One can raise a six-pack to the end of summer if they’re a legal-aged hardworking resident, but one will no longer be able to raise up a 250ml nip bottle due to a continuing voluntary ban by Chelsea liquor stores courtesy of the Chelsea License Commission.
The Chelsea Licensing commission met again on the topic of 250 mL alcohol bottles on Aug. 28 in the Chelsea Public Library to packed room of invested residents, owners, commissioners, and police. They were all there to address the contentious topic of permanently banning 100ml to 250ml bottles and single can/malt bottle beverages.
Following from the initial commission decision to employ a voluntary ban on the June 26, the rare Aug. 28 meeting was an update to see about further action.
Over the summer downtown stores stopped selling nips and voluntarily stopped selling other small bottles as well as two very low-cost liquor brands identified as problematic.
The meeting ended with the resulting community agreeing to maintain a voluntary ban of 100ml and 250ml bottles and new, agreed-upon stipulations for community liquor store owners. The agreement comes on the heels of escalating community tensions with what Chelsea Police have described as “50 or so” individuals who constantly perpetrate public intoxication and littering problems for Chelsea community residents and visitors.
“I can tell you [increasing nip littering] has definitely decreased,” said Chelsea Police Capt. Keith Houghton.
The Chelsea Police Department seemed confident in the immediate results they have witnessed in the following weeks of the proposed ban. However when questioned by License Chair Michael Rossi if the results could be quantified, the police shifted focus and explained they now require a three-hour alcohol safety course.
“I find it really hard to believe there have been no incidents of drunkenness [since the voluntary ban],” stated commission member Roseann Bongiovanni with open skepticism.
Bongiovanni wasn’t the only person in attendance that openly questioned the Police Department’s results and the lasting impression of the ban thus far. Robert Mellion, executive director of the Massachusetts Package Store Association, also made his case in the two minutes allotted for public hearings.
“Less restrictive means have completed your goals,” Mellion stated, continuing “There’s no wall around Chelsea.”
Multiple residents and store owners echoed Mellion’s sentiment, agreeing that a legal ban instead of a voluntary ban infringed upon the rights of residents to legally purchase alcohol and would not begin to fully cover the larger issue at hand, alcoholism. The general sentiment being that there was nothing to stop these individuals from getting the same banned 250 ml bottles from liquor stores in neighboring cities and towns.
Mellion addressed those in attendance by listing the critical steps the License Commission, store owners, and police department should collaborate on together. Accomplishing cooperation by employing a voluntary ban of 100ml bottles, establishing a alcohol beverage training course and certification for liquor store owners, maintaining a do not sell list for specific individuals, along with impeding sales to intoxicated buyers.
It was agreed by the Commission to maintain a voluntary ban instead of a permanent one, keying in on public sentiment to not overextend their legal rights over Chelsea residents’ ability to purchase alcohol and promote community agreement and turnout to these meetings.
The training course has already been attended by all 12 local liquor stores, of which 25 individuals from these stores achieved the needed passing score of 75 or better. The Police Department also stated that seven individuals scored a 100.
The voluntary ban itself has not been enough to assuage some residents’ concerns, though. Edon Coimbra, owner of Ciao! Pizza and Pasta, was not content with the decision to tackle part of what he sees as the bigger problem.
“What are you going to do protect us?” Coimbra questioned, adding, “I cannot be dealing with the same individuals every day.”
The Comission had no response for a full blown initiative in tackling persistent alcoholism in Chelsea, and the voluntary ban will have to be measured through quantitative metrics that Rossi and Bongiovanni both identified a need for.
Alcoholism remains the bigger problem to many local residents like Coimbra who must deal with intoxicated individuals loitering near his restaurant on a daily basis, leaving his restaurant and other areas reliant on police assistance for these incidents.
The Commission will take up the issue again in three months.
The Chelsea Police Department will increase impaired driving patrols on local roads with grant funds from the Highway Safety Division of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). Chelsea Police will join local departments across the state as well as the Massachusetts State Police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Overenforcement mobilization and public information campaign.
This year’s campaign will urge drivers drinking alcohol or using marijuana and other drugs to plan ahead and designate a sober driver, use a ride-share service or take public transportation.
“Impaired drivers create a dangerous situation for everyone around them, threatening the destruction of lives and entire families,” said Chief Brian A. Kyes. “This grant will help increase our efforts during the busy summer travel season to keep our roads free of impaired drivers and avoid the tragedy they wreak.”
