Pecking Order Council Hatches Potential Plan for Allowing Chicken Keeping

The chickens haven’t come home to roost quite yet in Chelsea.

Before heading out on summer break, District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero requested that City Manager Thomas Ambrosino explore the possibility of residents being able to keep chickens at their homes without a permit.

In a letter the Council received from the City Manager at Monday night’s meeting, the answer was a qualified ‘maybe.’

“My review of the City Ordinances leads me to conclude that this is a matter that rests exclusively with the City Council,” Ambrosino stated.

The current city ordinance pertaining to domestic farm animals, including chickens, prohibits any resident from “owning or harboring” a domestic farm animal without the permission of the Board of Health.

The City Council could eliminate the requirement for the Board of Health approval, if it so desires, through an ordinance change.

But, Ambrosino did caution the Council that before making an ordinance changes that would allow chickens to run free down Broadway, to review ordinances in other municipalities and inquire about their domestic chicken experiences.

“I am aware that, in some communities, allowing residents to raise chickens, particularly in dense neighborhoods, has generated complaints from abutters,” Ambrosino wrote. “And, in at least the neighboring municipality of Revere, a previous ordinance allowing chickens was rescinded, and now the ownership of chickens is expressly prohibited.”

Ambrosino also suggested that before any further chicken plans are hatched, that there should be some discussion with the Board of Health as to how many requests are made for the permission to raise chickens and how often such requests are denied.

“It may be that the current regulatory structure of requiring Board of Health permission is working just fine and is not in need of revision,” Ambrosino stated.

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Cable Building to Be Named After the Late Duke Bradley

The legacies of Judith Dyer and Robert “Duke” Bradley will live on in Chelsea, thanks to orders introduced by the City Council on Monday night.

Council President Damali Vidot introduced the order approving the dedication of the park at the corner of Spruce and Heard streets as Judith Dyer Park.

Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson introduced the order requesting that the Community Cable TV building be named after Bradley. Bradley, who recently died, was a lifelong Chelsea resident and best known as the executive director of Chelsea Community Cable Television.

“Earlier this summer, I received a request from the Beautification Committee that the City dedicate the small park at the corner of Heard Street and Spruce Street to Judith Dyer,” stated City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “This small area would be henceforth known as Judith Dyer Park and would be commemorated with a modest plaque or sign. Given Ms. Dyer’s civic efforts over the course of many years, this seems to me a meritorious request.”

The letter from the Beautification Committee noted that Dyer has been an inspiration to the residents of Chelsea for a number of years, involved in almost every community group from the Beautification Committee to GreenRoots, the CET, Conservation Commission, the ZBA, TND’s Board of Directors, and other committees.

“At a time of nationwide distrust of institutions and declining civic engagement, we need more people like Judith to step up and participate in making Chelsea the best it can be,” the letter further stated.

•In other business Monday night, Ambrosino updated the Council on Logan Airport noise-related topics.

Over the summer, with the help of GreenRoots, the City secured a pro bono proposal to do some noise monitoring in Chelsea. An initial public information session about the proposal is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 12 at 6 p.m. at the GreenRoots office.

Ambrosino also stated that there have been discussions with another Georgia firm to conduct additional testing at a cost of $25,000. The City Manager recommended the Council approve using money from the City’s stabilization fund to pay for the additional testing.

District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said he supports noise testing, but was against funding it from the City’s stabilization fund, which he said should be the last option for funding City programs and requests. The Council agreed to take up the funding request at a future conference committee meeting.

•District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero requested Ambrosino look into giving all senior citizen homeowner occupants a 30 percent discount on their water bills.

“It’s a good thing to do to give the seniors who live here a little break to try to keep them in our city,” Recupero said.

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Repucci Will Retire as Executive Director of CAPIC

Robert S. Repucci, executive director of CAPIC for the past 41 years, will be retiring from the agency that assists residents and seniors in Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop.

Repucci, who has worked at CAPIC in various capacities since 1972, publicly announced his decision in a letter to friends Tuesday. He had informed the CAPIC Board of Directors at a meeting last Thursday.

