An exhibit by the Chelsea Hunger Network is now installed at Gallery 456 and will remain until the day of its community fundraising event on April 18, the 8th Annual Chelsea Empty Bowls.
Since September of 2018, 19 groups have convened over 300 “community artists” in Chelsea to paint a variety of ceramic bowls and mugs. A selection of these colorful pieces of practical art, all fired in the kilns of Salem State’s Art + Design department, are now on display in the gallery. Next to the exhibit of the decorated ceramics, a collage depicts various artists showing off their work as well as groups and individuals at work. Many photographed are widely recognized community figures including Chelsea’s City Manager, Tom Ambrosino.
Another section of the gallery displays large color posters revealing the identity of the 19 participating groups and gives additional background on the Chelsea Hunger Network. An infographic outlines the contributing factors leading to an increase in food insecurity and hunger in our community.
The 8th Annual Chelsea Empty Bowls event will take place on April 18, from 5-7 p.m. at the Williams School at 180 Walnut St. Choose one of the hundreds of bowls and mugs and serve yourself from an all-you-can-eat menu of delicious clam chowder, chili, soups, and Toscanini’s ice cream. Tickets are $20 ($25 at the door) and can be purchased online at www.eventbrite.com under “Chelsea Empty Bowls”. Children under 8 years old are free.
By Laura Plummer
Chelsea residents and MBTA officials mingled at the Chelsea Senior Center on Tuesday, February 19, where the MBTA sought community feedback on three new system-wide changes on the horizon: a proposed fare hike, a bus system improvement initiative dubbed The Better Bus Project, and an upgraded program for managing ticket purchases called Automated Fare Collection 2.0.
The event was the first meeting in a series that the Transit Authority is hosting in the Greater Boston area throughout February and early March. Other cities and communities on the list include Quincy Center, Woburn, South Boston, Harvard Square, Downtown Boston, Watertown and Worcester.Chelsea residents perused information from the MBTA on Tuesday
night at the Open House – the first of many in the Greater Boston area dealing with rate increases, the Better Bus Project and the new fare collection system.
Departing from the traditional town hall-style meeting, there was no speaker or agenda. Rather, officials from the MBTA were stationed at a horseshoe of tables featuring large informational posters and fliers in Spanish and English. Residents from the Chelsea community were invited to circulate from station to station in order to learn about the proposed changes, ask questions and provide oral and written feedback.
The MBTA is looking to increase fares by an average of 6.3%, which, according to its website, it needs in order to “continue making system investments to improve service.”
The increase, which is aligned with Boston’s inflation rate, also meets the State law allowing the MBTA to raise their rates no more than 7% every two years. The fare hike, which would go into effect in July, would be the first since 2016.
The 6.3% increase would be applied to all fares, including bus and subway, commuter rail, ferry, and The RIDE.
In terms of the most common fares and passes, a local one-way bus ticket would go from $1.70 to $1.80. A one-way subway ticket would go from $2.25 to $2.40. A monthly LinkPass would go from $84.50 to $90.00, and a 7-Day LinkPass would go from $21.25 to $22.50.
Those interested can read more about the proposed fare hike at mbta.com/fare-proposal-2019. Comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org, or mailed to MBTA, Attn: Fare Proposal, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116. Respondents can also share their opinions via an online survey available at surveymonkey.com/r/6TW8FFQ.
THE BETTER BUS PROJECT
Another project on the table is The Better Bus Project, an expansive initiative looking to overhaul the entire bus service of the MBTA. Its current projected rollout date is 2020.
“Too many of our bus routes still fail to live up to our own standards,” states the MBTA on its web site. “Through the Better Bus Project, we are changing that. Every day we’re finding new ways to improve the experiences of the people who use and ride our buses.”
The Better Bus Project would be comprised of five distinct elements: continuous change, analysis, proposed near-term changes, multi-year investment strategy and the Bus Network Redesign.
