State Athletics Organization Honors Chelsea High Senior Yarid Deras

State Athletics Organization Honors Chelsea High Senior Yarid Deras

Cross Country standout Yarid Deras may not talk much about her achievements, but the senior Chelsea High scholar-athlete has plenty of others to tout her accomplishments.

Aside from her coaches and Athletic Director Amanda Alpert, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) has also honored her.

On Nov. 14, at the MIAA Recognition Breakfast, Deras was named the Commonwealth Athletic Conference’s Female award recipient. It’s an honor she will add to being the upper division league MVP this year in Cross Country.

“It’s very surprising to me how fast four years have gone,” she said. “I didn’t start running until my freshman year. It was the first thing I really did my freshman year. I didn’t really think I would enjoy it. I enjoyed the team and not so much the running. The summer after my freshman year, something happened and I really learned to love the sport for what it is. I will definitely continue running after high school, maybe for a club team in college.”

Deras’s coach, Don Fay, had nothing but good things to say for his senior leader and league MVP.

“I have coached Yarid for the last four years,” he said. “She is one of the most impressive young ladies I have ever met.  Extremely smart, hard-working and competitive. She never misses practice, and never complains. Yarid is a truly nice, genuine person.”

Alpert said Deras is soft-spoken and very humble, always the last person to talk about any of her achievements.

Deras said the team is small, with about eight girls, but they are very competitive. She said over the years she has learned to be a leader, but that may not always come vocally.

“I think I don’t really lead vocally,” she said. “I don’t say much, but I think I lead by example. I don’t do much with words, but I set the example for the younger runners on my team. That’s how they have come to respect me as a leader.”

Even though she was this year’s league MVP, Deras said the highlight of her Cross Country career was last year when the team won the league meet and went undefeated for the entire season. Her sophomore year, she also won the league MVP and turned in an excellent 21.04 time in the 5K.

As a senior, she still has outdoor track to look forward to, and the Chelsea girls are also very strong in that sport as well. She said she will run the one-mile and two-mile races for the team.

She is currently looking at several colleges, including Smith College and Providence College.

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Cost of Thanksgiving Meal Decreases Once Again; at an Eight-Year Low

Cost of Thanksgiving Meal Decreases Once Again; at an Eight-Year Low

The cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal has once-again decreased and is at its lowest cost since 2010, according to the 33rd annual American Farm Bureau Federation’s (AFBF) Thanksgiving dinner survey.

The AFBF reported late last week that it had found the average cost of a traditional Thanksgiving meal for 10 to be at $48.90 nationwide, which figures to be less than $5 per person. It was a 22-cent decrease from last year’s low of $49.12. This year’s new low has put the cost of the traditional meal at the lowest cost since 2010.

After adjusting for inflation, the cost of this year’s Thanksgiving dinner is $19.37, the most affordable in more than a decade.

“Since 2015, the average cost of Thanksgiving dinner has declined steadily and is now at the lowest level since 2010,” said AFBF Chief Economist Dr. John Newton.

A total of 166 volunteer shoppers checked prices at grocery stores in 37 states for this year’s survey. Farm Bureau volunteer shoppers are asked to look for the best possible prices, without taking advantage of special promotional coupons or purchase deals, such as spending $50 and receiving a free turkey. Shoppers with an eye for bargains in all areas of the country should be able to purchase individual menu items at prices comparable to the Farm Bureau survey averages.

The shopping list for Farm Bureau’s informal survey includes turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and coffee and milk, all in quantities sufficient to serve a family of 10 with plenty for leftovers.

The chief driver of the lowering costs is the most common item – the turkey. AFBF research showed that retail turkey prices are at the lowest costs since 2014, mostly because they are in abundant supply.

The average cost for a 16-pound turkey this year is $21.71, which is down 3 percent per pound from last year.

“Thanks to an ample supply, turkey remains affordable for consumers, which helps keep the overall cost of the dinner reasonably priced as well,” Newton said.

