Healthy Chelsea, Residents Looking to Start Bicycle Safety Committee

Healthy Chelsea, Residents Looking to Start Bicycle Safety Committee

To promote safety and bike laws in urban areas, as well as introduce an emerging biking and pedestrian committee, the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition led an Urban Biking Workshop at the Chelsea Public Library on July 31.

Vivian Ortiz, a League of American Bicyclists, certified instructor, focused on the importance of safety in areas that don’t necessarily offer bike-protected paths, such as Chelsea.

Jennifer Kelly, director of the Healthy Chelsea Coalition, is seeking members to form a biking and pedestrian committee to address the issues and concerns in the community. The committee, funded by the statewide movement to work toward healthy and active lifestyles – dubbed Mass in Motion – will work toward funding programs.

One such program is an outreach effort to give free helmets to bicyclists to increase safety.

“I work as a teacher in Chelsea, and have taken a bike to school. In the mornings when I thought I would feel safe because there wasn’t a lot of traffic, I actually had a couple of problems because I think people at that hour weren’t expecting to see someone on a bike,” Lisa Santagate said. “It was actually scarier than I thought it would be, so I don’t do it all that much, but I really want to.”

Ortiz addressed the importance of understanding that, according to state law, bicycles are considered vehicles, and should be treated as such with traffic laws, traffic flow and signaling. Although Chelsea doesn’t have much in terms of bicycle infrastructure, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) implemented a bike-sharing system to promote bicycle use and offer cheaper travel alternatives.

Residents do have the opportunity to ride on the new shared-use path along the Silver Line, and plans are in the works to include protected bike lanes on the reconstruction of Beacham Street – the only access point into Boston by bike.

LimeBike and Spin’s dockless bike program, introduced in May, opened the dialogue for bike safety in Chelsea, and created an app-based bike rental system that charges riders $1 per hour. Since there are no additions to the city for docking, the city was able to implement the program at no extra cost.

Although there is no added cost, the main concerns brought up by citizens are the bright green bikes being left in places that create a less aesthetically pleasing environment, or in places that can be dangerous, such as pedestrian walkways.

“Riding in an urban area that doesn’t have any bike infrastructure is really, really scary,” Ortiz said. “A lot of my fear in the beginning was folks were just not used to seeing people on bikes in my neighborhood. So that’s one tip that I would give folks, if you’re not comfortable riding by yourself, find a group of people. It’s much easier riding with a group to be on the street because there’s more power in numbers.”

The workshop introduced a variety of group rides that take place throughout the greater Boston area, including Hub on Wheels Sept. 16, as well as general safety tips for riders.

Ortiz’s final tips for riders: ride with traffic, not against it; choose your line and maintain it without swerving or lane splitting; avoid the “right hook” and check to make sure a car isn’t going to turn right in front of you; and always signal turns using the arm signals.

Anyone looking to become more involved in the biking and pedestrian committee can reach out directly to Kelly at

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City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

City Councilor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda Announces Re-Election Bid

Current Chelsea City Councilor at Large Roy Avellaneda has announced he will seek re-election to the City Council in the November 7th election.

Said Avellaneda, “It would be my privilege to continue to represent the people of Chelsea as Councilor at Large. I’ve never stopped fighting for Chelsea residents and stakeholders. But after a brief hiatus, two years ago, I decided to run again, and you gave me the honor of putting me back on the City Council.”

Roy is a lifelong Chelsea resident. His family moved here from Argentina in the 1970s and opened Tito’s Bakery on Broadway. He attended St Rose, Dom Savio High School, and Babson College.

“I was brought up in Chelsea, and I’ve lived here all of my life.  So I not only understand its history, but also keenly aware of its challenges, and most pressing needs,” he said.

He has served Chelsea as a member of the Planning Board, and on the City Council for a total of 12 years, the first time beginning in 1998.  He returned to the Council 2 years ago, and served on the Licensing Board in between.

Along the way, Roy has also worked as Legislative Assistant to State Senator Jarrett Barrios, and worked in the MA Department of Transportation during the administration of former Governor Deval Patrick.

“Twenty years in both local and state government, have given me a unique, and valuable experience. I know how the wheels of government turn, often slowly and painfully. So you have to get in there, roll up your sleeves, and keep pushing it along. You have to have patience, but always maintain a sense of urgency.”

Roy is also a successful real estate broker, and the top producing agent with Weichert, Realtors-Metropolitan Boston Real Estate.  Roy also currently also owns and operates his own cafe, Pan y Cafe in Cary Square, which he opened about a year ago.

