Last summer two friends were chatting about how expensive college tuition is these days and the impending mounds of debt their collective six kids were most likely going to be faced with.
The conversation continued and one of the moms shared that she happened to be in the audience when Major Nippy Betz gave his TEDx talk a year prior and she was lucky to get to speak with him afterwards. She recalled having her mind blown open about the hidden world of scholarships and how if you cast a wide net, and are disciplined (just like fishing), you can reel in a boatload of free money. It was at that moment where they looked at each other and had an idea.
Like many moms, these friends are employed, over-extended and crazed, however they decided they needed to bring Nippy to Boston to share his education and his secrets. As they began to dig deeper, it became quickly evident that there was a lot they didn’t know, and likely other parents didn’t know as well. They decided to roll up their sleeves and plan the first ever Massachusetts Strategic Scholarship Bootcamp.
Kerry Strollo, Lexington resident, mom and event co-organizer said “This is about educating parents that you don’t have to sit idly by and just hope something down the line will work out financially for your kids. This is about early success planning so you (and your kiddos) are not panicked when they are a senior in High School on how they, or you, will afford college. Who knew kids in 7th and 8th grade can start to obtain and stockpile scholarships, and High Schoolers can earn so much they pay for their college education and then receive overpayments for living expenses after college? I didn’t, and we have 4 kids! As soon as I learned this I wanted to shout it from the mountain tops.” Strollo added, “There are tips, techniques, and a path to finding the scholarships, however it starts with putting together a plan of action. This Bootcamp is designed to help you craft that plan for success.”
Rosette Cataldo, a Revere native, mom and event co-organizer looks at it though a different lens. “I watch my kids, albeit great students, wasting time every day on the internet, Fort Nite, YouTube, Netflix…you name it. These kids must use their devices and brains for a better purpose. I want to educate my children on how to make the internet a gold mine that works for them, their future and not just a time suck.” This event is all about educating local parents and students at the same time and getting them aligned to work together with a plan so that the family isn’t crippled with debt
The Strategic Scholarship Bootcamp will be held:
April 29, 2018 11 am – 1 pm Diamond Middle School, Lexington
April 29, 2018 4 pm – 6 pm Sheraton Hotel, Framingham, MA
April 30, 2018 7 pm – 9 pm Larcom Theatre, Beverly, MA
May 1, 2018 7 pm – 9 pm Marriott Hotel, Newton, MA
For more info please visit: www.strategicscholarships.com
Tickets are $49 per person. Students are encouraged to join their parents. Group rates (20+) available. To hear the story about a Tuft’s graduate with massive student debt please view this video
GUNSHOT THROUGH THE WINDOW
Police responded on Wednesday, November 25, at 10:05 p.m. to the area Addison and Eden Street for a report of shots fired and two individuals running from the area. Officers determined that no injuries had occurred and recovered ballistic evidence from the scene, officers did detain two individuals who fit the description of the males fleeing and are continuing to determine if they were involved.
Neighbors indicated that the ballistics evidence was recovered from inside a home on Orange Street.
Some neighbors reported walking in the area unknowingly as the shots went by.
ESCORT SERVICE ROBBERY
Two people have been arrested in what is believed to be a prostitution scam via the Internet that is believed to be a front for luring victims into a robbery.
Police on Thursday, November 26, responded to a 10:11 p.m. call for an assault in progress at 40 Orange St. Upon arrival police observed a male victim suffering from serious but non life-threatening injuries to his face. The victim, before being transported to hospital told officers he was robbed by individuals inside the second floor apartment at 40 Orange St. He told officers that those involved were armed with a gun and knife. The victim, a 21-year-old Boston resident stated he was robbed of his money and phone and beaten about the face by one of the attackers who used the firearm to strike him.
Officers quickly surrounded the 40 Orange St. address and entered the second floor apartment and observed blood on the floor, a knife and a disassembled firearm. Inside the apartment police arrested the second floor tenant, Alexandria Vega, 31, charging her with Armed Robbery and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon.
Due the emergency situation and fearing that other occupants in the three-unit apartment may be injured or danger, police entered the third floor apartment and found a male later identified as Brian Mercado, 21, of Revere, hiding in a closet. Mercado was placed into custody and charged with Armed Robbery, Breaking and Entering in the Night Time and Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon. Police believe that Vega was using a popular website that is used to provide “escort services” to paying customers. The investigation is looking into if the website may have been a luring tactic to rob the victim.
