Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen DiDomenico Annual DiDomenico Foundation St Patrick’s Day Roast in Charlestown March 9

Sen. Sal DiDomenico will once again be hosting the annual DiDomenico Foundation St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Friday, March 9 beginning at 6:30 p.m., at the Bunker Hill Knights of Columbus in Charlestown.  This event has become the official kick-off to the St. Patrick’s Day season. In addition to a traditional Irish dinner, the night will include Irish music, step dancers, comedy by Tony V, bag pipers, videos by elected officials and the annual presentation of the Golden Shamrock Award to a community leader.   Over 75 federal, state, and local elected officials are also expected to attend and several of them will try their favorite St. Patrick’s Day jokes.  Political figures joining the festivities include Gov. Charlie Baker, Congressman Mike Capuano, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, Cambridge Mayor Marc McGovern, Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley, Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and many more! There will also be a special surprise guest as well.  This has quickly become one of the most popular St. Patrick’s Day traditions in the Greater Boston community.

For more tickets and more information on the event, please call (617) 387-3327.  Proceeds will go to The DiDomenico Foundation, which funds educational scholarships for high school students, as well as a large toy drive during the holiday season for domestic violence and homeless shelters throughout the Greater Boston area.

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‘Transfatty Lives’ to make Boston Premiere in Revere Cinema

Award-winning filmmaker Patrick O’Brien, a resident of the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, will premiere his move ‘Transfatty Lives’ on April 3 at Revere Showcase Cinemas. O’Brien documents his life before, after and during his trials with the degenerative disease ALS.

Award-winning filmmaker Patrick O’Brien, a resident of the Leonard Florence Center for Living in Chelsea, will premiere his move ‘Transfatty Lives’ on April 3 at Revere Showcase Cinemas. O’Brien documents his life before, after and during his trials with the degenerative disease ALS.

Imagine creating an award-winning documentary just by moving your eyebrows.

Patrick O’Brien, who was diagnosed with ALS 10 years ago at age 30, spent 10 years producing the highly acclaimed ALS documentary “Transfatty Lives.” The film, which won the 2015 Audience Award at the Tribeca and Milano Film Festivals, will have its Boston premiere on April 3 at the Revere Showcase Cinema.

Patrick, who lives at the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL) in Chelsea, is entirely immobilized and on a ventilator. He directed and produced ‘Transfatty Lives’ entirely by using his eyes to communicate through a special device attached to his computer. ‘Transfatty Lives’ takes one on an emotional roller coaster from Patrick’s wild, fun-loving days as a DJ and filmmaker into the dark heart of ALS. With the support of his friends and family, Patrick braves the unthinkable and turns his camera onto himself. He is able to capture all of the emotion, humor, and absurdity of real life – falling in love and fathering a child along the way.

‘Transfatty Lives,’ so named because of O’Brien’s love of donuts and other junk foods, depicts O’Brien’s personal reflections since his ALS diagnosis.

In Patrick’s words: “ALS is a fatal and incurable disease. I have chosen to do something with my illness. As you will see, I turned the camera on myself and began to document my journey with ALS. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

The Leonard Florence Center for Living, operated by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, is the first urban model Green House in the country and the only fully vented ALS residence in the world. O’Brien moved into the LFCL soon after it opened in 2010, after living in a traditional nursing home that kept him confined to his bed – and his room – 24 hours a day. Today, in addition to producing films, O’Brien travels, attends concerts, sporting events and movies.

“We are so proud of Patrick and excited to show his remarkable film to the Boston community,” states Barry Berman, Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO. “Patrick’s talent, passion and perseverance in the face of such a devastating disease is an inspiration to us all.”

The premiere will be held at the Revere Showcase Cinema, 565 Squire Rd in Revere at 10 a.m. on Sunday, April 3. Tickets are $20 per person and include the film, a Q&A with Patrick O’Brien and a reception following the premiere.

All proceeds benefit the Patrick O’Brien Foundation. To purchase tickets, go to www.reelboston.org. For more information, email Judy Mastrocola at jmastrocola@chelseajewish.org or call 617-887-0001.