“From a very early age,” he said, “my parents taught me the importance of public service — of being involved in one’s community.  But their story and their example also includes the business they founded.  I’ve always been involved in this community, but at the same time, whether it’s the bakery, a cafe, being a real estate broker, I’ve also been in my own business here in different ways for a long time now.  So I have the perspective, not only of someone who has worked in government, but also of a small business person. And in that sense, I’m doubling down on Chelsea because I believe in our bright future, and I always have. I’m doing everything I can to help bring it about and to make the lives of everyone in this community better. But I’ve also made my life here, and I think it’s important to be personally invested in your community, and have a stake in that future.”

Since re-joining the City Council in 2016, Roy has focused on a number issues confronting Chelsea residents and business owners, including tax relief, jobs and economic development, affordable housing, and environmental protection.

“Two years ago,” he said, “I made a commitment to do everything I could to make sure our homeowners and local businesses were not overburdened, to address the affordable housing crisis, to lobby for smart development that reduced negative impacts while increasing green space and support our youth. Today, I can point to achievements that improved those issues facing Chelsea.”

Specifically Roy sponsored, and along with with City Manager Tom Ambrosino, successfully lobbied for state legislative passage of the Home Rule Petition to Increase the Homeowner Residential Exemption from 20% to 35%, saving homeowners hundreds of dollars per year.

He also worked hard to get legislation passed to help small businesses with equipment or inventory of less than $10,000 in value pay less in taxes, resulting in an increase in investment and jobs by local Chelsea merchants.

Roy co-sponsored the Community Preservation Act ballot initiative and campaigned for its approval by voters. Chelsea approved it overwhelmingly (70%) creating a funding mechanism for affordable housing, green space and historic preservation.

Roy also supported and lobbied for the adoption of two key affordable housing measures.  The first, The Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, now requires 15% of housing built by developers to be affordable.  The second, The Condo Conversion Ordinance, limits multi-family owners from evicting tenants without just cause pursuant to condominium conversion.

Roy introduced and successfully lobbied for the passage Anti-Wage Theft Ordinance which now protects workers in Chelsea from unscrupulous employers who attempt to withhold rightfully earned wages and overtime.

Roy’s advocacy was also instrumental in obtaining more funding for Chelsea’s Summer Jobs Employment program, which provides summer jobs and the opportunity for for Chelsea teens to gain work experience and life skills.

“I am particularly proud to have the endorsements of the Greater Boston Labor Council, SEIU 888, SEIU 32BJ, Ironworkers Local 7 and New England Region of Carpenters,” he said, “because I have worked and fought hard for working people of all ages in Chelsea.”

“Two years ago, he said, “I asked Chelsea voters then to give me the opportunity to be their voice and to work for them.  They did, and for that, I’m very grateful. We’ve accomplished a lot since.  But, we have so much more work to do in Chelsea. We need improved access to affordable transportation.  We need a permanent bike sharing program. We need to keep pressure on MassPort to mitigate Logan Airport’s impact on our community. We need more balanced and smart new development that doesn’t negatively impact our quality of life. We need to focus on and properly mitigate the impact of the Wynn Casino. We have to increase economic opportunities for working families so they can afford to take care of themselves and their children and not be priced out of Chelsea.  There’s so much to do. So I am once again asking for your vote on Nov 7th to continue to be your Councilor At Large. Please support me on Tuesday, November 7th. Thank you and God bless.”

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The Boston Harbor Clean-Up:An Environmental — and Economic — Success Story

The Boston Harbor Clean-Up:An Environmental — and Economic — Success Story

A recent report issued by the public interest group Save the Harbor/Save the Bay informs us that the beaches surrounding the Metropolitan Boston area were open for bathing 96 percent of the time during the summer of 2016 and that, barring unforeseen circumstances, the outlook should be the same for 2017.

This is quite an accomplishment, given that a generation ago, beaches in the Boston area were closed more often than not — and even when open, our beaches were not exactly inviting to swimmers and other recreational users.

We ourselves recall sailing in Boston Harbor in the 1980s and being unable to find a clean place to take a dip off our boat — and that included the outer harbor waters around the Brewster islands. There was no escape from the sliminess (for want of a better word) that essentially made the waters of Boston Harbor nothing more than a giant cesspool.

It certainly is true that the clean-up of Boston Harbor came at great expense to the ratepayers of the MWRA and surrounding sewer districts. Water and sewer rates skyrocketed on an annual basis for the 15 years of the construction phase and immediate aftermath of the construction of the MWRA’s treatment plant on Deer Island.

However, as with everything else in life, you get what you pay — there is no such thing as a free lunch, as the saying goes — so while the sudden shock of rising water & sewer rates caused some degree of hardship for some ratepayers, the bottom line is that all of us in this area had taken for granted the cheap water & sewer rates we had known for our entire lives — as well as where our water came from and where it drained out to — with no concern about the consequences of what we were doing to Boston Harbor, the greatest natural resource in our area, every time we flushed our toilets.

