The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower – a beloved local landmark – is slated to come down next month, and this Friday, the Soldiers’ Home is inviting everyone to its grounds to give an official good-bye to the red and white checkered symbol of Chelsea.
“The ceremony Friday is going to be very informal, but meaningful,” said Supt. Cheryl Poppe. “We’ve invited a lot of officials and the entire community. If anyone has a memory or a letter they would like to read, this would be a good time for that. This is a time for residents, staff and Soldiers’ Home residents to give the tower a farewell.”
Poppe said the tower has to be taken down due to the new $199 million Community Living Center project, which is starting construction now and will be in full building mode this spring. The tower has been a beloved symbol of Chelsea for decades since being put up in 1958. The red and white checkered tower was used to pump water, but for many more it became a symbol of the City of Chelsea – with people being able to see its ‘Chelsea Soldiers’ Home’ lettering from far and wide.
Poppe said it hasn’t been functional since 2009, and is structurally unsound now. There was no way to save it from the wrecking ball in order to build the new Center, but they do plan to commemorate it with a photo montage or a small model on the property.
“The construction company is still exploring ways to remove the tower and there are many ways,” she said. “They’re still examining things like how many layers of paint are on it and how they can safely take it down. It might now be until late in December, but we do expect it to go down soon. We wanted to make sure people had a chance to say good-bye before that happened.”
In addition, part of Malone Park will also be taken up soon by fences that will be used for construction activities and parking.
“I know I want to take my last walk around that loop before it’s not available,” said Poppe. “I’m sure others do, too.”
The Soldiers’ Home has had many scares over the years due to underfunding and the fact that the Quigley Hospital has open wards, something that was permitted in the past but no longer is.
“When it was built, you were supposed to come here, heal and then go home,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to be a home. Now, of course, people stay here and it is their home. This new Center will make it more of a home, right down to how the meals are prepared.”
Poppe said the fact that the hospital is getting a remake is a tribute to Lawrence Quigley, who advocated for years and years to get it built in the first place.
“At one point he said that the VA had done 21 surveys and 21 studies and it was time to do something,” he said. “He was trying to take care of the veterans from World War I, not even knowing his son would go to World War II and need the same services.”
She said there was quite a lot of folks who were sentimental or upset about the removal of the tower at first, but she said she believes in recent months many have seen the value of the overall project.
“The residents have a sentimentality for the tower, but at this pint they realize it is more important for veterans who need long-term care now and in the future to be served by this Community Living Center,” she said.
The farewell to the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home tower will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Chelsea High boys soccer team dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 decision to Acton-Boxboro in a first round contest of the Division 1 North Sectional of the MIAA state soccer tournament last Friday evening on the turf at Highland Park.
The Red Devils grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 30 minute mark of the opening half when Delmer Romero found the back of the A-B net with a beautiful strike from the top of the box.
Delmer, Chelsea’s leading scorer this season, initially took possession of the ball in the right corner of the box and then made a few moves toward the center to create some space from the A-B defenders. When he obtained a small window of opportunity, Romero let go a powerful drive high to the opposite corner to beat the A-B keeper.
However, that would prove to be the apogee of coach Mick Milutinovic and his Red Devils’ hopes for advancing to the next round of the tournament.
Five minutes after Romero’s goal, a ref whistled Chelsea for a controversial hand-ball in the box and awarded a penalty kick to A-B. The alleged hand-ball call was not evident to anyone else on or in the field — and the ref who made the call was 60 yards aways from the action.
Acton-Boxboro converted the PK, bringing the contest back to level at the half.
The contest remained deadlocked for the next 55 minutes — 40 minutes of the second half, 10 minutes of the first overtime, and five minutes of the second OT — until A-B reached the back of the Chelsea net for the victory with five minutes left in the second overtime period.
“This was a great tourney game,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki. “Our defense was solid and our keeper, Roberto Portillo, played the best game of his career with some outstanding saves.
“We had a great crowd and the team fought hard the whole way,” added Protasowicki, who noted that the Red Devils had enjoyed a superb season with a 13-0-3 record entering the tournament. “It’s too bad that the outcome of the game hinged on that hand-ball call.”
CHS runners do
well at Coaches Meet
Last Saturday a small contingent of the Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams traveled to Wrentham to participate in the Frank Mooney State Coaches Invitational.
Senior Justin Turner raced to a personal best of 17:05 on the 3.1 mile course to finish seventh out of 189 runners.