“Getting behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, using marijuana or both is one of the most dangerous things drivers can do,” said Jeff Larason, Director of the Highway Safety Division. “A little planning can save your life or someone else’s. Regret or remorse won’t bring someone back.”
Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2011 to 2016.
From 2015 to 2016, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities increased 9 percent (109 to 119).
From 2011-2015, 82 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.
From 2011-2015, 45 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.
National Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:
Approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers. On average, more than 10,000 people have died each year (2012- 2016) in drunk-driving crashes. To put it in perspective, that’s equal to about 20 jumbo jets crashing, with no survivors.
In 2016, almost one in five children (14 and younger) killed in traffic crashes were killed in drunk-driving crashes. Fifty-four percent of the time, it was the child’s own driver who was drunk.
Drugs were present in 43 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result in 2015, more frequently than alcohol was present.
NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)—the chemical responsible for most of marijuana’s psychological effects—slows reaction times, impairs cognitive performance, and makes it more difficult for drivers to keep a steady position in their lane.
Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own.
To view the Highway Safety Division’s (HSD) “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” TV spots, or for more information about the HSD’s public information campaign, go to www.mass.gov/DriveSober
In 2015 a viral video of South Carolina school resource officer (SRO) Ben Fields’ slamming a student across the classroom caused a public outrage. During the same year in Lynn, an SRO arrested a student with special needs.
“While the [school resource officer] was a support person for the student, the district should realize that involving an SRO in non-criminal matters comes with an added risk to the student because the SRO’s primary responsibility is law enforcement,” the Office of Civil Rights wrote on July 30 regarding the Lynn incident.
All these instances have begged the same question from the public: Will these officers provide protection, or will they threaten student safety?
Viral videos of rare but vicious incidents may cause horrors, but SROs have had plenty of heroics. In May, Illinois SRO Mark Dallas received much praise for chasing and pursuing a gunman out of a high school.
“Because of his heroic actions, countless lives were saved,” Dixon Police Chief Steven Howell told the New York Times in May. “We are forever indebted to him for his service and his bravery.”
Majority of the SROs’ works are not the dramatic highs and lows that the public sees; it’s the small details that are often overseen: preparing the students for real situations by doing drills, ensuring that safety systems are ready, or even their even their presence in itself.
Still, with viral stories often being the one that impacts social view of the SROs, the public relationship could use some work. The recently reported Revere Police Youth Academy may benefit this relationship.
“The foundation of the program is making good decisions and developing positive relationships between youth and law enforcement,” Capt. Amy O’Hara told the Journal.
As the new school year approaches, safety will remain as one of the top concerns for parents and schools alike. There will be few like the school resource officer who will help get that done.
As a drill instructor punished young Chelsea men with squats, knee bends, jump tucks and a variety of sit up exercises – the young people didn’t give up, but rather seemed to beg for more.
It’s been a pattern that’s repeated itself daily for the last seven weeks as the first-ever Chelsea Youth Police Academy unfolded this summer with 18 young people sticking out what is an off-shoot of the summer youth employment initiative. More than 20 applied for the academy through the Chelsea Collaborative, and officers selected 20 recruits. Two left the program, but 18 have stuck it out.
For the past seven weeks, Officers Keith Sweeney, Dave Batchelor Jr., Joe Cordes and Sammy Mojica have ushered the 18 Chelsea young people through hard physical training, and a classroom regimen of police training – as well as a few field trips.
Every Thursday morning, the Carter Park Crossfit Gym – owned by Firefighters Wayne Ulwick and Blady Sanchez – have donated their space for a morning workout with their instructor Jorge Monzor.
“We start every day off with physical training and Carter Park did donate one day a week to us, which has been great,” said Officer Keith Sweeney. “This is the first year and the overall goal is to build relationships with the youth in Chelsea. All three of us are assigned to community services and are stationed in the Chelsea Schools, so we know a lot of the kids already. We have a lot of good programs, but this is by far the best one.”
Said Batchelor, “We’ve had other kids come up to us after hearing about what we’re doing, and they want to know if the program is open and if they can join.”
Officer Cordes said it’s a program that promotes structure, and he said often young people in Chelsea crave that structure. That’s why, he believes, they have flocked to a program that challenges them physically and teaches military drills and police tactics.