Continuous change refers to changes that can be made incrementally over time as the opportunities arise. Analysis includes reports generated from a period of outreach in which the MBTA surveyed riders most affected by gaps in service.
“Riders want more frequent, more reliable service,” said the MBTA. “They want more routes that run more often throughout the day—not just during peak service hours. And we learned […] that there are too many routes, too many complex routes, and too few routes with frequent, all-day service.”
Proposed near-term changes for The Better Bus Project include 47 specific suggestions for the consolidation of duplicate routes, the increase of space at bus stops and the elimination of some obsolete bus routes.
One of the 47 proposed projects is Route 111, which runs from Haymarket through Chelsea to Revere. The MBTA aims to “provide faster and more reliable service to Route 111 by removing service on Park Avenue in Revere, with connection remaining via Route 110,” according to a Better Bus Project flier.
A multi-year investment strategy will kick off a dialog about how to best leverage resources to improve the bus system as a whole, taking into account what riders want and need.
The ambitious Bus Network Redesign would re-envision the current MBTA bus network in the hopes of better serving passengers.
To learn more about The Better Bus Project and share your input, go to mbta.com/projects/better-bus-project.
AUTOMATED FARE COLLECTION 2.0
Citing an outdated system, the MBTA hopes that its new project will make paying for transit easier. With the introduction of AFC 2.0, the MBTA hopes to “improve customer experience, ensure equal access, upgrade outdated hardware and software, improve revenue control, operate buses and trains more efficiently and support future MBTA changes and growth.”
According to the MBTA, passengers will be able to pay their fares faster with improved Charlie Cards, a smartphone app, different payment options and digital fare readers. Under the new system, passengers will be able to conveniently reload their Charlie Cards in a number of venues, from schools and employers, online, over the phone, retailers and an increased number of vending machines.
MBTA employee Anthony Thomas explained that people could still use cash to reload their Charlie Cards at a number of locations throughout the city, but that cash would no longer be an option for paying on buses. The idea is to reduce the long bus queues, resulting in faster routes.
“Our new fare system will get you moving faster,” said the MBTA. “It’ll also get our vehicles moving faster (by up to 10% according to some estimates).”
These changes would not be rolled out all at once, but would overlap with the current technologies available, some of them in place for over a decade. In this way, the MBTA hopes to have a seamless transition to the new system.
For more information about AFC 2.0 and to submit your feedback, visit afc2.mbta.com.
Colwen Hotels Employees Come Together to Donate over $5,000 in Holiday Gifts for Families in Need Through CAPIC’s Chelsea Revere Family Network
Employees of Colwen Hotels collaborated this holiday season to work together as teams to give back to the local community through CAPIC, Community Action Programs Inter-City Inc., and the Chelsea/Revere Family Network.
Jeannette Velez of CAPIC addressed the company to explain how they activate support to the Chelsea Revere Family Network, which is a state funded program servicing families with children from the prenatal stage up to eight years old. Jeannette helped Colwen select individual families to surprise and make this holiday season special for their children. Over $5,000 in wrapped gifts and gift cards were assembled on Friday, December 14th at the Homewood Suites by Hilton Boston Logan Airport Chelsea hotel.
Colwen Hotels also operates three other Chelsea based hotels including the Residence Inn Boston Logan Airport Chelsea, TownePlace Suites Boston Logan Airport Chelsea, and the brand new Holiday Inn Boston Logan Airport Chelsea.
“We strongly believe in giving back to the communities where our hotels are located. It is just magical to see everyone in the company come together like this in the pure spirit of giving. We are very proud to support these families through this great organization”, said Julie Scott, President of Colwen Hotels.
Colwen Hotels is a rapidly growing hotel company based in Portsmouth, NH. Colwen’s portfolio boasts over 25 successful hotels in the states of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey. With an aggressive pipeline, Colwen strategically develops properties in emerging markets and mixed-use redevelopments. The company is committed to local communities and charities, LEED-certified sustainability, and being a premier employer. Colwen Hotels is known for a signature design that is upscale-stylish and artistically inspired. The award winning company strives to lead the world in frictionless hotel stays. To learn more about Colwen Hotels, visit www.colwenhotels.com.