“Every week Justin gets better,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “He had a great summer of training and it is translating into a remarkable season. He hasn’t missed a day of practice and he is a great leader.”
Senior Julio Valladares ran 17:51 to improve by over a minute and was 30th overall out of 189.
“Earlier this season Julio had a virus he couldn’t shake,” said Fay. “The last three weeks he has finally been running to his potential.”
Jazmany Reyes ran 18:29 and also had a personal best by almost a minute. Oscar Amaya ran 19:22 in the sophomore race while freshman Ian Padilla also ran in the sophomore race and ran 20:10. Only nine other freshman beat Ian in the race.
Limilson Tavares raced to a 19:09 time in the junior race. Joseph Terval ran 20:07 to smash his former best time by almost two minutes. WidinButras finished in a time of 22:10.
On the girls’ side, YaridDeras finished 28th in a time of 22:11 for the 3.1 miles.
This Saturday both the boys and girls squats will go back to Wrentham for the Division 2 State Meet.
CHS football team
meets O’Bryant Friday
The Chelsea High football team turned in its most-productive offensive effort of the season, but came out on the short end of a 40-22 decision to Cathedral High this past Friday evening.
“Unfortunately, it’s not the outcome we wanted, but I am proud of my guys for putting up a fight until the last whistle,” said CHS head coach Rasi Chau. “Our new quarterback, freshman Joshua Sosa, took the call and did a great job controlling the field.”
Sosa threw a 76 yard touchdown pass to Daps Olunbuson and ran a quarterback sneak for a two-point conversion. Jabes Escalante did a great job running the ball, scoring touchdowns, including his longest run of the year of 57 yards, plus a two-point conversion. Jabes ended up with 176 yards on the ground.
Ivan Soto, Chelsea’s leading tackler this season with more than 100 tackles, recorded 13 solo tackles of Cathedral ballcarriers.
Chau and his squad will play at O’Bryant High School in Boston tomorrow (Friday). Kickoff is set for 4:00.
CHS girls soccer
Although the Chelsea High girls soccer team dropped its last four games of the season to finish with a final record of 5-10-2, CHS head coach Randy Grajal was upbeat about his team’s performance and its future.
“We have a very young team and we improved as our season went along,” said CHS head coach Randy Grajal. “I am looking forward to our next season.”
Pastors Ricardo Valle and Ruben Rodriguez show their determination to keep up the fight against homelessness during the one-year anniversary celebration of the Selah Day Center at Iglesia De La Luz Church on Broadway last Friday, Aug. 31. The Day Center has gone through ups and downs, but has provided great services to those facing homelessness and addiction issues.
When the chips were down a few years ago and few were willing to stand up, rock the boat and call on President Barack Obama to slow down deportations from the country and places like Chelsea – Illinois Congressman Luis Gutiérrez told a crowd of people at Pan Y Café in Cary Square last Friday that one man stood with him.
That man was Congressman Michael Capuano, and the popular Latino congressman from Illinois appeared with Capuano Friday morning, July 20, in Chelsea to endorse Capuano and remind voters here how hard Capuano has been working – both in good times and bad times.
“Ten years ago I came to East Boston to tell President Obama to stop the deportations,” Gutierrez said. “There wasn’t a lot of Democrats who wanted to strongly tell our president to do that. Barack Obama was popular, we liked him and we wanted him to success, but the deportations were continuing. Not many wanted to do that. Mike didn’t hesitate. We met with immigrant groups together 10 years ago to deliver that message and we’ve been working together every since then on these issues.”
Gutierrez has become a very popular member of Congress in the last few years as immigration issues have come to the forefront and he has combined with others like Capuano to tell the stories of those caught up in the system. Capuano took him on a tour of two locations in Chelsea Friday and one in Boston – talking to Latino and immigrant groups throughout the City. It reinforced that battle ground nature that Chelsea has taken on within the congressional race between himself and challenger Ayanna Pressley.
On Friday, he also received the endorsement of Councillor Leo Robinson and Roy Avellaneda. State Rep. Dan Ryan, who previously endorsed him, was also in attendance – as were several local movers and shakers.
“I didn’t know a lot about Mike when I came on the City Council many years ago, but on the advice of a neighbor and other councillors, I met with him and he was a solid guy,” said Avellaneda. “I looked at his resume and I’ve never looked back and never regretted supporting him. I’ve called on Mike so many times over the years for an issue regarding Chelsea…He earned my vote back then and has for the last 20 years.”
Robinson reminded everyone that Capuano has always brought home important monies for Chelsea from the federal government, including money recently allocated for rebuilding Quigley Hospital at the Soldiers’ Home.
