Down in the Back Bay’s Park Plaza, hundreds of National Grid gas workers – now locked out of work for 11 weeks – took center stage on what many said was the truest example of what Labor Day should actually mean.
The politics of the matter shone through clearly on Monday morning during the rally in the street with the state’s political elite, but another piece of the puzzle is the day-to-day reality of having lost health insurance, paychecks and having to stage labor’s most ardent fight of the past decade.
For Everett’s Rocky Leo, who appeared with about a dozen locked-out Chelsea workers recently at a Chelsea City Council meeting, the lockout has a human angle – and standing tall in the Back Bay on Monday, he said that is exactly what the company is trying to exploit.
“They’re banking on us not getting by – we workers going under and losing our health care and defaulting on our mortgages so we have to get in,” he said. “It’s a struggle. It’s been 11 weeks since we were locked out. It’s really hard on many of us and that’s their strategy. They figure we’ll give in.
“Five days in they took our health care away,” he continued. “We had a guy who had just had his leg amputated, and people with diabetes who needed care and children who are being treated for cancer. That’s what we have here.”
The lock out started earlier this summer during contract negotiations with two unions in the National Grid gas operations division. The unions are represented by the United Steelworkers and talks have been ongoing, but nothing has been fruitful and labor leaders seemingly – on Labor Day – had seen enough.
“This is unacceptable on Labor Day and any day,” said state AFL-CIO President Steve Tolman. “The fight you’ve been waging the last three months is the most important fight you’ll ever have. Brothers and sisters, you are standing up to a corporate environment that has been scraping away for the last 20 years at our health care and pensions. Where are the elected officials asking National Grid to step up to the table and negotiate and get an agreement? Public safety should be first.”
Joe Buonopane, a president of one of the locked out unions, said on Monday that he wanted Governor Baker to stand up for the workers.
“Gov. Baker hasn’t said a word about National Grid workers being locked out for 11 weeks,” he said. “National Grid is a foreign company, based in the United Kingdom. We are Massachusetts workers locked out of our jobs and Gov. Baker hasn’t said (anything) about it. That shouldn’t happen in Massachusetts.”
On Sept. 4, National Grid and the two unions were to come back to the bargaining table. The results of those meetings were not reported by press time, but National Grid said they wanted to resolve the lock out.
“To end the lockout, which is a goal we share with our union employees, we need to have serious, productive conversations about reaching an agreement,” read a statement by National Grid sent to the Independent on Tuesday, Sept. 4. “Since June 25, National Grid has communicated to the unions that we remain willing to meet seven days a week to reach an agreement on all outstanding issues. Through a federal mediator, they have so far provided eight dates for meetings that have occurred and we are meeting with them again today, September 4.”
National Grid said they wanted to have a fair contract, but that also meant being responsible to the ratepayers. They said what the union characterize as a drive for company profits at employee expense is actually an effort to preserve reasonable rates for customers in Chelsea and beyond.
National Grid said the major sticking point is the company’s proposed benefit package that includes a new defined contribution 401(k) retirement plan. That new plan would apply only to new employees hired on or after June 25, 2018.
National Grid said they had negotiated away from pension plans to 401(k) plans with at least 16 other unions representing 84 percent of the company’s employees. National Grid also said the package is consistent with proposals that the Steelworkers have accepted in Massachusetts with all other public utilities.
National Grid said it doesn’t believe customers should have to pay for outdated benefits when most of those customers don’t enjoy such benefits themselves.
Leo said the idea is to preserve what they have and have had for years. He stressed that the workers only want the same thing they’ve always had.
“It’s frustrating because we’re not asking for everything and anything,” he said. “We just want what we have. We have completed more work than we have been asked to do and they’re profits are up. We exceeded 20 to 50 percent of our work in all categories. We’re doing more than what we are asked and they are profiting, so it’s hard to see why we have to make concessions. There’s no bargaining or discussion. It’s concession or nothing. It’s like talking to a 4-year-old and when they ask why, you only get ‘because.’”
