The Finishing Touch

The Finishing Touch

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Marisa Yee, 6, painting on the ice at the Cronin Skating Rink during the first New Year’s Eve Paint & Skate event on Sunday afternoon, an event put on by the Chelsea Recreational and Cultural Division. The event was a great success and many Chelsea families enjoyed the afternoon.

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Standish Reflects on his Tenure at Housing Authority

Standish Reflects on his Tenure at Housing Authority

By Seth Daniel

In 2011, the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) was in total disarray, and Chelsea resident Tom Standish had a long history of putting things back together.

As the chair of the CHA since 2011, putting things back together is exactly what Standish, the other Board members and the staff at CHA did in the wake of the Michael McLaughlin corruption scandal.

Now, with his work seemingly done and the CHA now a high-performer in the public housing world, Standish has stepped aside from his long-time role as chair of an organization that was quite literally brought back from the grave.

“It was a clear case of corruption and the need to restore normalcy to the government,” said Standish recently from his home on the waterfront, a few weeks after stepping down as chair. “Really, it was transparent that someone was controlling the situation and had everyone in line. There needed to be five people who had the strength of character and expertise to guide the CHA back to normalcy. As it turned out, we guided it to high performance.”

After the McLaughlin scandal, few thought that the CHA would ever be put back given the tangled web of accounting fraud and the money not expended on facilities for so long.

Tenants were angry.

The public was angry.

The federal government was angry.

Those five board members, led by Standish, helped restore the confidence.

Standish said he saw a posting about the City looking for talented people to serve on the new board – as the old board had been removed quickly on suspicion of corruption with McLaughlin. With a deep resume as a regulator in the Connecticut government and in other endeavors, he was chosen right off. At the first meeting, his other four colleagues quickly elected him as the chair when he voiced concern over the minutes from the previous meetings – challenging the Board’s attorney.

From there, the rebuilding took place, including the hiring of current CHA Executive Director Al Ewing – who had served previously in the CHA administration.

“It was our task to establish a route that would bring us to restoration of faith in the performance of the duties,” said Standish. “We went on the war path. We got the support of Al Ewing and he did a fabulous job of brining a fee accountant in and an accountant from outside to do an audit…That gave us a lot of confidence in Al. You can change a lot with a big organization if you can get competent, honest people. For me personally, that was a turning point in the organization.”

Another turning point, he said, was when they were able to get the full services of the Nixon Peabody law firm and Attorney Jeff Sacks to help them guide the case against McLaughlin on behalf of the CHA. That was also assisted by Charlestown attorney Susan Whalen, whom the CHA hired.

Standish said, through a mutual friend, he had heard that Nixon Peabody was looking for a case to work on pro bono that would make a difference. As it happened, that case was the CHA’s.

“They were going to pay for it 100 percent,” he said. “It wasn’t one of those where they said they would help us for 75 cents on the dollar. It was 100 percent…Susan Whalen in conjunction with Nixon Peabody were able to move the case forward and were able to get a decision.”

While the matter of McLaughlin’s $200,000 pension is still outstanding, and the McLaughlin matter still appears as a potential Executive Session item on every CHA meeting agenda – for the most part justice was done.

Standish said he was very relieved on the day McLaughlin was sentenced in Boston Federal Court, knowing that justice had been rendered for the tenants and the taxpayers. However, he said he was conflicted about the time and type of sentence – noting that he is glad he did not have to make a recommendation to the court.

“In the end, McLaughlin said he was just trying to keep up with his neighbors,” he said. “He said they all had nice cars and nice houses and he just wanted to keep up with them. It was a totally different McLaughlin than we had seen up to then.”

Overall, Standish said he would look back at his time on the CHA as something of a gift – a way he could give back, and in turn, be given to.

“I was energized by it,” he said. “There are a lot of people who run out and look to be fulfilled in life by making money, but try as they may, nothing is more fulfilling than giving to society…The thing that’s great for me is to see public housing work in Chelsea. I’ve come to realize that high-minded people make this world work. We have been a high-performer every single year since the first one. We worked very hard – many long hours and all uncompensated. It has been invigorating and exciting. I regard it as a gift to have had the opportunity.”