CAPIC a private, non-profit corporation chartered in 1967 and designated to identify and eradicate the root causes of poverty in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop. The organization is governed by a twenty one member community-based Board of Directors that represents public, private, and low-income sectors of the communities we serve. In addition, CAPIC provides housing services to the residents of East Boston through our local program and twenty-five other communities regionally, as well as Weatherization services to eighteen local communities. Since its inception, CAPIC has grown to meet the changing needs
of the communities we serve, supporting self-sufficiency efforts of people struggling economically and emotionally. To learn more about CAPIC, visit www.capicinc.org.
By Seth Daniel
The State Legislature has made efforts to fill the monumental education funding gap in Revere, Everett and Chelsea – as well as other Gateway Cities – but it has not been enough to save the schools from major cuts which are being announced this week.
The Revere Public Schools have begun to prepare for a School Budget that includes far less funding, as Supt. Dianne Kelly announced $1.7 million in cuts to the upcoming budget and the end to several long-time support programs.
Teacher and staff layoffs are likely to be avoided.
“I’ve cut $1.7 million of the budget already,” said Kelly. “We have a few less positions than last year, but about all of them have been reduced through attrition. That’s good because we’re not putting people out of work. Our commitment, for myself and the School Committee, was to make a conscious decision to focus on people. That means we’ll have to discontinue many important curriculum supports.”
One of those includes the Bay State Reading Initiative, which has been in place at Revere Public Schools for 10 years. That program has been highly successful in teaching kids to read proficiently at an early age and was credited for major gains some years ago at the Beachmont School.
Another program will be the Achievement Network.
Kelly said that is a program that helps teachers and deans crunch numbers from standardized tests – to be able to focus in on specifics.
“Now we have to figure out how to get data and crunch data ourselves,” she said. “Fortunately, we have the 5 District Partnership and we’re looking together to see how we can do something collaboratively to replicate that service.”
Kelly said the School Committee will vote on a slimmer budget than hoped for on June 7. She praised the Committee, Business Manager Matt Kruse and the City.
The budget could have as much as $2 million in cuts when all is said and done.
In other cities, such as Everett and Chelsea, City government has stepped up to add extra funding. Everett could pitch in as much as $5 million later this summer through support of its mayor and its City Council. In Chelsea, the City Budget has included an increase of nearly $2 million for the schools to help soften the blow.
In Revere, however, there are no excess funds at the City level to be able to plug such gaps with City funding.
One hope is that Gov. Charlie Baker would adjust the final budget when he signs it. The Senate had debated the issued ad nauseum last week, and some success was made, but in the end, Kelly said it wasn’t what superintendents in the area where looking for.
She said the Senate did approve some extra money in the budget that will come directly to the district and the student funding formulas were adjusted too. Still, it hasn’t eased the burden, which are the fruits of a change at the federal and state government levels in the way low-income students – now called economically disadvantaged students – are counted. The new formula only counts students whose families are receiving public assistance. It was meant to save time and paperwork, but in effect has excluded thousands of students who are very poor, but are not qualified for or receiving public assistance.
“It’s still just not enough money,” said Kelly. “I can’t help them to understand that increasing the student funding formula isn’t the same thing. To me, it’s so obvious.”
Hair Cuttery at 1086 Revere Beach Parkway in Chelsea will host a cut-a-thon on Sunday, March 6th from 6:00 – 9:00pm to benefit the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. All haircuts will be $10.00 with 100% of the proceeds going to the club.
The Jordan Boys and Girls Club helps young people, especially those in need, build strong characters and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. The cut-a-thon will benefit the Boys and Girls Club’s many programs which support the youth in the Chelsea community.
“We are thrilled to be working with the Jordan Boys and Girls Club to help raise funds for their clubhouse,” said Lydia Son, Hair Cuttery Salon Leader. “It’s so wonderful when we can come together as a community and support such a worthy organization.”