CAPIC Executive Director Robert Repucci, second from left, attended the announcement of Joe-4 Sun, a low-income community shared solar program. Pictured from left, are Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo, CAPIC Energy Director Giancarlo DeSario, Citizens Engery Chairman Joseph Kennedy II, CAPIC Executive Director Robert Repucci, and Revere Ward 5 Councillor John Powers.

Repucci, 68, said he will remain in the position until a successor is named. The succession plan to select a new CAPIC executive director has begun, and starting next week the position will be advertised in various newspapers and on social media platforms.

Chelsea community leaders lauded Repucci’s many accomplishments at CAPIC. He has been the much-revered leader of the agency for decades and has always supported local organizations with his attendance at their events. CAPIC became a national model during his tenure.

“Bob Repucci’s retirement is a loss for the region and a loss for the city of Chelsea,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino, who also worked closely with CAPIC when he was mayor of Revere. “Bob has been a tremendous partner to Chelsea, particularly over the last few years as we’ve ramped up our efforts to address a lot of the social ills in the downtown.

“A lot of our success in the past few years is due to Bob’s efforts, and he will be greatly missed,” added Ambrosino.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, whose relationship with Bob Repucci goes back to 1972, said, “Bob is a great person and I have nothing but respect for the man as he has a heart of gold.”

GreenRoots Executive Director Roseann Bongiovanni said Repucci’s important legacy will continue in the city.

“Bob Repucci has dedicated years of his life to help some of Chelsea’s most needy and most vulnerable,” said Bongiovanni, a former Chelsea city councillor. “His contributions to the betterment of our city should not be overlooked. While we are sad to see Bob retire, we know his legacy will live on.”

On Beacon Hill, Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo also lauded Repucci’s career as an administrator at CAPIC.

“In all years of government, Bob was one of the most caring people I ever worked with,” said DeLeo. “Whenever people in the community needed a helping hand, Bob always found a way to say yes. He has been a tireless and kind servant to his community. I thank him for all of his years of service and his friendship.”

‘A Challenging Decision’

Repucci said his decision to leave CAPIC was a challenging one.

“This has been a challenging decision given my utmost devotion to CAPIC and my need to safeguard the legacy of those who preceded me and those to follow,” wrote Repucci, whose agency helps low-income residents in Revere, Chelsea, and Winthrop.

He said one of the reasons for deciding to leave the position at CAPIC was that “I’ve become growingly saddened and frustrated with the housing situation that we have in Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop. I’ve watched all these people that are essentially being forced out of their housing.

“All this great residential building has caused rents to increase – the new developments are looking at $1,800 to $3,000 a month so the average landlord of a three-family house looks at that and says, “I’m only getting $1,100, but I could get $1,800 or $2,000 a month, that’s one of the contributing factors why these rents are going up and I want to do something about it.”

Will Lead Winnisimmet Realty Corporatioon

When Repucci leaves CAPIC he will assume the duties of executive director of the Winnisimmet Realty Corporation, whose mission is to acquire property for the interest of the CAPIC agency.

He said it will be tough to leave CAPIC and the outstanding, professional staff that he has overseen for more than four decades.

“CAPIC is my home and the people that work there are really family to me,” said Repucci. “Separation from the organization is going to be as tough as I thought because of all these issues that we have that are poverty-related and I’m working on.”

He said people’s “access to healthcare” is one of the issues that brought him to work for CAPIC in 1972 “and here we are 48 years later looking at the same issue recurring and that’s in the presence of health centers which we didn’t have back then.”

Repucci will be in involved in the process to select his successor as executive director. He is in charge of recruiting candidates and expects a large pool of diverse applicants for the position.

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Enhanced Google Maps, Lime Integration Sets Sight on Improving City Commutes

Google Maps will begin displaying available Lime scooters in more than 100 cities around the world. On Android devices, users will be able to see if a Lime vehicle is available, how long it’ll take to walk to the vehicle, a price estimate of the ride, battery range, along with total journey time and ETA in the Google Maps app. iOS availability for this feature will launch in late August.