AFBF also highlighted other foods that showed large decreases as well. They included:

  • Gallon of milk, $2.92;
  • 3-pound bag of sweet potatoes, $3.39;
  • one-pound bag of green peas, $1.47;
  • one dozen rolls, $2.25.

Some items did show an increase, however, including Massachusetts’ own contribution to the Thanksgiving table – the cranberry. Other items on the increase included pumpkin pie mix and cubed bread, among other things.

Those increased prices were as follows:

  • 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries was $2.65;
  • 30-ounce can of pumpkin pie mix was $3.33;
  • 14-ounce package of cubed bread stuffing was $2.87;
  • two nine-inch pie shells came in at $2.47;
  • one-pound veggie tray was $.75.

A group of miscellaneous items including coffee and ingredients necessary to prepare the meal (butter, evaporated milk, onions, eggs, sugar and flour) was also up slightly, to $3.01.

There was no change in price for a half-pint of whipping cream at $2.08.

To provide information on the increasingly changing Thanksgiving meal, AFBF looked in at hams and other new additions. Adding a four-pound bone-in ham, five pounds of Russet potatoes, and one pound of frozen green beans added about $1 per person to the overall cost.

“Adding these foods to the classic Thanksgiving menu increased the overall cost slightly, to $61.72 or about $6 per person,” said Newton.

AFBF also surveyed the price of a traditional Thanksgiving meal available from popular food delivery services. This revealed that the convenience of food delivery does have a larger price tag.

A 16-pound turkey was nearly 50 percent more expensive at nearly $2 per pound when purchased from a food delivery service. Nearly every individual item was more expensive compared to the do-it-yourself average and the total cost of the dinner was about 60 percent higher at about $8 per person.

The AFBF Thanksgiving dinner survey was first conducted in 1986, and the menu has not changed since that time for reliable comparison year to year. While AFBF does not make any scientific claims about the data, it is an informal gauge of price trends around the nation.

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Re-Opening Beacon Street Off-Ramp to Chelsea on Monday, November 19

Re-Opening Beacon Street Off-Ramp to Chelsea on Monday, November 19

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the Beacon Street off-ramp to Chelsea will be re-opened to all vehicular traffic on Monday, November 19. As a result, the direction of traffic on Chestnut Street between 3rd and 4th Street will return to its usual one-way direction, heading south.

The ramp has been repaired and rehabilitated as part of the Tobin Bridge Repair Project. For more information and to sign up for monthly look-ahead emails, please visit the project website: www.mass.gov/tobin-bridge-repair-project.

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Election Results:Gov Charlie Baker Re-Elected Statewide, but Chelsea Goes for Gonzalez

Election Results:Gov Charlie Baker Re-Elected Statewide, but Chelsea Goes for Gonzalez

While Gov. Charlie Baker cruised to re-election statewide with 67 percent of the vote, he barely made any traction in Chelsea this time around.

Though former City Manager Jay Ash is a key member of his cabinet once again, the Republican Baker didn’t seem to get much support in Chelsea over Democratic candidate Jay Gonzalez.

In Chelsea, 3,350 people voted for Gonzalez, while 3,115 voted for Baker – a sharp contrast to the statewide results.

During his victory party at the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay, he said his administration will continue to build bi-partisan relationships to tackle the tough issues.

“The people of Massachusetts elected us four years ago to bring fiscal discipline, a reform minded approach to governing, and a commitment to bipartisanship to state government,” he said. “We have done just that. Every single day. And today, the voters have spoken. They like what we are doing and they appreciate the way we work. So here’s the good news. That collaborative, purposeful and humble approach to governing is exactly what you are going to get from us and from our team for the next four years. Non-stop. Let’s rock.”