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Meridian Bancorp, Inc. and East Boston Savings Bank Announce Their 2018 Commitment to Their Employees, Infrastructure and Charitable Giving

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. and East Boston Savings Bank Announce Their 2018 Commitment to Their Employees, Infrastructure and Charitable Giving

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. (the “Company” or “Meridian”) (NASDAQ: EBSB), the holding company for East Boston Savings Bank (the “Bank”), following the new tax law being passed by Congress and signed by the President on December 22, 2017, announced the following enhanced commitments to the Bank’s employees, infrastructure investment and charitable giving which will benefit its customers and the communities it serves:

  • The minimum wage for all employees will increase to $15 per hour
  • An additional 20% will be added to the 2017 bonus as part of the Bank’s Incentive Compensation Plan that will be paid to the Bank’s 500+ employees in January 2018
  • An increase to the Capital Spending Budget as a result of plans to build six new branch locations in 2018
  • An increase in charitable giving by targeting $1 million in donations to community and non-profit organizations in 2018

Richard J. Gavegnano, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “While our wage policy has consistently been higher than the state mandate of $11.00, the passing of the new tax law has provided the Bank the opportunity to boost its planned minimum wage hike and share those benefits with many of the employees our customers see every day. As a result, our Board of Directors voted to increase the Bank’s minimum wage to $15 per hour as well as increase the 2017 bonus that all employees are eligible to receive by 20%. It is our hope that this hourly wage increase and additional bonus commitment will attract and maintain employees and demonstrate the Bank’s commitment to invest in our workforce.”

According to Gavegnano, while the Bank continues to study the provisions of the new tax law, the Bank believes it is clear that this law supports the Bank’s long-term growth prospects and goals. “Our plan is to continue to branch out to areas in our marketplace that are not being serviced by a community bank. East Boston Savings Bank added two branch offices from our acquisition of Meetinghouse Bank in Dorchester and Roslindale, and in 2018 we will be adding branch locations in the Boston neighborhoods of Cleveland Circle and Brigham Circle as well as locations in West Peabody and Lynnfield. We will continue to research new branch opportunities and stimulate economic growth by providing local jobs and loans to help businesses and individuals thrive.”

Beyond banking, East Boston Savings Bank is committed to being a good neighbor by giving back to the communities we serve. “Each year the Bank makes contributions and/or donates a variety of items supporting community and local civic groups. Our employees volunteer their time for many meaningful causes. In 2018, the Bank and the East Boston Savings Bank Charitable Foundation are committing to make contributions of at least $1 million to well-deserving not-for-profit organizations.”

It is due to East Boston Savings Bank’s commitment to its employees and communities that the Bank was recognized by The Boston Globe as one of Massachusetts’ “Top Places to Work” in 2017. “In my experience, top workplaces are where people work well together while understanding that what they do is worthwhile.  There is no substitute for the hard work and great customer service that our employees consistently provide. Our employees understand what it means to go the extra mile for their customers. I’m proud of our employees and what we accomplish together,” said Gavegnano.

Meridian Bancorp, Inc. is the holding company for East Boston Savings Bank. East Boston Savings Bank, a Massachusetts- chartered stock savings bank founded in 1848, operates 33 full-service locations and one mobile location in the greater Boston metropolitan area. We offer a variety of deposit and loan products to individuals and businesses located in our primary market, which consists of Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk and Suffolk Counties, Massachusetts. For additional information, visit www.ebsb.com.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements herein constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may be identified by words such as “believes,” “will,” “expects,” “project,” “may,” “could,” “developments,” “strategic,” “launching,” “opportunities,” “anticipates,” “estimates,” “intends,” “plans,” “targets” and similar expressions. These statements are based upon the current beliefs and expectations of Meridian Bancorp, Inc.’s management and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements as a result of numerous factors. Factors that could cause such differences to exist include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, changes in interest rates, regulatory considerations, and competition and the risk factors described in the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K and Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q as filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks materialize or should underlying beliefs or assumptions prove incorrect, Meridian Bancorp, Inc.’s actual results could differ materially from those discussed. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this release.

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Police Briefs 01-04-2018

Police Briefs 01-04-2018

ROBBERY ON BROADWAY

On Dec. 22, at 5:20 p.m., officers responded to 165 Walnut St. for a report of a past armed robbery. Upon officers’ arrival, they made contact with the victim and alleged robbery suspect, standing out front of the building. The victim claims the suspect took $200 from him after he left the ATM at the Chelsea Bank on Broadway. The suspect claims the money was used to buy drugs from him and that the victim complained about the quality of the drugs purchased.

