Encore Boston Harbor Set to Give Away Sports Car

Encore Boston Harbor is looking to put a little pizzazz in the Labor Day weekend with a full day of giveaways and fun on Sunday, Sept. 1, a day that will culminate with a drawing to give away a McLaren sportscar.

Encore President Bob DeSalvio said the giveaway will mark the first big day at the resort casino built on a major drawing. The winner will get a 2019 McLaren 5702 Spider (valued at $200,000), or the option of $100,000 cash.

“The car is a big one for us,” he said. “The final drawing will be around 7 p.m., but we’ll have preliminary drawings all afternoon. We start accepting entries at noon that day and there are drawings all the way from 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. We want to get a lot of people involved.”

The promotion will feature 10 people drawn from the entries every 30 minutes. Nine of the 10 names will get $500 in credits, and the 10th name will get a slot in the final drawing for the car.

“At the end, we take all the finalists and draw the winner,” said DeSalvio. “They can take the car or the cash. The others that don’t win will get $2,500 in credits.”

There will also be a second-chance drawing at 8 p.m.

“It’s a full day of promotions around that drawing that is really the culmination of our entire August promotional campaign,” he said.

•In addition, another major promotion now available for Red Card holders is in the realm of parking.

DeSalvio said they have started a promotion for free, midweek parking at the resort. Between 5 a.m. Monday and 5 p.m. Friday, Red Card holders will get free parking. On weekends, parking for Red Card holders is just one credit from their card.

“The idea behind this is that during the week, we have opportunity in the garage,” he said. “We get a lot of customers that ask for this because they go to regional resorts with free parking. We decided we can do it midweek, and then charge $1 on weekends. That’s a way to reward those playing in the casino. They can use the comp dollar on weekends and on weekdays they can park for free.”

•DeSalvio said they are also offering deeply discounted hotel rooms (up to 35 percent off) this month in a partnership with Expedia and Priceline.

He said that while they are building up their clientele, they wanted to take the opportunity to reward those with a Red Card.

“The idea is that as we continue to build up the hotel to full occupancy, we want folks to experience it,” he said. “We want people to experience the rooms. In the next few months, they start the convention business and discounts go down. So, in the opening period, we wanted to let folks experience the rooms.”

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Councillor Tejada Praises Let It Fly Classic directors

City Councillor Luis Tejada will be a spectator at the fifth annual Let It Fly Basketball Classic Saturday at Jordan Boys and Girls Club.

“I wouldn’t miss it,” said Tejada. “The directors [Kyle Umemba and Cesar Castro do such a great job running this event.”

Tejada said the whole atmosphere at the tournament is exciting. “It’s like one of these urban scenarios that you see on TV with the whole basketball game going on and everyone is yelling and screaming, but having a good time. It’s just a fantastic atmosphere.”

Tejada said the event always draws an enthusiastic crowd, “but it’s safe, it’s protected. The police are there. Everybody is there just to have fun and raise money for our Chelsea High School students. It’s a win-win-win situation all around, so it’s definitely one of those worthwhile events to attend.”

Tejada, a past tournament sponsor, said he will also be bringing his children and nephews to the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. “My kids love basketball and my nephews play in basketball leagues, so we’ll all be heading over to watch it,” he said.

Tejada said he’s looking forward to seeing Chelsea Black Community (CBC) President Joan Cromwell at the tournament. Joan is the mother of Co-Director Kyle Umemba.

“Joan and I grew up around the same time in Chelsea,” said Tejada, who is 1986 Chelsea High School graduate. “Joan is amazing. She’s all over the place, always helping out and it’s always, ‘what can I do to improve our area?’ “She is just a beautiful person. It’s just an amazing Chelsea family that is here to help our residents and our neighbors. They’re one of these Chelsea pride families. When you speak of Chelsea and families that you’re proud of, they’re right at the top.”

The tournament begins at 10 a.m., with games continuing all day until a champion is crowned. There are refreshments, musical entertainment, and raffle drawings. Admission to the games is free.

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Chelsea Centro : Business Community Looking to Re-Brand, Reinvigorate Downtown

One might have seen the colorful paint job on the gazebo at Bellingham Square and wondered what it was all about.

Well, it’s more than just a colorful paint job.

Rather, it is the first step in what business and City leaders hope will be a coordinated plan for the downtown business district – a plan that has already gained the confidence of state government with Chelsea getting two $20,000 grants to further the project along.