Capuano was gracious, and said he really appreciated the support from Chelsea and Gutierrez, his colleague in Washington, D.C.
“It’s nice when you’re under the gun to learn who stands with you,” he told the crowd, moving on to the immigration issue and the family separation he recently saw in a trip to the Texas/Mexico border. “It’s a simple question. Do you like people or don’t you? Do you want to be a country that’s welcoming or don’t you?…None of us would have said that we would live in a country where the official policy was to rip nursing infants from their mothers…It’s horrible and it’s not right. Infants and their mothers should be together…Unless Democrats get the House back, we won’t have any progress on these issues. If Democrats get the House back, I promise you we will deal with the TPS (Temporary Protective Status) issue. We will deal with the infants ripped from their mother’s arms. We will have honest discussions and debate about comprehensive immigrations reform. It will be difficult, but at least we will have a chance because we’ll be talking about it.”
Two of the highest tides ever recorded on Boston Harbor have happened in the last three months, with one of those being last Friday, March 2, around 11:15 a.m.
Last Friday’s storm caused some severe flooding in Chelsea, particularly on Marginal Street where the Chelsea Creek breached its banks. However, the storm also packed a punch with heavy winds, which blew Chelsea’s official Christmas tree Down.
And on Friday, and on Jan. 4 before that, the tides and coastal storm surge combined to inundate areas of Chelsea that normally stay dry – particularly on Marginal Street and its tributaries up the hill.
This past Friday, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said floodwaters breached the banks of the Chelsea Creek once again – just as they did during the blizzard and coastal surge on Jan. 4.
He said there isn’t much the City can do short-term to alleviate that kind of powerful force.
“There just wasn’t a whole lot we could do about that situation when the Creek comes over its banks, onto the roadway and floods the entire road,” he said. “We may have to be thinking about – like other cities and towns – very long, long-term solutions because I think these types of storms are going to continue more and more. I think like everyone else we’re going to have to start thinking about Coastal Climate Resiliency. I don’t know what that would mean for Marginal Street, but it would have to mean something because we can’t keep having this kind of flooding.”
Ambrosino said the tidal action on Marginal Street is also what caused the closure of several streets on the hill, including Congress, Willow, Highland and others. Fixing that would mean years of planning and millions and millions of dollars, but perhaps that is something, he said, that needs to happen.
Beyond that, flooding issues on Eastern Avenue on Friday near the Burke School Complex may have a solution. He said there is some infrastructure work they intend to do in the coming years that should make a difference in that flooding situation.
On Friday, high tides inundated the area near the Burke and caused some disruptions in school activities.
The same is true for flooding on the Island End River, which exceeded its banks on Friday too. That type of flooding issue threatens the food supply at the New England Produce Center, but like Eastern Avenue, Ambrosino said there are solutions that have been planned.
“There are long-term solutions there, but they are expensive,” he said. “However, there are ideas that can make a difference with that situation.”
Beyond the flooding, the storm packed a punch with wind gusts that often went above 80 mph. That wreaked havoc with many trees in the city, and particularly with the City’s official Christmas tree in Chelsea Square.
That tree was knocked down in the winds, and had to be removed from its long-time home.
“The Christmas tree did get knocked over,” said Ambrosino. “As I understand, it was transplanted some years ago and didn’t have very deep roots. The Tree Board will look at that and try to figure out what we’ll do about a new Christmas tree. Luckily, we have plenty of time to think about it.”
Chelsea High School senior Brandon Lazo performs ‘Carol Of The Bells’ for his piano solo during the annual CHS Winter Concert on Friday, Dec. 15. The evening included music, dance and percussion all performed to a packed house in the auditorium.
RYDN the Wheels of Steel…DJ Rydn, pronounced Ray-Den, from Worcester entertained the spectators in Chelsea
Square on Friday night, Sept. 1, during the Summer Shut It Down concert series. TND and the City helped to organize the three-night concert series in the Square.
Roseann Bongiovanni and long time environmental justice member, David Prusky, cut the green ribbon on the new Chelsea GreenRoots headquarters on Marginal Street during a ceremony last Friday, Sept. 9. GreenRoots, formerly
Chelsea GreenSpace, formally spun off of the Chelsea Collaborative earlier in the summer and will focus more intensely on issues regarding the environment.
The Chelsea High football team will be shooting for its first victory of the season Friday evening when the Red Devils host Northeast Regional Vocational School at Chelsea Stadium. Kick-off time is set for 7:00.