In the Metro-Boston area, Lime riders have taken close to a half million rides on its bikeshare program and over 60,000 rides on its scooter program. Lime bikes are available Arlington, Bedford, Belmont, Chelsea, Everett, Malden, Newton, Quincy, Watertown, and Winthrop. Lime scooters are available in Brookline.

“This integration will help unlock an even easier way to explore their cities and reduce commute times,” said Scott Mullen, Director of Northeast Expansion at Lime. “Lime believes in the gift of time, and our scooters offer a convenient and fun way of cutting through Metro-Boston congestion. We’re excited that this partnership with Google Maps provides the opportunity for Lime to connect people to their destination faster as scooters continue to become a core part of the transportation ecosystem in the Bay State.”

If available, users will see Lime vehicles as an option from their biking, walking and transit tab if they’re traveling a relatively short distance that may also be accessible via scooter. Google Maps will show information about the nearest Lime, such as: if a Lime vehicle is available, how long it’ll take to walk to the vehicle, an estimate of how much the ride will cost, battery range, total journey time and ETA. Users can tap on a Lime in the Google Maps app, and Google Maps will show information about the selected vehicle.

Finally, Google Maps will show a walking route to the selected Lime vehicle and bicycling route for the rest of the journey in the biking tab.

“Whether you’re planning your daily commute or traveling to a new city, Google Maps is making it easier to weigh all your transportation options with real-time information,” said Vishal Dutta, Product Manager, Google Maps. “In addition to showing you the best biking and transit route in Google Maps, you’ll now be able to see if Lime scooters or e-bikes are available, how long the trip will take, and the most efficient route to get there. From Stockholm to Sao Paulo, you can now use Google Maps to locate Lime scooters to get you to your destination.”

Lime scooters first surfaced in Google Maps in December 2018 and the two companies expanded the partnership to 80 more cities in March 2019.

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First Zero-Emission, Battery-Electric Buses Join the Silver Line Fleet

This week at the Southampton Bus Garage and Maintenance Facility, Governor Charlie Baker, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, and MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak gathered to celebrate the introduction of the MBTA’s first brand new, zero-emission, battery-electric bus (BEB) prototypes into the MBTA’s Silver Line fleet.

“The procurement and testing of new battery-electric bus technology is exactly the type of investment we aim to continue with the Transportation Bond Bill in order to help the MBTA plan for the future,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Our Administration will continue to explore ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Commonwealth’s transportation system and we look forward to more improvements as the MBTA makes progress on delivering a more reliable bus system.”

“These new zero-emission, completely battery-electric bus prototypes are an emerging technology aimed at providing a safe, reliable, comfortable ride while lowering energy costs and reducing dependence on fossil fuels,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We are pleased to take steps forward with the process of evaluating whether these kinds of new technologies that promote sustainability are appropriate for daily service for MBTA customers.”

“We’re excited to introduce these first battery-electric buses into service on the Silver Line to test how they operate in real-world conditions on Boston streets and in the Silver Line tunnel,” said MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak. “This is an exciting first step in testing new technologies to electrify our bus fleet, save on fuel costs, and reduce our maintenance needs. We look forward to seeing how these buses perform, gathering data on power consumption, and testing their range during extreme weather as we continue to seek ways to reduce greenhouse gases and improve service for our customers.”

With support from a $10 million federal grant, the MBTA procured from New Flyer the production of five zero-emission, battery-electric, 60-foot, articulated buses. All five are currently in Boston with the first BEB prototype having arrived in April 2019 to begin testing and operator training. Three BEBs are entering service today on Silver Line Routes SL2, SL3, SL4, and SL5 with the next two anticipated to enter service on these routes by the end of the summer.

Five charging stations are also being built within the Southampton Bus Garage and Maintenance Facility as part of the project where each BEB will be “refueled” overnight.