“I think a lot of young people lack structure and when I went to the military, I didn’t think I wanted structure, but I miss it now,” he said. “High school kids want structure and love the camaraderie and brotherhood that has come with this academy.”
All said that Chief Brian Kyes and City Manager Tom Ambrosino are fully behind the program, and are promoting it wherever they go.
Sweeney said he is happy to see that a partnership with Carter Park grew out of the Academy and he hopes that will continue in the school year.
“When these guys opened, they called us and wanted to get high school kids in here,” he said. “When we started the Academy, we thought it was a perfect opportunity. I’m happy for these kids. I grew up in Chelsea and there was nothing like this for us when we were growing up.”
Co-owner Wayne Ulwick said the mission of the gym is to give back to the community as much as it is to operate as a business.
“Before we even opened up, that was the goal was to get these kids here,” he said. “We do this because it’s close to our hearts and not for the money.”
In addition, Sweeney said the recruits have had to learn to be on time, bring their lunch, have two uniforms ready and do their homework for the class portion.
“They never missed a beat,” he said with a smile.
FRONT 6577 –
Instructor Jorge Monzor gives orders to the Chelsea Youth Police Academy recruits last Thursday, Aug. 9, at the Carter Park Crossfit. The first-ever youth academy has found great success over seven weeks this summer, with 18 recruits sticking it out for a tough summer of physical training and police-based instruction. By all accounts, the young people have thoroughly enjoyed it – as have the officers.
Academy recruit Oliver Romero sweats it out on Thursday.
Push-ups have become second nature to Academy recruits like Robert Rossetti, shown here last Thursday during a rigorous training session at Carter Park Crossfit. The Crossfit donated the gym one morning per week for seven weeks to the Academy.
Frankie Suarez shows the strain as he does endless amounts of squat thrusts.
Facing a do-or-die situation for the completion of major off-site roadwork this summer, and a slower-than-expected work schedule on an Eversource project, Encore Boston Harbor and the City of Everett have announced on Tuesday the areas of Beacham, Dexter and Robin Streets will basically be closed off from Aug. 8 through October.
The change will likely have much more dire consequences for Chelsea than for Everett, as the roadway in and out of the New England Produce Center will be shut down for all intents and purposes. Beyond that, cab traffic from the airport will also be diverted away from the normal route through Beacham Street.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said they’ll have to take a wait and see approach in the coming weeks to figure out the proper response.
“It’s just hard to say what the impact will be,” he said. “Given the Second Street alternative (for the Produce Center), I’m hoping the impact is not too substantial. But, we will have to wait and see.”
Chief Brian Kyes said the Police Department would employ its message boards around the city to inform people of the sudden change.
Many had hoped that the work could get done side-by-side, and by making the Eversource transmission line project and the Encore traffic project a dual project Ð it could bring down the pain associated with so much construction work in one small location.
However, that ended up not happening, said Everett Planner Jay Monti, who indicated that Eversource moved too slow on their project. That, in turn, has put things in jeopardy for the casino to get its work done before the end of the outdoor construction season Ð which closes in early November when the asphalt plants shut down.
“Due to delays in permitting and obstructions on the road, Eversource has gotten behind schedule to the point it’s going to threaten Encore in getting its [off-site] roadwork done and without that work they can’t open the casino next year. We’re up against a wall and the only way to get it to work is to go 24 hours a day and essentially shut down the roadsÉThings got critical last week and Eversource was just not making progress. Encore came to us and said they can’t wait any longer. They can’t risk not opening up the casino on time because of the Eversource project running behind.”
The shut-down began Aug. 8, and will run for about 10 weeks into October so that Eversource can work around the clock, three shifts, to get their work in the area done and move on to Chelsea and East Boston. Following that, the shutdown will allow Encore to work around the clock to get the work done that has been held up due to Eversource running behind.
Monti said the corridor will be open to pedestrians and bicycles during the 10-week shutdown. To be clear, though, the roads will be open for drivers, but it will be more than difficult to get through at all hours of the day. So, they are suggesting people use other ways to get places like the airport, the Produce Center and other areas. “For all intents and purposes, it’s closed because anyone who goes down there will sit in traffic for three hours,” he said. “We want to send a message to people who use that corridor. If you’re a cabbie going to or coming from the airport, you have to take the Tobin and pay the toll. If you’re a delivery driver for Amazon, we don’t want you in that area because this work needs to get done. If you’re a driver for the Produce Center, we encourage you to take Rt. 16 and Second Street into Chelsea.”