Moreover, as with many things when it comes to government fees and taxes, most ratepayers only looked at one side of the cost equation.  We did not recognize that not only were there economic drawbacks associated with creating a polluted harbor, but that there were huge economic gains to be derived from making an investment in cleaning it up.

The magnificent and clean harbor that we have now, which admittedly was achieved at great expense, has been an economic engine for the entire area, creating jobs and adding immensely to property values not only along the immediate coast, but throughout Greater Boston, that have benefited every ratepayer.

So as we look forward to the coming summer of 2017, we can be grateful that we have a clean Boston Harbor to enjoy with our friends and families. In the 30-plus years since the MWRA has come into existence, the advantages, economic and otherwise, of achieving a sparkling Boston Harbor have extended far beyond merely being able to enjoy a swim on a hot summer’s day (which, in our view, is priceless)

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MassDot Moves Forward On All Electronic Tolling for Tobin, Tunnels, Turnpike

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board acted Monday to move ahead with plans to completely demolish Interstate 90 toll plazas by the end of 2017 as a milestone in the state’s progress toward All Electronic Tolling (AET) along Interstate 90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike), the Tobin Bridge, and Boston tunnels.

For Chelsea purposes, State Rep. Dan Ryan said there would be no alteration or changes to the Bridge Discount Program offered to Chelsea residents, whereby they pay $.30 instead of $3 for being a host community.

At Monday’s Board meeting, MassDOT announced that AET will “go live” on October 28.

A series of seven public hearings has been scheduled for public input, with the only meetings in the Boston area being at North Shore Community College in Lynn on Sept. 7 at 6:30 p.m., and another at the Jackson Mann School in Allston on Sept. 14 at 6:30 p.m.

The Board approved toll demolition contracts, reviewed data security and retention proposals and instructed MassDOT to proceed with public hearings on proposed toll rates designed to be revenue neutral and minimize changes in toll charges for current commuters.

“The AET system will improve driver convenience and safety and reduce greenhouse gas-causing vehicle emissions,” said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas J. Tinlin. “When toll booths have been removed, AET will allow drivers to maintain regular highway speed as they pass under AET gantries, eliminating the need for drivers to sharply reduce speed and idle in toll booth lines.”

The Board-approved contracts provide that tolls booths will begin to be demolished as soon as AET goes live and all work to remove toll plazas and reconstruct roadways is to be completed by the end of 2017.

While the decision on gantry locations was based on a 2012 study and the decision to implement AET was made in 2014, MassDOT officials have been working with the predetermined gantry locations to make sure rates at the new gantries remain “revenue neutral,” meaning that total revenue generated both on the Western Turnpike (I-90 from the New York border to Weston) and the Metropolitan Highway System will be approximately the same as with current tolls.

Proposed rates will extend discounts for users of Commonwealth of Massachusetts-issued E-ZPass transponders, currently available only at the Weston and Allston/Brighton tolls, to every gantry location including the Tobin Bridge and airport tunnels. The rates being proposed for public review provide that the cost of driving from one end of I-90 to the other for E-ZPassMA users will drop from the current rate of $6.60 to $6.15.

“In developing proposed AET rates and policies, we worked with the gantries’ predetermined locations and considered a series of plans and models to develop a revenue neutral toll strategy in an effort to keep changes in the cost of specific commuting trips modest, within five or ten cents of current rates,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We look forward to the public’s input on toll charges before the Board votes to finalize rates on October 6.”

Point-to-point tolls may change because of the location of gantries selected by the previous Administration and because there will be 16 gantries with the AET system compared with 26 toll plaza locations now. Under the proposed gantry toll rates presented today, just over half of all drivers would see their tolls either decrease or remain the same and another 20 percent of drivers would see an increase of five or ten cents per trip. Under proposed rates, higher increases would occur on trips that are currently un-tolled, for example, for travel in tunnels headed to the airport or for those drivers in the Newton area where a toll had been removed. The proposed gantry rates will be the subject of seven public hearings and a public comment period beginning after Labor Day.

The Board was also briefed about existing and proposed policies to restrict the usage and retention of data collected by gantries. Current law requires subpoenas for authorities to access driver data, mirroring the existing policies for the Massachusetts E-ZPass system. MassDOT is working with the Executive Office of Public Safety to establish clear policies for the use and retention of AET data. MassDOT is in discussions with public safety officials about the very limited circumstances in which AET-generated “Hot List” or other information could be used in the case of public safety emergencies.

MassDOT officials estimate that the agency will save about $5 million in annual operating costs with AET. The cost of designing and building the physical AET system is about $130 million and toll plaza removal and reconstruction, excluding the Sumner Tunnel, will cost about $133 million.