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Sports 03-17-2016

Fenwick ousts St. Mary’s from MIAA State Tournament, 56-40

By Cary Shuman

The St. Mary’s High School girls basketball team beat some of the best teams in Massachusetts – Revere Rockland, and Martha’s Vineyard to name three – but couldn’t topple its Catholic Central League rival, Bishop Fenwick, this season.

A very deep and talented Fenwick contingent started quickly and kept the pressure on for four quarters on its way to defeating St. Mary’s, 56-40, in the Division 3 North semifinals Tuesday at Essex Tech. It was Fenwick’s third victory over the Spartans.

The Crusaders bolted to a 17-2 lead after one quarter and 29-14 at the half to take firm control of the game. The Crusaders did what few teams were able to do this season: contain St. Mary’s sensational sophomore guard, Marnelle Garraud, who was held to eight points. Olivia Nazaire, another talented sophomore, led St. Mary’s with 15 points. Kayla Carter, playing the last game of an outstanding career that was highlighted by her tremendous defensive play, contributed eight points. The other scorers were Temi Falayi (4 points), Mia Nowicki (3), and Katie Dixon (2).

Fenwick senior Syndey Brennan had 17 points, including four three-pointers. Fredi DeGugliemo had 14 points while Colleen Corcoran and Jaxson Nadeau each had nine points.

Fenwick coach Adam DeBaggis felt the difference in the game was his team’s defensive effort.

“Just constant, good defense,” said DeBaggis. “We hit some really big shots and we had kids like Jaxson [Nadeau] and Ellen [Fantozzi] who played such great defense. We played them three times and pretty much every time it’s gone that way – we’ve played very, very consistently defensively and I think it really bothers them.”

What did Fenwick do to slow down Garraud, the Spartans’ leading scorer?

“We put our two best defenders on her and made sure we knew where she was at all times,” said DeBaggis.

St. Mary’s High School coach Jeff Newhall credited Fenwick after the game.

“Tonight it’s Fenwick’s night and all the best to them,” said Newhall. “This isn’t a one-game fluke-type situation. It’s happened three times.”

Newhall said the program is losing a great senior class to graduation. “They’ve won over 100 games, a state title, two league championships but we have some good young players and the future is very bright here.”

Bruins Beat by Bob Morello

Bruins Jeremy Jacobs honored again

The Bruins continue their West Coast road trip following Tuesday night’s 3-2 loss at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, the B’s suffering their first regulation loss in eight games, following the NHL trade deadline on February 29. Despite the loss, the Bruins showed intensity and effort, but lost on a third period power play goal. The loss kept Boston in second place behind the Florida Panthers. The team will enjoy two days off before facing a back-to-back weekend, in which they face the Anaheim Ducks, Friday at 10:00pm, and the Los Angeles Kings the following night, Saturday 3/19 at 10:30pm. A three-day break will end the road trip with a Wednesday 3/23 at 8:00pm stopover to take on the New York Rangers.

Less than three months have passed since Boston Bruins owner Jeremy Jacobs was named recipient of the 2015 Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States. The Lester Patrick Trophy is one of the most prestigious in hockey, and was presented to the National Hockey League by the New York Rangers in 1966. It honors the memory of Lester Patrick, who spent 50 years in hockey as a player, coach and general manager and was a pioneer in the sport’s development.

The honors just keep coming for Mr. Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins for 41 years. The Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame announced that they will induct Jeremy Jacobs, Bruins Owner and Chairman of Delaware North, into the 21st Massachusetts Hockey Hall of Fame class. The fellow inductees include David A. Jensen, Stephen Palmacci and Jack Parker. They will be joining a roster of past and current hockey greats recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the sport of ice hockey in Massachusetts. The ceremony and dinner will be held the evening of Saturday, June 18, 2016.

When informed of his selection Mr. Jacobs responded, “My selection reflects the entire Bruins organization as well as the team’s true owners, its dedicated and loyal fans. Massachusetts is a great hockey state, and we are proud to play a role in the sport’s continued growth and development. I am tremendously honored.”