These BEBs are powered by both rear axle and center axle electric motors to enhance safe operation during the winter months. The majority of 60-foot Low Floor articulated buses in service in North America utilize only the rear axle to provide propulsion power by pushing the bus, which can experience traction issues during winter months when snow and ice are present. The performance of the BEBs’ axle placement will be one feature specifically tested and studied while in service.

The MBTA will also be one of the first systems to test 100 percent electric heat for comfortable onboard temperatures during winter months. Previously, U.S.-built BEBs operated diesel-fired auxiliary heaters.

With a commitment to vehicle efficiency, energy conservation, and sustainability, the MBTA continues to explore available technologies and new vehicles that are capable of zero-emissions operation in the Silver Line Transitway Tunnel, which serves the World Trade Center, Courthouse, and South Station stops. Innovative projects like the MBTA Silver Line Zero Emission Bus Project directly reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and also help improve ridership by offering a quieter, emission-free transit experience.

During a two-year period following the introduction of the BEBs into service, the MBTA will test and gather data on this emerging technology to measure BEB performance and operational effectiveness with a focus on power consumption of electric heaters, operator / passenger comfort, vehicle range impact during extreme conditions, charging requirements, and projected operating costs. The MBTA will operate these buses on Silver Line routes to measure the capabilities of the technology for consideration in future zero-emission bus procurements.

Over the past four years, the Baker-Polito Administration has invested unprecedented levels of funding for transit improvements that have included the purchase of hundreds of new buses as well as the purchase of hybrid vehicles:

•The MBTA has purchased 575 new buses with 381 already in service and 194 additional hybrid buses in production.

•More than one third of the bus fleet was recently replaced. Once the additional hybrid buses are in service, more than half of all MBTA buses will be less than five years old. These new buses replace the oldest and least fuel-efficient vehicles in the fleet and provide a more comfortable ride for passengers.

•The piloting of these five zero-emission, battery-electric buses is also the first step in testing new technologies to electrify the fleet.

•In April 2018, the MBTA introduced the Silver Line 3-Chelsea service, providing a direct link between Chelsea and the Seaport District. This project was the first new MBTA service since the Greenbush Commuter Rail Line came online in 2017 with the $56.7 million project jointly funded by MassDOT ($7.6 million) and the MBTA ($49.1 million).

•Following positive results from a Transit Signal Priority (TSP) pilot, the FMCB approved plans to expand the T’s TSP pilot to include broad corridors of the MBTA street-level system. TSP provides faster service to bus passengers by using signal technology to reduce dwell times for vehicles that operate in mixed traffic.

•As part of the Better Bus Project, the MBTA has partnered with cities and towns to implement dedicated bus lanes and queue jumps, resulting in faster trips for bus passengers. Bus lanes currently exist on Brighton Avenue in Allston, Washington Street in Roslindale, Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge, Mount Auburn Street in Cambridge and Watertown, and Broadway in Everett.

The MBTA is currently investing more than ever before to upgrade its infrastructure under its current $8 billion, five-year Capital Investment Plan already in place, and the Baker-Polito Administration’s Transportation Bond Bill includes approximately $5.7 billion for the MBTA to continue funding improvements.

The bond bill also includes a number of proposals to accelerate capital investments that include investments in the MBTA’s bus system, including continued funding for the dedicated bus lanes, signal prioritization, bus shelters and other infrastructure; for sustainable transit system modernization investments to modernize the bus fleet and support the Better Bus Project; and for maintaining the bus fleet and operational improvements. There are additional provisions to allow for the use of design-build procurement for smaller projects, which reduces the timeline for delivering capital improvements, and job-order contracting, which is a faster, more cost effective way to address outstanding maintenance needs. The bill would also establish a process to leverage private-sector investment to fund and build transit improvements.

The provisions in the bond bill that seek to expedite the T’s pace of investment come on the heels of the T’s plan to accelerate capital investments by exploring more aggressive closures overnight and on weekends, increasing the regimen of proactive inspections, negotiating with contractors to compress project schedules, augmenting the existing workforce with a flexible team that can provide necessary services such as flaggers, bus operators, and power, signal, and track personnel to support capital investments.