A Chelsea man pleaded guilty last week in federal court in Boston to being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Cesar Alicea, 22, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Nov. 7, 2018.
In December 2017, Alicea was indicted along with Andres Perez, of Chelsea, who was charged with possessing cocaine base and heroin with intent to distribute. It is alleged that Alicea and Perez are members of the East Side Money Gang.
On Oct. 31, 2017, Alicea was in a car that was stopped by law enforcement officers. As Alicea ran from the police, he was observed throwing an item. Shortly thereafter, Alicea was apprehended by police and arrested. The item was recovered and determined to be a .25 caliber Raven Arms pistol.
The charge of being felon in possession of a firearm provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
The good news for Chelsea residents is that the $5 million redesign of the Broadway business district is moving forward, and a final decision will be made by the City Council about its exact components next month.
And if the vision and innovativeness that City Manager Tom Ambrosino fostered in all parts of Revere can be matched here, then Chelsea residents can expect a Broadway and Bellingham Square bustling with activity and commerce.
But a big question about “The New Broadway” remains: Should the six city blocks from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue be a one-way street (as it exists now and has for many decades) or a two-way street?
The Chelsea Traffic Commission hosted a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall to hear residents’ opinions about the potential change of Broadway to a two-way street. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter at its next meeting before the Council casts the final vote about the entire redesign project, including the traffic plan.
Alexander Train, Chelsea’s assistant director of the department of planning and development, gave a thorough presentation of the re-imagined Broadway project that will totally transform the business district’s intersections, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tree pits, and physical appearance.
“We’ve completed the planning and development portion of the process and we’re now approaching the Traffic Commission to vote and adopt and enact the plan,” said Train. “Their vote will be relayed to City Council, who has the authority to approve or reject their decision.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes spoke in favor of a two-way Broadway, saying it would improve the flow of traffic.
“If a person double parks his vehicle, we have a reason to tow the vehicle ASAP,” said Kyes. “We want to keep the traffic flowing.”
Kyes said he was happy to hear that the intersection of Broadway and Third Street will have traffic lights in the redesign project. “Broadway and Third is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire state,” said Kyes.
He said that when he drove from the police station to City Hall for the meeting, “the backup when I got to Hawthorne Street was incredible, because everybody is making the loop (around Broadway). I think the final [redesign] project makes a lot of sense. I drive down Broadway, Revere all the time and I very, very rarely see double parking there.” Councillor-at-Large Damlili
Vidot said she would like to see the city pay more attention to cleaning up Broadway (such as removing the weed in the metal grates). She also disputed the claim that two-way traffic would curtail double parking and that it would make it safer for pedestrians. She also asked about potential back-ups on the Tobin Bridge and how it would affect traffic on a two-way Broadway.
Vidot said she was not happy with the swiftness of the entire redesign process.
“I urge everyone to just take several steps back and let’s figure out a way to engage more people,” said Vidot. “The way that this process has gone, having a meeting in the middle of summer when the City Council isn’t even meeting – in a hot room where everyone is aggravated and we had to wait 10 minutes to even start the meeting, all of it is just not right.”
Ambrosino, who favors a two-way Broadway, said the traffic configuration should not predominate the discussion of the redesign project.
“That’s only a small part of the reimaging Broadway,” said Ambrosino. “Many of the improvements [to Bellingham Square, Fay Square, City Hall Avenue, traffic signals at dangerous intersections] are happening regardless of which of these two configurations between Williams and Fifth Streets is chosen. Even the one-way configuration is a major improvement over the two-lane speedway that currently exists on Broadway. The two-way configuration is still safer, calmer, and slower for bicylists and pedestrians.”
Ambrosino said the two-way configuration will be “transformative.”
“It will make a difference to the feel and the look of that downtown. It makes it vibrant. It makes it aesthetically pleasing. This will be better for pedestrians, for traffic, and for businesses.”
Rick Gordon, owner of Allen Cut Rite on Broadway, said the No. 1 issue in the downtown district is parking. “I personally prefer a one-way plan for the flow of traffic. The street is much narrower than other communities and I don’t think two-way makes a business more visible.”