Mr. Jacobs was also a 2006 inductee into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, he has worked in charitable endeavors and was honored with the St. Jude Award for Inspiration in Sports at the 2013 Global Sports Summit. His honors are just one side of the story of this generous man who has supported causes and sports-related charities tied to the Boston Bruins Foundation, including pledging $200,000 to Denna Laing’s recovery after her injury at the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA and $100,000 to The One Fund Boston to help victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and their families.

CUTS FOR A CAUSE: Bruins Forward Patrice Bergeron is teaming up with 98.5 The Sports Hub and members of the 2015-16 Bruins roster for the ninth annual “Cuts for a Cause” event to raise money to fight pediatric cancer on Wednesday, March 30 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. (VIP session: 3:00 – 4:00 pm) at the Westin Boston Waterfront. Bergeron and his teammates will have their heads shaved by auction winners to show their support and raise money for the Boston Bruins Foundation and Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.

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Together in Song

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Governor Charlie Baker, Senator Sal DiDomenico, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh joined together in song to entertain the crowd during the annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration hosted by Sen. DiDomenico in Charlestown. The popular event brought many from Chelsea and several state officials as well.

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With the Movement of an Eyebrow, Als Patient O’brien Has Won Awards:Achievement to Be Marked at Sunday’s Als Walk for Living on Admiral’s Hill

For some 10 years, using just his eyebrows, Leonard Florence Center For Living (LFCFL) resident Patrick O’Brien – who has ALS and cannot move anything but his eyebrows – worked away at creating what he hoped would be his greatest masterpiece on film.

A filmmaker before getting ALS, he was inclined to document the entire process of the disease’s progression, and did so quite well.

As the disease progressed, though, it became harder for him to work on the film. Several editors had helped him with the project, but nothing seemed to take the nearly-finished film from good to great.

Then, by coincidence, Documentarian Doug Pray entered the picture, and he and O’Brien formed a team that finally got the film out to the world.

And the world has loved it.

With O’Brien and Pray working together, ‘Transfatty Lives’ was born, and now the film is garnering awards from New York City to Milan. Earlier this year, O’Brien’s film won the Tribeca Film Festival in its category, and just this past Sunday it won the Audience Award at the Milano Film Festival in Italy.

“What a long, strange trip it’s been,” said O’Brien this week over e-mail. “The movie almost didn’t get finished. It was by luck that our composer, Bradford Reed, bumped into filmmaker Doug Pray one night at a party. Doug watched a rough cut of the movie and wrote a six-page letter to me about how to fix my movie, then titled ‘Everything will be okay.’”

His letter came just in time, O’Brien said.

“I had been trying to make the movie work for eight years at that point, and the film needed some fresh eyes,” said O’Brien. “I had been working with a writer and editor named Scott Crowningshield at that stage. It was good, the film, but not great. It had to be great. I had been documenting my life with ALS since the beginning, and it was going to be great. It just needed the right touch. Thank God for Doug Pray, who agreed to come on as a producer. It was good that Doug came onto the scene at that point in time, because by then I had experimented so much with my cokamayme ideas.”

Pray said in a telephone interview this week that he is incredibly honored to have worked with O’Brien.

“By the time I met Patrick, he had grown very frustrated and realized this had to be the last big push for his movie,” said Pray. “You can only keep reforming and editing movies for so long. I think we all felt that energy…The film did need help. It was beautiful, but needed help. It was like a wonderful painting that needs a frame. It was so powerful, funny, weird and artsy. No one was going to see if we didn’t make the push and take this on, and the potential for the film was enormous.”

Pray said O’Brien had gathered all of the footage – years of footage – and had compiled it for quite some time. The trick was to edit all of the raw footage into a great accounting of what O’Brien went through in his ALS journey – a journey that included lying motionless for several years in a Baltimore nursing home, only able to stare at the ceiling.

Once arriving at the LFCFL, the technology and enormous improvement in his quality of life at the facility’s ALS Green House, allowed him to continue his work and to be a key decision maker and director in the editing of his film.

Once again, O’Brien did that without the use of any of his body aside from the movement his eyebrows.

“As filmmakers, we are fussy with our own work, and I can’t imagine what it must have been like for Patrick to be locked in a bed in Boston, not able to move, while these other people all over the place are working on his film,” said Pray. “However, the degree to which he was able to give input and guide us and direct us about where he wanted the film to go is simply remarkable and amazing especially when you consider his situation. I’ll never forget this experience.”

