The Chelsea City Council voted 11-0 to on Monday night to begin looking at the forthcoming, new Silver Line Stations and how to prevent commuters from hogging parking spaces.
Councillor Roy Avellaneda introduced the order at Monday’s Council meeting in order to get ahead of what could certainly become an immediate problem once the Silver Line opens some time in the spring.
With working moving at a rapid pace, and residents now able to see the stations and where they will be, Avellaneda said he was compelled to call for some sort of study.
“There areas of the city where these new stations would open are certainly vulnerable and we should think about some parking regulations around them,” he said. “I can imagine there will be outsiders parking in these areas if allowed. So that we don’t harm our residents living in these areas, we should look at doing these parking restrictions now.”
Avellaneda received unanimous support on the Council, and his order calls for a working group to be assembled to look at what might work at the new stations.
The working group would include city councillors, the city manager, the city clerk, the police chief and the Planning Department.
On Nov. 5, at 3:15 p.m., a CPD officer, while parked across from the Chelsea Police Headquarters, was approached by a young male. The officer reported that the male seemed to be out of breath and in a panic.
He told the officer that he was riding his bicycle on Central Avenue by the cemetery and observed a truck drive past him four times, and each time the operator made comments to him that made him feel uncomfortable. The officer gave a description out to all Chelsea units to BOLO for a black Dodge Ram truck as reported by the young male. A short time later Chelsea officers observed the truck after it hit a vehicle near Chestnut and Fifth streets. Other Chelsea Units responded and stopped vehicle and placed operator under arrest. The vehicle was reported to be stolen out of Reading.
Michael Valentin, 17, of Revere, was charged with unlicensed operation, reckless operation, leaving the scene of property damage, and receiving a stolen vehicle.
STOLE CELL PHONE
On Nov. 5, at noon, a CPD officer on walking patrol in uniform observed from a distance of 100 feet a known female. The officer observed the female approach the victim, who was sitting against a wall by Cherry Street at Everett Avenue. The officer observed the female grab the victim with both hands and start to push him. The officer then observed female take a cell phone from victim. She was placed into custody on scene.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, of Revere, was charged with unarmed robbery.
UNLICENSED LIVERY DRIVERS
On Nov. 6, at approximately 6 a.m., a traffic officer was monitoring the intersection of Crescent and Eastern avenues. At that location, the officer observed a vehicle take a right hand turn from Crescent Avenue onto Eastern Avenue without stopping. The operator was discovered to be unlicensed and was allegedly employed by Nunez Livery of East Boston.
The Traffic Division has been monitoring the practice of this livery company hiring unlicensed drivers. The operator was placed into custody and the vehicle was impounded.
Osmin Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, of 743 Broadway, was charged with unlicensed operation and failing to yield at an intersection.
HIGH COURT AFFIRMS CONVICTION
The state’s highest court this month upheld a Suffolk Superior Court jury’s murder verdict in the 2006 homicide of Yolande Danestoir by her son.
The 33-page unanimous decision affirms the conviction of Norton Cartright for first-degree in his mother’s slaying inside the Reynolds Street home they once shared – where Cartright had continued to live in a crawlspace after being ordered to stay out of the residence. Evidence at trial established that Cartright beat her with a hammer, causing fatal injuries, after she found him inside the apartment.
Cartright’s primary argument on appeal was that his videotaped and audio-recorded admissions to State and Chelsea police detectives were not voluntary, that his prior motion to suppress should have been granted, and that his statement should not have gone before the jury. The high court disagreed.
“We conclude, as did the motion judge, that the defendant’s confession was voluntary, and therefore admissible,” the court wrote, noting that the detectives “pointed accurately at the evidence arrayed against him” and that their suggestion of possible mitigating circumstances “were within the bounds of acceptable interrogation methods.”
Cartright also argued that the detectives’ appeals to let the victim “rest in peace” in the “afterlife” by telling “the truth” were improper. The high court rejected this claim, as well, finding that they were not “calculated to exploit a particular psychological vulnerability of the defendant” and did not render his incriminating statements involuntary.
“Contrary to the defendant’s contention, the religious references here were of a type that other courts have concluded were permissible,” the high court wrote. “Nothing indicates that police took advantage of, or knew of, the defendant’s personal religious beliefs, or of any special susceptibility he might have had to religious appeals.”