Gordon credited the Chelsea Police for their efforts in slowing down motorists and enforcing double-parking restrictions on Broadway. Some residents at the meeting had noted that double-parking is a recurring issue on Broadway.
Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda, whose family owns Tito’s Bakery, asked whether the City Council will have to vote on the redesign project in its entirety as opposed to voting on individual components such as the traffic configuration, and the placement of new bus stops and traffic lights on Broadway.
Following more than two hours of discussion, the one-way/two-way Broadway issue remains a hotly debated one and all eyes will be on the Traffic Commission when it convenes for a vote at its next meeting.WE should be Ambrosino said he favors a two-way Broadway
Tuesday night, July 24, at 10:22 p.m., a detail officer was approached by a male victim with lacerations to his face. The victim stated that he got into a fight with a male he knew and was repeatedly kicked and hit near City Hall. The victim was transported to CHA Everett for his injuries. The male suspect was arrested.
Melvin Maldonado, 32, of Boston, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and possession of a Class A drug (heroin).
BROKE INTO A CAR
On July 17, at 2:45 p.m., officers observed a motor vehicle with its passenger side door opened in a private lot located between Fourth and Hawthorne Streets.
After further investigation, officers located three males and one female party inside the motor vehicle, which had two broken windows on the passenger side. The car was not owned by any of the parties located inside. Three of the four were arrested on scene, and the fourth individual was transported to the hospital and was summoned into Chelsea District Court.
Jose Burgos Murillo, 60, homeless of Chelsea; Michael Herlihy, 27, of Boston; and Jamielynn Gemellaro, 36, of Reading; were all charged with breaking and entering in the day for a felony and trespassing.
STOLE PHONE AT PHONE STORE
On July 18, at 8:30 p.m., police responded to T-Mobile on a report of a stolen cell phone. The victim stated he put his phone on the counter and when he was looking away, an unknown male took his cellphone. Officers reviewed video and located suspect a short distance away and placed him under arrest.
Salvadore Pineda, 30, homeless, was charged with larceny from a building.
FAKE CAB THREATENS HACKEY
On July 20, at 3:35 p.m., a Chelsea Police traffic officer, was approached by a licensed taxi driver about being threatened in front of the Market Basket as the driver was picking up a fare. The officer placed the male under arrest for threats and running an illegal taxi operation after he confronted the taxi driver over the fare.
Ulysses Grullon, 39, of East Boston, was charged with unlicensed taxi business, threatening to commit a crime, and unlicensed operation of a taxi cab.
Monday, July 16
Adele McCabe, 33, 20 Walnut St., Saugus, was arrested on a warrant.
Tuesday, July 17
Salvador Pineda, 30, 135 Falmouth St., Revere, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and on a warrant.
Angela DeAngelis, 36, 109 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for streetwalking.
Jose Burgos-Murillo, 60, Homeless, Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering vehicle/boat for misdemeanor and trespassing.
Michael Herlihy, 37, 39 Kingston St., Boston, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime and trespassing.
JamieLynn Gemellaro, 36, 186 Wakefield St., Reading, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime, trespassing.
Wednesday, July 18
Salvadore Pineda, 30, address Unknown, Chelsea, was arrested for larceny from building.
Thursday, July 19
Giovanni Pacheco-Santos, 40, 9 Arnold St., Revere, was arrested for operating motor vehicle unlicensed and marked lanes violation.
Michael Herlihy, 37, 39 Kingston St., Boston, was arrested for shoplifting.
Egdon Padilla, 43, 27 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Guillermo Molina, 64, 77 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and possession open container of alcohol.
Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 48, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and possessing open container of alcohol.
Friday, July 20
Geral Vittini, 23, 233 Humbold Ave., Dorchester, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license, speeding and marked lanes violation.
Juan Palacios, 37, 200 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating motor vehicle with suspended license.
Derrol Bond, 26, 19 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for disorderly conduct and threat to commit a crime.
Ulysses Grullon, 39, 20 Brooks St., East Boston, was arrested for taxicab business unlicensed, threat to commit crime and unlicensed taxicab operation.
Ahmed Maazouz, 52, 49 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for shoplifting.
Historically, there’s been very little to do on a summer night in Chelsea, and that’s been the problem.
Now, in its third summer, The Movement has been the cure to hapless wandering for local youth.
Instead, they hoop it up.