When Kim Sinatra appeared beside Matt Maddox for Wynn Resorts’ high-stakes meeting before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) in early May, many thought her to be on shaky ground with the company – though that
Wynn general Counsel Kim Sinatra speaks to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) during license hearings in 2014. She is flanked by former Gov. Bill Weld and current Encore President Bob DeSalvio. Sinatra will resign from Wynn Resorts on July 15, and is remembered here as being a key negotiator in helping Wynn make the final push to secure the Greater Boston region gaming license.
day she appeared to be every-bit in control and ingrained in the company.
It is no longer the case.
In a quiet announcement buried within a federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document, the company announced that Sinatra would be leaving her general counsel post on July 15.
Wynn Resorts did not respond to the Independent for comment on the shake-up, and hasn’t issued any statements or talked to any other media. There has been no reason given for her departure.
Las Vegas media reported that Sinatra would have a severance package of up to $9.5 million.
Wynn Shareholder Elaine Wynn – now the company’s largest single shareholder – has disputed that severance package in media statements.
Sinatra was a powerful force in the early days of Wynn’s entrance into the Boston market via the Everett site. She was front and center during many of the licensing hearings, in particular a very intense deliberating process at the Boston Teacher’s Union Hall in Dorchester in 2014.
During that meeting, Sinatra talked for many nervous moments on the phone with Steve Wynn about whether or not he would commit to additional mitigation measures – that happening in front of the entire room and in front of the competitor, Mohegan Sun.
After brokering that deal, Sinatra emerged from the phone with a ‘yes’ to the commitments, virtually sealing the license for Wynn at the time.
Since those early days, however, Sinatra has not been at the Encore site too often – only during a few permitting meetings and the major Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) meetings.
Nathan Smolensky, a non-profit manager from Somerville, has announced that he will be running as an Independent for Massachusetts’s 7th District Congressional seat.
“We need Independent voices to speak up,” says Smolensky, “now more than ever. The parties are becoming increasingly polarized, and that means more strong-arming and undermining in our politics, and somehow even less getting done. The Democrats and Republicans are locked in this endless tug-of-war, and the American people are paying the price. But we can break the partisan stranglehold by demonstrating a formula for Independent success, and if we do that we can really change things.”
Smolensky’s own brand of non-partisan politics is focused on themes of empowering local solutions by making the federal government more symbiotic with local efforts, improving government efficiency by addressing wasteful and unsustainable spending programs, and making long-term policy possible by creating a blueprint for Independent success that can pave the way for a shift of the political landscape away from the volatile pendulum swings of the current paradigm.
The 27-year-old Somerville resident is currently best known for his work with the non-profit Massachusetts Chess Association, where he has served as president since 2013. In that role, he has spearheaded the organization’s educational initiative, Chess for Early Educators, which currently has pilots for curricular programs run by regular schoolteachers in several Somerville public schools.
Massachusetts’s 7th Congressional District is comprised of the municipalities of Somerville, Everett, Chelsea, and Randolph, roughly 70 percent of the city of Boston, and about half of the city of Cambridge and the town of Milton. Since taking its current shape in 2013, it has been won by incumbent Democrat Michael E. Capuano, also of Somerville, without a general election challenge. Its lopsided nature, however, can be a boon for independents, argues Smolensky:
“That’s the beauty of running in a district like this one. There’s no third-party or spoiler stigma. You’re not asking anyone to throw their vote away. You don’t have that bogeyman of the greater evil to scare people away from voting Independent. This is the kind of environment we [Independents] can thrive in, and, thanks in part to gerrymandering, there are a lot of places we can find it.”
Currently, Capuano is facing a primary challenge in Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley. No other candidates have announced intentions to run.
