Following a six-alarm fire last Wednesday afternoon, May 2, on John Street – where two dwellings were a complete loss – Chief Leonard Albanese warned this week for residents to be extremely careful with activities on back porches – though he said the cause last week wasn’t yet determined.
Chelsea firefighters fighting the John Street blaze on May 2 with heavy smoke.
The fire last week originated on a second-floor, back porch of 10 John St.
“We haven’t determined the official cause yet,” he said. “We know it’s not arson, and it’s accidental. I want to emphasize that porch fires are a significant threat to our community and residents need to use extreme caution with the fire load on their decks, not smoking on their decks and not cooking on decks. No one is allowed to use a grill on any floor above the ground level.”
Chief Albanese said the firefighters and mutual aid partners did a great job with the fire on a day that was extremely busy in Greater Boston, as there was a fire in Cambridge and Somerville on the same day.
The fire came in on the afternoon of May 2, and it originated on the second-floor rear porch of 10 John St., a three-story multiple wood frame dwelling. Companies arrived with heavy fire conditions on all three rear porches at 10 John St., extending into the structure with fire threatening the immediate three-story exposures to the left (6 John St.) and right (12 John St.). The end result was the total loss of both 6 and 10 John St.; along with minor damage to 12 John St.
A large three-story, six-unit building at 68-70 Clark Ave. also sustained water damage. The home at 66 Clark Ave. sustained radiant heat damage only in the rear. Also, 56 Parker St. had exterior radiant heat damage only to the rear; and 50 Parker St. had a damaged fence from fire operations.
At 6 John St., 18 residents were displaced, and at 10 John St., 12 residents were displaced. Both structures were considered a total loss by fire officials.
The Red Cross provided immediate assistance to displaced residents.
There were no reported civilian injuries.
There were three immediately reported firefighter injuries, and all were treated and released. There were multiple other injuries sustained with the extreme conditions in which this fire was fought. All firefighters were exposed to smoke and products of combustion inhalation with an estimated three to five additional injuries being evaluated after the fire.
“The members of the Chelsea Fire Department along with our mutual aid partners engaged in a major fire operation under extreme conditions, which led to the containment of the fire to the loss of two structures only,” said the chief. “Without their valiant efforts, we could have lost several other structures further devastating the effected neighborhood. This was without a doubt a great job done by all.”
He also praised 9-1-1 dispatch for coordinating all six alarms.
“Additionally, Chelsea 911 did a great job allocating resources for the six alarms and guiding them to the scene,” he said. “This is difficult on a normal day, but Somerville had a multiple alarm fire that was tying up companies in the Metro Fire region at the same time, making this task a challenge.”
New, early morning bus routes on several area MBTA lines began on Sunday, April 1, for a one-year early morning pilot program on the routes.
The pilot will be on the MBTA’s busiest key bus routes serving neighborhoods within the immediate Boston core traveling to downtown Boston, the Seaport, and key stops in between beginning as early as 3:20 a.m. Serving residents who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring, the new routes are part of the MBTA’s continued commitment to expanding offerings for those riders who need them most.
There are nine routes on the pilot, and four of them serve the areas of Everett, Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and downtown Boston. Those routes in this area include:
Route 104 – Lynn Street Revere via Broadway Everett to Sullivan Square.
Route 109 – serving Broadway Everett.
Route 117 – serving Wonderland Revere to East Boston, via Revere, Chelsea and Eastie.
Route 455 – Salem to Wonderland Revere.
“The T’s expansion into early morning bus service will provide an important opportunity for the changing needs of Massachusetts’ workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Throughout this one-year pilot, the MBTA will be able to gather important information about changes in bus ridership and analyze that data to better inform future transportation plans around the Greater Boston area.”
“The launch of early morning service demonstrates that the MBTA is acting on its top priority to put the needs of its customers first,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “This new transit option will serve workers who must start their day earlier than most. Other commuters and city residents depend upon these essential workers and the MBTA’s ability to get them to their work places safely and on time.”
The changes also include additional service on existing routes during pre-dawn hours. Some routes will extend beyond their normal end points during the early morning to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport, allowing customers to reach those destinations even before trains start running. Early morning service is already a part of the MBTA’s bus service on several routes, but these added services represent earlier and/or extended routes on several bus lines. This expansion is the result of a year-long ridership study and planning initiative at the T, which resulted in the identification of key routes where early morning demand is heaviest.
Riding on the heels of what is expected to be the approval of a new Parkinson’s disease treatment drug, Acorda Therapeutics of 190 Everett Ave. has announced a proposal to significantly expand its existing operations.