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Water, Sewer, Trash Rates Increasing

Water and sewer rates are increasing, but not as much as some City Councillors initially feared.

Most of the City’s residential water and sewer customers will see an increase of 1 percent in rates for Fiscal Year 2020, and larger users will see a 4 percent increase.

In June, City Manager Thomas Ambrosino presented the Council with a proposed three percent increase for water and sewer customers who use less than 2,500 cubic feet of water. A 5 percent increase was proposed for customers who use more than that amount.

In June, a number of Councillors spoke out against the proposed increases.

“This is killing the poor people who live here,” said District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero. “This is not only going to drive the homeowners out, this is going to drive the tenants out, too. This is a bad thing to go up this much.

Following a public hearing on the rates earlier in July, Ambrosino and Public Works Commissioner Fidel Maltez discussed concerns about rising sewer rates, according to a letter the City Manager sent to the Council.

“Although rising rates are inevitable when the majority of the City’s water and sewer costs are determined by charges from the MWRA, and those charges rise each and every year, we are cognizant of the City’s need to try to keep the rate increases moderate,” Ambrosino stated.

After looking at some of the recent improvements to the water system in the past year, including the start of the program to replace aging water meters throughout the system and better tracking of water use by contractors, Ambrosino said he believes the City will be able to reduce non-billable usage.

The City Manager said he also plans to implement a better process for water and sewer rate-setting, beginning next year. Those plans include a spring subcommittee meeting with the City Council to present recommendations for water and sewer rates for FY21.

While the water and sewer rate increases are lower than initially proposed, there will be a heftier price to pay for the City trash rate with a 10 percent hike.

“For the past several years, we have been running deficits in our trash accounting because the rate has not been sufficient to cover the true cost of solid waste collection and disposal in the City,” Ambrosino stated.

The 10 percent increase is an effort to eliminate that deficit.

The new FY20 trash rate is $33.10 monthly for residential property and $156.15 monthly for commercial units in mixed buildings. Owner-occupied units will remain exempt from the fee.

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Chelsea Entrepreneurs Challenging Zoning Ideas Around Marijuana

Two Chelsea residents looking to break into the recreational cannabis industry in Chelsea are challenging the ideas behind the zoning regulations set by the City – regulations that bar such establishments from the Broadway business corridor and relegate them to expensive industrial locations in the city.

Chelsea has been known to be quite progressive when it comes to permitting and welcoming the marijuana industry, but the zoning regulations set more than a year ago required that any marijuana businesses be located in the industrial or shopping center districts.

Ola Bayode and Kyle Umemba, both from Chelsea, are questioning the zoning regulations for marijuana establishments – saying they should be allowed in the downtown area to help local residents and people of color to break into the industry. They said they believe retail marijuana could help to revive the downtown area, and they believe the current zoning unintentionally sets a barrier too high for locals to overcome.

That limits them to the Produce Center, Eastern Avenue or Parkway Plaza, and many in the City have postulated that it has excluded local people unintentionally from being able to participate or profit from this new industry.

The Chelsea City Council had just such a discussion earlier this year, asking if it were possible to set aside licenses for residents who might qualify in the future – that coming because most of the City’s licenses were being gobbled up by big-money interests from out of town, and sometimes out of state.

Now, add Chelsea residents Ola Bayode and Kyle Umemba to those critics.

Both are young professionals working regular jobs, but with a hope on the side that they could establish their own business in Chelsea within the emerging cannabis industry. Being right at the nexus of Boston and Somerville (and with Everett and Revere having prohibited marijuana shops), they felt the downtown area was a prime location.

Then they found out about the zoning restrictions, and found it nearly impossible to draw the interest of investors to be able to afford the buildout of a place in the industrial areas.

