He had his audience totally engaged on every word, his knowledge so overwhelming, his delivery so confident and precise.
Breakfast Chair Mark Robinson, FBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge Kevin White, FBI Special Agent In Charge Joseph Bonavolonta, and Jordan Girls and Boys Club Executive Director Gina Centrella.
Joseph R. Bonavolonta, FBI special agent in
charge of the Boston Field Office, was the guest speaker at the Jordan Boys and
Girls Club Breakfast Series Tuesday and his remarks were so captivating that he
received two other guest speaking invitations before he left the hall.
“It’s been an incredibly interestingly and
enlightening morning – that was great,” said Breakfast Chair Mark Robinson at
the conclusion of Bonavolonta’s remarks.
Bonavolonta took the guests on an up-close
look at the vital work that the United States’ principal law enforcement agency
does around the clock and how it affects people not only in this nation but
around the world.
He began by illuminating “about the types of
threats we’re facing in our AOR (Area of Responsibility),” which is the
four-state region of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
He divided the subject matter between the
categories of national security threats and criminal threats.
“I’ll start with pure national security,
that’s really where we’re focusing on our counter-terrorism and
counter-intelligence threats, two of the absolute top threats, not only here in
our area, but also nationally,” said Bonavolonta.
He said the FBI is focusing on two types of
counter-terrorism, international terrorism and domestic terrorism.
“International terrorism is where you have
your historical terrorism threats, really pre-and-post 911: Al Qaeda and ISIS,
They still are persistent. They still are significant threats for us, but the
threat landscape in terrorism has really changed every year since September 11,
2001,” he said.
Bonavolonta noted that the primary threat
here is Homegrown Violent Extremists (HVE). “What I mean by that, simply, are
individuals who have been self-radicalized primarily over the Internet – it
could be by other means as well. They go out and commit significant acts of
violence against what we would call or they call to be soft targets: schools,
shopping malls, any areas where there are public gatherings where you can
potentially inflict mass casualties with the lowest amount of risk or immediate
interaction with law enforcement.
“It’s something that concerns us every day,”
He said the agency has to take each threat
seriously and be very quick to react. “We’ve had cases right in our own area
where we’ve had individuals that have one day woken up and they’re in that
radicalization process and they’ve decided that today’s the day they’re going
to go out and they’re going to attack or kill members of law enforcement or
“These are threats that have to be acted on
immediately and we have to ready to mobilize and cut them off before they
commit these acts of violence,” he said.
Bonavolonta defined domestic terrorism “as
individuals who are associated with or inspired by US-based movements that are
promoting ‘violent extremist ideologies.”
He said what makes domestic terrorism a
complex issue is “the fact that a lot of what we see in that realm potentials
butts right up against First Amendment freedom of speech issues.
“That’s something that we really have to be
incredibly careful when we’re looking at it. It’s a very, very high threshold
for us to predicate a case where we’re charging acts related to domestic
“In a lot of cases, these issues start with
individuals that are spewing certain types of speech that are protected under
First Amendment activities,” Bonovalonta clarified.
During the question-and-answer session that
followed, Bonavolonta was asked about FBI resources, hiring and personnel.
He said the FBI is always looking for
“cyber-talented people with a true background in cyber skills.”
we are making a significant push for much more aggressive recruitment – we are
aggressively recruiting people with skills in the STEM field,” said
Bonavalonta. “We are placing a specific emphasis on recruiting females into the
agent cadre as well. We need to make sure that from a diversity perspective that
our agent cadre, as much as it can, mirrors overall society. And just within
the last three or four years, there has been a very definitive effort to
proactively put on female law enforcement symposiums.”
Under the leadership of Executive Director
Robert Reppucci, Community Action Programs Inter City (CAPIC) has been a
national model in addressing the needs of low-income families in Chelsea,
Revere, and Winthrop.
CAPIC’s fuel assistance program has been one
of its most utilized services, aiding more than 2,700 residents in the three
Since his appointment last July as energy
director, Giancarlo DeSario has overseen the program that is in its sixth
decade of existence. The recent addition
of well-known Chelsea community leader Henry Wilson as an outreach coordinator
has also helped expande the program and bring recognition to the valuable
services CAPIC provides in many areas.
DeSario explained the process by which
residents can apply for fuel assistance.
