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
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles is reminding the public that on March 26, to get or renew any driver’s license, ID card, or learner’s permit, customers will need documentation showing United States citizenship or lawful presence as required by federal and state law.
Lawful presence means that a person is legally living in the United States according to federal immigration laws. All United States citizens and lawfully permanent residents have permanent lawful presence in the U.S. Non-U.S. individuals who are studying, working, or living temporarily in the U.S. may have temporary lawful presence that may vary in length.
On March 26, customers will have the choice between a REAL ID Driver’s License or ID Card or a Standard Massachusetts Driver’s License or ID Card. REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of increased federal security measures after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
REAL ID will be available on March 26; however, people will not need a REAL ID until October 2020. And if they have an active passport and don’t mind carrying it, they will never need a REAL ID. After October 2020, citizens will need either a passport or REAL ID Massachusetts Driver’s License to fly in the United States, or to enter restricted areas of federal buildings. The Standard Massachusetts License or ID card will not be valid as a federal ID after October 2020.
“We encourage the public to review information on our website at HYPERLINK “http://www.mass.gov/id” t “_blank” mass.gov/id to learn what documents they must provide for the credential they seek,” said Registrar Erin Deveney. “In most cases, people will have the required documents on hand as these documents are regularly requested when a child starts school, when someone travels outside the country, or in order to get married.”
On March 26, individuals applying for Registry credentials are encouraged to start their applications online at HYPERLINK “http://www.mass.gov/rmv” t “_blank” mass.gov/rmvand answer a few questions to determine if they should choose a REAL ID driver’s license or ID or a Standard Driver’s license or ID, and exactly what identification documents are necessary for each. Customers who visit the RMV’s website will be able to print online applications or have an application that can be displayed on a mobile phone. The website tells customers exactly what to bring to complete the transaction and also directs AAA members to the closest AAA offices for renewals. The online application includes a bar code that will be scanned to retrieve the customer’s information in the system to save time in line. Renewal customers requesting a standard card may be able to perform their renewal successfully online, without coming in for the transaction in person.
Before March 26, 2018: Customers can process renewals as usual – online or in person at a RMV Service Center or AAA location, (if they are a member of AAA). The Registry encourages the public to renew early.
Lawful Presence Documentation
For U.S. citizens, a valid, unexpired U.S. passport is sufficient proof of lawful presence. U.S. citizens may also provide a certified copy of their U.S. birth certificate.
For permanent residents, a valid permanent resident card (green card) is sufficient proof of lawful presence.
For customers who are not U.S. citizens, valid, verifiable immigration documents as well as proof that they have been granted a legal stay in the U.S. for at least 12 months is required. Their license or ID will expire when their legal stay is over.
(The following was delivered to the School Committee at its public hearing on Thursday, March 15)
Good evening and welcome to the Chelsea Public Schools FY19 Budget Public Hearing. This year’s budget represents a budget gap of $3.1 million between what we need and what we can do.
We have worked very hard in this budget season to maintain a district lens and sacrifice for the greater good of our students and staff. We have maintained programs and services that are required compliance, regulations or law; we have prioritized our Accelerated Improvement Plan work and our Turnaround Plan work, because that work is about our students’ futures. We have made cuts that were the least impactful on classroom instruction and we have shifted positions with the shifting needs of our student demographics—positions shifted to where there is more student need.
It is fitting that our FY19 school budget is being presented to you this week; because this week is Public Schools Week across our nation. Public schools are the foundation of our democracy. Ladies and gentlemen, I LOVE PUBLIC EDUCATION!
Public education is inclusive and universal. We welcome and educate all races, religions, sexual orientations, abilities, and languages. We are the best investment with the highest return on our future as a country, dollar for dollar.
Strengthening our public schools is the best way to ensure our children’s success and our country’s prosperity. And yet, sadly, we find ourselves in a time and place where we are not willing as a society, as a citizenry, to invest in public education. Each year I come to you with a budget that is failing more and more to meet the complex needs of our students.
Each year I come to you with a budget that fails to provide an equitable education compared to public school children in wealthier communities. Each year we, these educators—teachers, administrators, paraprofessionals here tonight are being asked to do more with far less.
Providing our schools with the funding that is needed for our children, for the next generation is the civil rights struggle of our time. Will you join me in this civil rights struggle; will you join me in our quest for social justice?