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Sports 11-26-2015

CHS Roundup

CHS football team

to meet Matignon

on Thanksgiving Day

The Chelsea High football team will meet Matignon High Thanksgiving Day at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville at 10:00 a.m. Although both teams have experienced a certain degree of frustration thus far this year — Chelsea comes into the contest with a 2-7 mark and Matignon (which has merged its football program with St. Joseph’s Prep) stands at 1-8 — their battle on Thanksgiving Day brings the promise of a second season for both teams.

“Thanksgiving Day football is a Massachusetts tradition and we’re very happy to be able to play Matignon on Thanksgiving,” said CHS head coach Jack Halas.

The Red Devils have been a banged-up bunch in recent weeks. In Chelsea’s last encounter with Latin Academy, there were only 17 healthy Red Devils ready to play.

“The injury bug hit us pretty hard,” said Halas. “We are lucky to have had 12 days in between games to allow us to get some guys healthy again. We scaled it back a lot in practice and spent more time in the classroom watching film and on the whiteboard. I expect us to be back to full strength by Thursday for Thanksgiving.”

For a quintet of seniors, the Turkey Day tilt will be their last in a CHS uniform: Captain Dennys Hernandez, Christian Caceres, Mike Rowan, Petherson Braga, and Henry Lemus.

“Most of these guys I’ve coached for four years and they are all great kids,” said Halas. “Hopefully, we can have a good last week of practice and send them off on a winning note on Thanksgiving.

“We have always told our kids that football is a special game and not like other sports,” added the coach. ”You cannot go out and play pick-up football. It’s not basketball. Football comes to an end, so you should cherish it while it’s around and go out and make a memory for yourself.”

Bruins Beat

by Bob Morello

Bruins thankful for turnaround

With the Thanksgiving holiday on the horizon, the Bruins can take a moment to reflect on their recent successes. With not very many highlights in the first 20 games of their 2015-16 NHL season, the recent play by the current Boston lineup has offered their loyal fans a glimmer of hope. With a renewed effort lately, the Bruins have put together a stretch of four wins in their last five contests, their last two coming against Atlantic Division rival Toronto Maple Leafs in two hotly contested games.

Their 4-3 shootout win Tuesday night saw Boston squandering a couple of leads to allow the Leafs to get back into the game, but ultimately took it to a shootout, with the game winner scored by Bruins leading scorer David Krejci. Tuukka Rask had a busy night in net making several outstanding acrobatic saves while facing 42 shots – the most he has faced in a while. Nonetheless, he survived a puck off the side of the helmet that shook him up, but stood his ground and stayed solid in net.

Brad Marchand scored two Boston goals, one shorthanded, to run his team-leading total to ten. Zac Rinaldo notched his first goal as a Bruin, scoring in the second period, with assists going to Dennis Seidenberg and Rask, to give Boston a 2-0 margin. The victory moved the Bruins up to just 2 points shy of the second place Ottawa Senators in the Atlantic Division. In the Eastern Conference, Boston is presently tied for 7th place in the standings.

Tonight (Wednesday), the Bruins will be hosted by the Detroit Red Wings (7:30pm), in a division game that could greatly improve their current standing. Boston will return to Garden ice for a Friday matchup with the extremely hot New York Rangers who currently lead the Metropolitan Division with a 16-3-2 record. December has the Bs back on the road for a three-game trip facing the Edmonton Oilers (Wednesday, 12/2 at 9:30pm), continuing in Canada with a Friday night game with the Calgary Flames (12/4 at 9:00pm), and finishing up with the Vancouver Canucks in a Saturday night special (12/5 at 10:00pm).

With the team playing better, a solid power-play unit, and effective penalty killing, this could be a Thanksgiving that Boston fans can be very thankful for.

The Sports Museum’s 14th Annual Tradition – Wednesday, December 2nd

The Sports Museum has put the finishing touches on their 2015 lineup, announcing the presenters to the outstanding honoree class. Among the honorees is popular Bruins goaltender, Gerry Cheevers, who will receive his award from former, longtime Bruins President, Harry Sinden. Cheevers is a two-time Stanley Cup winner as a member of the 1970 and 1972 Stanley Cup winning teams. Known as a “money player,” he had the ability to come up big in important games.

His career with the B’s included two five season stretches from 1967-1972, and a second stint 1975-1980, wrapped around his departure in 1972, to join the upstart World Hockey Association for 191 games. His impressive NHL stats include 418 games played, with 230 wins, 102 losses, and 74 ties. He earned 26 shutouts while posting a 2.89 goals-against-average, and a .901 save percentage.

The Boston Celtics’ current General Manager Danny Ainge will get his award from former Red Sox pitcher Bruce Hurst. Additional honorees will have Joan Benoit Samuelson, winner of a Gold medal at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. Bill Rodgers, winner of four Boston Marathons, will present Samuelson her award. Former Red Sox pitcher, Roger “The Rocket” Clemens,’ a seven-time Cy Young winner, will get his award presented by long time Red Sox broadcaster, Joe Castiglione.

