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.”
In response to the U.S. border crisis, and the recent ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the Trump Administration’s travel ban for some Muslim countries, local community leader Veronica Robles has decided to host an uplifting celebration of all cultures that call East Boston and America home.
The Veronica Robles Cultural Center will presents the first annual Uniting Borders Multicultural Festival, a festival for everyone, this Saturday, June 30 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Suffolk Downs.
“The goal with this festival is to gather as community and highlight local talent and grassroots organizations to celebrate the diverse and rich cultures of our city,” said Robles. “As part of the ceremony we will offer the Ethnic Award to East Boston and Chelsea Police Departments, The Harborkeepers, Chelsea Police Department and the Jossour Moroccan Association of Revere.”
The event will feature 2005 Billboard’s Artist of the Year, Domenic Marte, and the Moroccan band, Stars of Boston, as well as thrity other local performers of music, songs and ethnic dance.
Activities for children will include bouncy houses, arts and crafts, magicians, clowns and more. “And you can’t have a multicultural event without food,” joked Robles. “Food will include tacos, arepas, hotdogs, pizza and food trucks North East of the Border and Perros Paisa, and Los Chamos.”
Robles said the program will kickoff at 12 p.m. with youth talent and dance groups including Yorgelis Williams La Voz Kids, Jossue “El Rancherito de Oro” La Voz Kids, Sebastián Medina, Alexander Taborda, Tomas Mira, the Veronica Robles Cultural Center Dancers and many more.
“Live bands will hit the stage at 1:30 p.m. starting with the pop band Karina Rae pop band, followed by the Moroccan band, Stars of Boston,” said Robles. “They will be followed by Jimador Musical a Mexican Norteño band, Grupo Los Nítidos a Salvadoran Music band, Eduardo Betancourt and Carolina Montes a Venezuelan Ensemble, Con Sabor Colombiano from Colombia, Na Bangela from Brazil and Panadictos, a Spanish rockband.”
Tickets are $20 if purchased online at www.eventbrite.com/e/multicultural-fest-uniting-borders-tickets-46871222087 or $25 at the door. Children under 12 and seniors are free.
City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he would gladly enforce the new Police and Fire residency ordinance confirmed last week at Council, but not until at least 2021.
“It has to be negotiated through collective bargaining,” he said. “The firefighters are under contract until 2021, and the police are now at the state Joint Labor Management Commission. It probably won’t be able to be negotiated with either unit until 2021. We have no plans to enforce it until there is a new contract because the law is clear this is a change in the contract subject to collective bargaining.”
The Council voted for the matter last month, and staved off a challenge to that vote last week, led by Councilor Giovanni Recupero. Recupero has tried for seven years to get the residency plan in place for new police and fire hires. The plan now in effect would require all new hires as of July 31 to live in the city for five years after hire.
The matter, however, cannot be enforced until the City Manager re-negotiates the contracts with the police and fire, meaning that all member would get raises in exchange for that change in working conditions.
Ambrosino said the unions could decide not to agree to the matter, which would also make it unenforceable if it is outside any contract.
“An ordinance cannot supersede a mandatory collective bargaining matter,” he said. “It is unenforceable until it shows up in a collective bargaining agreement.”
A Suffolk Superior Court jury Wednesday, May 30, convicted a drunk driver of killing 25-year-old Marco Salguero-Cruz in Chelsea and speeding away from the scene after a night of drinking at a Chelsea bar.
Jurors convicted Jose Daniel Arevalo, 35, of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence and leaving the scene of a collision causing death. He will be sentenced Thursday morning.
“Two years ago, the defendant made a choice that cost Marco Salguero-Cruz his life,” DA Dan Conley said. “Suffolk prosecutors, Chelsea detectives, and State troopers worked for untold hours on this case, first to identify the suspect, then to apprehend him, and finally to hold him accountable. He fled the scene. He fled the country. But he could not flee from justice in a Suffolk County courtroom.”
Assistant District Attorney Michael V. Glennon proved at trial that Salguero-Cruz was struck by a silver Toyota Camry that left the scene on the night of June 4, 2016, in the area of Washington Street in Chelsea. He died of his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Chelsea Police detectives and State troopers assigned to Conley’s office recovered images from cameras in the area that captured the vehicle’s path of travel as it exited the parking lot of a Washington Street bar at a high rate of speed, and later as it fled from the area of the crash. Images captured prior to the crash depict the vehicle with two functioning headlights; footage captured immediately after the crash shows the vehicle with only one headlight working.
With the assistance of Conley’s Forensic Multimedia Lab and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Digital Evidence Lab, previously-deleted footage from a private security camera was recovered and enhanced.
Conley’s office, Chelsea Police, and State Police released images depicting the driver to the media and the public, and a person familiar with Arevalo contacted investigators after recognizing him. Investigators were also able to independently identify Arevalo through witness statements, social media, and Registry of Motor Vehicles records, prosecutors said.
Additional footage depicted Arevalo inside the Washington Street bar consuming four beers and six shots in approximately 2.5 hours leading up to the fatal crash, prosecutors said.
Arevalo allegedly fled to El Salvador two days after the crash but later returned to the United States and was taken into custody in Texas by Texas Rangers acting on a Massachusetts warrant obtained by Chelsea and State police.
Late Tuesday afternoon, two members of the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit, working with an FBI agent, arrested a Boston man in Chelsea who was carrying an illegally owned firearm and trafficking weight amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on May 29, the Troopers and Agent were on patrol on Chelsea Street in East Boston when they observed a silver Volkswagen Passat driven by Bryan Cortez, 31, of Dorchester. One of the Troopers knew that Cortez did not have a valid driver’s license; the Troopers also recognized Cortez as the suspect who had dragged one of the Troopers with his car during a 2015 motor vehicle stop.
The Troopers and Agent followed the Passat onto Eastern Avenue in Chelsea, at which time they stopped it for the license violation. As they walked up to the suspect vehicle, it accelerated away at a high rate of speed. The Troopers and Agent followed in the direction in which the Passat had fled and soon located it at the top of Chester Avenue, a one-way street it had traveled up in the wrong direction.
As the cruiser approached the Passat, Cortez jumped out from the driver’s door and ran into a backyard. The Troopers and Agent searched for him on foot and in their cruiser, and eventually located him coming out of a backyard on Highland Street wearing a black backpack. A Trooper ordered him to stop, but Cortez ran away again. After a short foot pursuit and repeated commands for Cortez to stop running, he was cornered by the Trooper on the porch of a home on Highland Street. Cortez resisted arrest but was subdued.
A subsequent investigation revealed the contents of Cortez’s backpack to be a loaded Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact 9mm pistol; several bags containing a white powder consistent with fentanyl; a bag containing 43 Suboxone strips; several plastic bags containing a hard white substance consistent with crack cocaine; a brown Gucci bag containing several small plastic baggies filled with a tan substance consistent with heroin; three unidentified pills; and plastic baggies containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.
The backpack also contained Cortez’s birth certificate, Social Security card, an RMV identification card, and an April 2018 mailing from the RMV notifying him of his license suspension. More than $1,240 in cash were also recovered from the backpack and Cortez’s person and seized as possible profits of narcotics trafficking.
Cortez acknowledged that he does not have a license to carry a firearm. Troopers transported him to the State Police Barracks in Revere, where he was booked on the following charges:
Unlawful possession of a firearm;
Unlawful carrying of a firearm, third offense;
Unlawful carrying of a loaded firearm;
Armed Career Criminal;
Possession of a firearm in commission of a felony;