DA CLEARS OFFICERS IN 2014 TASER DEATH
Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley has concluded his investigation into the sudden death of Dominic Graffeo after Chelsea Police officers used Tasers to subdue him in the rooming house where he had barricaded himself last year.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner ruled the cause of Graffeo’s June 26, 2014, death to be “sudden death in a person with acute cocaine, ethanol, and oxycodone intoxication following an altercation with police involving the use of electronic control devices and physical restraints.”
Conley found that the officers attempted at length to communicate with Graffeo prior to using force, requested that medical personnel come to the scene before officers entered his room, and used department-issued Tasers during the struggle that followed.
“Based on a thorough review of the facts and circumstances surrounding the police response and Mr. Graffeo’s death, I conclude that there is no evidence that would warrant criminal charges against the involved officers, who acted reasonably and lawfully,” he wrote in a final report released to Graffeo’s family along with the complete investigative file today.
The investigation, led by Assistant District Attorney Mark Zanini, revealed that the manager of Graffeo’s rooming house called police to 165 Hawthorne St. at about 8 p.m. because Graffeo was “going crazy” and “smashing everything in [his] room.” Responding officers attempted to communicate with Graffeo through the door to no avail but were able to see inside the second-story room from a ladder.
Officers observed Graffeo to be extremely agitated, sweating profusely, and bleeding. He had barricaded his door with furniture and other items. The officers were able to breach the door with firefighters’ help and enter the room, at which point Graffeo began throwing items at them.
When Graffeo ignored their orders to stop, an officer deployed a Taser. Graffeo blocked one of the prongs and the Taser had no effect. A second officer deployed a Taser, but Graffeo continued to struggle and assault the officers as they attempted to handcuff him. The first officer used a Taser again, and the officers were able to gain control of his hands.
Officers began clearing a path through the debris covering the floor and blocking the entrance into the room. At about this time, they observed Graffeo to be in distress, removed his handcuffs, and performed chest compressions. They notified the on-scene medical personnel, who performed CPR and administered Narcan before rushing him to Whidden Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. “The officers made efforts to talk with Mr. Graffeo, to calm him, and to gain peaceful entry,” Conley wrote in his report. “They arranged to have medical personnel on scene. These decisions and actions reflect a conscientious and considered response.’”
As the state’s texting and driving law hits its five-year anniversary, texting and driving – or phone distractions of any type – are a sight more common than ever on streets and highways.
More often than not, at any busy intersection, one can observe driver after driver passing by with one eye on the road and the other eye on a cell phone.
Meanwhile, local police departments report that the law on the books is virtually impossible to enforce, and if successfully enforced, requires heavy homework and records requests – all for a simple citation.
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes said he puts the problem of distracted driving on par with driving while intoxicated (OUI). He said those that text and drive can be more hazardous to the public than drunk drivers.
“Is it a problem? Absolutely,” he said. “It’s getting to the point that we know people getting an OUI are distracted at the same level as those texting and driving. This is so prevalent that I think it’s probably – due to the frequency of occurrence – it is just as great a risk as people who get behind the wheel and drink and drive. If I’m texting for two or three seconds, in that same time a kid can run in front of your car while you’re looking down. You can go head on into another car in that time. It’s a huge problem. Law enforcement is in the middle because it’s a difficult law to enforce at this point.”
State Police statistics for crash data show that, for those accidents that were pinpointed to distracted driving, the numbers are on the rise. Though the crashes pinpointed to distracted driving or cell phone use are probably miniscule compared to the actual problem, the existing numbers have doubled since 2010.
In 2010, the State Police pinpointed 194 crashes attributed to the two categories. That increased to 226 in 2011, 229 in 2012, and eventually 317 in 2014.
At the same time, State Police have gone from issuing 893 citations in 2012 to 3,105 in 2014, though part of that increase was due to a Pilot program in the Merrimack Valley area in 2013 and 2014.
That Pilot program, however, might be expanded in coming years and could be one way to target the growing problem of using Smart phones for texting, e-mail, Internet, etc. while driving.
“During [the Pilot] we used some different tactics, including spotters and unmarked trucks and SUVs, which allowed troopers a better vantage point to spot texters,” said State Police spokesman David Procopio. “This was funded with a grant and we were very pleased with the results. I am sure we will consider seeking grant funding to expand on that pilot program.”