“For us, we can’t even find a place,” said Bayode. “The one place we did find was on Broadway and Congress. It was a great location and we went to the City and found it wasn’t allowed. We believe the City Manager and the City Council need to think five to 10 years ahead…Our demographic is not Chelsea residents but people who live in One North and upcoming new Forbes development – people new to Chelsea. We want to provide a premier boutique opportunity here…This is a critical time. This game is the first three years and who is able to navigate the waters early will prevail. It’s hard to grip and replace the incumbent business. That is why it’s so important to create a business friendly environment that is helpful to local residents. Right now is the time for that. Later will be too late.”

Bayode said they believe that retail marijuana would fit really well with the City’s idea for reviving the downtown. Umemba said it is proven that such establishments are more safe because of required security, and the foot traffic brings vibrancy to the areas. Having them walled off, both said, misses a great opportunity to bring people to the business district, and also to help local business-people get into the industry.

“The build-out cost in the industrial areas are so expensive,” said Bayode. “Spaces on Broadway are retail ready. They are made for this. It’s also hard to attract any investors because locating in an area like that doesn’t seem as credible.”

Umemba said he believes the zoning now creates a barrier to local people and people of color – maybe even those who have marijuana convictions and are encouraged by the state to get involved in the industry.

“There’s so much investment that can be brought into the downtown,” he said. “The zoning there now creates an extremely large barrier for individuals. We’re young guys who went to college and now we work. We have middle-class jobs. We want to break into this industry in Chelsea, but the way it’s set up creates an unfair playing field…and Chelsea is progressive compared to others and we still don’t have an equal playing field.”

Both said they plan to talk with elected officials and City leaders over the summer to see if there is room to make such zoning changes – perhaps allowing a few licenses to be located in the downtown and reserved for Chelsea residents.

“If there are four or five at least have one or two for Chelsea people,” Bayode said. “It shouldn’t all be big companies from the outside.”

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Here Comes Herbie! : Chelsea Legend Celebrates His 80th Birthday

Happy 80th birthday, Herbie Kupersmith.

A huge crowd is expected to be on hand when Chelsea honors one of its most prominent and philanthropic individuals on July 27 at the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium.

And what they will be celebrating is not only Herbie Kupersmith’s milestone birthday but all the good deeds that Herbie has done in a life well lived.

Herbie’s proud family, his wife, Cookie, daughters, Karyn, Stacey, and Marci and grandchildren, Michael, Jackie, and Colin head the list of guests that will travel far and wide to be at the party.

Guidance From his Mother and Four Valuable Mentors

Herbie Kupersmith moved from Brooklyn to Chelsea with his mother, Sally, when he was two-and-half years old.

“We lived on 13 Michael’s Place, which was off Williams Street,” said Herbie, an only child. “We were 35 feet away from the Chelsea Dump.”

Four highly respected Chelsea men would become Herbie’s “mentors.”

“Hugh J. McLaughlin, the former mayor, Julius Zeff, teacher and basketball coach, Paul “Choc” Glazer, community leader and head of the YMHA, and Harry Coltun, legal counsel for the Mass. House of Representatives – those four people, along with my mother – made it possible for me to be the person I am today,” said Herbie.

Herbie began attending the Walnut Street Synagogue as a young boy and was bar mitzvahed there in 1952. It was the beginning of his lifelong connection and support of the shul. Through the years Herbie has been instrumental in fundraising and helping the historic shul remain in operation.

What Herbie remembers most about his bar mitzvah was the advice he received from his mother in the form of three letters she had handwritten to him.

“Never drink the cup dry – leave some for other people,” recalled Herbie. “No. 2 was, if you’re going to do something, do it because you want to do it, not because you want to get accolades. And No. 3, my mother wrote, ‘I want you to be a giver, not a taker.’”

Herbie developed a love of sports at a young age. He was the starting guard for the Williams Junior High School basketball team that won 27 games in a row. He later played basketball at Chelsea High School for Coach Saul Nechtem.

Success in the Business World

After high school Herbie took a job at Nunn Bush selling shoes at Kennedy’s and Filene’s.

He had other jobs in sales before taking a position at Bobbie Brooks, a junior sportswear company.