We need now, today, to have the courage to stand up for public education. We need to have the courage to face our federal and state leaders and demand that the definition of “adequacy” in education, especially for our children in urban communities is no longer a fluctuating dollar figure, annually.
I ask you to:
Call or email your state legislators to restore to Chelsea this year the $300 per student rate in the economically disadvantaged allocation – an amount that will provide Chelsea with over $1,000,000 more in our budget.
Call or email your state legislators to support Senate Bill 223, An Act Modernizing the Foundation Budget for the 21st Century, which will begin a seven-year incremental and fairly paced structural fix to the foundation budget formula. Because if the foundation formula was implemented today, without adjusting rates for inflation, but simply giving us what was promised in the formula algorithm itself, such as 100 percent charter school reimbursement rather than 47 percent reimbursement, Chelsea would have an additional $17 million dollars in its Chapter 70 budget.
Call or email your congressional delegation to stop at the federal level the continued prioritization of privatization as well as stop the elimination of federal grants such as Title II, Title IV, 21st Century, and other cuts proposed in President Trump’s FY19 budget.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “Courage is more exhilarating than fear, and in the long run it is easier. We do not have to become heroes overnight. Just a step at a time, meeting each thing that comes up, seeing it is not as dreadful as it appeared, discovering we have the strength to stare it down.”
I ask that each of you have the courage, alongside me, to take the next step and stare down the inequities; I ask that each of you take up the next step in our educational civil rights challenge, in our search for social justice. We can’t wait any longer, the structural deficit is causing harm to our children’s futures.
We need to start loving and funding public education once again.
Students at the St. Rose School in Chelsea have organized a walkout on Weds., March 14, to make a statement about how the federal government is handling gun issues as related to school shootings.
Trinity Hoffman, 13, and an eighth grader at St. Rose, said she and several students felt it was important to be part of the national effort, which encourages students to walk out of school for 17 minutes to commemorate the 17 students killed recently in a Florida high school.
“We just really want a lot of people to hear how we feel about this and how the government is failing to deal with the problem.”
Hoffman said students would leave class on March 14 and march on Broadway to Chelsea City Hall for a gathering. There, they will mark the 17 minutes, which is being done at many schools nationwide. Revere High students are also staging a similar effort in that city.
When the solemn moment is over, students at St. Rose will return to class. The walkout will entail about 50 students from the St. Rose 7th and 8th grade classes.
Hoffman said they are encouraging students from other Chelsea schools to join them.
Teacher Cristina Rivera said the staff and school are supporting the student decision, and believe it to be a good learning experience.
“It came about because of conversations that we were having in class,” said Rivera. “Students were very concerned about Florida and about an incident that happened in Wakefield. Even though it wasn’t credible, students came back to St. Rose and initiated a discussion. We had heard about the March 14th date already and we let the students vote on it and they wanted to do it.”
She said the students have taken charge making signs and mapping out the route and planning the action. She said the school believes it’s a great learning experience for the kids, especially around getting involved civically.
“We feel it’s really an important part of learning democracy and something we want to support in our students,” she said. “In four years, our oldest students will be allowed to vote. However, having a voice and learning to participate starts before that. Exercising their right to assemble freely on an issue they are passionate about is the start of learning about this democracy.”
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) has announced that all RMV services, with the exception of law enforcement, will be unavailable from 7 p.m., March 22 until 8 a.m. March 26 due to the RMV changing over a new computer system that will allow the RMV to comply with federal and state mandates. In addition inspection station locations will be unable to conduct motor vehicle inspections on March 23, 24 or 25, RMV on-line services will be unavailable, and RMV service locations will be closed.
The Registry’s new computer system will enable the Commonwealth to issue federally mandated REAL ID credentials to members of the public who will need a REAL ID credential. REAL ID is a Federal Security Standard for IDs that was created in 2005 as a result of the increased federal security measures after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
The new computer system will also have enhanced customer-centric features and more efficient process elements for access by law enforcement, the insurance industry, government entities and professionals who need to engage the Registry. The current RMV system is more than 30 years old.
Between March 22 and March 26, the following services will be unavailable:
Beginning at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 22, motor vehicle inspections will be unavailable at station locations in Massachusetts until the start of business on March 26, at 8 a.m.
Beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26, Registry on-line services will be unavailable.