Coordinated by Councilors Yamir Rodriguez and Damali Vidot, along with Isidra Quinonez and Danny Mojica, The Movement keeps Chelsea kids age 13-20 busy on Wednesday nights and Saturday mornings.
“I think it’s just a great environment because a lot of the younger kids play with the older kids and they can see them on the street outside of the league and say ‘hi,’” said Rodriguez. “A lot of friendships start because of The Movement. It develops kind of a mentor situation because a lot of these kids don’t have an older brother and this helps that too. It’s kind of an unintended consequence, but it’s one of the best things about it.
“The kids love hanging out and playing ball,” he continued.
Vidot said it helps to bring youth together in a relaxed, but supervised, environment.
“On Saturday morning, they don’t hand out, but they come to play,” she said. “After playing all day long, they will not want to go out to the streets when they get home. They’ll stay in and take it easy. On Friday night, they don’t want to stay out because they have to be here on Saturday morning. You have the 13-year-old playing with the 20-year-old, so it helps them become better players. It also builds community. It’s not like a lot of other youth leagues where you have to sign in and sign out. It’s street ball. They can be themselves.”
The Movement came out of a desperate situation, where the community was reeling in the spring of 2016 after the shooting death of Pablo Villeda during an early morning teen party on Washington Avenue. The shooting also injured numerous other young people, and it showed that the youth who are not “at-risk” needed some activities as well.
That’s when The Movement came together.
Now, the league has several hundred young people playing against one another all summer. Typically, the games are played at Highland Park, but a renovation project there may force them to move to the Williams School.
The Movement will begin play in early July, and it had its annual kick-off at Chelsea High last weekend – with the Battle of the Classes and Police vs. Fire basketball games.
“Basketball is the entertainment,” said Rodriguez, “but it’s the environment that has become very important.”
The Chelsea Licensing Commission has put on hold the ban of small liquor bottles (100 ml) after a hearing Tuesday night where numerous package store owners from the City came forward to protest the change.
The hearing came on the heels of the ban of “nip” bottles last month, with Chelsea being the first municipality to ban the sale of the one-shot bottles of liquor. That was to be followed up with the potential ban of small liquor bottles too. However, Chair Mark Rossi said the strong turnout from the liquor licensees in the City caused the Board to pause.
“They told us this would essentially put them out of business,” said Rossi. “The sales of small liquor bottles have been up since the ban on nips and the liquor stores were supplementing the lost income from nips with the 100 ml bottles. The positive on this is there was actually a dialog. This is the first time that has happened. Chelsea is the first municipality that has pub in a ban on nips. Based on that, it showed the community is serious about this issues. All parties considered this a problem.”
He said about half of the 16 package store license holders were at the meeting, which lasted more than two hours.
The result is the ban has been put on hold, but a special meeting has been called for Aug. 28 and a voluntary ban has been called for.
“We are calling a special meeting to address this and pick up where we left off,” Rossi said. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen something like this.”
He said the liquor license holders were asked as a show of good faith to meet with the Police Department and voluntarily ban 100 ml bottles (particularly McCormack’s and Ruble) within 30 days. While the License Commission rarely meets in the summer, Rossi said they would call the special meeting for an update, with the hope being the ban can work informally.
Police Chief Brian Kyes said he is still for the ban, but was encouraged by the willingness of the liquor license holders during the meeting.
“Although the Chelsea Police strongly encourages the commission to proceed with the ban as proposed, I am encouraged that these licensed businesses are engaged in dialogue with the commission, the community and understanding their role in this serious issue,” he said. “Moving forward, we will continue to focus enforcement on any business that violates City licensing rules and state law, especially those that have such an adverse effect on the community.”
But not all was lost in the matter, which is an issue pushed by residents and several city councilors, including Councilor Roy Avellaneda.
Rossi said it was impressed on the liquor license holders that they need to be more connected to the community. He said it was interesting to note that none of them were as involved as they thought they were – particularly in things like the Chamber of Commerce or the local non-profits.
“The idea is we’re not looking to push anyone out of business, but to address a systemic, decades-old problem everyone agrees exists in Chelsea,” he said. “This is a positive step forward to address that issue…It’s important liquor store owners realize they are members of the community and aware of their actions on others. No one wants to go to the hair salon next to a liquor store where they have to step over the urine-soaked body of a perons passed out in the doorway.”