With his magnetic personality, charisma, style, street smarts, common sense, honesty and integrity, Herbie set sales records and took over the entire Boston territory. He remained at Bobbie Brooks for 25 years.

All About Family

He met his future wife, Cookie, on a blind date and they were married in May, 1965.

They began their life together in Malden and moved to Marblehead in December, 1965. They have lived in the town ever since.

The Kupersmiths have three children, Karyn, Stacey, and Marci, all of whom are college graduates. Two of the Kupersmith grandchildren, Michael Walsh and Jackie Walsh, are graduates of Brown University. A third grandchild, Colin Walsh, is a student at Elon College in North Carolina.

A Party for Herbie That is Also a Testimonial

The upcoming birthday party will be a testimonial in many ways, with so many people wanting to thank Herbie for the help and support he has given them in so many ways.

The student-athletes like former Marblehead and Stonehill College basketball standout David Siggers, the coaches like John DiBiaso, the members of the congregation at Walnut Street Synagogue, the business associates, the friends like lifelong buddy Lennie Nelson, the co-chairs of planning committees like the great Minna Karas-Marino, and the city officials like Leo Robinson – they’ll all be there to say “Thank you, Herbie,” for being such a positive, uplifting presence in my life.

Rita’s will cater the gala affair. Comedian Brad Mastrangelo will perform and DJ George Athas will provide the musical entertainment. Former City Manager Jay Ash will be one of the speakers during the program.

“It should be a nice evening,” said Herbie humbly.

True to Herbie’s giving nature, all donations from the birthday party will go toward a scholarship fund for Chelsea students.

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Police Briefs 07-18-2019

Vandalized Chelsea Walk Pub

On June 18 at 4:39 a.m., officers were dispatched to 411 Broadway for a report of a disturbance. The calling party who resides at that address stated they heard a loud bang and an alarm going off. Upon arrival, Officers heard an alarm sounding from The Chelsea Walk Pub located at 416 Broadway. Officers observed the front door glass had been shattered. The door was open and Officers entered the building and located a brick on the ground. Officers searched the building, but did not locate anyone inside. Officers reviewed the city cameras and that information led them to place the female suspect under arrest. The female also had outstanding warrants out of the state of Florida.

Guillermina Montanez, 49, of 439 Broadway, was charged with breaking and entering a building in the night, possession of burglarious tools, being a fugitive from justice and one warrant.

Assaulted at the Basket

On June 25, at 6:02 p.m., CPD officers responded to the Market Basket on a report of a shoplifter who assaulted an employee. Officers were told that a manager attempted to stop a female accused of shoplifting $43 worth of items when he was attacked. The manager stated he was struck in the face with a set of keys from the shoplifter. A description was broadcast to officers in the area and the female subject was taken into custody.

Rosa Lawson, 42, of 827 Broadway, was charged with armed robbery, assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon.

Wrong Way

On June 25, at 11:40 p.m., CPD officers observed a Red Ford Focus traveling in the wrong direction on Broadway. Upon speaking with the operator, it was determined he did not have a license to operate a motor vehicle. And he was arrested.

Ever Gutierrez Vargas, 23, of Cambridge, was charged with unlicensed operation and one way violation.

Car Break

On July 2, at 10:10 a.m., officers were dispatched to 73 Pearl St. for a report of a male party checking the door handles to motor vehicles who was now sitting inside a grey motor vehicle. Upon officers’ arrival, an unknown male party was observed in the rear seat of a grey motor vehicle. The motor vehicle was parked on private property with no license plates attached. A vehicle VIN number was located and given to Chelsea Control for owner information. It was determined by the owner that the person inside was known to him. He was placed under arrest.

Melvy Amaya, 21, of 106 Williams St., was charged with breaking and entering a vehicle in the day for a felony.