Meanwhile, in local police departments, they are finding more frustration with the law and some said they would be in favor of taking stronger measures – such as moving to hands-free only use of cell phones in vehicles.
Kyes said it is very difficult for law enforcement to prove their case under normal circumstances – such as where there is no accident, but where officers definitely detect impaired driving.
“We see it all the time,” he said. “I’ve stopped cars and stopped individuals and you just have these grey areas. They say they weren’t texting. They say they were just talking. They say they were using GPS…At the end of the day, I am a big fan of hands-free. If that’s a law, it eliminates the guessing games for law enforcement.”
Such a plan has been floated recently by Gov. Charlie Baker, who indicated he would be favorable to passing a hand-free cell phone law. Such a law exists in Connecticut, as has been reported in several media outlets such as Fox 25 news, and it has allowed law enforcement there to come down hard on texters. That state writes about as many citations in one year as Massachusetts has written in five years.
Revere Police (RPD) said they try to pinpoint cases that they can prove and making the effort in court for those who fight the citation.
Early on, during implementation of the law in 2010, Revere Police told the newspaper they were skeptical about how it would be enforced. Leaders in the department at that time said they saw problems with proving a case and, from the beginning, took a practical approach to enforcement.
“We do write a couple of citations a week from our patrols in regard to texting and driving,” said Lt. Amy O’Hara of the RPD. “There have been times when we have subpoenaed phone records from an operator that were useful in a case, such as in a car accident. The cell phone records have been useful to us in cases like that…Our officers, if they see it, they’re going to make a motor vehicle stop. We get a couple a week.”
O’Hara said one thing that officers often suggest to drivers – and even themselves – is to pull over and send a text or e-mail if it’s extremely important. Otherwise, just wait.
“When I first started, if I wanted to communicate with someone, I had to wait until I got to the station or pull over and use a pay phone,” she said. “The thing you have to realize is just how important or unimportant that text is. It is extremely dangerous to text and drive.”
Everett Police Chief Steven Mazzie said he didn’t have specific numbers as to how many people Everett Police cite for distracted driving or texting. However, he said they concentrate on educating people rather than trying to win a disputed citation or prove something in court.
“There are probably not a lot of violations in terms of people getting written up for it,” he said. “It appears we probably stop people, try to talk to them, and try to educate them. Some have been cited. Some have been given warnings. The numbers, though, are extremely low. Overall, the whole issue of distracted driving no doubt is a problem. I think people are distracted in general – not just when they’re driving but really people are distracted overall in daily life. That carries over into their vehicles.”
Until a time when the law is changed, however, Kyes said in Chelsea they plan to mount a campaign similar to the State Police pilot program to use new techniques to catch texters – including using video in unmarked cars.
“Because it is so prevalent we do have plans to address it and we’re going to put one of our traffic units in an unmarked motor vehicle with one observer and one driver,” he said. “They’ll drive around certain high-traffic areas at key times of the day. We’ll make observations and when we see texting and driving – people punching keys – we’ll stop them and do some traffic enforcement…We would probably also go a step further where the observing police officer would utilize a video. It’s not just what we say, but what we see, in case someone disputes it.”
Chelsea High All-Scholastic
athlete and Indiana University
football great Bob Fee
From By Record Staff to By Tori Ziege
Robert ‘Bob’ Fee Sr. is a treasure lost in the sea of internet search history. His story is one that cannot be told through the immediacy of a keystroke, or a skim of headlines turned up on Google search.
Amidst the ads for Bob Fee the insurance agent and Bob Fee the CEO, there is one image of our Bob Fee, the Boston Patriot, posing on the back of a vintage football card. Behind his facemask lies a remarkable story, one of a Chelsea High School native, driven to success by the experiences he garnered from his Chelsea home.
Fee ruled the roost at Chelsea High in 1952. An athlete of all trades, he participated year round in baseball, basketball, track, and football. Of the four sports, Fee captained the latter two, and was the only football player from Chelsea to ever make the All-American team.
All-American, all-scholastic, Fee was highly sought after by prestigious football colleges across the country: including Michigan, West Point, and Notre Dame. But it was an unlikely decision that lead the born and bred Massachusetts defensive end to Indiana University.
“Indiana was a Big Ten school, and at that time, the Big Ten was the best league in the country,” he said. “I thought it’d be a nice challenge to play in the best league, for a team that didn’t win a lot, and see if I could help them win.”