Hair Cuttery has an established history of charitable giving, supporting a range of local and national causes, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation, American Red Cross, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Girls on the Run.
About Hair Cuttery:
Hair Cuttery is the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, with nearly 900 company-owned locations on the East Coast, New England and the Midwest. A full-service, value-priced salon, Hair Cuttery offers a full complement of cuts and styling, coloring, waxing and texturizing services with no appointment necessary, as well as a full line of professional hair care products. Hair Cuttery is committed to delivering a delightful client experience through WOW Service including a Smile Back Guarantee. Hair Cuttery is a division of Ratner Companies, based in Vienna, VA. www.haircuttery.com
There is a reason that Chelsea Family Literacy Day was nominated for one of the esteemed All-Chelsea Awards in the Project of the Year category.
Actually there are more than 800 reasons – that’s the number of children and parents who enjoyed last year’s reading extravaganza at the Chelsea Public Library, making it one of the most popular youth-oriented events in the city.
While Bob Collins helped shepherd Literacy Day to prominence during his reign as Library Director, it’s now Library Director Sarah Gay leading our city’s treasured institution and standing at the helm of the Ninth Annual Literacy Day organizing committee. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 at the library.
In addition to Gay, the key organizers of the event are new Children’s Librarian Martha Boksenbaum, Raising A Reader Outreach Coordinator Laura Keenan, and Chelsea-Revere Family Network Coordinator Jeanette Velez, who is chairperson of the Chelsea School Committee, Joanne Stone-Livon of CAPIC, Latimer Society Co-Director Ronald Robinson, and Bob Collins, who remains on the library staff in a senior librarian role. The Chelsea Interact Club will assist at Literacy Day.
City Manager Jay Ash has been a strong supporter of the event.
Gay said the event’s format will remain unchanged.
“We pretty much kept it the same because everyone really enjoys what we have,” said Gay. “But this year we are adding for the older kids a spoken word poetry slam contest.”
Gay said all activities are literacy based. There will be 16 different activity stations. The guest readers include Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque, State Rep. Roselee Vincent, Police Sgt. David Flibotte, and Police Sgt. John Noftle.
Velez said she works with pre-school children in her profession and understands the foundation that literacy sets for students’ formal educational training.
“I work with pre-school children so I’m very invested in this event because it’s promoting literacy and it’s the main thing the children need to be prepared to go on through school,” said Velez.
Keenan said the Raising A Reader program welcomed the opportunity to get involved an event that promotes literacy.
“Raising A Reader is an early literacy program for children up to age five and we do a form of reading called dialogic reading which is mainly we want the parents to have a dialogue with the children rather than read the words on the page.”
Other highlights of the event include the appearances of costumed characters and the distribution of free backpacks with books to all participants.
Boksenbaum said she is excited to be a part of her first Literacy Day in the city.
“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful activity and I think it’s great that it’s so big,” said Boksenbaum. “Literacy doesn’t always get a front-stage of a spotlight as it really should and so I was really delighted when I discovered that the event was not only important to the library but to the entire community. It’s really great that Chelsea has such a strong network of organizations that all help each other. That’s really wonderful.”
Volunteers are hard at work preparing for the
3rd Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser to support
the Chelsea Hunger Network and tell the story of
those who deal with hunger every day in Chelsea..
The annual event features hand-painted bowls and
a hearty soup to go in it. For the past few months,
volunteers (shown above) have assembled at Chelsea
High School, the Cronin Ice Rink, TND and the
Boys and Girls Club to have a “bowl painting party.”
Those who attend the actual event will get one
of the hand-painted bowls and a soup dinner. City
Manager Jay Ash will also be on hand once again to
conduct his annual backgammon competition. Tickets
are $15 in advance and $18 at the door. Children
under 8 are free. The event will take place on April
24 from 5-7 p.m. in the Williams School (180 Walnut).
For ticket information, call (617) 884-3300.