Coach Jack Halas’s squad opened its 2016 campaign last Thursday evening at Lynn Tech and came up on the short end of a 34-0 decision.
The contest started inauspiciously for the Red Devils, who were flagged for two false-start penalties to open the game that would prove to be an indication of Chelsea’s frustrations to come.
Tech controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, with the Tech offense piling up 293 yards on the ground.
Senior quarterback and captain T.J. Patterson accounted for the bulk of the CHS offense, rushing for 40 yards on 14 carries and completing five-of-13 pass attempts for 64 yards in the air. Chelsea had opportunities to score on some deep balls, but the Devils were unable to secure the catch.
Senior wide receiver and captain Nick Ieng hauled in two passes for 23 yards and picked up 25 yards on the ground.
“Hats off to Lynn Tech,” said Halas. “They outplayed us start to finish. We are very young and inexperienced on the O-line and the D-line. No excuse, but I understand why we struggled. Only two players on our O-line have varsity experience. One D-lineman has varsity experience and we have to start two freshmen.
“The positive is we have a solid group of linemen in this freshmen class. If we can keep them together, they’ll be a tough group as juniors and seniors,” added the coach. “We were down 28-0 at halftime, but I was proud that our kids did not quit or lose their spirit. But we need some serious work to improve.”
Boys soccer team
earns 2-2 tie with NE.
The Chelsea High boys soccer team scored two goals in the final four minutes to come away with a 2-2 tie against perennial Commonwealth Athletic Conference archrival Northeast Regional last Thursday at Chelsea Stadium.
Northeast grabbed a 1-0 lead midway through the first half and enlarged its margin to 2-0 with a goal with 15 minutes left in the contest. The Red Devils had been controlling possession up to that point, but Chelsea was unable to find the right combination in the offensive third of the field.
“Overall, we were playing well,” said CHS assistant coach Evan Protasowicki, “but we could not figure out how to break down the Northeast defense.”
However, with four minutes to play and the Red Devils pressing, Northeast was called for a foul in the box, giving Chelsea a penalty kick opportunity.
Kevin Umanzor-Torrez made good his shot, but the ref blew the ball dead, apparently for the infraction of a Chelsea player entering the box before Umanzor-Torres struck the ball.
That meant that Kevin had to retake the shot, and once again he drilled it to the back of the Northeast net to close the gap to 2-1.
The Red Devils resumed their attack ever more ferociously after the PK, and their hard work paid off with 90 seconds remaining in the game when a poor Northeast clear from the box was trapped and controlled by senior Humberto Suarez just outside the 18-yard line. Humberto then delivered a powerful strike that beat the NE keeper (who had played a superb game) to bring the Devils to level at 2-2.
“This by far was not our best game,” said Protasowicki, “but it showed that we’re capable of fighting back. We never gave up and our determination paid off for us.”
The Red Devils next hosted Everett, their former ancient foe from Chelsea’s days in the Greater Boston League, Monday evening. Although the fierce battles with their opponent from across the Parkway are only a distant memory for CHS fans over the age of 40, the schools have revived their rivalry on the soccer pitch in recent years, with the CHS-EHS games drawing the largest and most vocal fan attendance of the season for both teams.
The schools have engaged in hard-fought and evenly-matched contests in recent years, but Monday’s contest saw Everett power to a 6-0 victory before a vocal crowd of partisans.
The match was evenly-played through the first 40 minutes, with the Crimson Tide taking a 1-0 lead at the half. However, with Chelsea’s top defender, Carlos Cartagena, forced to the sidelines with a groin pull shortly into the second half, Everett soon began to take control, eventually striking for five goals in the final 25 minutes of the game.
“Everett is a very good team that is almost exclusively comprised of seniors,” noted Protasowicki. “We already were missing two of our key players in Carlos Garcia and Carlos Cruz, so when Carlos Cartagena was injured, it left us pretty thin and Everett took full advantage.
“Despite the loss, we had a lot of positives from the game,” said Protasowicki. “We have a number of new and young players, and we’re still trying to figure some things out. Hopefully, we’ll hit our stride sooner rather than later.”
Head coach Mick Milutinovic and his crew, who now stand at 1-1-1 on the season, were set to host Whittier yesterday (Wednesday) and will trek to Lynn Tech tomorrow (Friday). The Red Devils are then off until next Friday.
Girls cross country
teams defeats Everett
The Chelsea High boys and girls cross country teams opened their 2016 season against Parkway rival Everett last Wednesday on a hot, muggy day at the Admiral’s Hill course.