Most athletes would choose the school best equipped to foster their talents, but not Fee. He wanted to use his skills and determination to better the program around him, a trait he forged back in his days at Chelsea High.
“In high school, I learned from my professors that I’m number two, and everybody else is number one,” he said.
Back in 1953, it was still required for football players to participate on both sides of the ball.
Fee played offensive and defensive end at Indiana for three seasons. Yet it was his senior year, with all three of the team’s previous fullbacks gone and graduated, that Fee’s biggest contribution would come.
Fee converted to fullback in his final season at IU. Though he had little to no experience in the fullback position, that year, he became the highest ground gainer in the history of the school. His crowning achievement came against Michigan, Fee’s former recruiter, when he was asked to cover Heisman trophy winning wide receiver Ron Kramer.
Rather than having Fee line up in his usual position, IU Coach Bernie Crimmins charged Fee with the task of following Kramer wherever he went. The defensive end shut down the wide receiver, intercepting two passes that were targeted at Kramer, now an NFL Hall of Famer.
Fee ran his second interception at midfield down to the one yardline, where he scored as a fullback the very next play. After the game, Fee said he and Kramer were the last players to head to the locker room. The two remained on the field long past the final whistle, discussing the ins and outs of their game.
Kramer wasn’t the only Hall of Famer to marvel at the talents of this small town Chelsea athlete. During his senior year, Fee caught the game winning touchdown at the collegiate All-Star game.
The pass was thrown by none other than Len Dawson, who went on to be a Super Bowl winning quarterback and MVP for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Yet Fee said he remembers hardly any of the AllStar game. Instead, his sights were focused on the sidelines, where a cluster of young hospital patients were gathered in special honor.
There was one child in particular that Fee connected with. He bought the ten yearold an ice cream cone during pregame warmups, where a fellow teammate had the foresight to snap a picture.
Patient and player bonded, and the two exchanged addresses.
“He wrote to me for six years after that game, and I always answered his letters,” Fee said. “I still have the photograph to this day.”
This was a characteristic common of Fee, citing his experiences with others above his own. A humble man, Fee returned to Chelsea post graduation and had a three year layoff from his football career. Then, in 1960, the Boston Patriots came knocking.
“I considered it an honor, for them to draft me after being laid off for three years, and not playing. They were impressed enough with my collegiate career to give me a chance.”
Though he was the last member to be cut from the Patriots squad, Fee didn’t let that deter him.
He returned to Chelsea High, where he spent the next ten years as the head track and football coach, giving back to the school that had laid his foundation so many years ago.
His greatest memory came in 1980, when the Red Devils overcame a 20-0 deficit to beat the Crimson Tide of local Everett High. His nephew, wide receiver Paul Driscoll, lead the comeback with three touchdowns after Fee exploited a coverage matchup between Driscoll and his man.
It was the greatest come from behind win in Chelsea High football history, yet hardly anyone was there to witness it. According to Fee, the stands were nearly empty by the start of the third quarter.
“Everett had a good football program; they beat Chelsea all the time,” Fee said. “It was an honor to beat them, and everybody was very disappointed they didn’t stay.”
Fee is one of the original member of the Chelsea High School Hall of Fame.
At age 79, he has run over 31 marathons, and qualified three times for the Senior World Olympics in Eugene, Oregon. He spends every day with his wife, a Chelsea High sweetheart, who has fallen ill over the last several years.
Nowadays, the value of information seems contingent upon its accessibility, yet Fee’s story reminds us of the fulfillment that comes from digging for buried treasure. Thanks to the reopening of Chelsea High School’s Hall of Fame, perhaps students will be more inspired to discover the gems of their school’s decorated past.
As the temperatures have dove into the teens over the past weeks, Chelsea’s Josh Monahan has found himself at home in the cold.
That’s because he’s been tirelessly pounding the pavement, beating back the cold weather, to get his message and his name to the voters in the quick campaign for state rep in the 16th Suffolk District (Reinstein’s former seat).
Monahan, 29, knows his way around the State House, having worked in and around the building for two years at the Massachusetts Area Planning Council (MAPC). He also knows his way around Chelsea and Revere, having grown up on the City Line in Prattville and having graduated from Chelsea High School (CHS).
He knows a little bit about government, academics and society as well, living the first years of his life in the Burma Road housing projects while going to Chelsea Public Schools and eventually earning a scholarship to Harvard University and then landing a job with the City of Chelsea’s Planning Department (he lists City Manager Jay Ash as his mentor).