Juan Valle, 38, 127 Division St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Laura Fontanez, 52, 152 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery.
Christopher Rivera, 25, 54 Maverick St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Alisha Cohen, 38, 36 Winthrop Rd., Chelsea, was arrested for possessing alcoholic beverage and disorderly conduct.
Alexandra Corn, 60, 49 Bromfield Rd., Somerville, was arrested for larceny over $250.
Carlos Sanchez Renderos, 29, 140 Grove St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Kevin Merrill, 37, 240 Albany St., Cambridge, was arrested on a warrant.
Marcio Mezabaca, 32, 220 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, leaving scene of property damage, failure to stop for police, assault to murder and resisting arrest.
Jose Orozco Dias, 44, 73 Congress Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Meghan Mastrangelo, 36, 106 Mountain Ave., Revere, was arrested for unarmed robbery.
Pedro Mejia, 34, 1641 Shore Rd., Revere, Larceny over $250.
Antonio Gomez-Bran, 21, 743 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, failure to yield at intersection.
Jenry Lopez-Alvarez, 29, 106 Webster Ave., Chelsea, waas arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Pena Aguilar Bonifacio, 48, address unknown, was arrested for trespassing.
Henry Hernandez-Valentin, 47, 21 John St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing.
Alexander Hubbard, 45, 14 Savin St., Roxbury, was arrested on warrants.
Allan Tzalam Hernandez, 18, 48 Harvard St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
German Sanchez, 23A Philomena Ave., Revere, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle.
Robert Daniels, 18, 73A Marlborough St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
On Oct. 4 at 8;12 a.m., a male subject was placed into custody after he was observed entering and checking motor vehicle door handles by police in the MGH Clinic parking lot, located at 151 Everett Ave. No stolen property located on his person.
Egno Silva, 26, of Beverly, was charged with Breaking and Entering in the day for a felony.
THAT’S MY SPOT!
On Oct. 6 at 6:43 p.m., officers responded to 827 Broadway on a past assault involving neighbors. Officers were advised that one of the involved may be in possession of a knife. Officers determined it was an argument over a parking space with one of the participants claiming she was threatened with a knife.
Officers placed the subject under arrested for the assault.
Luz Rodriguez, 55, of 835 Broadway, was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.
NO ALARM CAN WAKE HIM UP
On Oct. 7 at 2 a.m., officers responded to the area of Greg’s Service Center located at 51 Park St. on the report of a car alarm going off and not stopping.
Officers observed a male party who was passed out in a truck on the property. The subject was placed under arrest after stating he entered the truck to sleep for the night.
James Sullivan, 23, of 101 Park St., was charged with breaking and entering in the night for a felony and one warrant.
REVERE MAN SENTENCED FOR BANK ROBBERY SPREE
A Revere man was sentenced Oct. 11 in federal court in Boston for robbing 10 banks during a 19-day spree from late December 2016 to early January 2017.
He was arrested in Chelsea on Jan. 7, and confessed to robbing the banks.
Fred Mandracchia, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Allison D. Burroughs to 100 months in prison, three years of supervised release, and ordered to pay restitution of $16,695 to the banks he robbed. In July 2017, Mandracchia HYPERLINK “https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/revere-man-pleads-guilty-multiple-bank-robberies” pleaded guilty to 10 counts of bank robbery
Following a Jan. 3, 2017, robbery of the Mechanics Cooperative Bank branch in Fall River, law enforcement identified Mandracchia as the individual responsible for that robbery. Based on similarities in the robberies and the physical description of the perpetrator, Mandracchia was suspected to have also been involved in nine other Boston-area bank robberies.
On Oct. 8 at 11:25 p.m., officers were dispatched to the 7-11 store at Broadway and Williams for a report of an unwanted party. The male party had been previously given a no trespass order by the store. Upon arrival officers observed the male harassing customers at the entrance. He was placed into custody at the scene.
Daniel Humphreys, 37, of 855 Broadway, was charged with resisting arrest and trespassing.