Popular New England Patriots tackle Richard Seymour will have the honor presented to him by another former Patriot, Ty Law. Don Rodman, the sponsor of ‘Rodman Ride for Kids,’ since 1991, is an accomplished Boston sportsman who has raised more than $100 million for the organization, and his presenter will be current New England Patriot Rob Gronkowski.

The Tradition will take place in the TD Garden on Wednesday, December 2nd at 6:00pm, hosted by Tom Caron and Michael Holley. Reserved seat tickets: $300, General Admission: $200 – all tickets include food and beverage. To purchase tickets or sponsorship packages, contact Renee Quinn at, or call (617) 624-1231.

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Wynn Clears Towering Hurdle with Permit in Environmental Process

After nearly two years of reviews and 10,000-plus pages of analysis, Wynn Everett received the go-ahead from state environmental regulators late Friday evening – gaining a critical approval that had stood in the way of construction on the casino since February.

After having sent Wynn back to the drawing board regarding traffic plans last fall, state environmental reviewers (known as MEPA) once again sent Wynn back to the drawing board last spring to work out five more outstanding items. In mid-July, Wynn submitted its Second Supplemental Final Environmental Impact Report (SSFEIR) and, on Aug. 28, was deemed to be in “adequate and proper compliance.”

“I hereby determine that the SSFEIR submitted on this project adequately and properly complies with MEPA and with its implementing regulations,” wrote state Environmental Secretary Matthew Beaton. “The proponent adequately addressed these (five) issues. Outstanding aspects of the project that require additional analysis can be addressed during local, state and federal permitting, review and approval processes.”

A notable amount of space in Beaton’s letter was devoted to traffic mitigation, and he indicated that Wynn had complied with its plans.

“The proponent has made significant commitments to minimize and mitigate traffic impacts,” he wrote. “The proponent has also agreed to provide an annual operating subsidy to the MBTA to mitigate impacts on the Orange Line…This is an unprecedented commitment that acknowledges and addresses the project’s impact on transit operations…The MassDOT has reviewed the proponent’s traffic analysis and mitigation plans and determined, consistent with long established review protocols, that it will be effective to mitigate the project’s impacts on existing transportation infrastructure. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) reached the same conclusion after its review.”

The approval sent many cheers from the Wynn company and from folks in Everett.

“The process has been meticulous and hard fought and undoubtedly will continue to be so,” said Steve Wynn in a statement. “However, with the support of the Governor and his administration, the process was open and fair. At moments like this, there is certainly a feeling of gratification and forward movement. It lifts our spirits and energizes us to get on with the business of constructing our building and recruiting a remarkable staff. These challenges are familiar to us and in the execution of them, we experience great joy and satisfaction.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said Chelsea has always operated under the assumption that the casino was going forward. He said the bigger matter will be getting funding to mitigate the problems.

“Chelsea is operating under the assumption that the project will proceed,” he said. “We will continue to work to ensure for Chelsea adequate compensation to address the various impacts of that casino project.”

Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria said he looks forward to shovels going in the ground, saying the MEPA certificate was beyond a major milestone.

“Secretary Beaton’s announcement today means more than just a significant milestone for this project,” he said. “It is the validation of the planning, hard work and perseverance of everyone involved in making Wynn Everett a reality. The Wynn team has put forth an ambitious development that fully mitigates the impacts of their project. Their attention to detail and careful planning are the reasons I chose to work with them in the first place – and the reasons the MEPA Certificate was issued by Secretary Beaton today. I look forward to the hard work ahead, to seeing shovels in the ground, and to the continuing discussions about the future of our region.”

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, who has been against the Wynn casino for some time, was more reserved on receiving the news, but indicated that Boston might begin participating in state-run regional traffic planning for the greater Sullivan Square area. In two previous meetings run by state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, Boston refused to attend.

“We will continue to fight for the best interests and public safety of the people of Charlestown – where the effects of the proposed casino would be enormous,” he said Friday night in a statement. “Secretary Beaton’s decision could make it necessary to invest well over $175 million in Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. I will work with the Baker Administration and my colleagues in federal and state government to ensure that adequate funding mechanisms are in place for a regional project of this magnitude. We will also coordinate with these partners to push for an accurate and expert-based transportation plan in order to fully understand and then mitigate this development’s impacts on Boston’s streets.”

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) also made itself heard, noting that thousands of people would benefit from the potential economic opportunities.

“The Commission will continue to take every opportunity to encourage Wynn to work cooperatively with the neighboring communities, and will use its authority to ensure that Wynn continues to work with other state and local agencies and permitting authorities to develop solutions to outstanding issues,” read the statement. “We are particularly mindful of the critical nature of the long-term solution to Sullivan Square, as envisioned in our original conditional license award and the $25 million commitment to that project that we required of Wynn. Wynn will be obligated to report on such outreach to the Commission as part of its mandatory reporting to the Commission.”