The company has been located at its facility for some time, and operates under a lease from a New York company that is very active in Greater Boston. Now, however, they received good news from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about the likely approval of its new drug INBRIJA, a drug that delivers relief to Parkinson’s patients through an inhaler rather than a pill. It is expected it could be approved in October, leading to the need to ramp up manufacturing of it by 2019.
“Acorda Therapeutics seeks to expand operations at its manufacturing site at 190 Everett Avenue where it will support the global market for the Parkinson’s disease treatment INBRIJA and will ultimately provide the capability to support simultaneous manufacture of multiple products…The proposed project is an immediate expansion and upgrade of manufacturing and warehouse space. Acorda anticipates that the project will create 20 to 25 full-time, well-paying new jobs with targeted construction completion by Quarter 3 2019. This is a first step toward a long-term master plan vision that could ultimately create 100 new jobs and include a substantial capital investment.”
A spokesman for the company declined to comment now as it was too early in the process.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he is 100 percent in favor of the proposal and will speak in favor.
“I am hoping that it will be nothing for smooth sailing for them,” he said. “This is a very exciting proposal and I am 100 percent in favor. It has a lot of potential for Chelsea.”
The project includes a new manufacturing fit out of existing space in one of the buildings to house specialized equipment. It will also include the demolition of the 115-foot smoke stack and a demolition and reconstruction of another existing building on the site.
The manufacturing building will be unchanged in its footprint, though more than 2,000 sq. ft. of space will be added to the top floor for manufacturing.
The reconstruction of the demolished building will add nearly 4,000 sq. ft. of new floor area for manufacturing, shipping and warehouse space.
The identify that the new configuration will have at least 121 parking spaces, and they will require a zoning variance for the building height of the warehouse – where the requirements are no higher than 25 feet and the new building would be 66 feet. The existing building is now at 44 feet tall.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico will once again be hosting the annual DiDomenico Foundation St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus in Charlestown. This event has become the official kick-off to the St. Patrick’s Day season. In addition to a traditional Irish dinner, the night will include Irish music, step dancers, comedy by Tony V, bag pipers, videos by elected officials and the annual presentation of the Golden Shamrock Award to a community leader. Over 75 federal, state, and local elected officials are also expected to attend and several of them will try their favorite St. Patrick’s Day jokes. Political figures joining the festivities include Gov. Charlie Baker, Congressman Mike Capuano, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and many more! There will also be a special surprise guest as well. This has quickly become one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day traditions in the Greater Boston community.
For more tickets and more information on the event, please call (617) 387-3327. Proceeds will go to The DiDomenico Foundation, which funds educational scholarships for high school students, as well as a large toy drive during the holiday season for domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout the Greater Boston area.
Richard J. Gavegnano, President, CEO and Chairman of Meridian Bancorp, Inc. and East Boston Savings Bank (EBSB) announces the elections of Carl LaGreca to Lead Director and Peter Scolaro to the Board of Directors for both Meridian Bancorp, Inc. and East Boston Savings Bank.
Mr. LaGreca’s succeeds Richard F. Fernandez, who served as Lead Director since 2015 and as a member of the Board since 2007. Mr. LaGreca will continue to serve as a member of Meridian Bancorp’s Audit Committee, a position he has held since 2009. The Lynnfield resident is a Certified Public Accountant at DiCicco, Gulman & Company, LLP of Woburn. A graduate of Merrimack College, he also received a Master’s Degree in Taxation from Bentley College where he was awarded the Samuel Wolpe Memorial Award given to the outstanding student in the graduate tax program.
“We are excited to benefit from Peter’s thirty-four year affiliation with EBSB and his experience with ABCD preparing budgets and overseeing property and construction management and his many years of service to the East Boston community. His understanding of budgeting, finance and corporate strategy will enhance the board and we greatly look forward to his contributions” said Gavegnano.
Founded in 1848, EBSB is a proven community bank that offers products and services that meet the deposit and financing needs of both consumers and businesses. And customers can rest easy knowing that their deposits are fully insured by both the FDIC and Depositors Insurance Fund (DIF). East Boston Savings Bank currently operates 35 full-service branches in the Greater Boston metropolitan area, and offers a variety of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses located in its primary market, which consists of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk counties.
One of the largest recycling plants in the nation, Casella Waste in Charlestown, is hailing the recent spate of plastic bag bans in the area, including the discussions happening right now in Chelsea about a potential ban.
Casella handles about 200,000 tons of recycling per year and is the number one plant in Greater Boston – and a top five plant in the U.S. They handle all of the recycling for Chelsea, but one thing they hope is that the City might follow Boston in banning plastic bags – known in the industry as Low Density Poly-Ethylene (LDPEs).