PRESCRPITION DRUG TAKE BACK DAY
City Manager Thomas Ambrosino and Police Chief Brian Kyes are again hosting the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday October28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Chelsea Police Headquarters. This national program aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. The public is asked not to dispose of any items listed on the front of the kiosk such as needles, auto-injectors such as epi-pens or flammable objects. There is a separate container to dispose of sharps.
Additionally, the citizens of Chelsea are reminded that this public collection kiosk at Police Headquarters is available for anonymous use 365 days a year.
Hector Lopez, 38, 88 Williams St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Okbay Bahatu, 32, 318 Chestnut St., Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant and possessing alcoholic beverage.
Egno Silva, 26, 338 Rantour St., Beverly, was arrested for breaking and entering daytime.
Dania Lopez, 21, 48 Watts St., Chelsea, was arrested for a warrant, unregistered motor vehicle, not in possession of license, registration not in possession.
Alexandria Vega, 33, 342 Blue Ledge Dr., Boston, was arrested for common nightwalker.
Nicole Skillin, 40, 2 Rice St., Saugus, was arrested for sexual conduct for fee and warrant.
Elvedina Sejdinovic, 23, 39 Crescent Ave, Chelsea, was arrested on a warrant.
Luz Rodriguez, 55, 835 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon and assault and battery.
James Sullivan, 23, 101 Park St., Chelsea, was arrested for breaking and entering nighttime and on a warrant.
Jorge Izaguirre, 21, 72 Fremont Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor and possession open container of alcohol in motor vehicle.
Miguel Hernandez, 53, 104 Library St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor.
Picardy Lamour, 24, 7 Murray St., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor and leaving scene of property damage.
John Londono, 28, 186 Chester Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for operating under the influence ofliquor, flashing red light violation.
Daniel Humphreys, 37, 855 Broadway, Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and resisting arrest.
A member of MS-13’s Enfermos Criminales Salvatrucha (ECS) clique in Chelsea, pleaded guilty on Sept. 28 in federal court in Boston to RICO conspiracy involving the attempted murder of a rival gang member.
Domingo Tizol, a/k/a “Chapin,” 23, a Guatemalan national who resided in Chelsea, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, more commonly referred to as RICO conspiracy, and admitted responsibility for the attempted murder of a rival 18th Street gang member in Chelsea in May 2015. U.S. District Court Judge F. Dennis Saylor IV scheduled sentencing for Jan. 4, 2018. Tizol is the 17th defendant to plead guilty in this case.
On May 26, 2015, Tizol and, allegedly, Bryan Galicia-Barillas, a/k/a “Chucky,” another MS-13 member, repeatedly stabbed an 18th Street gang member on Bellingham Street in Chelsea. The victim survived the attack.
After a three-year investigation, Tizol was one of 61 defendants named in a January 2016 superseding indictment targeting the criminal activities of alleged leaders, members, and associates of MS-13 in Massachusetts. According to court documents, MS-13 was identified as a violent transnational criminal organization whose branches or “cliques” operate throughout the United States, including in Massachusetts. MS-13 members are required to commit acts of violence to maintain membership and discipline within the group. Specifically, MS-13 members are required to attack and murder gang rivals whenever possible.
The RICO conspiracy charge provides for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. According to the terms of the plea agreement, the parties will recommend that Tizol be sentenced to 10 years in prison. Tizol will also be subject to deportation upon the completion of his sentence. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb; Harold H. Shaw, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Field Division; Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston; Colonel Richard D. McKeon, Superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police; Commissioner Thomas Turco of the Massachusetts Department of Corrections; Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger; Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Thompkins; Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley; Middlesex County District Attorney Marian T. Ryan; Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett; Boston Police Commissioner William Evans; Chelsea Police Chief Brian A. Kyes; Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie; Lynn Police Chief Michael Mageary; Revere Police Chief Joseph Cafarelli; and Somerville Police Chief David Fallon made the announcement.
The details contained in the charging documents are allegations and the remaining defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
Chelsea and State Police Detectives assigned to the Suffolk County District Attorneys Office are investigating a shooting that occurred in front of 119 Congress Ave. Tuesday evening.
Chelsea officers responded to a call for shots fired in front of that address at 7:45 p.m. Upon arrival officers observed two gunshot victims in the street. EMS transported both a male and female victim to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment. Both injures were considered serious.