And such long-term planning was also a priority for Beaton, who codified the regional stakeholder traffic planning meetings led by Pollack.

Beaton said he had considered calls for further traffic review via the MEPA process, especially on Sullivan Square, but believed that it was outside the process. Instead, he believed that Pollack’s meetings were the proper venue for long-term planning.

“I have concluded that the practical, rational and effective approach to addressing broader regional transportation impacts for this project is through enhanced transportation planning processes, not through the prism of this single project,” he wrote. “In completing the MEPA review, I am requiring enhanced public participation during permitting and development of Section 61 findings by MassDOT and the establishment of a Regional Working Group.”

He defined the Regional Working Group as a MassDOT-led conglomeration of stakeholders in the region that will “assess and develop long-term transportation improvements that can support sustainable redevelopment and economic growth in and around Sullivan Square.”

He said that Wynn has agreed to participate and would provide a proportionate share of funding to support the effort. He said those involved should include the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, MAPC, Department of Conservation and Recreation, the City of Boston, the City of Everett and the City of Somerville. He also indicated that large employers and developers should play a role in the planning also, perhaps a nod to the new Partners Healthcare building under construction and the Assembly Row shopping area under construction.

As related to traffic, Beaton also indicated that a larger traffic model need not be used to evaluate the project, a model known as the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) regional travel demand model. Such a suggestion was called for by Attorney General Maura Healey.

“MassDOT’s comments indicate that the regional travel demand model is employed to evaluate MassDOT projects that are of sufficient size and scope to alter the regional travel network,” he wrote. “I note that MAPC has not called for this analysis and also indicate that the traffic analysis demonstrates that project impacts can be mitigated.”

In conclusion, Beaton elaborated extensively on the constraints of the MEPA process, explaining that he viewed it more as a review than a decision.

“MEPA does not approve or deny a project,” he wrote. “It is an administrative process that is subject to public review and comment. The MEPA process itself does not result in any formal adjudicative decision approving or disapproving a project. The determination that a review document is adequate means that the proponent has adequately described and analyzed the project and its alternatives, and assessed its potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures.”

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Ash given MANN Award

Ash given MANN Award

Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash recently received the Theodore Mann Regional Leadership Award from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) at the planning agency’s Fall Meeting in Boston.

MAPC is the regional planning agency serving 101 cities and towns in Greater Boston. The award is given annually in memory of Newton’s longest-serving mayor, Theodore “Teddy” Mann, and recognizes a municipal leader from Greater Boston whose commitment to regional collaboration best exemplifies Mann’s legacy.

“Jay’s accomplishments in the city of Chelsea are the stuff of legend, reaching well beyond the city’s boundaries. He is ahead of the curve, a visionary, a practitioner who gets things done,” said Richard Mann, Theodore’s son, who presented the award on Wednesday, October 29. He praised Ash’s achievements in revitalizing the once-struggling city, from securing credit rating increases to improving the schools and public safety to attracting new business and luxury housing, increasing livability for residents in the process. “Like Teddy Mann, he has gladly and willingly shared the secrets of his success with others,” Mann said.

Ash was born and raised in Chelsea and is a past president of MAPC. Appointed City Manager in 2001, he is Chelsea’s longest-serving CEO, and served the city as Planning Director and as Chief of Staff to House Majority Leader Richard Voke of Chelsea. He is Co-Founder and current Vice-Chairman of the Metro Mayors Coalition, he sits on the board of the public policy think tank MassINC, and is an elected trustee of his alma mater, Clark University.

“I take this award back to Chelsea, because it has always been about teamwork for us at City Hall. We can do so much more together than we can apart,” said Ash in accepting the honor Wednesday. “The things we are doing here in this region were unthinkable 30 years ago, and I know that Theodore Mann would be proud of all we’ve achieved. I look forward to all the achievements the future is going to bring.”


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Chamber of Commerce Installation Is March 27:Dennis Cataldo Set to Take Reins as New President

Chamber of Commerce Installation Is March 27:Dennis Cataldo Set to Take Reins as New President

Dennis Cataldo

Dennis Cataldo

The Chelsea Chamber of Commerce will hold its Installation of Officers Dinner Reception on Thursday, March 27 at Anthony’s in Malden.

Dennis Cataldo, vice president of Cataldo Ambulance Services, will take the oath as the new president of the local business organization. He succeeds Arthur Arsenault as president.

“On behalf of the Chamber, I want to congratulate Dennis on his elevation to president of our organization,” said Saritin Rizzuto, co-chair of the event with Renee Caso. “We also want to thank Arthur for his outstanding service to the Chamber during his term as president.”