TDI Fellow Carlos Matos, Chamber Foundation President Sergio Jaramillo, Councillor Leo Robinson, and new CHISPA BizLab coordinator Deise Paraguay in front of the newly-painted gazebo in Bellingham Square

Carlos Matos, a fellow assigned to Chelsea from the MassDevelopment Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) program, said the gazebo was just the first piece of several placemaking initiatives they hope to achieve with the Chamber, a new business lab dubbed CHISPA BizLab, and the Chamber Foundation – among many other partners.

“The gazebo was the beginnings of this placemaking and focusing attention on the downtown,” he said. “It’s bright and like the things you’ve seen in Boston. We studied it and these are designs that will resonate with residents of Central America and South America in shape and color. They will also appeal to everyone because it adds color and vibrancy to the area.”

“The initiative is working well so far,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “Hopefully, progress will continue in our efforts to revitalize the Downtown.”

Sergio Jaramillo, who is a long-time Chamber member and the new president of the Chamber Foundation, said they hope to use a coordinated approach to bring life to the downtown, help businesses and make downtown Chelsea a place to be.

“Our desire is to have Chelsea be a destination point for the region – just like Chinatown and the North End and as it is becoming in East Boston,” he said. “We want to have Chelsea be that place they want to come to because of the activities and food and quality of life that is here…Jay Ash was great for building up the coffers of the City again and building up Everett Avenue. I think now we are on the cusp and ready to do the other half of the city.”

Added Matos, “There are great opportunities on Everett Avenue and the question is now how do we transform them from isolated goals to a greater economic impact and draw them to the downtown for that greater economic impact. That’s the challenge we’re working on now.”

An extension of the gazebo branding effort, now being dubbed ‘Chelsea Centro’ as a test run – complete with bags and buttons as promotional tools, is a $20,000 grant from the state that will bring the same bright color scheme to Luther Place – where the successful Night Market has been held twice this summer.

The parking lot/market will be painted in bright colors, and also be painted to accommodate basketball or street soccer – giving it many different opportunities for activation. That will be supplemented by murals on the walls in the same color scheme, and sun shades to protect from the summer heat. That grant is supported by a $55,000 matching grant from the Chamber, which will also help to provide programming for the district.

Chamber Executive Director Rich Cuthie has been very excited about the branding of the downtown using the grant and the Chamber’s resources. He said, like Jaramillo, that the district is on the cusp of something very exciting. That is particularly the case for the storefront improvement program, which has been paved by the passing of new storefront regulations by the City Council this year.

Part of that will be financed by the new CHISPA BizLab, which the state awarded a $20,000 grant to start. That will be supplemented by a $6,000 grant by the Chamber Foundation.

Meaning “spark” in Spanish, CHISPA will help to provide small business technical assistance and advocacy for Latino businesses. It will also serve as a business incubator for new startups in Chelsea’s business district. That assistance will particularly go towards helping the food-related businesses in the district.

Already, CHISPA director Deise Paraguay has started talking to local businesses, officially beginning on July 15. Right now she said she is listening and learning – trying to bring everyone together. She will also act as the organizer of all of the projects involved with the re-branding effort.

Jaramillo said they have hired a company to fly a drone up and down Broadway to highlight the district. Similarly, they have contracted with a professional kitchen to bring in all of the restaurant owners from Broadway to consult with professional chefs. Using traditional recipes, they will work to invigorate their menus and give them new life.

Jaramillo said he is confident that in a few years, the new efforts will all pay off with an enlivened and exciting downtown for residents and those who want to come to Chelsea as a destination.

“I see in a few years that we will have an opportunity for the business community to capture a new market,” he said. “There will be more going on here and it will be more visually interesting for residents and visitors coming here. When people say, ‘Where should we go to dinner?’ They will say they want to go to Chelsea. Creating places where people want to live and visit is the best thing to do.”

Added Matos, “A lot of people are clamoring for authenticity in the places they go to. The places in Cambridge and Somerville are maybe lacking that. We think Chelsea has that authenticity you want and can’t get anywhere else. We want to highlight that, and that’s what we are setting out to do now.”

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The Movement Basketball League More Popular than Ever This Summer

Drive by Highland Park on any Tuesday or Friday, and one can feel the positive vibe all the way on the street.

This year, The Movement basketball league has grown bigger than ever, with more sponsors, more players, more volunteers, and the positive energy that everyone hoped for when the league started four years ago in the wake of the Pablo Villeda murder, and associated shootings, on Washington Avenue.