Registry service locations will be closed on Friday, March 23, and will reopen on Monday, March 26.
AAA branch locations which offer Registry services to AAA members will be unable to do so beginning at 7 p.m., March 22, and until 8 a.m., March 26.
Law enforcement officers will continue to have access to RMV data at all times from March 22 to March 26 through the use of a back-up data file.
For more information regarding RMV service suspension, please visit: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/alert-no-rmv-services.
The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is taking steps to allow more customers the opportunity to renew a driver’s license or ID card online. The RMV has extended the length of time a customer can use a license photo from 9 years to 14 years which means more customers than ever are eligible for online renewals.
In addition, customers will be eligible to renew their licenses or ID cards online for two consecutive renewal periods. This will result in approximately 30,000 additional renewal transactions eligible to be processed online each month. With thousands of additional customers now eligible to conduct renewals online, the amount of customers who must visit a service center will decrease, which will make in-person transactions more efficient for customers who do need to visit RMV service locations.
“The Registry is pleased to offer these helpful enhancements to service options that are currently available to our customers,” said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin Deveney. “We encourage customers to conveniently renew their driver’s license or MA ID card online if they are eligible to do so, saving a trip to a service center and perhaps avoiding holiday traffic too.”
Licenses and ID cards will need to be renewed in person at RMV service centers or AAA locations (for AAA members) every third renewal period (once every 15 years). Customers should also know that they don’t need to wait for the RMV’s birthday card reminder to renew. They can go online and renew up to 12 months in advance.
To be eligible for online renewal, a customer’s license/ID card photo must be less than 14 years old and must have been taken after the customer’s 21st birthday.
The RMV invites license and/or ID card holders to visit www.mass.gov/how-to/renew-your-drivers-license to check their license status and renew online.
Effective March 26, 2018, the RMV is changing the way customers get and renew their driver’s licenses and ID cards. On that date, the RMV will begin to issue driver’s licenses and ID cards which meet the federal requirement for credentials which are REAL ID compliant.
Massachusetts residents do not need a REAL ID until after October 2020, and will only need a REAL ID for air travel or to enter a U.S. government building. On October 1, 2020, the following credentials will be accepted where REAL ID is required: a valid U.S or foreign passport, U.S. passport card, military ID, or a driver’s license or ID that is REAL ID compliant.
Anyone with questions about REAL ID may visit: www.mass.gov/realID.
Additional information can be found on the website of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs.
Jose Iraheta has been at nearly every Chelsea City Council meeting in the last four years.
Even when no one else showed up on cold nights in February, one could count on seeing him there.
He has translated for free to help those who couldn’t speak English, attended virtually every community event, sat next to and chatted up Federal Rese
Resident Mario Caballero of Webster Avenue shares his story about being in fear due to the potential of having his Temporary Protected Status (TPS) rescinded by the federal government. An announcement on TPS is expected in six months. Caballero said he had been in the US under TPS since 1988
rve Chair Janet Yellen when she visited Chelsea, and spoke up for things he agreed with and things he did not agree with.
But on Monday night, he was there to tell a far different story.
It was his story, and it was a story about how the man who is everywhere in Chelsea could one day in the next six months be nowhere in Chelsea – all due to the recently announced decision by the Federal Government that the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program is no longer necessary.
“I am a recipient of TPS due to an earthquake that happened in my country (of El Salvador) in 2001,” he said, holding back strong emotion. “I feel somewhat selfish to come up here because this directly affects me and it’s hard to talk about it. When I first heard that they had put out a letter saying TPS might be rescinded, it was a really dark place for me and probably everyone like me. I started thinking about an exit strategy. I’ve spent more time in the US than in my country. I came here when I was 12. I went to school here, graduated from college and built a life here and a home here. The thought of having to leave is so incredibly hard.”
Iraheta was one of several TPS recipients that appeared before the Council to call on the body to pass a resolution that asked the federal government not to eliminate the TPS program, which affects legal immigrants from Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador who have fled dangerous situations like earthquakes and other disasters.
Many Haitians who fled the earthquake in 2010 are greatly affected. It is estimated that about 340,000 people nationwide have TPS status, but a good many like Iraheta reside in Chelsea.
“This resolution gives me hope and gives others like me hope in this situation,” concluded Iraheta.