“By far, plastic bag getting into the facility are the number one contaminants in single-stream recycling,” said Bob Cappadona of Casella. “By themselves, they are a very recyclable product. However, there just isn’t any market for the product. Second, with everything else, they get caught up in our machinery and cause us a lot of problems. If they come into our facility and get past our pre-sorters, they tend to get wrapped up in our disk screens and they wrap around them and cause stoppages.”
He said when bags get caught up in the disk screen machinery – which separates plastic jugs from paper/fibre products – the only way to remove them is the old fashioned way: with a razor blade.
“There are so many that get in there that at lunch or at break time we have to keep two or three people there to clean the disk screens of plastic bags,” he said. “Every three or four hours we have to go in and clean it up.”
Cappadona said he doesn’t want to malign plastic bags because they are a good recycled product on their own, if people were to take them back to the grocery store as directed.
However, many people throw them in the recycling, many times because they don’t know. On its face, it looks like something that could be recycled in the traditional curbside barrels. However, it is one plastic item that isn’t accepted, but routinely gets in the stream.
In Chelsea, Russell Disposal picks up all the recycling on the curb, and from there, they take it to Casella on Rutherford Avenue, behind Bunker Hill Community College in Charlestown.
Once there, that’s when problems come.
“They are a good recycling product on their own, but when they get here with everything else, they are a contaminant,” he said.
In terms of the ban that will go into effect in Boston, Cappadona said they aren’t really preparing, but they are excited about it. And they hope others might follow suit to make their recycling product purer.
The Chelsea City Council has been exploring the idea of a ban for the last month, with two meetings so far on the issue. While many are calling for a ban to prevent litter and for environmental reasons, businesses in the area are concerned about the increasing cost burden it will put on them to use alternative bags that are more expensive.
One of the biggest questions floating around all of Greater Boston right now regarding the allegations against CEO Steve Wynn is whether or not the casino building here will carry his signature brand name at the top when it opens in 2019 – a brand that has gone from impeccable to potentially tainted in a few day’s time.
Experts in the field of marketing and branding – something that is heavily studied and critically important in today’s business world – are closely watching this case with Wynn.
Locally, Northeastern University Assistant Professor Charn McAllister, who teaches in the Management and Organizational Development Department at Northeastern, said there are so many firsts in this case when it comes to branding.
One of the major issues with the Wynn situation is that the company is heavily tied to the man for whom some seriously negative allegations are being made. The company is tied so heavily that it in fact carries a brand name that is now associated with that negativity.
“I think Steve Wynn in many ways is the heart and soul of Wynn Resorts,” McAllister said. “It’s a cult of personality. When people invest in Wynn, they are investing in Steve Wynn…Five or six months ago, you would expect a company to remove an individual from a position of leadership. How do you do that when the company is the person? Though these are still allegations, it’s like Weinstein in that the allegations were so horrible that the name of the business became poison. When your name is on the building and on everything else, at that point it puts the Board in a very difficult situation.”
That difficult situation comes from the fact that the Board for Wynn – a publicly traded company – has stated in federal filings that the loss of Wynn from their company would mean significant financial losses. Now, they are facing a decision about the loss of Wynn versus the losses from the bad name via the publicity.
“They have already stated in SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) filings that the loss of Steve Wynn would result in major losses to the company, but at the same time you just had a 14 percent drop in your stock price because of Steve Wynn,” he said.
The branding of Wynn has been carefully guarded since the company arrived in Everett. From the local office to the Las Vegas office, the company has been very careful since day one to remain on brand and on message in all communications and imagery. That’s because they have spent decades building the name ‘Wynn’ into an image and vision of luxury and something fun and clean.
The allegations against Wynn now, which he fully denies, are anything but clean and fun. Regardless of their validity or not – or the circumstances of them surfacing – McAllister said today’s court of public opinion is very harsh on a brand.
He said some of the things he will be watching as the investigation moves forward is whether the company has a hard time recruiting new employees as they ramp up for the 2019 opening due to the public perception of the brand.
“The brand integrity is going to be downgraded substantially,” he said. “Recruiting for the company will be harder likely because the new potential candidates may not be so eager to work for the company. It’s not that they are afraid so much of getting assaulted, but the image of the company. Do you want to go home and tell your parents or friends that you work for this brand that is now associated with such bad things?”
McAllister said other things he is watching is how the allegations might be interpreted internationally, since Wynn has locations in Asia as well.
He also said he believes more companies might re-think making their brand the name of a company leader or founder. He said, for example, that everyone knows Jeff Bezos is the leader of Amazon, but the company doesn’t bear his name.
More than anything, McAllister said the unprecedented part of the situation will be whether public perception forces the brand to change. That, of course, is a question that nearly all of Everett is wondering as well.