Now, he and his family live on Cook Avenue in Prattville and Monahan just recently passed the Bar Exam – earning his law degree from Suffolk University and becoming a practicing attorney.
So, with all that behind him, when the seat opened up, Monahan said he was ready to venture into politics for the first time.
“The most important thing for me at this point in this short campaign is getting out and making sure people in Chelsea, Revere and Saugus know me,” he said. “I definitely have been using social media and the Internet, but at the same time I’m trying to spend less time on social media. This is going to be about getting out and meeting people. I’m making sure to get out there and talk to people so they know I’m not just this afterthought candidate…Nothing has been handed to me in life. I knew I was a long shot, but I’m out to prove to people that I’m worth their vote.”
Monahan’s story is one that most in the district can easily warm up to, if not that they lived it themselves, most voters can appreciate the bootstraps mentality that Monahan brings to the table.
Monahan’s story starts in Chelsea Public Housing and ends at Harvard and Suffolk University Law School. He’s hoping a new chapter in that story will include a stop in the State House.
“I’m a local guy born and raised in Chelsea,” he said. “I grew up in the Burma Road projects in Chelsea. My parents worked very hard to get us out of the projects and into our own home…I saw them struggle. Seeing how hard they worked to get us a home on Cook Avenue motivated me to do good in school. Going through Chelsea Public Schools, there were a lot of good teachers and guidance counselors. I’m proud of the fact that I could go to Harvard from Chelsea High. The variety of experiences in that I’ve brought with me along the way. When the seat opened up, I thought about it and decided I wanted to be an advocate for others in my community and an advocate for everyone in the district.”
And those experiences and the energy he has brought to the race is showing rewards. He said he is getting a great response, and rather than having any major fund-raising events, he has planned to have small meet-and-greets and even rolled out a plan to be available at City Halls and Town Halls to meet people who might be interested in his campaign.
He said he will bring the experience of implementing and making laws to the job, having worked at MAPC and carried out lots of legislation.
“Even some of the most well-meaning pieces of legislation don’t pan out the way they are planned because they haven’t seen how things pan out at the local level,” he said.
One thing he hopes to concentrate on is crime and youth violence, having been an administrator of the Shannon Youth Grant in Chelsea. He said he sees lots of crime and a major drug problem in the district that he would work on if elected.
“My family home in Prattville was broken into not too long ago,” he said. “That’s frustrating. I know the police are doing what they can, but I don’t think we’re doing enough to make sure there are drug diversion programs so it’s not a rotating door for the people who are causing crime, who are arrested and are back on the street quickly. We have to have a smart allocation of resources in this area. I think I know how that can be done.”
He added that he has seen families all through the district struggle with relatives in the throws of drug addiction, and he will advocate for them to get the help and resources they need.
“If you’re a person touched by this, and I know many who are, then you know the uphill battle it is to find and access these resources,” he said.
Another issue he is interested in is having a more direct and open dialog with Wheelabrator (Resco) in Saugus – noting that the trash burning facility impacts the entire district and any talk of expanding it should be carefully thought out.
“More can be done to have an open dialogue,” he said.
Naturally, he also listed the potential casino at Suffolk Downs as a major issue for the district. He said he is pro-casino, but has concerns about how it is implemented and who will hold the casino accountable for its promises.
“I think it will be a great economic benefit to the area,” he said. “I”m all for bringing jobs to the area. Jobs are good; good jobs are better. There is a great potential for short-term construction jobs too. However, I don’t want our communities to be the casino communities. If it does go in Revere, I don’t want Revere to be known as the casino city. It’s hosted in the City, but it’s not Mohegan Sun Revere. Most people can agree to that. Revere, Chelsea and Saugus have to be and are more than casino cities.”
He said he would be a candidate to hold the casino to its promises, despite any pressure that might arise.
“Once it comes to delivering the jobs promised, who is going to be in the community making sure that it happens?” he asked. “We need to make sure we’re not just hoping for these jobs and transportation projects to come, but making sure they do. I’m pro-casino, but pro-accountability.”
Monahan will be on the ballot in the 16th District as part of the three-person Democratic primary election on March 4. On Monday, he received the endorsement of Chelsea Council President Matt Frank.
“The campaign is really peaking at just the right time for me,” he said. “It’s exciting.”