The names of both are not being released at this time.
The investigation is ongoing. Chelsea Police are asking for anyone with information on this incident to call Chelsea Police at 617-466-4800.
Chelsea Police remind the community they can report crimes or suspicious activity anonymously in various formats. Citizens can call the 24 hr “tips” line at 617-466-4880, email reports directly from the departments website at www.chelseapolice.com or download for free the MYPD App that is compatible with both Android and Apple smart phones. All three ways are monitored and totally anonymous.
A man was ordered held on high bail at his arraignment Monday on charges he sexually assaulted two homeless women in Chelsea.
Osmar Flores, 23, was arraigned Monday in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of aggravated rape, armed robbery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and strangulation in connection with an assault that occurred in July, and charges of rape, assault and battery, and strangulation in connection with a 2015 case that was previously charged in Chelsea District Court.
Assistant District Attorney Myriam Feliz requested bail of $100,000 and requested that Flores be ordered to stay away and have no contact with the victims and submit to GPS monitoring and home confinement in the event he is to be released on bail. Clerk Magistrate Edward Curley imposed $50,000 bail and the requested conditions of release.
Feliz told the court that the victim in the 2017 case met Flores some time after midnight on July 18, 2017, in the area of Bellingham Square in Chelsea.
A short time after their first encounter, Flores approached the victim and offered to accompany her and carry her bag as she walked to a bus stop. As they approached the Route 1 underpass, Flores grabbed the victim, sexually assaulted her, and strangled her until she lost consciousness, prosecutors said.
Flores was gone when the victim regained consciousness, and she was able to locate Chelsea Police officers who were in the area and reported the assault. Officers observed that the victim had a cut to her lip, blood and bruising on her face, and bruises and marks on her neck and collarbone. She was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital, where she underwent a sexual assault exam.
Security cameras in the area captured footage of the victim walking with a man toward the overpass and then showed the man leaving the area alone following the assault. Flores was identified as the man in the images by a Chelsea Police officer who was familiar with him and had seen him earlier on that date. In a post-Miranda interview with detectives, Flores allegedly made statements identifying himself in the images, prosecutors said.
Flores was previously charged in Chelsea District Court in November 2015 in connection with an assault at the same location. Following a dangerousness hearing and probation surrender, Flores was sentenced to two years behind bars for violating the terms of his probation in an earlier auto theft case. The sexual assault charges, however, were dismissed in 2016 over prosecutors’ objections after the victim – who was also homeless – became unavailable. Suffolk prosecutors were subsequently able to locate the victim and present her testimony to the grand jury, resulting in indictments in the earlier assault.
The victim in that case was walking alone in the area of the Route 1 underpass in Chelsea on Nov. 19, 2015, when Flores, who had been following behind her, asked her for a lighter. As the victim reached into her pocket, Flores allegedly grabbed her and forced her onto a mattress in a nearby homeless encampment. He repeatedly struck the victim in the face and head, sexually assaulted and strangled her, prosecutors said.
The defendant then left the area and the victim located a Chelsea Police officer to report the assault. She was transported to Whidden Memorial Hospital, where biological evidence from her attacker was collected during an exam. State Police criminalists developed a unique DNA profile of the attacker that was then entered into the Combined DNA Index System, or CODIS. The database matched the profile to that of Flores, prosecutors said.
Sarah MacIsaac is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Flores is represented by Richard Doyle. He returns to court Oct. 27.
Damali Vidot, popular councillor-at-large, knows from first hand experience the trouble that Chelsea youths can encounter in their formative years
“As someone who used to get in to trouble and who lost a friend a few days ago that I met when I used to get in to trouble, I know the importance of being there for these young people – just to have someone that they can count on to lead them in the right direction.”
That’s one of the reasons that the 39-year-old Vidot, along with City Councillor Yamir Rodriguez, Danny Mojica, and Isidra Quinones, founded The Movement, a summertime youth basketball league. The league held its playoffs and season-ending pizza party Saturday at Highland Park.
“The Movement was born out of some shootings that were happening in the community and we wanted to provide an outlet for kids 13-20 because I feel that’s an age that really doesn’t have enough supportive services that we wanted to engage them in during the summer,” said Vidot.