“If someone finds themselves in need –
whether they’re a tenant, homeowner, family or single person – they should call
the CAPIC fuel assistance line to set up an appointment,” said DeSario. “We
would conduct an interview with the individual and review all their paperwork.
We’ll let them know if we need additional information and then we’ll process
their application in about 30-45 days.”
Candidates for fuel assistance must meet
some income guidelines.
“In order to qualify for fuel assistance,
you need to be at 60 per cent of the state median income, which for a single
person would be $35,510; for a family of four people, it would be $68,280,”
CAPIC’s program covers heating expenses
between the months of November and April.
According to DeSario, the fuel assistance
program is funded through federal and state grants. CAPIC is currently waiting
for a supplemental budget to be approved by the state.
“What we’re looking for is $30 million extra
dollars in funding to help out with this heating season, but we’re looking
closer to receiving $11 million,” said DeSario. He indicated that CAPIC has
been working with Chelsea’s state legislators to secure additional funding.
DeSario has made a point during his tenure
to “get out in the field” and meet individual clients. He has earned praise for
“I’m always available – I hand out my direct
extension to clients all the time,” said DeSario. “I find it’s really important
that if you’re going to serve clients correctly, you have to be in touch with
them and understand their needs.”
DeSario has local roots
Giancarlo DeSario grew up in Maine, but he
has always had local connections. “I’ve been coming to East Boston since I was
a child. My mother (Yolanda DeSario) moved here from Italy when she was 10
years old. And my grandmother (Maria Caserta) has been living in East Boston for
DeSario attended high school in Maine and
graduated from Roger Williams University where he studied Business and Legal
He began his career in woodworking and was
promoted to the position of project manager, working with clients in Manhattan
and Long Island, New York.
From there, DeSario entered the solar
industry as a district site surveyor and rose through the company to become
operations manager, overseeing several projects
throughout the New England region.
DeSario came to CAPIC last July. “I saw a
position was open and I applied for it. I was ready to go back to my old job
when I got a call from Executive Director Robert Repucci, requesting that I
come in for an interview.”
the entire staff at CAPIC and residents throughout the area, DeSario has come
to appreciate Repucci’s exceptional leadership of the agency. Repucci arrived
at CAPIC in 1972 and has been of Chelsea’s most influential and revered
“Mr. Repucci is an outstanding leader of
CAPIC and in the community as a whole,” said DeSario. “He really pushes you to
be a better person. He’s inspiring. He wants you to put people ahead of
yourself, and you can tell, because he does that. He leads by example and I
respect that about him.”
DeSario has also been impressed by the
dedicated and knowledgeable staff at CAPIC.
“I was fortunate to come in to an agency
where we have some really key players who know the programs in and out,” said
DeSario. “The transition in to this industry was tough, because you don’t know
it – but I was lucky to have a very good support group here to help out. They
really care about the programs succeeding.”
DeSario said he finds his job rewarding and
he appreciates the kind words from clients.
“There is nothing
better than when we get a letter (of gratitude) or a phone call from a client
who had no heat and we were able to restore a heating system that went out
overnight, replace a heating system with a new one, or weatherize someone’s
home,” said DeSario.
Some 344 students walked across the stage at Chelsea High School on Sunday, June 10, as part of commencement exercises – becoming one of the largest classes to graduate in decades.
The Class of 2018 followed an unusually large class in 2017 as well.
At Sunday’s commencement, Supt. Mary Bourque said the class had distinguished itself by not only its overall numbers, but also its successes.
“All of you standing here are the living and breathing reason why we say our mission is to ‘We Welcome and Educate,’” she said. “No matter when you entered the Chelsea Public Schools, we wrapped our arms around you and moved you along the road to graduation. Class of 2018, I want you to know that we are so very proud of you and your accomplishments.”
Of the graduates, 64 percent are attending a two- or four-year college next year. Bourque listed off 79 colleges where students have been accepted, including Wellesley College, Williams College, Tufts University, UMass-Amherst, University of Maine, Hamilton College, Drexel University, Denison University, Bryn Mawr College, Boston University and Boston College – to name a few.
Scholarship awards from those schools totaled $4.4 million, the largest amount ever at Chelsea High.
The rest of the class plans include:
- 4% are entering a certificate program.
- 2% are entering a Trade School.
- 6% are taking a Gap Year.