At the Satter House on Revere Beach, Thanksgivukkah is alive
and well as Chef Al DaCunha and Jewish resident leader Norma
Siegel have worked to combine the traditions of Thanksgiving
and Hanukkah in a fun way – having sweet potato Latkes and
Challah bread stuffing. The two holidays won’t converge again for
another 79,043 years.
Roasted Turkey, Challah bread, Latkes (potato pancakes) with a side of cranberry-applesauce don’t often converge on the fourth Thursday in November, but Hanukkah and Thanksgiving don’t often coincide either – and, in fact, after this Thursday, they won’t coincide again for 79,043 years.
So, basically, it’s a one-time shot and many Jewish residents are playing up the novelty to its fullest this week – finding creative ways to blend the foods and feelings of the holidays.
One local organization has even come up with a unique name for the dual holiday, Thanksgivukkah, which was coined by the marketing directors of the Jack Satter House (run by Hebrew SeniorLife) on Revere Beach.
The name, and dual holiday, have now become nationwide sensations – both in real life and online.
“People are getting so excited about it, and there is a wealth of information about it on the Internet,” said Rabbi Joseph Berman of Temple B’Nai Israel in Revere’s Beachmont neighborhood. “Part of it is that this has never really happened and it probably won’t happen ever again. It’s also a convergence of American/Jewish identity. Not often do people get to experience these two different parts of their identity on the same day, identities that are often separate. I hear a lot of kids are really excited more than usual for Hanukkah. Both parts of their identity are coming together. I think most of us have that experience in some ways. There are different parts of our identity and sometimes they do come together.”
Hanukkah – which is not a major Jewish holiday – is typically associated with Christmas, as the eight-day observance marked by the lighting of Menorah candles each day usually falls during the same time as the Christmas season. However, due to the differences in calendar – Jewish calendars are based on the moon and Christian calendars are based on the Sun – Hanukkah falls during Thanksgiving this year. That rarity hasn’t happened since 1888, and even more noteworthy, it won’t happen again for another 79,043 years.
Hanukkah will begin at sundown on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and the first day of Hanukkah will fall on Thanksgiving Day.
Berman said some members of his congregation are keeping the holidays separate, but others are excited to blend the two together.
“Thanksgiving is actually much more comparable to Hanukkah than Christmas,” Berman said. “People who are doing this are excited because they usually get together for either one or the other. They feel it’s nice to be able to get the whole family together for both this time.
“Others are excited that they can combine foods,” he continued. “All Jewish holidays are big food holidays and so people are coming up with fun things that mix the two holiday foods. A lot of people are talking about fried turkey or turkey Latkes. Others are talking about dipping the Latkes in cranberry sauce instead of applesauce. People are doing some creative things and it’s pretty interesting.”
At the Jack Satter House, they have already scheduled a dinner for Weds., Nov. 27, that will combine the best of Hanukkah and the best of Thanksgiving.
They’re calling it Thanksgivukkah – a term that Hebrew SeniorLife marketer Dana Gittell came up with last year.
“Thanksgivukkah is being used everywhere now, but interestingly enough, it originated from a Hebrew SeniorLife employee – Dana Gittell,” said Jane Baker of Hebrew SeniorLife, which runs the Satter House. “She came to me about a year ago when the calendar came out and she noticed the confluence and noted what a rare and historic date it was. She decided to put together celebrations and came up with the idea of calling it ‘Thanksgivukkah.’…It’s central to our beliefs of freedom of religion, freedom of assembly and giving thanks.”
At the Satter House, preparations are already underway with Director of Dining Services Adelino ‘Al’ DaCunha coming up with a unique Thanksgiving stuffing made from traditional Hanukkah foods like Challah bread, dried apricots and dried cranberries. There are also sweet potato Latkes, to add to the twist.
“Actually, it’s been a very unique experience coming up with the menu,” said DaCunha. “We’re going to work in both of the traditions and that has been fun. Obviously, none of us will be around to see this the next time.”
Norma Siegel, who leads the Jewish contingent at the Satter House and is a Chelsea native, said she is excited about the convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. At the celebration, following a nice meal of turkey and Latkes, she will be lighting the first candle on the Menorah.
“I love it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be very interesting.”
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) will call Suffolk Downs before its board today, Nov. 21, during a regularly scheduled meeting to explain how the track intends to proceed with a Revere-only casino project at its property that straddles the Eastie/Revere line.
Chelsea is an official surrounding community in both the Suffolk project in Revere and the Wynn Resorts project proposed in Everett.