  • While governor made the headlines, the most active voting took place on the ballot questions, particularly Question 1 that focused on mandated nurse staffing ratios. The question was defeated easily statewide, and in Chelsea it was also defeated with 67 percent of the vote.

Question 2 won with 70 percent of the vote, and Question 3 to uphold the transgender rights bill passed locally with 68 percent of the vote.

  • For District Attorney, Rachael Rollins won big citywide and in Chelsea over Mike Maloney. Rollins, who has held great popularity in Chelsea, had been a controversial candidate in submitting a “list” of crimes she would decline to prosecute during the campaign last summer. That “list” had gotten a lot of attention after the September primary victory, and she has spent most of the last month explaining the plan – which would essentially divert resources from smaller, quality-of-life crimes to investigate larger crimes like homicide, rape and aggravate assaults.

In Chelsea, Rollins got 4,812 votes to Maloney’s 1,169.

On Tuesday night, Rollins’ said her election reflects a widespread demand for change in a criminal justice system that for too long has not worked fairly for everyone. Rollins has promised to bring new solutions to the office that will break down wealth and racial disparities, keep communities safe and treat all people with dignity and respect.

“I am humbled by the trust the voters have placed in me to serve as Suffolk County’s next District Attorney,” said Rollins. “I am beyond grateful for the hard work of our volunteers and the support of our community over the last nine months since we launched this campaign. Voters sent a very clear signal today that our criminal justice system is not working for too many people and it’s time for a change. We will start by creating an office that adequately reflects the communities it serves and that is engaged with every neighborhood within the county. Then together we’ll make our criminal justice system better and work to strengthen relationships between communities and law enforcement.”

  • All three of Chelsea’s state elected officials, State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Rep. RoseLee Vincent and Sen. Sal DiDomenico were unopposed, but prevailed with a good vote Tuesday.

Ryan got 3,637 votes in his unopposed race (Chelsea only), and DiDomenico (for Chelsea only) got 5,409 votes. DiDomenico also represents parts of Cambridge, Allston and all of Everett and Chelsea. Vincent, who also represents Revere, got 1,495 votes in Chelsea.

  • As a side note, City Clerk Jeannette Cintron White said that early voting was a success in Chelsea once again. She said there were 731 early ballots cast this election cycle.

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Stand Up for Equality: Vote Yes on 3

Stand Up for Equality: Vote Yes on 3

Two years ago, Massachusetts joined 17 states and Washington, D.C., by enacting protections for transgender individuals in public accommodations that serve the general public. As I sat in the House of Representatives gallery on the day the vote was taken, I could not help to be overjoyed by the ongoing effort to make Massachusetts an inclusive and welcoming state.

On the November 6 ballot, Massachusetts’s voters make a simple decision: to uphold commonsense public accommodations protection for these individuals by voting YES or get back equal rights by voting NO.

I urge people to vote YES on question 3. Without those legal protections, transgender people would face a multitude of discriminatory challenge on a daily basis. The sky has not fallen since the 2016 vote and we are better as a society for it.

For the past two years transgender people have enjoyed the same rights and protections as everyone else in the Commonwealth, that was not the case before hand. To lose these rights now would be a terrible reversal in efforts to give all people equal protections under the law.

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Hundreds Join Roca for Its 30th Anniversary Celebration Party

An outpouring of community love, relentlessness and transformation echoed around Park Street Wednesday as the region’s leaders joined hundreds of young people, the adults that love them and community partners in celebrating Roca’s deep impact the last three decades.

Roca’s participants, staff, alumni and partners came together for a night of live music and food to celebrate Roca’s 30th anniversary. Roca leaders thanked the community, its partners and allies in making such a difference in young people’s lives.

“I am in awe of all of you and all the young people we have met, had the honor of working with the last 30 years and all of the Roca team, our partners and this community who made all this relentlessness possible,” said Roca Founder and CEO Molly Baldwin.