- 2% are entering the Military.
- 20% are going directly into the work force.
- 2%, are still working on their plans.
The Class of 2018 was also special in that 180 of its students enrolled in the dual enrollment/early college program with Bunker Hill Community College.
“Together you earned 1,374 college credits equaling approximately 458
courses,” she said. “You saved over $250,000 on tuition and fees and saved another $40,000 on books.”
The average numbers of credits earned was eight, but Bourque said on student, Samir Zemmouri had earned 33 credits, the equivalent of a full year of college.
“Most impressive is that 69 students completed English 111 College Writing I course, a required course that often acts as a prerequisite for college coursework; and 15 students of the 69 entered our country and began their educational career at CHS as an English Language Learner,” she stated.
There were also seven members entering the military, including: Pedro Barrientos, Krishell Chacon-Aldana, Adrian Diaz, Nelson Hernandez Jr., Denis Martinez Pineda, Carla Romero and Melinen Urizar Perez.
Bourque closed out her comments about the Class of 2018 on Sunday with five points of wisdom. More than any achievement, she advised to live a life of purpose.
“Choose to live a life of purpose,” she said. “A life of giving back. Knowing our purpose in life empowers us, strengthens us, grounds us. It gives us the courage and conviction to fight the good fight and for the good reasons. A life of purpose is a successful life.”
In a touching and unique tribute, family members, friends, classmates and associates from Major League Baseball gathered to remember Francis Nugent Jr., known affectionately as “Barney.”
Mr. Nugent passed away Feb. 22 after a gallant battle with cancer. He was 61.
Barney rose in his noble profession of sports medicine to become the athletic trainer with the San Francisco Giants organization. He served as a trainer in the World Series and Major League All-Star Game.
His wife, Denise, delivered a beautiful eulogy that perfectly captured the kindness and goodness of Barney’s “wonderful life.” She spoke of the many happy memories and good times they shared in their 33 years of marriage.
Freddie Petersen, a lifelong friend, said it was he who introduced Barney to Bill Linskey, a certified trainer at Rindge Tech High School. Barney went on from there to earn a graduate degree in Sports Medicine from Indiana State University.
Petersen, whose brother, Eddie, also attended the ceremony, delighted the assemblage with stories about Barney’s ascension through the ranks of professional baseball including his first stop with the Winston/Salem Red Sox, where “his salary was $500 per month plus the profits from the soda machine.”
Petersen, whose brother, Eddie, was also in attendance, said to Denise Nugent: “You were the bright, shining star in Barney’s life. Over the past several months, I witnessed how much care and love you gave him.”
Charlie Sherman, who served as president of the Chelsea High School Class of 1970 and joined a contingent of classmates honoring Barney this week, also aptly summed up the essence of Barney’s life.
“Barney was the vice president of our class and a captain of the football team” said Sherman. “When I played football my junior year, I wasn’t very good, but Barney made me feel like I really belonged.”
Added Sherman, “In later years when he was trainer for the Maine Guide in the International League, working his way to the Majors, I took my son Justin to a game and we met Barney after the game. I hadn’t seen him in years, but he took Justin into the locker room, got him autographs, and gave him a baseball and made him feel like a VIP.
“Barney reached the pinnacle of his career with the San Francisco Giants and when he attended our 25th class reunion, he was just so humble and made it seem like it was no big deal. He epitomized what being from Chelsea was all about.”
Barney, as your friend, Freddie Petersen, said at the conclusion of his thoughtful message, “We love you and miss you. Until we meet again.”
Longtime St. Stanislaus School Fifth Grade Teacher
Josephine (Czyzon) Blago of Maine, a former longtime Chelsea resident, passed away at the Southern Maine Medical Center on February 16 following a brief illness. She was 95 years old.
Born and raised in Chelsea, the daughter of the late Michael Kolondovitz and Stefania (Czyzon), she attended St. Stanislaus Elementary School and was a graduate of Chelsea High School. She has been residing in Maine for the past several years. Josephine was the well loved and revered fifth grade school teacher at St. Stanislaus Parochial School in Chelsea for many years. She was a member of the Polish Falcons, Nest 485, Chelsea and the former St. Stanislaus Holy Rosary Society.