The Lady Red Devils shut out their Lady Crimson Tide counterparts, 15-50, while the boys came up on the short end of a 19-36 decision.
Sophomore Yarid Monzon Deras won the girls’ race in a personal record (PR) time of 23:30 over the 3.1 mile course. “Yarid has had a great summer of training and it’s something you can’t hide,” said CHS head coach Don Fay. “Either you ran over the summer or you didn’t. I wish everyone had the same intensity for their training that Yarid does. “
Finishing in second place was senior captain Melanie Nguyen in 26:18. Sophomore Jocelyn Poste took third spot in 27:19, followed by freshman teammates Sandra Tun in fourth place, Anna Bernal in fifth, and Karina Avalos in sixth.
“We have a very young girls team and we’re hoping to build on our first win
of the year,” noted Fay. The girls were set to compete yesterday at home (Wednesday) in a tri-meet with Presentation of Mary Academy and Whittier.
On the boys’ side, Everett claimed the first three places, while Chelsea claimed five of the next seven spots. Freshman Demitrius Martinez was the
first Chelsea runner across the line. “Demetrius ran very well for
his first race,” said Fay of the freshman’s 20:59 clocking. “He stayed in control and ran a very steady, consistent race.”
Alex Pedrero, who also was running his first cross country race, took sixth place in 22:35. Senior captain Adriel Cedano was eighth, running 22:48, followed by teammate Abraham Barrientos in ninth in 25:05 and senior captain Issac
Concord in 10th in 25:50.
“The boys also are a pretty young team and hopefully in the next meet or two we will have everyone back and ready to run strong,” noted Fay.
by Bob Morello
Bruins introduce Warrior Arena
When the Bruins unveiled ‘Warrior Ice Arena,’ their new practice facility at Boston Landing in the Brighton/Allston , it marked a new era, especially for the Boston players. The state-of-the-art facility shines both inside and out, featuring a well-lit arena that smacks of Bruins history. Beginning with the 68-foot Warrior hockey stick on the side of the facility, and pretty much everything else is Bruins. Prominent over the practice ice are the ten miniature banners honoring the retired Bruins players’ jerseys, while on the walls are the reproductions painted of the six Stanley Cup banners. An impressive display features the Bruins Stanley Cup with small statues, one for each of the six championships, encased in plexi-glass. Several motivational messages were painted on the walls, one stated, “You Must Be Willing To Sacrifice, As Few People Have The Will To Win.”
Bruins President Cam Neely took the media on a grand tour of the new grounds, stating “With this facility, the guys are very excited about it. The players that have been in here already are very excited about being in this space a lot more.” There wasn’t much not to like as the tour continued with a view of the players’ locker room, their personal relaxation area complete with a team logo ping pong table, a much improved workout facility, updated media workspace, and even an indoor track. Neely went on to explain his surprise that the Bruins were able to find space so close to TD Garden, let alone such a complete facility that would allow New Balance to accommodate the team’s multitude of needs.
New Balance Managing Director Jim Halliday glowed when explaining the growing pains, and finally the reward, after two years of construction. Another plus will be the benefit to the community, with 75 percent of ice time already booked. Many youth hockey programs will also have the chance to skate on the Bruins logo-marked ice, certainly a thrill for youngsters of any age. Halliday went on to confirm that the Boston Celtics are also in the process of constructing their practice facility nearby Warrior. It confirms that the Bruins have certainly made a good decision to build in Boston Landing, as it appears to be a major sports development area. Halliday continued to explain that the MBTA is committed to building a commuter rail stop in the near future, making it a bit easier for fans all over to come and enjoy the exciting atmosphere of a Bruins practice.
Asked why the Bruins logo was placed on the ceiling in the Bruins’ dressing room, as opposed to the floor rug at the Garden dressing room, Neely took great pleasure in explaining, “I could never understand why the logo was on the floor at the Garden, I wouldn’t even put my Bruins jersey on the floor, it just didn’t seem right, so it was decided that the ceiling was the better choice.” That brought a laugh from the media attending, as it was always a challenge when interviewing players at the Garden, that one had to be very careful to not step on the spoked-B, and be the recipient of a reprimand from staff!
After touring the new facility it was obvious that the Bruins want even their new practice facility to be one that was comfortable for the players, and even more important, a place for conditioning that would keep them in the best shape possible. It appears that Bruins management have met that criteria head on, as the remarks from the players who’ve had the chance to inspect the facility agreed, it is one impressive building for both the players and the fans!