Pray also said O’Brien’s story about winning Tribeca and Milan – and being able to travel to the Tribeca Festival for his premiere – is a feather in the cap for the LFCFL.

“It says a lot about the Leonard Florence that they allow people to be themselves and let people live lives that are meaningful – even when they’re paralyzed,” he said. “They supported this whole thing, even getting Patrick down to New York, which wasn’t easy. He couldn’t have done this without the technology available and support of that facility. He couldn’t have done this at a regular nursing home facility. That says a lot about Leonard Florence. It’s not normal; it’s special.”

The film is not yet available for public viewing due to the fact that it is still in the Film Festival circuit. It will be premiered in Los Angeles later this year, and will have a Boston premiere some time next year, O’Brien said. However, he said people can visit TransFattyLives.com for more information and to view a trailer.

The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment. The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support these individuals as well as the innovative residences, will be held on Sunday, September 27, a

Filmmaker Patrick O’Brien - who has ALS and can only move one eyebrow - with Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman last week at O’Brien’s home in the Leonard Florence Center for Living. This year’s ALS Walk for Living on Sunday will pay homage to several awards recently won by O’Brien for his film ‘TransFattyLives.'

Filmmaker Patrick O’Brien – who has ALS and can only move one eyebrow – with Chelsea Jewish Foundation CEO Barry Berman last week at O’Brien’s home in the Leonard Florence Center for Living. This year’s ALS Walk for Living on Sunday will pay homage to several awards recently won by O’Brien for his film ‘TransFattyLives.’

t 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill at 10 a.m.

This year Billy Costa of KISS 108 will act as emcee and kick-off the two-mile walk. Media sponsors include the Independent Newspaper Group; major corporate sponsors include Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. There is a $10 donation fee to participate in the Walk, which includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, the BBQ and all the activities. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.

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Seventh Annual ALS & MS Walk for Living Set for Sept 27

Imagine being confined to one room for days, months, even years and then finding a home that enables you to regain your independence and, with it, your dignity. That home is the Leonard Florence Center for Living (LFCL), the first urban model Green House in the country.

The LFCL features neurological specialty residences with cutting-edge assistive technology, allowing individuals with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) and MS (multiple sclerosis) to receive skilled nursing care in a nurturing home environment. The 7th annual ALS & MS Walk for Living, a fundraiser to support these individuals as well as the innovative residences, will be held on Sunday, September 27, at 165 Captains Row on Admirals Hill at 10 a.m.

For the second year in a row, Matt Siegel, host of the popular “Matty in the Morning” show on KISS-108, will act as emcee and kick-off the two-mile walk. Media sponsors include the Independent Newspaper Group; major corporate sponsors include Biogen, M&T Bank, AHOA, Kayem and Clifton Larson. Immediately following the walk, there will be a BBQ hosted by Chili’s, doughnuts provided by Dunkin Donuts, face painting, live dance performances, a petting zoo, a photo booth and a raffle. There is a $10 donation fee to participate in the Walk, which includes a Walk for Living tee shirt, the BBQ and all the activities. The Walk for Living is one of the few walks that are dog-friendly.

Bonnie Berthiaume was the first multiple sclerosis resident to move into the Leonard Florence Center for Living in 2010. The Center has, quite simply, changed her life.

“Since moving here, I have been able to participate in wonderful outings; we have gone to Red Sox games, movies and the theatre,” explains Bonnie. “I have even gone skydiving three times!” The Leonard Florence Center, sponsored by the Chelsea Jewish Foundation, consists of 10 homes, with 10 residents living in each home. The ALS and MS residents, many of whom are completely immobilized, are able to control the lights, turn on the TV, open doors and raise window shades – just by using their eyes.

Ten years after his ALS diagnosis, Patrick O’Brien, another LFCL resident, premiered his extraordinary film “TransFatty Lives” at the prestigious Tribeca Film Festival in New York City. Lauded by both critics and attendees, the film won the “Top Audience Award,” which is the highest possible honor and chosen by peers. Although Patrick needs round-the-clock ventilation, he lives an active and busy life at the Center. In addition to producing films, Patrick travels, attends concerts, sporting events, movies and premiers.