The 30th Annual Chelsea Chamber of Commerce $10,000 Pot of Gold is around the corner. The event will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at Anthony’s of Malden, 105 Canal Street, Malden, MA. It will be an outstanding evening filled with great networking opportunities, delicious food and Back to the 80s fun, all while supporting your Chamber. This is the longest running major fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber! Proceeds greatly contribute to the important work the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce does for the business community in Chelsea. First prize is $10,000. Only 250 will be sold and can be purchased by Chamber members and nonmembers alike. Act now and you could be the next $10,000 Pot of Gold winner!
Chairs Sue Gallant and Arthur Arsenault are working with their committee to make the 30th Pot of Gold the best yet! The Chamber will be going back to the 80s when it all started celebrating all the iconic music, fads and outfits from that decade. Prizes will be awarded to the best outfits from the 80s! Get creative and let’s see what you can put together! Maybe you will be one of our prize winners!
We also have opportunities to purchase raffle tickets to win Megaraffle baskets that are each valued at over $500. Themed baskets include Nights on the Town with Celtics, Bruins or Red Sox tickets, Ultimate Tailgate Package and a North Shore experience to name a few. We will also raffle off an Instant Wine Cellar where one person will win enough wine to start their own wine Cellar as well as a 50/50 raffle! So many great prizes to win besides the big prize of $10,000!
Tickets are $175.00 each. The ticket price includes one entry in the drawing for a chance to win the $10,000 top prize, opportunities to win one of our many fabulous door prizes, one dinner which will include a delicious meal of surf and turf and open bar. Additional dinner tickets can be purchased for $60. Festivities start at 6:00pm with dinner at 7:00pm and the first ticket drawn at 8pm.
The Chamber would like to thank the following for sponsoring this important fundraiser for the Chelsea Chamber of Commerce:
Chelsea Bank, a division of East Cambridge Savings Bank
MGH Health Center
Arsenault & Cline, CPAs, Stop & Compare Supermarkets, Cameron Real Estate Group, Hispanic American Institute, North Shore Advisory Group
Coprico Printing, Cataldo Ambulance, Chelsea Community Cable Television, Fairmont Copley Plaza, El Planeta, Independent Newspaper Group
Sponsorships are still available. Your name will be included on the Chamber website, in social and print media and advertised throughout the event. What a great way to highlight your business to people from all over the North Shore!
Only 250 tickets will be sold, so get your tickets now! Check out the Chamber website at www.chelseachamber.org, call the office at 617-884-4877 or drop by 308 Broadway Chelsea today. Rich Cuthie, Executive Director of the Chamber, will be happy to help you pick that winning ticket number!
The City and at least two potential partners are looking to establish a short-term wrap around services center in the Bellingham Square area to provide food and shelter to the homeless, prostitutes and drug addicted populations that frequent Bellingham Square.
Yet, it’s not coming without some controversy as details of the plan leak out and some try to envision what it might be like – and how it could negatively affect quality of life in Chelsea’s downtown.
Bob Repucci, long-time director of CAPIC, said in an interview this week that he is ready to move on a plan whereby CAPIC would establish a short-term services building at the old Cataldo site – where Centro Latino was supposed to locate before it went defunct. He said he is aligned with several churches, volunteers, City Manager Tom Ambrosino and other political leaders who are passionate about making a dent in the long-standing problem populations in the Square.
“This is a neighborhood center and that’s basically what we’re going to do here,” said Repucci. “We’re trying to embrace these people in the Square and get them the services they need. These people are not going away. They also are not lepers that should be shipped to the outskirts of town. Most of them are from Chelsea and they have alcohol and drug problems. Many grew up here. Many are Latino. We’re going to take these men and women who need help and show them the compassion they need.
“This is not a shelter, it’s not a detox, it’s not a Methadone Clinic, it’s not a treatment center,” he continued. “It’s a place where people can walk in and get the attention they need to help them change their lives if they want to. These are men and women who need help because they have chronic problems. I haven’t seen anybody come up with any other good ideas to change this because it’s been there for years. We are taking the responsibility to do something and help them change their lives. I know it will be successful.”