At the event, Roca honored its Roca30 Unsung Hero Awardees, including state Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Probation Commissioner Edward Dolan, Youth Services Commissioner Peter Forbes, Boston Police Captain Haseeb Hosein, Chelsea Police Captain David Batchelor, Hampden County First Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Fitzgerald and Kim Hanton, director of diversionary addiction services at North Suffolk Mental Health Association.

“These seven individuals work on issues and for people who are well out of the headlines and far from the limelight because it’s the right thing and because it makes a difference,” said Baldwin. “They are truly unsung heroes.”

Featured speakers at the event were Jay Ash, secretary of housing and economic development under Gov. Charlie Baker, Harry Spence, the former Receiver of Chelsea and Massachusetts Court Administration and Eric Rodriguez, a founding Roca youth member and lead pastor of The Way Church.

The most special part of the evening came when Roca also honored seven youth participants as unsung heroes as well – seven young people whose lives have been upended by Roca’s relentless outreach, its transformative programs and its many partnerships.

Those young people are:

  • Joseph Acosta
  • Caralis Rosario Hernandez
  • Dakwam Johnson
  • Ana Mejia
  • Amauris Melendez
  • Gage Morrow
  • Dennis Rodriguez

Each of the speakers paused to honor Roca and its team, in particular the driving force of the last 30 years – Molly Baldwin. Ash, the former Chelsea City Manager, presented Baldwin with a award honoring her service and summed up the accollades of many by noting her personal relentlessness as an indisputable driver of Roca’s success.

“If not for Molly Baldwin, there are so many people who wouldn’t be where they are or even alive today,” said Ash. “Molly’s life of service and her relentlessness is an inspiration to us all.”

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State Officials Seek to Reduce Stormwater Pollution

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), in partnership with the Statewide Stormwater Coalition, announced the launch of a new stormwater awareness campaign to help Massachusetts cities and towns comply with new federal stormwater management requirements. The announcement was made during an event at the Joseph H. Gibbons Elementary School in Stoughton.

“Stormwater runoff threatens the health of all water resources across Massachusetts,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. “This unique public education campaign provides important information to residents, businesses and developers about what they can do to reduce these contaminants in our environment and keep our rivers and streams safe from pollution.”

The public awareness campaign, “Think Blue Massachusetts,” is designed to generate awareness among businesses and residents of the effects of stormwater pollution on waterways and wetlands and encourage people to do their part to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff. The campaign was developed by the Statewide Stormwater Coalition with a grant from MassDEP and will help 260 communities in Massachusetts meet new federal requirements for stormwater management. The new permit, called the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, requires cities and towns to implement a host of stormwater pollution prevention efforts, including public educational activities and outreach to targeted audiences.

“The new campaign is a toolkit to help cities and towns meet the public education and outreach requirements of MS4,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The material is available online and can be easily downloaded and customized to reflect a community’s individual needs. It provides one-stop shopping for our local officials who are working hard to meet these requirements.”

Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or snow-melt travels along roadways and parking lots and picks up contaminants on its way to local rivers, streams and groundwater sources. Contaminants – such as fertilizer, trash, oils, gasoline, solvents, pollen and pet waste – is washed into catch basins and into our stormwater systems and eventually discharged into the environment. The new requirements in the MS4 permits will reduce the overall amount of stormwater runoff entering our waterbodies.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

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Massachusetts Must Move Forward on Our Own

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, coming on the heels of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, it is clear that the America as we have known it for the past 70 years, a time in which the United States attained and maintained its supremacy in the world and achieved unprecedented prosperity for its people, could be coming to an end. That may sound dramatic, but we don’t think it is overstating the case.

In our view, the principal reason why America has prospered since the end of WWII, despite our many missteps (Vietnam, Watergate, and Iraq being the top three) is because we have expanded the rights of all of our citizens and we have welcomed people from all over the world to partake of, and contribute to, our wealth and our democratic ideals.