MGC officials announced on Tuesday that there are enough questions about the Revere-only project that some clarity needs to be offered.
“We have been thinking about this,” said MGC Chairman Steve Crosby. “We read the papers and hear the stories and get the letters. We will ask Suffolk Downs to come in and talk to us on Thursday at our regular meeting and try to understand exactly how they are planning to proceed on this.”
He said he hasn’t read the host community agreements and he hasn’t looked at the referendum ballot question language recently, so he would like to hear from Suffolk how they intend to proceed.
“…We’re going to ask them what they’re thinking,” he said. “The Commission does not yet have an opinion on this yet…We’ll want to hear what their interpretations are of the ballot questions and how they’re coming up with the reading that says this is legit to proceed. Once we hear that we’ll do whatever we do. Maybe we’ll agree, maybe we’ll disagree, maybe we’ll think about it, maybe we’ll do our own legal analysis; I don’t know. The point of [them coming on Thursday] is we do feel there are enough issues here that are genuinely confusing to the public that we would like to see whether we can help get some clarity. In general, elections are very much a local issue. The Legislature makes that clear and is highly respectful of each individual community handling elections the way they want with their applicant. We have said we will intercede if we think the local activities are either impeding our process and our schedule or running the risk of somehow impugning the integrity of the overall process. And, this one clearly raises enough issues that…we need to look into it… We know as little about this as what you do at this point, which is why we’re asking them to come in and talk to us.”
He said they would proceed in the meeting by asking Suffolk a set of pre-determined questions. He said on Monday they hadn’t come up with those questions yet, but one of them would certainly be about the knowledge of a Revere-only Plan B.
“Surely one of them will be the issue of did the host community agreement and the referendum reasonably anticipate the duality, but there probably will be others,” he said.
He said another key part of what they will look at is if Revere does have a claim to hosting a casino given their ‘yes’ vote, and Eastie’s ‘no’ vote.
“Certainly none of us was anticipating a split vote,” Crosby said. “Bottom line is that no community that does not want a casino will have a casino. That applies to East Boston, West Springfield and Foxboro and Holyoke and you name it. It’s a different situation here. Revere said they did want it and so we need to figure out if they have a legitimate claim.”
However, Crosby said the MGC might not be ready to delve into the minutiae of the situation – such as the legal status of the horse track – until they get more basic information about the plan.
“The fundamental intent of the law is that it gives a horse racing entity that wants a gaming license the pre-condition of its getting a license was that it would continue the horse racing,” he said. “I mean that was the intent…How that applies here is anybody’s guess. We don’t even know who the applicant is going to be. Is it going to be the same applicant? Is it going to be the same people who own the racetrack? We just don’t know yet.”
Letters sent to the Commission late last week by Suffolk Downs and Revere Mayor Dan Rizzo triggered the Thursday discussion, along with elaborate media reports both locally and in Boston.
Meanwhile, MGC officials also said this week that Wynn Resorts would likely have its suitability hearing scheduled in the first or second week in December.
MGC Spokesperson Elaine Driscoll told the Record that Wynn would likely be called for the hearing during that time frame. Wynn Resorts has proposed a resort casino in Everett and, at this point, is simply waiting for a determination on its suitability (which is a term used for the background check). If he is deemed suitable, he will have until Dec. 31 to turn in his Phase II application.
It will be the last application turned in before a final awarding of the license is made in April.
The December hearing is beyond the MGC’s original internal deadline to have all of the hearings completed before Nov. 20. That date was set earlier this fall, but proved to be tricky to pull off.
“These are very extensive and so we’re addressing them on a rolling basis,” said Driscoll. “As soon as they’re complete, we schedule a hearing. With resort casinos – with the magnitude of them – what works best for us is on a rolling basis.”
The MGC almost met its goal, holding two of the hearings and making determinations on them prior to Nov. 20.
Suffolk Downs had its hearing on Oct. 29 and had a ruling by Nov. 1.
Crossroads/Foxwoods in Milford had its suitability hearing on Nov. 13 and had a ruling by Nov. 15. That project, however, was voted down Tuesday and will no longer be in the running for a license.
If Wynn were approved by the second or third week of December, it would give the company about two weeks to meet the Dec. 31 deadline.
The MGC Public meeting today will start at 9 a.m. and will be held at the South Boston Convention Center. Suffolk Downs is one item on a very lengthy agenda. The meetings are streamed live via the Internet at www.massgaming.com.