The Movement has grown to close to 100 youths who participate in the outdoor basketball league Wednesdays and Saturdays at Highland Park across from the Jordan Boys and Girls Club.
The mood was festive as the basketball players were united in spirit and celebrating the league’s second successful season. Police officers Keith Sweeney and David Batchelor Jr. were on hand to coach a team and affirm the support of Chelsea’s finest.
Vidot understands The Movement is only in touch with its players a few hours a week on the basketball court and that the players must take responsibility for their actions beyond the court.
“Even though we’re with them a limited number of hours during the week, I’m hoping it sets the tone for the rest of the week and they remember that there are grown-ups out there that actually care,” said Vidot.
Betsy Vicente, mother of 14-year-old, 6-foot-2-inch aspiring basketball player Christian Rios, said her son likes the competition and atmosphere of The Movement.
“He loves it. My son absolutely adores coming here. He looks forward to playing here every weekend and hanging out with his friends.”
Vicente said The Movement is like “a second family.”
“This is his neighborhood family,” said Vicente. The kids feel safe and the league is bringing them together in a good environment.”
As for rising community leaders Damali Vidot, Jamir Rodriguez, Vicente said what many at the Highland Park basketball courts were thinking, “The leaders of The Movement are doing a phenomenal job. I like the new Chelsea.”
City Manager Tom Ambrosino and consultants for the City took their message of a two-way Broadway in the business district to owners of the businesses on Thursday morning, Aug. 31, with Ambrosino saying he would stake his position on the issue.
Members of City government met with business owner from Broadway and the adjacent downtown streets Thursday morning at the Green Street Apartments community room. Kicking off the morning, Ambrosino expressed his great support for the change.
“It is incumbent on me to try to reduce the level of skepticism and outright opposition to this change,” he said emphatically. “That is what I’ll try to do in the coming months…I am 100 percent confident I can do that by doing two things – telling you about the advantages and listening to you…Whatever you think of two-way Broadway – one-way Broadway, that one-way speedway, cannot continue. It is unsafe. It is confusing to pedestrians and motorists and it is counterproductive to businesses and merchants on the corridor.”
Ambrosino stressed he believes that one change can transform the City’s downtown – particularly in terms of easing traffic patterns, eliminating unsafe double parking situations and making it easier for pedestrians to get to businesses.
Ralph DiNisco of the consulting firm Nelson Nygaard said that two-way Broadway is possible from a traffic management standpoint.
He compared it to other communities like Revere and Somerville where the lanes are just as wide and the traffic volumes are far greater.
Having studied the volumes in Chelsea and other communities, Broadway Chelsea handles only about 6,500 cars per day, where other Broadways along the Route 107 corridor handle double that.
“From a traffic operations perspective, two-way Broadway can work,” he said. “The numbers aren’t so high that it’s impossible. It can easily work with some changes. From a big picture, there’s no fatal flaw…If you look at other places, they have converted to two-way, and they are successful…Broadway now is a speedway. Nobody stops going down Broadway. They go faster than you want a car to go in a very busy downtown business corridor with people walking around.”
Police Chief Brian Kyes also spoke highly of the change, saying it would help dangerous situations for pedestrians and prevent double parking of delivery trucks – which allows criminals to shield themselves from police.
“There are a lot of young mothers pushing a carriage and when they come out with a carriage from behind a truck, it’s a very, very dangerous situation,” he said. “I’ve heard the idea for many, many years and we at the police department think it’s a very good idea.”
But business owners weren’t so convinced.
Some, like Roman Gold of Margolis Pharmacy, felt that it could increase traffic and become a cut-through for people trying to avoid Rt. 1 traffic.
“You could start to see a lot more traffic redirected by things like the Waze app from Route 1 to avoid traffic tie-ups further up the road,” he said.
Rick Gordon of Allen’s Cut-Rite said one of the biggest problems for merchants would be deliveries. Many merchants, he said, cannot afford to pay to have deliveries outside of busy times, and he said there isn’t adequate space for delivery trucks in the alley.