Repucci said the Center would potentially be open three times a week and would offer a hot meal, a shower, a change of clothes, a clinician by appointment, counseling, financial management assistance, and temporary shelter.
There would be 25 people there at at time and no one would be allowed inside if they are intoxicated. It would also be for Chelsea residents and people in Chelsea who are homeless.
“This isn’t going to be a hang out,” he added. “It’s going to be well supervised and fully supervised…If people come over from Boston or Everett thinking there is a handout happening here, we will refer them to a provider in their area. This is for Chelsea residents and those in Chelsea who are homeless and want to change.”
Those at the service center would also be able to obtain short-term employment by cleaning roofs, shoveling snow and doing other such tasks under supervision.
Ambrosino said he does support the proposal out of a stance of compassion and also out of a stance to develop the Square and the Broadway Business District.
“You have a serious problem in the Square and on the Broadway corridor,” he said. “These people need services. Nothing is going to change unless we get them services and they are able to move elsewhere. This business district and downtown won’t change unless we change this situation. Ignoring it and putting our heads in the sand is not an answer. I’m willing to try anything except doing nothing.”
Ambrosino said the effort by CAPIC to move downtown is independent of the City, but there is potential cooperation through two line-items approved by the City Council on Oct. 19.
In fact, two Requests for Proposals (RFPs) have just gone out with $100,000 available for each. The first one will be to provide emergency food and shelter in the form of dedicated short-term detox beds. The second will be to provide a clinician to treat the population in the Square.
Ambrosino said he expects CAPIC will bid on one or both of the RFPs and he said he also expects Bay Cove Human Services to bid as well.
“I do expect CAPIC is going to bid on one or more of these services that we’re putting out to bid, but those services have nothing to do with the independent project of CAPIC to move some of its services downtown,” he said.
Ambrosino said he would expect that the first RFP could be used for folks who need a night or two of shelter until they can get into permanent housing.
“This will help folks who have an apartment lined up on Nov. 1, and it’s only Oct. 28 and they need somewhere to go,” he said.
Repucci said his plan to move existing services downtown, and perhaps to be a winning bidder on the City’s RFP, is something he believes many in the community are already rallying around – in particular the faith-based community that has noted and discussed the large homeless population in Chelsea.
Repucci himself learned firsthand of the problem from City Navigator Ruben Rodriguez last winter, when he was given a tour of the places under the Mystic/Tobin Bridge where may of the homeless and drug addicted/prostitutes tend to live and congregate.
He said he learned about the people down there, and he learned their personal stories.
He said that gave him a passion to do something about it, and he said he’s a little turned off by the push back from some folks – as he believes this can help a troubled population and solve a long-standing problem for residents.
“These people should be rallying around our efforts to change people’s lives,” he said. “That’s the only way to get them off the streets unless they are found dead under the Bridge due to exposure from the cold. We need to embrace these folks and help those who want to change and stop characterizing them as people who don’t want to change. Many of them lived in Chelsea and had decent lives and lost it all due to drugs, alcohol and other circumstances…Those against this should be more concerned about the men and women on Broadway unsupervised.
“We’re going to be successful in helping these people and showing them there’s a better life they can lead off the Square,” he continued. “I believe it will be the long-term solution to the poverty problem in Bellingham-Shurtleff.”
Repucci said he would like to try the idea for two years and collect data and see if it is working. If not, perhaps there’s a better idea.
“Again, people maybe don’t support this, but I don’t hear anyone coming up with any other suggestions,” he said.
The Chelsea Record and the Chelsea Collaborative have agreed this week to sponsor a candidates’ forum at the Burke Complex auditorium on Monday, Oct. 26, for City Council and School Committee candidates.
The forum will seek to include all candidates and to ask questions of candidates in contested races. The goal is to familiarize the public with the candidates and their stances in one of the most hotly contested elections in some time.
The forum is open to the public and will be broadcast on Chelsea Cable TV as well. Parking is available in the school parking lot.