Jose Rivera, 32, of 11 Congress Ave., was charged with unarmed robbery.

REFUSED SERVICE AT BAR

On Dec. 22, at 10:49 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Spanish Falcon Club located at 158 Broadway on the report of a fight outside.

Officers observed security outside speaking to a group of men, two of which appeared intoxicated. As Officers spoke to security, they were informed that the two intoxicated males had been causing a disturbance because security refused them entry due to their state of intoxication.

They were asked to leave several times, but were becoming aggressive towards employees. As officers engaged the men in conversation, it was apparent that the men were upset at having been refused entry and wanted to continue their night of drinking. The two men refused the officers’ orders to leave the area and became loud and boisterous, causing a disturbance. The first male was placed into custody after violently resisting officers in their attempt to place him under arrest. The second male, and brother of the male taken into custody, refused orders to leave, and he also became aggressive and was taken into custody after a struggle.

David Garcia, 24, of 141 Marlborough St., was charged with disorderly conduct.

Kevin Garcia, 21, of Lynn, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

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Chelsea-Based Roca will Launch New Public-Private Partnership with Baltimore

Chelsea-Based Roca will Launch New Public-Private Partnership with Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced this month a $17 million public-private partnership with Roca, anchor business institutions and philanthropic organizations to help Baltimore’s highest risk young people disrupt cycles of poverty and incarceration.

Roca is a Massachusetts-based group that has earned national recognition for providing some of the most innovative and effective interventions for young adults most at risk for committing or becoming a victim of violence.

The program currently operates in four sites in Massachusetts (Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Springfield) and will replicate its model in Baltimore City.

“This is a very special announcement for me because we believe the approach to violence reduction is holistic, and we want to be inclusive in our approach to reducing the violence that exists in our city,” said Mayor Pugh. “Roca is not just a program that focuses in on individuals between the ages of 17-24, it is an intense focus that helps young people move beyond violence and into the types of job training, and personal development that leads them to become more productive members of our community.”

The significant new partnership will join other efforts to proactively engage high-risk youth in the City of Baltimore, and to reduce recidivism for those who have already encountered the criminal justice system. It will be funded by a combination of private and public dollars raised by Roca and the City of Baltimore, with a request for State funding still pending.

“We are humbled by the incredible efforts in the city to bring about change,” said Roca founder and CEO, Molly Baldwin. “At Roca, we are painfully aware that we can neither arrest nor program our way out of the violence devastating this city and that we need a different approach. We are so grateful for the invitation to help and we know we have a lot to learn as we initiate our work in Baltimore.”

Currently, Roca serves over 1,000 high-risk young people in 21 communities in Massachusetts and has been preparing to work in Baltimore for the past five years. Roca plans to serve 75 young people in Baltimore during its first year and gradually increase its services to 300 young people annually over the next three years.

Roca will begin operations in Baltimore during Summer 2018. An intensive planning process already is underway.

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Police Briefs 12-28-2017

Police Briefs 12-28-2017

Monday, 12/11

Stephanie Scali, 26, 207 Winthrop St., Medford, was arrested for possessing Class B drug.

Willie Jennings, 37, 251 Heath St., Jamaica Plain, was arrested for trespassing.

Kerven Julce, 33, 10 Lawrence St., Brighton, was arrested on a warrant.

Carlos Diaz, 44, 69 Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.

Tuesday, 12/12

Salvador Pineda, 30, 153 Saratoga St., East Boston, was arrested on a warrant.

Jodelle Gabelus, 28, 41 Polk St., Charlestown, was arrested on a warrant.

Wednesday, 12/13

Ely Feliciano, 21, Address unknown, was arrested on a warrant.

Thursday, 12/14

Frank Dangelo, 64, 9 Sixth St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon.

Caroline Cash, 22, 84 Otis St., Winthrop, was arrested on a warrant.

Friday, 12/15

Jose Gonzalez, 20, 64 Beacon St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime for felony, possessing burglarious instrument, larceny from building, resisting arrest, and malicious destruction of property and trespassing.

Juvenile offender, 16, was arrested on a warrant.

Dawid Sanek, 19, 56 Congress Pl., Dedham, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon and unarmed robbery.

 

Sunday, 12/17

Samuel Pensamiento, 26, 61 Meadow Ln., Lowell, was arrested for leaving scene of property damage and leaving scene of injury.