“Many people would have to pay $100 or $150 fees for scheduling deliveries,” he said. “I can’t really pass that fee on to my customers and it’s an undue burden on the small business. Many of us do UPS and FedEx only, but some get trailer trucks in periodically…What needs to be done is you need to start by re-striping the parking spots and doing the small things.”
Compare Supermarket owner Al Calvo said he thinks that the delivery problem – which was a great concern – could be solved.
“We’re emphatic with our vendors that there be no deliveries after noon,” he said. “I think there’s a way for us as business people to set the rules. Sometimes my deliveries show up after 2 p.m. and we don’t accept the load. We do have leverage.”
Some were also worried about whether or not the City could enforce the rules well enough, that there would be enough oversight.
Ambrosino said he guaranteed that, if approved, he would make it work.
“We have enough manpower and enough officers that want to work overtime if that’s what it takes,” he said. “I will put my reputation on the line. The City Council can fire me if it doesn’t work. I think it can be that transformative.”
The change cannot be unilaterally implemented. If it is recommended in the overall Re-Imagining Broadway study, it has to be submitted to the Traffic Commission. If approved there, it must go to the City Council for a final approval. At each step, there is plenty of room for public comment.
r of the community and executive director of the Chelsea Collaborative since 2006, is stepping down as the leader of the well-known agency whose headquarters are on Broadway.
Vega, who has earned victories for Chelsea residents against injustices and helped improve community-police relations, informed her friends and colleagues in a personal letter this week that she would be stepping down.
“The Collaborative has been my home for 29 years and the time has come for me to move on,” wrote Vega, adding that it has been “a tremendous honor to lead such a skilled and dedicated staff.”
City and state officials reacted with deep emotion that Vega, who has done so much to improve the qualify for life for residents and helped establish the Collaborative as a national model, would be calling it a career in the city.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino praised Vega as a tremendous advocate for residents who worked tirelessly on their behalf in important causes. Ambrosino said that Vega was “a true friend” to the city and a highly respected community organizer statewide.
Sen. Sal DiDomenico said that Gladys Vega “has been an outstanding advocate for the City of Chelsea and a champion for the many new residents from throughout the world who call Chelsea home.
“It has been a pleasure working with her over the years to serve the city and to enhance the social, environmental, and economic health of our community and its residents,” said DiDomenico.
Vega began her association with the Collaborative as a receptionist when executive director Edward Marakowitz headed the organization and it was located at 300 Broadway.
Vega’s passion for her work and the personable and professional manner in which she conducted herself became obvious to her colleagues. A 1985 graduate of Cheslea High School who had come to Chelsea from Puerto Rico when she was nine, Vega understood the challenges facing Latino residents and how to best help them grow and prosper in their new community.
Vega became the office manager and then worked as a tenant organizer. She showed her impeccable community organizing skills right away, fighting for tenants’ rights and gaining an important victory against an absentee landlord. Her organization has stood at the forefront advocating for immigrant families. The Collaborative became the go-to place for Chelsea youths seeking a summer job.
The question being asked by residents in all corners of the city is: Why is Gladys Vega leaving at the height of her power and name recognition and with the unmatched skills to rally people for important causes locally and nationally?
“I always told my family when I turn 50 years old (she celebrated her birthday at a large party in June), that I wanted to do something different because I feel the Collaborative has taken my social life away in a manner that all I do is work and be committed to the organization and the movement,” said Vega, who has two children, Melinda, 28, and Jerry, 21.
She spoke emotionally about the loss of her mother, Juanita Vega, who was a great inspiration in Gladys’s life. “There have been all these things that have happened in my life and I have never slowed down. I want to try a different job and leave myself time to help raise my two grandchildren. I have never been happier to have those two individuals in my life and I want to make sure that I don’t steal time from them like I stole from my two children.”
Vega also talked about health issues that she has had in the past but she happily reports to her many friends and supporters, “This year I’ve been in the best health. It’s been a very good year.”
There have been so many personal accomplishments during her brilliant reign as executive director, it was difficult for Vega to pinpoint one.
“But I’d say my biggest accomplishment was putting Latinos on the map and building a bridge between communities regardless where people come from and regardless of documentation,” said Vega. “To be able to put a passion in people that Chelsea is a great community to live in – we are a group of people that have worked very hard to build up Chelsea. Our movement has made history because our goals have always been to focus on the growth and betterment of Chelsea as a community.”