“We are pleased to co-sponsor this forum with the Chelsea Collaborative so that the voters in Chelsea can learn more about the candidates and their positions on the issues,” said Stephen Quigley, president of the Independent Newspaper Group. “Civic engagement is necessary as Chelsea moves forward under new leadership.”
Collaborative Executive Director Gladys Vega said forums are important in order to have voters who can hold their representatives accountable.
“I think we as community residents need to gather information from our candidates because when there is information, there is justification and hope,” said Vega. “If we don’t talk about the issues we are not acknowledging the responsibility we all have to built a better Chelsea. By holding these forums we are providing more information about the candidates to the voters, we are not only empowering our voters but also our residents. We all need to share the responsibility of keeping political officials accountable so they don’t abuse their power.”
The School Committee portion of the forum will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the auditorium.
After an introduction, all candidates will answer a first question that will serve as an opening statement, and will have one minute to do so. Those participating will be candidates in contested and non-contested races.
There are three contested races on School Committee.
Following that, two questions on the issues will be asked of only those candidates in contested races. Those same candidates will also be afforded a 30 second closing statement.
Then at 6:30 p.m., a 90-minute City Council forum will begin.Once again, after a brief introduction, all Council candidates – including district and at-large candidates in both contested and non-contested races- will answer the first question, which will act as an opening statement.
Following that, only candidates in contested races will participate in the questioning.
Only three district seats are uncontested.
There will be three rounds of questions asked.
The first two rounds will have questions asked by the panel, with candidates getting one minute to answer.
The third round will include a “lightening round” of questions – where candidates get only 30 seconds to answer questions.
For the at-large race, each candidate will get a different question.
For the district races, there will be one question per district so that answers can be compared.
Finally, each candidate in a contested race will get a 30 second closing statement.
None of the candidates will have the questions in advance, and a representative from the Record and from the Collaborative will ask the questions.
The forum is expected to conclude at 8 p.m.
The forum owes a debt of gratitude to the Chelsea Public Schools for allowing the use of the school, and to Chelsea Cable for broadcasting the program.
BOX OFF SIDEBAR –
Do you have an idea for a question?
The Chelsea Record and the Chelsea Collaborative are soliciting questions from the public to possibly be used in the Oct. 26 candidates’ forum.
If you have a question on any City issue that’s been bugging or perplexing you about local government or the schools, please submit it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Include the words ‘Question for Forum’ in the subject line. If it’s a good question, we’ll ask it of the candidates on Monday. Please feel free to submit one or more questions.
For some 10 years, using just his eyebrows, Leonard Florence Center For Living (LFCFL) resident Patrick O’Brien – who has ALS and cannot move anything but his eyebrows – worked away at creating what he hoped would be his greatest masterpiece on film.
A filmmaker before getting ALS, he was inclined to document the entire process of the disease’s progression, and did so quite well.
As the disease progressed, though, it became harder for him to work on the film. Several editors had helped him with the project, but nothing seemed to take the nearly-finished film from good to great.
Then, by coincidence, Documentarian Doug Pray entered the picture, and he and O’Brien formed a team that finally got the film out to the world.
And the world has loved it.
With O’Brien and Pray working together, ‘Transfatty Lives’ was born, and now the film is garnering awards from New York City to Milan. Earlier this year, O’Brien’s film won the Tribeca Film Festival in its category, and just this past Sunday it won the Audience Award at the Milano Film Festival in Italy.
“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” said O’Brien this week over e-mail. “The movie almost didn’t get finished. It was by luck that our composer, Bradford Reed, bumped into filmmaker Doug Pray one night at a party. Doug watched a rough cut of the movie and wrote a six-page letter to me about how to fix my movie, then titled ‘Everything will be okay.’”
His letter came just in time, O’Brien said.
“I had been trying to make the movie work for eight years at that point, and the film needed some fresh eyes,” said O’Brien. “I had been working with a writer and editor named Scott Crowningshield at that stage. It was good, the film, but not great. It had to be great. I had been documenting my life with ALS since the beginning, and it was going to be great. It just needed the right touch. Thank God for Doug Pray, who agreed to come on as a producer. It was good that Doug came onto the scene at that point in time, because by then I had experimented so much with my cokamayme ideas.”