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Obituaries 12-28-2017

Obituaries 12-28-2017

Henry Shaffer

Of Revere, formerly of Chelsea

Henry Shaffer of Revere, formerly of Chelsea, died on December 24.

He was the beloved husband of the late Beatrice (Pirkovitz) Shaffer, loving son of the late Avrum and Ethel Shaffer and dear uncle of Johanna Alper and Amy Alper of Colorado, Susan Cohen of New York, Russell Pirkot of Greenfield, Donald Alper of W. Roxbury, Andy Cohen of Tennessee, Gerald Pirkot of Randolph, Murray Bass of New Jersey, Joshua Alper of Belmont and Daniel Cohen of Massachusetts.

Graveside services were held at Sharon Memorial Park, Sharon, on December 26.

Donations in Henry’s memory may be made to the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, 165 Captains Row, Chelsea, MA 02150.  Torf Funeral Service 151 Washington Ave., Chelsea assisted the family with arrangements. For guest book and directions please visit www.torffuneralservice.com.

David Rantz

Of Lynn, formerly of Revere and Winthrop

David M. Rantz of Lynn, formerly of Winthrop and Revere, passed away on Monday, December 18. He was 82 years old.

The cherished son of the late Morris and Marjorie (Rehal) Rantz and Anne (Staretz) Rantz, he was the beloved husband of the late Marie (Blundo) Rantz, cherished father of Laura Rantz Moyer and Nadine Rantz Casey and their mother, Margaret Casey, Lisa Giambartolomei Luise and her fiancé, Michael Hayes, Diana Giambartolomei Santheson and her husband, Carl, Maria Giambartolomei Calla and her loving companion, Paulie Christie and the late Audrey Buchanan.  He was the adored grandfather of 10 and great-grandfather of eight; caring brother of Lois Vasel, who was his best friend, Joan Estabrooks, Florence Hodgkins, Selma Pomeranz, and the late Harvey Fischler, Marjorie Ferrara, and Freddie Rantz.  He is also survived by many loving nieces, nephews, and cousins.

A Memorial Service will be held in David’s honor on Saturday, December 30 at 11 a.m. in the Chapel at Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.  Inurnment will follow the service.  At the family’s request, please OMIT flowers, donations may be made to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute PO Box 849168, Boston, MA 02284.  For directions and guestbook, please visit: www.vazzafunerals.com.

Winifred Dorothy Churchill

Lifelong member of First Congregational Church and Winnisimmet Union of Chelsea

Winifred Dorothy (King) Churchill passed away Friday morning, December 22 surrounded by her loving family.  She was 85 years old.

Born in Chelsea, the daughter of the late James and Dorothy (LeGrow) King, Winifred grew up in Chelsea, attended Chelsea public schools and graduated from Chelsea High School, Class of 1950.  Although Winifred received her Associate’s Degree from Salem State College, she was a homemaker all her life.  She tended to her home in Everett where she lived most of her life and cared for her husband and two daughters.  In her later years, she and her husband moved to Peabody.

Winifred was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church in Chelsea, as well as the Church’s social organization, the Winnisimmet Union.  She will be deeply missed by all her family and friends.

The beloved wife of Charles Robert “Bob” Churchill of Peabody with whom she shared 65 years of marriage, she was the devoted mother of Nancy Ellen DiMinico and her husband, Chris, Janet Elizabeth Herbert and her fiancé, John Vitale, all of Chelmsford and she is also lovingly survived by five grandchildren: Timothy, Christy and Lauren DiMinico, Katherine Herbert Muniz and her husband Derrick and Rachel Herbert, all of Chelmsford.

Funeral services will be conducted at the First Congregational Church, 26 County Road, Chelsea on Friday, December 29 at 11 a.m. Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend.  Visiting hours will be held at the Carafa Family Funeral Home, 389 Washington Avenue, Chelsea today, Thursday, from 4 to 8 p.m.  Interment will be in Woodlawn Cemetery in Everett.

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City Hall Clock Tower Unveils New Lighting Scheme

City Hall Clock Tower Unveils New Lighting Scheme

By Seth Daniel

Let there be light atop the Chelsea City Hall.

This Monday, the City officially unveiled a light illumination feature in the clock tower of City Hall – a feature that can be seen prominently from Rt.

The Chelsea City Hall clock tower has finally been illuminated after many years of advocacy by Councillor Matt Frank. The project was unveiled on Monday and displays holiday-themed colors at the moment.