As regards the latter point, we would note that the majority of the Nobel prizes awarded to Americans in recent years have been won by persons who were immigrants. And let’s not forget that Steve Jobs’s father came from Syria and the parents of one of the founders of Google emigrated from Russia. They came to this country, as immigrants always have and still do, to create a better life for themselves and their families and to contribute to their new country.

However, there should be no doubt that the newly-constituted Supreme Court not merely will take us back to the pre-1930s, but rather will be in the vanguard of a new movement.

The court in recent years already has eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and (via the Citizens United case) has entrenched the ability of the ultra-rich to throw unlimited amounts of cash into our electoral system.

Now, with the ascension of two more conservatives, the Supreme Court may turn back the clock on much of what most Americans have taken for granted for the past three generations in the realms of the rights of women, persons of color, and persons of different sexual orientations.

Hopefully, the Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives in the fall — and we say that not so much because we love Democrats, but because we need at least one house of Congress to act as a check on the White House — but that will not change the direction of the Supreme Court.

So what does that mean for us in Massachusetts and the other states on the coasts (with a few pockets in between)?

In concrete terms, let us be welcoming to all people; let us be the safe harbors for a woman’s right to choose (when the Supreme Court eviscerates Roe v. Wade, as it surely will); let us increase the minimum wage and be supportive of unions; let us prepare for the effects of climate change; let us enforce strict gun laws (to keep crime and mass shootings down); and let us make our states’ educational systems world-class.

We need to be everything they are not

Think of it this way: Let’s build our state’s economy to take advantage of what they are giving up.

This will require two things: Out-of-the-box thinking by our elected leaders and an unprecedented partnership between the state and the business community, which must be convinced to partake of a partnership with the state in order to pursue our common goals.

In short, we must take our future into our own hands as we never before have imagined.

It will require  lot of hard work and sacrifice — but given what is happening at the national level, we have no choice.

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DiDomenico Secures $50,000 for CONNECT in Chelsea

DiDomenico Secures $50,000 for CONNECT in Chelsea

Sen. Sal DiDomenico recently announced that his amendment providing $50,000 for CONNECT in the city of Chelsea was included in the final Fiscal Year 2019 budget. As Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate, DiDomenico was able to secure a number of amendments for his district in the Senate version of the budget, including this $50,000 for CONNECT. After filing this amendment in the Senate budget, he worked to advocate for it’s inclusion in the final version of the budget.

CONNECT helps people achieve sustainable living wage jobs and financial health and well-being by partnering with local agencies to provide essential skills, knowledge and social capital in one central and supportive location.

“CONNECT does great work for our community, and I am very proud to support them through the work that I do in the Senate,” said Sen. Sal DiDomenico. “I know that this additional funding will go a long way towards aiding their ability to empower individuals and help our residents achieve economic stability and financial well-being.”

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Chelsea Fire Helped Respond to Greater Lawrence Gas Explosions

Chelsea Fire Helped Respond to Greater Lawrence Gas Explosions

In the wake of massive gas line explosions in the Greater Lawrence area last Thursday, Sept. 13, the Chelsea Fire Department jumped into action and responded to Andover High School to support first response efforts.

Chief Len Albanese said that the Tower 1 apparatus responded to an Andover Staging Area at Andover High School as part of Metro Structural task Force 13.

Greater Lawrence’s normal mutual aid capabilities were taxed to the breaking point, and so the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) began to request structural task forces from other regions, including Chelsea.

“Our Tower Ladder responded to multiple calls for odors of gas and the like in the structures,” said the Chief. “They did not respond to any structure fires. They were back here in the city by 9 p.m.”

The Chief said it was an incredible job by the state and local operations to coordinate so many responding helpers.

“This was an enormous mobilization of resources,” he said. “Lawrence, Andover, North Andover and MEMA with the help of all of the other agencies involved, including multiple law enforcement agencies did an exceptional job of meeting this most unique major fire/ emergency operation.”

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