“I was officially diagnosed with ALS when I was 30 years old,” explains O’Brien. “It is a fatal and incurable disease yet I have chosen to do something with my illness. This challenge has given me a focal point for my energies, and will hopefully inspire others to keep moving through their own adversities.”

Over the years, the ALS & MS Walk for Living has become an integral part of the local community. This year’s walk is expected to attract over 1000 walkers. The event this year will also honor Everett High School teacher Susan Lomas, who has been involved in the Walk since the start and has been instrumental in getting so many of the Everett High School’s students involved throughout the years. Chelsea High School students and their families have also committed to turning out in full force for this event, as they have in the past.

“We are extremely grateful for the support of our local communities, businesses, residents and their families, and the many friends of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation,” said Barry Berman, CEO of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation. “The Walk for Living is crucial in helping our residents live richer and fuller lives.”

“It was such a wonderful experience last year getting to know these inspiring and courageous residents,” notes Matt Siegel. “I am thrilled to once again emcee this year’s ALS & MS Walk for Living.”

Support the ALS & MS Walk for Living by sponsoring or joining a team, or making a much-needed donation at www.walkforliving.org or call Joelle Smith at 617-409-8973 or email walkforliving@chelseajewish.org. To view videos about the LFCL residents, please go to http://vimeo.com/24641660, http://vimeo.com/39457786

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St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

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Governor Charlie Baker, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash, Middlesex County Sheriff Peter Koutoujian, and Senator Sal DiDomenico pose for a picture during last Friday night’s annual DiDomenico St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Roast in Charlestown. While the lineup of elected officials behind him could have starred as the Celtics front line (all over 6’6”), DiDomenico stole the show as the host of the popular event.

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First Lady of State Tells Youth Not to Be Afraid to Dream Big

First Lady of State Tells Youth Not to Be Afraid to Dream Big

Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick was the keynote speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Monday, sponsored by the People's AME Church and the Chelsea Community.

Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick was the keynote
speaker at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on
Monday, sponsored by the People’s AME Church and the
Chelsea Community.

Sharing intimate details of her life and encouraging Chelsea’s young people to dream big despite sometimes humbling circumstances, Massachusetts First Lady Diane Patrick inspired a large crowd on Monday morning at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration.

“We don’t dream about being a drug addict, living in poverty, not going to college or having a family we cannot provide for,” she said. “We don’t dream those things, but for some of us those are probably real possibilities. They are possible because sometimes people around us make them realities…Ladies and gentlemen, to despair is to have lost. To despair is to live in a world without hope. You have to dream good dreams and then believe you can overcome.”

Within her 20 minute speech – which drew examples from the life of King, her husband Gov. Deval Patrick, and her own life – Patrick spoke mostly about overcoming challenges in life and helping others to overcome such challenges.

While she grew up in humble circumstances in New York City’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood during the 1950s, she said she never lived in poverty and was never allowed to stop dreaming. After graduating college, she pursued a teaching career in New York City, only to be laid off soon after starting. That pushed her to go to law school and eventually become a noted attorney in the field of labor law.

However, it was during that time, and even after having met her current husband, Gov. Patrick, that she said her first husband crushed her will and caused her to stop dreaming. She offered it up as a warning and also to highlight one of her top issues – domestic violence.

“From my point of view without self-esteem you can’t put one foot in front of the other; you can’t make choices,” she said. “You look to others to make choices for you and often those choices aren’t good choices. I know about this. I was once there. I once stopped caring about myself. My self-esteem was systematically taken away by a man I used to be married to – a man who convinced me I was worthless…Believe me, a daily dose of that kind of abuse can get you down. It took away my dreams. I was paralyzed and had just about given up.”

She credited her husband, Gov. Patrick, with being an outstretched hand to her in her darkest time – helping her regain her self-esteem, to realize her self-worth and to begin dreaming again.

She harkened that experience to the experiences of adults and, especially, young people living in Chelsea who may not have the benefit of strong and helpful parents.