Other residents, such as Mario Caballero of Webster Avenue said he is retired, having received TPS many years ago. As a retired man who worked two jobs for more than a decade, he wonders what will happen to him.
“I had no worries at all until I heard this news that TPS could be gone,” he said, speaking through an interpreter. “And just like me, the man who owns the home where I rent an apartment also has TPS. We wonder what is going to become of us. I’ve been on a pension for three years now and my first question is what will happen to my pension and my insurance.”
Councillors voted 11-0 to support the resolution, which garnered a standing ovation from a large group that came to speak on the matter.
Councillor Judith Garcia spoke emotionally about the measure, noting that family members have TPS.
“I know so much how you have contributed to the community and the economy,” she said. “We are breaking families apart. Many of those with TPS have children born here…Expelling residents is breaking up Chelsea…This resolution is a bold and important move. I hope other communities like Everett, Revere and Lawrence will join us. We have six months to really rally and bond together to make our voices heard.”
Councillor Dan Cortell said such decisions in Washington are being made by people who don’t have to look those affected – such as Iraheta – in the eye.
“The people making these decisions at a national level are missing having to look people in the eyes whom they are actually affecting,” he said. “Politicians like Trump aren’t looking people in the ye and understand the ramifications…We cannot sent people back to these places when they are not safe. Change is not going to happen from the top down so it has to come from the bottom up…These are our neighbors and we have to fight for them.”
The resolution won a unanimous vote and was signed by 10 of the 11 members.
The Chelsea Fire Department announced this week that they have secured a major federal grant to pay for the hiring of eight new firefighters in this year’s budget – with Chief Len Albanese saying the new recruits could hit the streets by Thanksgiving.
The Homeland Security grant provides $1.4 million of federal funding over a three-year period, covering 75 percent of the salary and benefits for two years. The third year of the grant will cover 35 percent of the share of salaries and benefits.
In the fourth year of the grant, the City would be responsible for 100 percent of the costs associated with the new hires.
Albanese said that in the end, concerns about not getting the grant due to Chelsea’s Sanctuary City status did not factor into whether the City did or did not get the grant as the application was put in last year.
Overall, the big news is that the Fire Department will go over 100 members for the first time in decades.
The grant will put the contingent up to 102 member.
“We’ve had 92 members for quite a while,” said the chief. “Prior to my arrival and when I got here and that’s a situation I assume goes back to the 1990s – post-receivership. (Last year), we added two members to get up to 94 and with the intention to add more. With the SAFER grant now in place, we can add eight new members and that brings our staffing up to 102…Having 102 is what we consider to be a really good staffing level for the Fire Department.”
He said that Revere’s contingent is at 98 and Everett – which also has a SAFER grant- is at 111.
He said adding the new members won’t eliminate overtime, but he believes it will bring it down to a reasonable number – eliminating what has been many years of controversy surrounding overspending on overtime.
“The purpose is to not just decrease overtime,” he said. “There’s always overtime in a 24/7 business…This will control overtime and put boots on the ground. It will stabilize overtime and increase staffing.”
Already, Albanese said he has identified the eight recruits from Civil Service, having been confident of getting the grant and taking early action. That will mean they get in the Station very quickly.
“We have eight recruits identified and they preparing to attend the Brookline Fire Academy on Sept. 5,” he said. “That means if all goes well, we will have these additional firefighters on the street by Thanksgiving.”
Along with this grant and another recently received, the fire department has garnered $2 million of federal funding from the 2016 DHS/FEMA programs.
The United States House of Representatives passed an immigration bill in June that includes harsh penalties for self-declared Sanctuary Cities like Chelsea, and even though it has a long way to go in passing the U.S. Senate to become law, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he would be ready to go back to Federal Court to fight it.
“I’m hoping the Senate does not go ahead with that,” he said. “If the Senate does go ahead and it is signed by the president, I expect we’ll look at at filing another lawsuit for violation of the 10th Amendment. Hopefully, the Senate will be more reasonable. I’m going to worry about legislation that passes the House.”
The law that passed the House deals with many issues, but when it comes to Sanctuary Cities, it takes away all grant money from cities that self-declare as a Sanctuary City – as Chelsea does. That would likely mean steep losses for the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), for public safety grants (police and fire) and for grants to the Public Schools.