An MS-13 member pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 in federal court in Boston to racketeering conspiracy involving the murder of a 15-year-old boy in Lawrence.
Josue Alexis DePaz, a/k/a “Gato,” 21, a Salvadoran national formerly residing in Lawrence, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for April 6, 2018.
DePaz was identified as a member of MS-13’s Everett Loco Salvatrucha (ELS) clique, which operated in the greater Boston area. When interviewed by law enforcement officers, DePaz admitted that on July 5, 2015, he was one of two men who stabbed a 15-year-old boy to death in O’Connell Park in Lawrence. In conversations recorded by law enforcement during the investigation, MS-13 members identified DePaz as one of the men who murdered the victim. DePaz was subsequently arrested in a house in Somerville with several other MS-13 members. A search warrant at the house resulted in the recovery of a firearm, several large knives, photographs of MS-13 members flashing gang signs, and a large volume of MS-13 paraphernalia, including blue and white hats, bandanas and rosary beads. According to court documents, MS-13 members frequently wear blue and white items of clothing to signify their membership in the gang.
After a three-year investigation, DePaz was one of 61 individuals named in a superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. DePaz is the 28th defendant to plead guilty in this case.
DePaz faces up to life in prison, five years of supervised release, and will be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence.
East Boston Savings Bank’s 32nd Annual Holiday Auction raised over $75,000 for local charities. EBSB employees, family, friends and vendors gathered at the Danversport Yacht Club where items donated by Bank employees, family members, local businesses and vendors were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Other items others were offered through various raffles that took place during the evening.
EBSB’s President, CEO and Chairman Richard J. Gavegnano and Executive Vice President John Migliozzi served as auctioneers for the event. “The auction is a wonderful event and one our employees look forward each year as it brings them all together for the fun and enjoyment of giving to a good cause. We are proud of the role we play as a good neighbor in the communities we serve, and our employees continue to be supportive of those efforts” said Gavegnano. “It’s hard to believe that the Bank has been doing this for thirty-two years. Each year the event gets bigger and the donated items are more extravagant”.
The five charities benefitting from the event are Bread of Life in Malden, Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston, East Boston Social Centers, Greater Medford Visiting Nurse & Community Health and Citizens Inn in Peabody. Each of these organizations received a check for $15,000.
About East Boston Savings Bank
Founded in 1848, EBSB is a proven community bank that offers products and services that meet the deposit and financing needs of both consumers and businesses. East Boston Savings Bank currently operates 32 full-service branches and operates a Mobile Banking Unit in the greater Boston metropolitan area and offers a variety of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses located in its primary market, which consists of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, and Suffolk counties.
The Chelsea High boys and girls indoor rack teams were set to open their season last night (Wednesday) against Greater Lowell at Lynn Tech.
For the first time ever, the Commonwealth Athletic Conference will host an indoor track league.
Chelsea has competed for the past three years in the Greater Boston League. However, the GBL has disbanded, with all of its remaining teams joining the Northeastern Conference.
“Just like every year the boys will have to fight for every win,” said CHS coach Mark Martineau.
Coming off a good cross country season, the Red Devil distance crew will be the backbone of the team. Senior Jose Leclerc earned CAC MVP honors for both this past cross country season and also was the CAC MVP last spring.
“Jose is looking to have another great season,” noted Martineau.
Junior Justin Turner had a breakout season in the fall that he is looking to build on. The throws team will be led by seniors Tony Bui and Nelson Hernandez.
However, the sprint team for the boys is a big question mark at this point. Senior Alex Pedrero is the only returning sprinter with more than one season of experience.
“Much of our season will be determined by how well this group comes together,” added Martineau.
The Lady Red Devil squad is coming off CAC cross country and spring track titles. The team is led by standout senior Martine Simon.
“Martine has been competing well at the state level since her sophomore year,” said Martineau. “She is looking to have another great season in the 55m dash as well as the long jump.”
The CHS distance team is strong, but thin. The trio of Yarid Deras, Jocelyn Poste, and Amanda Dias should all compete well at the state level.
“We are hoping to continue to develop our younger runners to support them,” said Martineau. Sophomores Stephanie Simon and Isha Osman are coming off great freshman years. Stephanie already has achieved the state-qualifying mark of 4′-10″ in the high jump in her second practice of the year.
Junior Masireh Ceesay and senior Adamaris Perez will lead a strong throws team.
“The throws have been the foundation of this team for some years now,” said Martineau. “We will continue to rely on this crew.
“The challenge the girls will face this year is in terms of depth” Martineau added. “In many events we will only have one or two athletes. This will make it hard to win. If we have one or two injuries, it could be a tough season.”