Stole Items From Car

On July 6, at 10;10 a.m., a CPD officer was dispatched to 793 Broadway for a report of malicious damage to a motor vehicle. The officer observed a Honda CR-V with the back passenger side window smashed. The owner of the vehicle stated that she discovered the vehicle damaged around 10 a.m. Officers were able to review security footage and identify a male subject smash window and remove items from the car. A short time later officers observed a male matching the description on Shawmut Street. He was placed under arrest on scene. Albin Hernandez, 37, of 466 Broadway, was charged with breaking and entering a vehicle in the day for a felony and possession of burglarious tools.

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Island End River in the Midst of Major Flood Protection Project

Few places in the food supply chain for Greater Boston and beyond are more vulnerable than the New England Produce Center.

That huge food resource for the region, along with other industries, are very close to sea level and, as discovered a few years ago, very prone to flooding and sea level surges.

Now, the City of Chelsea is poised to begin a major project at the Island End River that will help to protect the industrial areas along Beacham Street and enhance the environment around the improving Island End River.

“That area is about six or seven feet above sea level now, and experts expect sea level and storm surges at 14 feet above sea level by the end of the century,” said Alex Train, of the Chelsea Planning Department. “This project is in concert with Everett and it’s gathered a lot of momentum. It’s a priority of the City Manager and our department because we understand how much is at risk. It’s a gamble otherwise and we don’t like to gamble in the planning industry.”

Such a gamble was clearly seen two winters ago when huge coastal surge storms lifted the water levels into the industrial areas along the Island End, nearly causing major disruptions and opening a lot of eyes to the vulnerability of the situation.

The project has been supported by a grant from the Coastal Zone Management Office, as well as the Chelsea and Everett City Councils.

The project includes gray infrastructure, such as flood walls and berms by the Island End River. It also includes green infrastructure with the restoration of the salt marshes abutting the Island End. At the same time, they will also be able to add some amenities for the public like a Boardwalk to connect to the Admiral’s Hill Marina area.

“It’s going to be a sizeable project, but in the context of the surrounding industrial businesses and the produce center, it’s easily a worthwhile initiative on our end,” said Train.

Right now, in Chelsea, they are at 60 percent engineering design on the project. Everett is a little bit further behind as they are in the Designated Port Area (DPA) and require many more steps. Everett is currently in a schematic design phase.

On the Chelsea side, Train said they will culminate design this summer, and then look for further grants this winter. Then they will engage in the final engineering, permitting and construction phases.

The project will also be tied into the large Beacham Street roadway, sidewalk and bike path improvements that are also coming soon.

A report in 2015 by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) showed that the Produce Center generates $2.3 billion of economic activity per year, and the entire industrial district generates $7 billion per year. There are 5,000 direct jobs there and 10,000 supportive jobs there.

“Many of that activity and those jobs benefit Chelsea and Everett residents and they are solid middle-class jobs and we’re committed to protecting them for our residents,” said Train.

Other Development Activity

•The City has received a PARC grant for rehabilitation of the O’Neil Playground on the hill up from Williams Street. The new design will encourage water features and tree canopies. The restoration will look to prevent heat islands and provide a cool place during the summer. The project is currently under construction and should be substantially completed by the fall. It came in at a cost of $884,000.

•The Eden Street playground is currently in design. The new design will also feature a robust tree canopy and more permeable surfaces. The project will be bid out in September, with a fall start. Construction will start up again in the spring for a substantial completion by summer 2020. That project was supported by a $400,000 PARC grant.

•Voke Park is another area that will soon receive more attention. The Bocce Court and fields were done over two years ago, but now it’s time for some attention to be paid to the playground. Already, they have had one public meeting to get input on the park, and they are working on conceptual designs now.

“We’ll apply for a grant in July to secure funding,” said Train.

Design will be done in June 2020 and construction on that is likely to be 2021.

•The City is preparing to modernize the traffic signals and intersections at Williams/Chestnut and Williams/Broadway this summer. That upgrade will include new Smart Traffic Signals that are able to read the traffic flow and adjust signal timing on the fly. One of those lights has already been installed on Broadway and Webster earlier this year. Sidewalks will also be touched up as well.

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