Cataldo is a graduate of Malden Catholic High School and holds a degree in Management from Suffolk University. During his career as a leader of the highly respected Cataldo Ambulance Service, Inc., Cataldo spearheaded the acquisition of Atlantic Ambulance Service in 2003 and has overseen the subsequent strategies to grow that brand.

Today, the resources of Cataldo Ambulance and Atlantic Ambulance Service provide more than 140,000 medical transports per year. The company employs more than 700 qualified staff and operates a fleet of mor than 150 vehicles.

Cataldo is active in many organizations and holds the rare distinction of being president of two Chambers of Commerce, having previously served as president of the Malden Chamber of Commerce. Often recognized for excellence in his profession, Cataldo was awarded the EMS Leader Award by the Metropolitan Boston Emergency Medical Services Council.

The keynote speaker will be Dr. Anne Thorndike, who will talk about her research focusing on health, wellness, and access to healthy foods in underserved populations.

The installation will begin at 6 p.m. with a social hour. At 7 p.m., guests will enjoy dinner. There will be musical entertainment, door prizes, a silent auction, and lots more.

The Chamber of Commerce would like to thank its sponsors: Metro Credit Union, Cataldo Ambulance Service, Eastern Salt, Chelsea Bank, Mass General Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, Stop and Compare Supermarkets, Arsenault and Cline CPAs, East Boston Savings Bank, and KYOCERA New England.

Tickets are $60 per person and are available by contacting Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rich Cuthie at 617-884-4877.


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Chelsea Names Mentioned in Upcoming Race for Reinstein’s Former Seat

Chelsea Names Mentioned in Upcoming Race for Reinstein’s Former Seat

The news late last week of an open state representative seat once occupied by Kathi-Anne Reinstein quickly turned into a who’s in and who’s out discussion – as many local pols in Revere and Chelsea continue to weigh their options in regards to making a Beacon Hill run.

The news of Reinstein’s departure didn’t completely shock anyone, but the timing of the matter definitely turned the Revere and Chelsea political landscapes on their ears. Most were “blindsided” by the news, but several said they were interested in the seat and were going to take a serious look at running.

First and foremost was Reinstein’s Chief of Staff, Roselee Vincent, who said on Monday she is “seriously, seriously considering a run for the seat.”

Vincent is a life-long resident of Revere who lives in Ward 6. For the last 25 years, she has worked at the State House for either Reinstein or her late father, Bill.

“I’m still thinking seriously and meeting with a few more key people and should know what I plan to do by the end of the week,” she said on Monday. “The response I’ve gotten has been overwhelming, but I still need to talk to a few key people.”

Meanwhile, another woman in the race isn’t having any hesitation with her decision. Former city councillor and State House staff veteran Linda Rosa of Revere’s Point of Pines said she’s in it to win it.

“I’m in,” she said on Monday. “I considered it and I’m going to run. If some people are with me, they’re with me; if they’re not, they’re not. A lot of potential candidates are saying ‘maybe’ or that they’re ‘considering it.’ Let’s leave the games for the casino, and let’s go.”

While the bulk of the voters for the seat lie in Revere, Chelsea still has interested candidates – with two potential candidates already making their interest known.

Former Chelsea City Council President Paul Nowicki is leaning towards a run for the seat – saying he has talked with consultants and believes it is politically and financially possible. Nowicki, who works for the Chelsea Housing Authority, said he believes he has an edge due to his Chelsea roots and his extensive involvement in Revere youth sports for the past eight years.

“I am strongly considering it,” he said on Monday. “For me, from the perspective of time, I’m looking at my family. My wife and I have three very active children. I have to see how running will affect my family. I’ve already put together a foundation and a structure and I feel strongly on the political side with the finance committee and consultants I’ve put together. It’s the family side of things I’m still thinking about.”

Another Chelsea name emerging is attorney Josh Monahan – who worked for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and the City of Chelsea. The Harvard University graduate and Chelsea High School product said he is seriously thinking about putting his name on the ballot.

“I am strongly considering a run and will be paying close attention to any special election details,” he said on Monday night. “Regardless of throwing my hat in, I hope a special election is planned soon because the district deserves an advocate at the State House, especially during budget season. Rep. Reinstein is leaving big shoes to fill at this time of year, as she definitely pulled for the folks of Chelsea, Revere, and Saugus during her tenure.”

However, former Chelsea City Councillor and environmental activist Roseann Bongiovanni said that while she did consider a run, she is not going to do it. She said she enjoys her work at the Chelsea Collaborative and the flexible schedule it allows her to spend time with her young children.

“I did contemplate a run for her open seat,” she said. “However, after much thought and discussion with my family, I ultimately decided that I will not run for the position. Though I would be honored to represent Chelsea, Revere and Saugus constituents, I simply do not want to sacrifice precious time with my two children who are so young.”