Pray said in a telephone interview this week that he is incredibly honored to have worked with O’Brien.
“By the time I met Patrick, he had grown very frustrated and realized this had to be the last big push for his movie,” said Pray. “You can only keep reforming and editing movies for so long. I think we all felt that energy…The film did need help. It was beautiful, but needed help. It was like a wonderful painting that needs a frame. It was so powerful, funny, weird and artsy. No one was going to see if we didn’t make the push and take this on, and the potential for the film was enormous.”
Pray said O’Brien had gathered all of the footage – years of footage – and had compiled it for quite some time. The trick was to edit all of the raw footage into a great accounting of what O’Brien went through in his ALS journey – a journey that included lying motionless for several years in a Baltimore nursing home, only able to stare at the ceiling.
Once arriving at the LFCFL, the technology and enormous improvement in his quality of life at the facility’s ALS Green House, allowed him to continue his work and to be a key decision maker and director in the editing of his film.
Once again, O’Brien did that without the use of any of his body aside from the movement his eyebrows.
“As filmmakers, we are fussy with our own work, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Patrick to be locked in a bed in Boston, not able to move, while these other people all over the place are working on his film,” said Pray. “However, the degree to which he was able to give input and guide us and direct us about where he wanted the film to go is simply remarkable and amazing especially when you consider his situation. I’ll never forget this experience.”
Pray also said O’Brien’s story about winning Tribeca and Milan – and being able to travel to the Tribeca Festival for his premiere – is a feather in the cap for the LFCFL.
“It says a lot about the Leonard Florence that they allow people to be themselves and let people live lives that are meaningful – even when they’re paralyzed,” he said. “They supported this whole thing, even getting Patrick down to New York, which wasn’t easy. He couldn’t have done this without the technology available and support of that facility. He couldn’t have done this at a regular nursing home facility. That says a lot about Leonard Florence. It’s not normal; it’s special.”
The film is not yet available for public viewing due to the fact that it is still in the Film Festival circuit. It will be premiered in Los Angeles later this year, and will have a Boston premiere some time next year, O’Brien said. However, he said people can visit TransFattyLives.com for more information and to view a trailer.
The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment. The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support these individuals as well as the innovative residences, will be held on Sunday, September 27, a
Filmmaker Patrick O’Brien – who has ALS and can only move one eyebrow – with Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman last week at O’Brien’s home in the Leonard Florence Center for Living. This year’s ALS Walk for Living on Sunday will pay homage to several awards recently won by O’Brien for his film ‘TransFattyLives.’
t 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill at 10 a.m.
This year Billy Costa of KISS 108 will act as emcee and kick-off the two-mile walk. Media sponsors include the Independent Newspaper Group; major corporate sponsors include Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. There is a $10 donation fee to participate in the Walk, which includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, the BBQ and all the activities. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.
Shaquor Sandiford was once one of Chelsea’s brightest football prospects. The former Chelsea Pop Warner star followed through on that potential by becoming an Independent School League (ISL) All-Star quarterback at the Rivers School and a Division 1 college recruit.
A two-sport standout at Rivers, the 6-foot-3-inch Sandiford was the captain of the school’s football basketball teams – and yes, he can dunk.
Sandiford led Rivers to its first ISL football title since 1915, earning All-New England honors in the process. One of the highlights came when he competed in the Norm Walker Bowl at Gillette Stadium (Rivers lost 36-28 to Pingree on a blocked field goal return for a touchdown).
Sandiford’s spectacular career attracted the attention of many college programs and he eventually chose Springfield College. But he decided to leave college and pursue his entrepreneurial goals within network marketing and building up his personal brand.
“I just felt at that point in my life I could achieve more by gaining some real life experiences,” he said.