“Think about the young people who don’t have a sense of value; think about the children who don’t allow themselves to dream because they don’t believe their dreams are attainable,” she said. “What happens to them? They often make bad choices. We need a generation of young people who are strong and confident and refuse to accept limits put on their abilities. We need a generation of young people who will swim against the current and stand up to shoe who fear what they stand for and who believe change is bad.”

In closing, Patrick recalled that King often spoke about not allowing oneself “to wallow in the valley of self-despair.”

With that message, she challenged the audience to let no limits be put on dreams, to keep faith in themselves and those around them, and to reach out a hand to help someone.

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State Increases Access for Early Education Opportunities

State Increases Access for Early Education Opportunities

Governor Deval Patrick visited the CAPIC Head Start Program on Crescent Avenue to announce that the state EEC has increased access for high-quality early education opportunities to more than 3,200 children. Pictured, from left, are State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, City Manager Jay Ash, Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, Councillor Matt Frank, Council President Dan Cortell, Governor Deval Patrick, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, Councillor Giovanni Ricupero, Councilor Paula Barton, and State Rep. Kathi Reinstein.

Governor Deval Patrick visited the CAPIC Head Start Program on Crescent Avenue to announce that the state EEC has
increased access for high-quality early education opportunities to more than 3,200 children. Pictured, from left, are State
Sen. Sal DiDomenico, City Manager Jay Ash, Secretary of Education Matthew Malone, Councillor Matt Frank, Council President
Dan Cortell, Governor Deval Patrick, Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson, Councillor Giovanni Ricupero, Councilor Paula
Barton, and State Rep. Kathi Reinstein.

Governor Deval Patrick came to Chelsea on Tuesday to  announce that the Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) has increased access for high-quality early education opportunities to more than 3,200 children. The new vouchers will assist high-need families with children who are currently on the waitlist for a subsidy to attend an early education and care program in Massachusetts, and help provide more children across the state with a strong educational foundation in their earliest years. Currently, more than 50,000 children each year attend early education programs in Massachusetts through subsidy funding.

“Every child in Massachusetts deserves the opportunity to receive high quality early education, and increasing the number of early ed vouchers will provide thousands more of our children with the opportunity to succeed,” said Governor Patrick. “We know from educators, from academic research, from years of public policy and from our own experience as parents, that investing in our children at a young age pays huge dividends for them and for our community as a whole.”

Governor Patrick has made reducing the waitlist for early education a priority, proposing a $131 million investment in his FY14 budget to eliminate the waitlist and support providers with the tools necessary for success. As of September 2013, there were more than 43,000 children active on the waitlist for a child care subsidy. This newest announcement represents the most significant investment in new opportunities for state early child care in nearly three years.

“There is no better investment we can make than one that puts resources behind our children,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “We know that the earlier our children get access to a quality education the better prepared they will be for elementary school. We have an opportunity to change lives through this type of investment and that is powerful.”

The funding for these new vouchers for access to early education and care programs for eligible low-income and other high-risk families in need is provided in large part a $15 million investment in the FY14 budget signed by Governor Patrick in July.

“Today we are making an investment that will create lifelong opportunities for thousands of children and help ensure the long-term security of the Commonwealth,” said Commissioner of Early Education and Care Tom Weber. “High quality early education and care is the essential foundation of our education and workforce development systems. Today represents another step forward in achieving the high quality early education and care system that our children deserve.”

EEC’s child care resource and referral agencies across the state will work with the families on the waitlist to determine eligibility and issue vouchers where approved. Review of applications from families on the waitlist began October 1, 2013.

Governor Patrick made the announcement following a tour of the Community Action Programs InterCity (CAPIC) Head Start site in Chelsea, which serves 141 preschool aged children. The CAPIC Head Start program in Chelsea receives state subsidy funding to provide wraparound services for some of the children enrolled in the program. In addition, the CAPIC agency provides early education and care services to the families in Chelsea and neighboring communities of Revere and Winthrop through a state-funded Coordinated Family and Community Engagement grant. The resources and services include playgroups for parents and children, activities that promote early literacy and collaborative efforts with Early Intervention that provide inclusive environments for children with special needs.