The Chelsea City Hall clock tower has finally been illuminated after many years of advocacy by Councillor Matt Frank. The project was unveiled on Monday and displays holiday-themed colors at the moment.

1 and the Soldiers’ Home and adds some variety to the Chelsea skyline.

When it went on Monday night, the new lighting scheme alternated green and red colors to match the City’s new Christmas decorations in the downtown area.

The lighting coincided with the last meeting of Councillor Matt Frank, who has long asked for the City to look into introducing some creative lighting on the exterior of City Hall.

Afterward, he said he was very happy to see that the City had taken his request seriously and had actually implemented it before he left office.

“I am beyond delighted that the City was able to complete the first phase of the clock tower light project on the eve of my last City Council meeting,” he said. “It’s a project I have been pushing for since the late 2000s and I am hoping they take the next step by installing outdoor lights to also bring light to the outer structure. Currently the lights are going red and green for the holidays and I’ve been told they are considering using the new lights for snow emergency purposes with a blinking blue.

“Combined with the fixing of the lights on the clock tower, this gives the City a powerful new tool when it comes to civic pride,” he  continued. “The lights can be used to signal victory for our high school teams, to show holiday spirit and to showcase City Hall as a beacon for miles in every direction. Symbolism is a powerful thing. Hopefully this light will play it’s part in helping to bring more civic engagement to City Hall.”

Meanwhile, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he gives all the credit to Frank and to Fidel Maltez of Public Works.

“It’s just another small part of our efforts to improve the Downtown,” said Ambrosino. “I have to give the credit for the idea to Councilor Frank. I would have never thought of that on my own.”

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Standish Steps Down,Collaborative’s Gladys Vega to Planning Board

Standish Steps Down,Collaborative’s Gladys Vega to Planning Board

By Seth Daniel

In the last meeting of the year for the City Council, members voted in several new appointments and re-appointments to City boards – including the approval of long-time activist Gladys Vega to sit on the Planning Board.

Vega received a 10-0 vote with Councillor Giovanni Recupero being absent for all the appointment votes.

Vega said she was looking to get more active in the City’s committees, especially since there has been a call for more people to fill the volunteer – yet critical – roles. She said she planned to become increasingly active in City matters in the coming years if all goes well on the Planning Board.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Housing Chair Tom Standish stepped down from the Board after a monumental and tremendous job in his role as chair for the past several years.

Former CHA Board member Bert Taverna was voted in 10-0 to replace Standish.

Standish was one of the first members of the new Board appointed by the state and former City Manager Jay Ash when the CHA went into receivership following the Michael McLaughlin scandal.

Standish was a solid presence on the Board in the years following the scandal, helping to  put the once-troubled CHA back onto solid footing after the fleecing done by McLaughlin to virtually every part of the organization.

Standish led the Board throughout the difficult process, and helped to take it from a troubled agency to a top performer.

After those two appointments, there was Council politics that entered the room, with Councillor Damali Vidot clashing with Councillor Roy Avellaneda on the nine re-appointments.

Vidot has been a staunch advocate for getting new and different people on the City’s boards and said she discovered in the Charter that the City is required to advertise open Board and Commission seats. However, due to an oversight, that hasn’t been done in some time.

Avellaneda disputed that such a thing was in the Charter, and read Section 4 that did not include any such language.

However, after some tussling between members, City Manager Tom Ambrosino said it is in Section 9 of the Charter and it was an oversight. He said he will begin to advertise quarterly any openings in the English and Spanish-language newspapers.

To make a point, Vidot voted against all nine re-appointments, which were mostly non-controversial and resulted in 9-1 votes of approval.

Planning Board member Todd Taylor did elicit some controversy, as he was approved by a vote of 7-3, with Councillors Judith Garcia, Vidot and Avellaneda voting against him.

Those voted in on a 9-1 vote were:

  • Olivier del Melle, Dudley Street, Planning Board
  • Emmanuel Tellez, Broadway, Board of Health
  • Robert Pereira, Gerrish Avenue, Historical Commission (replacing Ilana Ascher)
  • George Pazos, Union Street, Traffic & Parking Commission
  • Marlene Jennings, Breakwater Drive, Cultural Council
  • Mark Rossi, Clark Avenue, License Commission
  • Robert Lynch, Shawmut Street, Conservation Commission
  • Frances Mascolo, Breakwater Drive, Historical Commission.

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