling your annual physical for 2018, to talk with your care team or schedule any health screenings that are overdue.

 Q:  Is it an old wives tale that one can get sick by going out in the cold without a hat and coat, or is there some medical soundness to that old claim?

A:  It’s mostly myth. Cold temperatures and dry air make a slightly more hospitable environment for some viruses in your nose and throat.  But colds are caused by viruses and the main reason people get more colds in the winter is spending more time indoors with other people.

 Q:  What are some of the common holiday-associated problems that patients have presented to you and your staff over the years?

A:  This time of year we see a lot of people worried about a persistent cough. Most people aren’t aware that the average duration of a cough is about 18 days. Usually it can be controlled with home remedies or over-the-counter medications, and it rarely requires antibiotics. At the CHA Revere Care Center, we offer sick visits Monday-Friday and Saturdays until 1 p.m., to help people who need to been seen for an illness.

Q:  Are there signs that parents should watch for in their children both before, during and after the holidays?

A:  Aside from the usual respiratory and stomach viruses, this is the time of year when food, fuel, and housing insecurity have their sharpest sting, and disproportionately affect our most vulnerable patients, especially the young and the old. For those who can, it’s a great time to think about donating to local food pantries and supporting the services that are most needed in the winter.

 Q:  Substance abuse can invade the holidays for some people. How do you address that with patients who struggle with substance use disorders?

A:  If you’re in recovery, make a party plan in advance for those high-risk or high-stress occasions:  Go late, leave early, and take a sober friend along. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The assistance you need may be as close as a friend, a coworker, your doctor’s office at Cambridge Health Alliance, or one of our partners in the community.

 Q:  There are a lot of toys and gifts that can be harmful or dangerous to children. Should parents think about toy safety over the holidays, or is that overdoing it?

A:  Well-meaning family and friends often give gifts that are not appropriate to a child’s age. Age limits are on toys for a reason, mostly to prevent younger children from choking on small parts. In the end, there is no substitute for parental supervision, especially with small children and small toys. Also, if you gift a bike or skateboard, buy the protective gear to go with it.

 Q:  What is your favorite holiday treat?

A:  I love date bars, just like my mother used to make. It’s one of those rich treats you have to balance with good eating, especially if you can’t resist a second trip to the dessert tray.

Read More

9-1-1 Dispatchers Apologize for No Confidence Vote on Verdone

9-1-1 Dispatchers Apologize for No Confidence Vote on Verdone

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea 9-1-1 Dispatchers Union made a public apology Monday night, Dec. 4, at the City Council meeting to former Assistant Emergency Management Director Robert Verdone for issuing a No Confidence Vote against him on Oct. 1, 2016.

Verdone was part of a management group in Chelsea EMS department that the union was very dissatisfied with over a number of years, but the union said Monday that Verdone was new and shouldn’t have been characterized with the rest of the management group.

It appeared that the No Confidence Vote still stood for Director Allan Alpert.

Dispatcher Paul Koolloian told the Council that since the vote, Verdone has shown he is knowledgeable and the union grew to appreciate and have confidence in his abilities.

“We stand firmly by our vote of No Confidence, but after careful consideration and reflection, we are in agreement to acknowledge that affixing Assistant Director Verdone’s name to the Letter of No Confidence was a poor decision on our part,” Koolloian said. “At the time the letter was drafted, Assistant Director Verdone was fairly new in his position and unfamiliar to the past history concerning several issues that plagued our Communications Center, most notably a continual pattern of harassment, second guessing and blatant disregard for our well- being several years prior to his arrival. Simply put, we got it wrong (with Verdone).”

Most notably, the union said they demonstrated poor judgment in including him, as it could and will have dire consequences for his future employment. Koolloian said they didn’t want to penalize Verdone for things done before his tenure.

It has been rumored that Verdone has been hired or is a finalist for the director’s position of a regional EMS center in Foxboro.

“There is no plausible excuse for our delay to publicly communicate this message,” said Koolloian. “We apologized from the bottom of our hearts for any inconvenience we may have caused you and your family and most importantly any damage we may have caused to your credibility and reputation.”

Read More

Preliminary Election are on Sept 26 in Districts 1 and 8

Preliminary Election are on Sept 26 in Districts 1 and 8

By Seth Daniel

The biggest news ahead of next Tuesday’s Sept. 26 Preliminary Election is that the crowded and talented field of candidates in Prattville’s District 1 has been narrowed down from four to three.

Sylvia Ramirez, a long-time organizer at the Chelsea Collaborative, announced that she would not seek the District 1 seat, withdrawing before her name was placed on the ballot.

Ramirez told the Record that she made the decision with her family.

“If I’m not 100 percent in it, then I cannot do it, and in this case my family had to come first,” she said.

With Ramirez out, there is still a very talented field of candidates that will be narrowed from three to two for the City Election on Nov. 7.

Those left include:

  • Todd Taylor, Nichols Street
  • Robert Bishop, Cook Avenue
  • Shawn O’Regan, Garfield Avenue

That field features a wealth of experience and virtually every candidate is a solid, qualified choice.

Taylor is a member of the Planning Board and has run for at-Large in the last election cycle. Meanwhile, Bishop is a former councillor and the former City Clerk with deep roots in the City.

O’Regan is a sitting School Committeeman and very involved in youth sports – not to mention having been in the City for as far back as most can remember.

It will be an interesting race, and handicappers are staying away from any predictions.

Meanwhile, on Admiral’s  Hill in District 8, three candidates are looking to land the seat.

They include:

  • Zaida Ismatul Oliva, Winnisimmet Street
  • Calvin Brown, Commandants Way
  • Jermaine Williams, Admirals Way

That race is also anyone’s guess, but word on the street is that Brown is working very hard to get back onto the Council as a District representative.

Read More