Vega lauded the many Chelsea administrators and community leaders that have helped the Collaborative succeed on its journey. She singled out the leadership of former city manager Jay Ash. Vega was front and center involving Latinos in city government when Ash ably piloted the total resurgence of Chelsea. She traveled with many others to Denver when Chelsea received the coveted All-America City Award from the National Civic League.
Many say that honor was Jay Ash’s finest hour as city manager and Gladys Vega was a valuable member of the team – its preeminent community organizer – that helped bring the city national recognition.
“We, those of us who care deeply about the community, worked with Jay Ash to help turn the city around,” said Vega.
She also spoke reverentially about the positive impact that Police Chief Brian Kyes has had in helping immigrants feel safe in the city.
“I love the fact that Chief Kyes gets the concept of diversity. I’ve worked very close with him and I know that people trust him and trust his leadership. I’m very proud to say that I was a part of the selection committee for chief and Chief Kyes has not let me down. I have been very impressed with his work and the police officers’ work in our community.”
Former Collaborative assistant executive director Roseann Bongiovanni and Colloborative President Rosalba Medina, a Chelsea Police detective, also drew plaudits from Vega.
“Roseann started at the Collaborative at the age of 19 – she was like my sister in the movement,” said Vega. “Little by little we kept working together until we built this environmental justice movement. Both of us learned together and worked very hard to build an environmental justice model that is the envy of other cities. We had more victories than we had losses.”
“It’s been an honor to work with Rosie Medina,” said Vega. “She has been a great liaison and partner in the Chelsea criminal justice system. Her leadership of our board has been outstanding.”
Vega said she worked closely with her cousin, Juan Vega, and community activist Tito Meza to help increase the number of Latino police officers in the department.
Vega regrets that she will not be continuing her work with current city manager Tom Ambrosino at the helm of Chelsea city government.
“As I think about moving on, I would have loved to have worked closer with him – my time with him has been brief, but it has been an amazing partnership. I think Tom, having been elected mayor of Revere, has a great sense of community organization and a sense of helping his constituents and listening to the people with a great level of professionalism. He treats everyone equally. I love what he has done as our city manager and I’m a huge fan of Tom Ambrosino – who has stated that there is no room for hate or injustice in the city.”
Vega will stay on board at the Collaborative until a successor is named. There will be a farewell celebration in December at the Homewood Suites Hotel in Chelsea.
City Council President Leo Robinson congratulated Vega on her successful tenure at the Collaborative, understanding that she has been one of the city’s most visible and most admired community leaders for three decades.
“Gladys Vega did a very good job for Chelsea residents and I wish her good health and good luck in all her future endeavors.”
A Leominster man was arraigned Monday on charges he took part in the shooting of another man in Chelsea last weekend.
Juan Oliva, 27, of Leominster, was arraigned in Chelsea District Court on charges of armed assault in a dwelling, armed assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building, assault and battery, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, unlawful possession of a firearm, unlawful possession of ammunition, and carrying a loaded firearm.
Prosecutors requested bail of $25,000 and orders that Oliva wear a GPS monitor, abide by a curfew, and stay away and have no contact with witnesses in the event he is to be released on bail. Judge Matthew Nestor imposed bail of $5,000 and ordered Oliva to submit to GPS monitoring and stay away from the victim’s home and from the hospital where the victim is receiving treatment. He was also ordered to stay away and have no contact with a second man sought in connection with the shooting.
Chelsea Police and State Police detectives assigned to Conley’s office responded to a Carter Street residence shortly before midnight Saturday after a man had been shot during an altercation with Oliva and a second man.
According to prosecutors, Oliva and another man travelled to the Carter Street residence to confront the victim about an alleged assault of another individual that had occurred earlier that day. Oliva and the victim became involved in a physical altercation, during which the second man shot him, prosecutors said. The victim was struck in the leg and lower torso.
The victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, and he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.
Chelsea and State police identified Oliva during the investigation that followed. With the help of the Leominster Police Department, Oliva’s vehicle was located at his residence yesterday morning and he was taken into custody.