She was the devoted mother of Stephanie Whiting and her husband, Al of Maine; dear sister of the late Charles Cizon and is also survived by several loving nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Stanislaus Church, 163 Chestnut St., Chelsea today, Thursday, February 20 at 11 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Stanislaus Church, 163 Chestnut St. Chelsea, MA 02150. Funeral Arrangements entrusted to the care and direction of the Anthony Memorial / Frank A. Welsh and Sons Funeral Homes.To send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.AnthonyMemorial.com.
Lucy A. (Malachowski) Zbikowski of Chelsea passed away on February 14 at the Lighthouse Nursing Care Center in Revere where she had been receiving supportive care as her illness progressed. She was 80 years old.
Born in Spencer, she was the devoted wife of the late Richard S. Zbikowski; beloved mother of Richard Zbikowski of North Reading, Kathleen Allen and her husband, Robert of Ashburnham, Lucy Zbikowski of Chelsea and Susan Zbikowski of Seattle, WA; daughter of the late Steven and Jennie (Stankiewicz) Malachowski; loving sister of the late Marion Suida, Joseph Malachowski, Caroline Burke and Steven and Edward Malachowski and the cherished grandmother of Nicholas and Jennifer Allen and Jake Zbikowski. She is also lovingly survived by many nieces and nephews.
Family and friends are kindly invited to attend a Funeral Mass to be celebrated in St. Theresa’s Church, 63 Winter Street, North Reading today, Thursday, February 20 at 10:30 a.m. Those attending are asked to meet directly at the church. Services will conclude with interment at Holy Cross Cemetery, Malden. To send a message of condolence to Lucy’s family, please visit www.smithfuneralhomes.com
Aubrey Frederick French
Of Florida, formerly of Chelsea
Aubrey Frederick French passed away peacefully on February 3 in Port Orange, Florida after a courageous struggle with Alzheimer’s Disease.
He was a driver for Canada Dry Corp. and also operated a convenience store in Billerica. He was also a long time driver for Puralator Corp.and delivered the Union Leader newspaper for 20 years. His last place of employment, before retiring, was as a maintenance tech in the Port Orange, Florida school system.
He had a love for sports, the Patriots, Celtics, Bruins and the Boston Red Sox being his favorites. He loved the outdoors and enjoyed swimming and boating with his children at his second home in Alton, NH .
A family man and a loving husband and father, he will be sadly missed by family and friends.
Born on January 15, 1934 and raised in Chelsea, he was the son of the late Ada and Cyril French. He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Mary (Coppla) French, and his three children: Dennis French and Donna Cyr of Derry, NH, Scott French and his wife, Roxanne of Hooksett, NH and his daughter, Paula Hewitt and her husband, Ray of Manchester NH as well as his three grandchildren Nicole, Kiera and Jonathan French; his brother Walter Cyril French and his wife, Peggy and his sisters, Stella Larcome and Irene Poliatti. He was also the brother of the late Jack French and William French.
A private family service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in his name may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association.
Of Everett, formerly of East Boston
Marlene Iacoviello of Everett, formerly of East Boston, passed away on February 15. She was 52 years old.
She was the loving mother of Miranda Mugford of Everett; cherished daughter of the late Michael and Lois (McNeil) Iacoviello; dear sister of Michele Conti of Everett, Michael Iacoviello of Ft. Myers, Florida, Mark Iacoviello of New Jersey, and Matthew Iacoviello of Drexel Hill, PA and the loving companion of James D Mugford of Chelsea. She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.
Family and friends will honor Marlene’s life by gathering today, Thursday, February 20, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the chapel of the Ruggiero Family Memorial Home, 971 Saratoga St., East Boston. A Funeral service in celebration of Marlene’s life will take place on Friday, February 21 at 10 a.m. at the First Baptist Church, 50 Church St. (off Broadway) Everett, MA.(Please go directly to the Church.)
In lieu of flowers, an Education Trust is being set up for Marlene’s only daughter, Miranda. More information will be available shortly. For more information, visit: www.ruggieromh.com
District I Fall Conference, held on October 25 to 27. District I includes Zonta Clubs from
Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachustts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Canada.
Almost 100 Zonta Club members attended the Fall Conference in Bedford, MA. Attendees
from the Zonta Club of Chelsea, included Joan Lanzillo-Hahesy; Georgia Green, President;
Zonta International Director, Gabriella Samara Paphitis from Cyprus; and Bonnie Fishman.