Sandiford is back in the city working at Chelsea Restoration Corporation as a full-time rehabilitation specialist. He is also involved in first-time homebuyer courses, foreclosure prevention counseling, and qualifying families for home improvement loans.
“Chelsea Restoration Corporation (CRC) is a great place to learn about the housing industry,” said Sandiford. “I love working with [Executive Director] Helen Zuzzo. She’s brilliant. I’ve learned so much from her during my time at Chelsea Restoration.”
The 21-year-old son of Sheanah McCarthy, Shaquor lost his father, Chris Sandiford, during his junior year at Rivers. Mr. Sandiford, a native of Barbados, succumbed to cancer.
“It was definitely tough losing my dad,” said Sandiford. “But it was also a chance for me to grow up a little bit. I had to make a lot of decisions. I felt that I was like a father of three with my brother (Asante) and my two sisters (Amira and Hadiya). I try to be their role model.”
As a youth, Sandiford was a member of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club where he met Josh Kraft, executive director of the club.
“Josh and others at the club helped me stay on track with their behavioral guidance,” said Sandiford. “The club kept me off the streets and it inspired me to help other teens find a place to go after school. I’ve always wanted to do something similar to a Boys and Girls Club and put kids in a positive environment.”
An aspiring real estate investor, Sandiford is preparing to teach a first-time home buying course for CRC. He is pursuing a real estate broker’s license.
A talented rapper and a manager in the entertainment industry, Sandiford is also busy rolling out his “inspirational organization,” for youth and
teens that is called Unlocking Potential. He has mentored students from Rivers, JAB Step Inc., and Excel Academy and is seeking to do more volunteer work at some of the non-profit agencies in Chelsea.
“My mission right now [with Unlocked Potential] is to inspire youth and teens to reach their full potential,” said Sandiford. “Our main focus is personal development, community engagement, and mentorship. I want to help people move forward and cope with different situations. I want to use my voice to uplift others.”
Shaquor Sandiford was once that Chelsea kid that he now hopes to help find his path in life.
The son of Sheanah McCarthy and the late Chris Sanf
The passing of William Scantlebury of Betty Ann’s Donuts in East Boston, famous for his “sinkers” brings to a close another link to a childhood that was much simpler and easier than what our children are dealing with today.
The first time that my brothers and I tasted a “sinker” was in the mid 1960s when my grandmother would stop by our house on a weekday with her box of pastries from Betty Ann’s.
In the box there were an assortment of Danish — lemon and raspberry with plenty of icing, the cinnamon rolls, the chocolate chip cookies, maybe a pie or brownie but definitely a bag of “sinkers.” The caloric intake was not even considered as hands quickly went flying to get a share of the bakery stash.
For my family, going to Betty Ann’s was a treat on Sundays as we usually bought two dozen donuts – primarily jelly and hot. One would became accustomed to waiting in line and hoping that a new batch of donuts would keep on coming from behind the wall before the person in front of you took the last half a dozen.
Years of carefree childhood went by and then watching the waistline became more of a priority as one grew older.
But Betty Ann’s was always a treat on a limited basis and a link to a childhood.
Then one day after years of not going, I decided to take my youngest son at that time in the first grade for the experience while we were waiting for a plane to arrive at Logan Airport,. We went to Betty Ann’s for his first “sinker” and he was hooked as everyone has been for more than 80 years. Seeing the sugar covering the donut, he went wild. He savored every bite and finally announced that he should bring the donuts to his class because his friends would love them but maybe not the teachers.
That was more than seven years ago and in the years between then and now, he would always make me feel guilty if I drove home through East Boston and did not stop at Betty Ann’s.
Another link to my past is gone, but at least my son was able to enjoy a real “sinker” as I and countless other children had discovered in that magical time of our childhood and innocence. Hopefully, when he gets to be my age and sees an imitation, he will always think of a happy and carefree time in his life when one of life’s greatest problems was — who ate my “sinker”.
(Stephen Quigley is the President of the Independent Newspaper Group).