Ambrosino said he doesn’t envision the law clearing the Senate and isn’t too worried about that happening, but did say if the Senate happened to approve the legislation, Chelsea would look at another lawsuit.
The City filed a lawsuit earlier this year with Lawrence when President Donald Trump issued his executive order penalizing Sanctuary Cities. That order was also challenged by several other municipalities, and a stay of the order was granted by a Federal Appeals Court in California. That stay also applied to Chelsea’s case, making the executive order moot.
However, the new legislation does take away one of the key arguments in Chelsea’s original case – that being the executive order actions weren’t authorized by legislation.
However, Ambrosino said he and the City’s lawyers still believe a 10th Amendment violation would be grounds for another suit if need be.
“Obviously, the fact that legislation exists would make that argument go away, but there are other arguments we made and one is that legislation would violate the separation of powers in the 10th Amendment.”
No new action has taken place on the House Bill since it passed in late June, but City officials are keeping close tabs on the Senate’s actions in relation to the Bill.
As around 40 residents assembled at the Williams School Monday night on a beautiful summer evening, their greetings to one another and their conversations had to be punctuated by numerous pauses to accommodate the endless parade of airplanes passing loudly overhead.
By a quick count, about 40 planes passed over in 30 minutes before the meeting started.
It’s that sort of thing that brought out so many to the meeting, and it’s also what spawned activists and neighbors to announce that it’s time to stop working cooperatively with the airport as it’s getting the community nowhere.
“We go from Chelsea to East Boston to enjoy the parks they get as mitigation for the airport,” said Roseann Bongiovanni of GreenRoots. “A little mitigation goes a long way on helping the burden. It’s a sign of goodwill and good faith to say, ‘We understand the burden you are facing.’ That’s not happening with MassPort. We tried for six to eight months to get a meeting with them and we finally did. They heard our concerns and absorbed it and said, ‘We’re going to come back to you.’ It was positive. Eighteen months later, where are we? Nowhere. We don’t have a park or any mitigation or any amenities. They just don’t give a rat’s (expletive deleted),” she said.
MassPort has long been a thorn in the side of Chelsea as many residents have contended that the noise and frequency of the planes over Chelsea are just as obtrusive as many parts of East Boston, the host community. Meanwhile, the City also hosts an airport overlay district that serves to provide a district on Eastern Avenue and Marginal Street for airport-related uses like heavy trucking, fuel storage and rental car storage.
None of it is exactly an ideal use for residents to endure.
That said, City Councillors, Bongiovanni and scores of residents have detailed that the last couple of months have been unbearable as the airport has engaged in a Runway Improvement Project to pave the runways. That has resulted in more flights temporarily going over Chelsea, Everett and other air corridors. It has been the straw that seemingly has broken the back of Chelsea’s relationship with the airport and its regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Bongiovanni said Logan announced two weeks ago that the runway project was to end on June 23, and that things would be far less intrusive. However, residents and officials have said nothing has changed.
“June 23 came and went and today is June 26,” said Bongiovanni. “Planes are going over every 90 seconds or more. They said it would be all done. We’re seeing other communities getting up and fighting, such as in Milton. In Chelsea, we’re doing little things…It’s time for the community to stand up here and fight. We need to give them a little bit of trouble so they will listen.”
Residents at the meeting detailed being able to see planes so close that they can and have waved to passengers from their balconies. One man said the noise is so loud – occurring late in the night and resuming early in the morning – that his five-month-old baby has disturbed sleep patterns.
Others joked that they can’t watch television without the Closed Captioning – even with the windows closed.
Some even said they were frightened by how low the planes were coming in – saying it causes anxiety that they might hit something or go down.
Residents said they would like to begin taking action, and Bongiovanni said it would be important to dig up some facts and studies to bolster Chelsea’s position.
One study that never got a lot of play in Chelsea, but made big waves in Eastie, was a Department of Public Health study 10 years ago. That Environmental Health Assessment focused on Eastie, but also proved that some parts of Chelsea were just as impacted as Eastie – the airport host community.
The meeting also featured a guest speaker, John Walkey of Air, Inc, an East Boston organization that is sanctioned to work on environmental impacts of Logan Airport.
Many in the audience left the meeting with a charge to gather information and to get on the agenda of the MassPort Board meeting on July 20. There, they hope to begin making a strong point for Chelsea.