Back in Revere, Ward 4 Revere City Councillor Stephen Reardon said he had an interest in the seat – and conveyed that interest with probably the best quote of the year.

“I’ll certainly be considering it and I’ll be talking with supporters and family about it,” he said last Friday, confirming his continued interest on Monday night. “We’ll take a shot and see if the ball lands on the green. If it’s close to the cup, then I just might take out my putter and give it a shot.”

Ward 5 Revere Councillor John Powers said he has interest as well, citing 14 years of local legislative experience and a thorough resume of work at the State House some years ago.

“I never close a door on an opportunity until I’m in the room,” he said.

Revere Councillor-at-large Brian Arrigo, who just recently moved into the district, said it’s an opportunity he has to consider, being that open seats like that don’t come up often.

“I’m taking a pretty good look at it,” he said. “I’m definitely interested and realize it’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around often. It’s something I at least have to take a look at and see if the timing is right.”

Other sources, however, indicated that he was leaning towards not jumping into the race.

Revere Councillor-at-large Bob Haas said it was too early to say, and he’d have to digest the entire situation before committing either way.

The race, however, seems to hinge upon the decision of one young Revere City Councillor as nearly everyone is waiting to see what Revere City Councillor Jessica Giannino will do, as she topped the ticket last November in the Revere at-large race and is perceived to have a lot of momentum as a rising star in local politics. However, this would only be her second term in elected office, so some have postulated it could be too soon for her – not to mention the fact that Vincent is her close relative.

As of press time, she said she had no definite answer, but that it’s an opportunity she would “seriously consider.”

One person already saying ‘no’ to the offer is newly minted Revere City Council President Tony Zambuto.

“You can mark me down as someone who isn’t interested,” he said. “I’m flattered to be considered, but not interested.”

Many thought that a candidate out of left field could be former Revere Mayor Tom Ambrosino – who now works as the executive director of the Supreme Judicial Court. However, on Friday he said he had no interest at all in running for the seat, and that he might be straying away from politics for some time.

House Speaker Bob DeLeo will set the date of any special election for the seat, but a spokesperson for DeLeo said on Tuesday they haven’t set any official dates yet. Some reports indicated that many are looking at April 1 as the date due to the fact that there is already a special election on that day for the Dorchester seat of new Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Anyone running for Reinstein’s former seat has a year full of campaigning to do, as a special election would be followed by another campaign this coming November – meaning there will be two elections for the seat in one year. Anyone who loses or decides not to run in the special election could certainly circle back and run this fall. Following the November election, there would be a two-year term.


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Chelsea Property Owner Indicted for Procurement Fraud

Chelsea Property Owner Indicted for Procurement Fraud

A Chelsea area property owner and real estate broker has been indicted in connection with procurement fraud and falsifying a lead inspection report, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced last week.

Nidia Peguero, age 39, of Chelsea, was indicted on Thursday by a Suffolk County Grand Jury on the charges of Procurement Fraud (2 counts) and Uttering False or Forged Records.

“Exposure to lead can be extremely dangerous, especially for young children,” Coakley said. “We allege that this defendant falsified a lead inspection report in order to be able to accept government-funded housing assistance payments from a tenant with three children under six years old.”

The AG’s Office began an investigation into this matter after it was referred by the Department of Public Health. Authorities allege that in October 2011, Peguero, a licensed realtor, submitted a falsified lead inspection compliance letter for a Chelsea property her husband owned to the Metropolitan Boston Housing Partnership (MBHP) in order for him to be approved as a landlord eligible to receive government-funded rental assistance payments.

MBHP serves as a regional administrator for the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and administers both the Section 8 and HomeBase housing assistance programs in the Boston metropolitan area. A landlord must submit appropriate documentation to MBHP to become eligible to receive rental assistance payments. Further, if there are to be children under the age of six living in the unit, a landlord must submit documentation showing that a passing lead paint inspection was conducted on the property.

According to authorities, after a tenant of the Chelsea property, who at the time had three children under the age of six, applied to receive housing assistance, MBHP received a letter of lead inspection compliance from Peguero. The letter was purportedly signed by a licensed lead inspector. However, a review of the letter conducted by MBHP and inspectors from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Child Lead Poisoning Prevention Program determined the documentation to be fraudulent. Investigators allege that Peguero altered a prior proper lead inspection report prepared for her parents for a different property and submitted the falsified document to MBHP.

Further investigation revealed that Peguero submitted the same forged lead letter in May 2010 to Children’s Services of Roxbury in order to receive payments under a different state housing subsidy program called Flex Fund, which is administered by DHCD.

Peguero will be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on a later date.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Andrew Rainer, Chief of the AG’s Environmental Crimes Strike Force, with assistance from the Massachusetts Environmental Police and the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program of the Department of Public Health, which was established to prevent, screen, diagnose and treat lead poisoning and the sources of potential lead poisoning.


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