“By increasing access to early childhood development opportunities, we will ensure that Massachusetts continues to lead the nation in education,” said Senate President Therese Murray. “By encouraging learning and development from the earliest stages, we are creating a path to a bright future for our youngest residents. I am proud of what Massachusetts can offer our children in terms of education.”

“When my colleagues and I set out to create the first in the nation, independent Department of Early Education and Care we recognized that an early investment in educational services is the best way to ensure our children are on track for success in school and beyond,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. “Today, we are not only opening up access to high-quality early education and care, we are also helping working class families by making it easier for parents to get and keep jobs. I commend my colleagues, the Administration and the Department of Early Education and Care for their continued commitment to providing unrivaled opportunities for our children, and in doing so, helping Massachusetts grow economically.”

“These funds will provide children and families an opportunity to access high quality early education and care,” said Representative Alice Peisch. “I applaud the Administration and the Department of Early Education and Care as they continue to work towards providing a high quality early education for all children.”

“Providing access to high-quality early education opportunities is key to our children succeeding in the classroom and in life,” said Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein. “This investment allows local organizations across the Commonwealth like CAPIC, to sustain their extraordinary level of services and expand programs that are essential to our communities achieving.”

“Tomorrow’s competition in what will likely be a more competitive world begins with investment today,” said Chelsea City Manager Jay Ash. “By helping our youngest get an earlier start on their education, Governor Patrick is putting them in a better position to be more successful over their lifetimes. That success translates into better personal stories and, ultimately, a stronger, more vibrant and even more able to compete Commonwealth. I congratulate Governor Patrick for all he has done to keep our economy rolling through some very rough times, and I’m grateful that he is also thinking about today’s kids and tomorrow’s challenges. It is vision like Governor Patrick’s that promises to keep Massachusetts relevant and much more in the years and decades to come.”

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Chelsea to Get Maximum Federal Block Grant Award

Chelsea to Get Maximum  Federal Block Grant Award

While Chelsea will receive the maximum federal block grant this year, it is still drastically lower than just a few years ago, and remains a program decimated by White House cuts over the last five years.

Gov. Deval Patrick has announced that 38 cities and towns across the state will receive a total of $31 million in federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) to support housing rehabilitation, public service projects and local infrastructure.

Chelsea is among the recipients and will receive the maximum award of $900,000 for several local initiatives. That is the same amount that the City got last year, in 2012, but it’s $100,000 less than Chelsea got in 2010 and 2011. The CDBG grant program has been cut by more than $1 billion nationwide since 2009.

Many municipal and county government advocates across the country have caused major noise in regards to the continued cuts to the program, which was instituted in 1974 and has grown to be very popular at the local levels.

Nevertheless, Gov. Patrick praised the Obama Administration and Congress for the grant

“When we invest in infrastructure projects in our communities, we put people to work and leave a better Commonwealth for the next generation,” said Governor Patrick. “We thank the Obama Administration and our Congressional delegation for their continued commitment to investing in our future.”

The CDBG program is the Commonwealth’s largest available resource for neighborhood revitalization projects and helps meet the housing and public service needs of low- and moderate-income communities while building and repairing infrastructure vital to the health and safety of all residents.  The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and funds are distributed by the State’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to cities and towns in Massachusetts with populations of less than 50,000.

City Manager Jay Ash says the CDBG award will allow the City and its community based partners to acquire and renovate three foreclosed units, make improvements to Bosson Park, enhance targeted code enforcement activities, continue the Centro Latino citizenship program, offer ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) instruction and support after-school and summer programming.

“Each program is important and together they represent a significant commitment that we can offer to residents to improve their lives and their neighborhoods.  We’re indebted to the federal government and our state officials for seeing the value of investing with us in Chelsea,” offered City Manager Jay Ash.

Ash also heaped praised on Chelsea’s federal and state legislative delegations.

“To a person, they have all taken an interest in our goals for Chelsea.  I’ve talked with Senators Warren and Markey about our particular needs, and Congressman Capuano continues to be an active partner in addressing issues and identifying resources to respond to those issues. We really couldn’t be better served than by them, and on the State level by Senator (Sal) DiDomenico and Representatives (Kathi-Ann) Reinstein and (Eugene) O’Flaherty),”concluded Ash.

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