“There are more players and we’re growing bigger and building that community that we hoped for,” said Damali Vidot, who is the president of the league and of the City Council. “We have more than 100 kids this year and we have a waiting list too. It’s the most participation we’ve ever had. It’s just really great to see that any Tuesday or Friday when you drive by Highland Park and there are so many people at the at the basketball court. The kids get it; they know it’s more than just basketball. They play with passion and are so respectful.”

The league consists of eight teams, with sponsors such as State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Century 21 and William Vaquerano. Most of the sponsors come down for the games, she said, as they are interested in seeing how the league has progressed.

Right now, they are in their sixth week of games, with four games left. They will have a big playoff event in the coming weeks that Vidot said they hope will be a big community celebration.

The Movement caters to young men ages 13-20, and was formed because the founders felt that nothing was being done to reach out to that age group – particularly those who weren’t misguided, but maybe getting influenced by bad things. Now that it has become so popular, Vidot said they are attracting all of that age group in Chelsea and beyond to Highland Park twice a week.

It was what they hoped for.

“We’re all there to have a good time, and kids don’t just come to play basketball,” she said. “They stay and hand out and they build relationships with coaches and with me and with other players. These are relationships that last beyond the summer so that even outside the season they feel like they can talk to a coach or one of the other players about a problem they are having. It’s definitely got that vibe.”

This year, Vidot said they have celebrated the first female coach, as well as the first coach who came back after “aging out” as a player.

“The idea was always to pass the baton, and we’re seeing kids come back to coach this year after having been players in the past,” she said. “We wanted this to get passed on to those kids so that it’s self-sustaining. We’re already starting to see some of that.” The Movement starts at 6 p.m. in Highland Park every Tuesday and Friday, with games lasting until about 10 p.m.

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Chelsea Youth Beat the Heat at Free Beach Event Hosted by save the Harbor

As temperatures soared, 300 kids beat the heat on Friday, July 19, at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s Annual Youth Beach Bash & Splash at DCR’s Carson Beach in South Boston, including 25 kids from the Jordan Boys & Girls Club in Chelsea.

Save the Harbor’s Youth Beach Bash and Splash featured traditional beach activities and a cookout, as well as dragon boats and kayaks and a suite of engaging environmental education and cultural enrichment activities, including fishing, crabbing and clamming, Art on the Shore, and Songs and Stories of the sea, led by Save the Harbor’s youth environmental education program staff.

“With record heat this weekend, we are lucky to have some of the cleanest urban beaches in the nation right here on Boston Harbor,” said Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s President Tani Marinovich. “All of us at Save the Harbor/Save the Bay are so proud to host this great event, and to share our great harbor and beaches with the region’s kids.”

This year’s Splash also featured Save the Harbor/Save the Bay’s troupe of performing pirates, as well as aerialists, acrobats and jugglers from the Boston Circus Guild. (See Attached Photo and Caption of Boston Circus Guild with kids)

Friday’s Splash was the first of three that Save the Harbor will host this summer, thanks to their youth program partners and funders, including Leadership Grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, The Boston Foundation, The Coca-Cola Foundation, and Yawkey Foundationl Partnership Grants from Boston Properties – Atlantic Wharf, The Daily Catch Seaport, Davis Family Charitable Foundation, Eastern Salt Company, Inc., Engie, Fan Pier – The Fallon Company, John Hancock Financial Services, The HYM Investment Group, LLC, The Llewellyn Foundation, Massachusetts Environmental Trust, Massachusetts Port Authority, National Grid Foundation, P & G Gillette, Lawrence J. and Anne Rubenstein Charitable Foundation, William E. Schrafft & Bertha E. Schrafft Charitable Trust, and Vertex; and Stewardship Grants from Anonymous, Forrest Berkeley &, Marcie Tyre Berkley, Camp Harbor View Foundation, Circle Furniture , Comcast, Copeland Family Foundation, The Cricket Foundation, Cruise Industry Charitable Foundation, Davis Family Charitable Foundation, Elizabeth Elser Doolittle Charitable Trust, Enbridge, Tom & Lucinda Foley, Foundation for Sustainability and Innovation, Kershaw, Liberty Bay Credit Union, Lovett Woodsum Foundation, Maine Community Foundation, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Nicholson Foundation, RMR Real Estate Services, Rockland Trust Pavilion, Clinton H. & Wilma T. Shattuck Charitable Trust, Skanska, and Tishman Speyer.

Save the Harbor would also like to thank their Program Funders Andus Baker & Rowan Murphy Family Fund, MA Attorney General’s Office Healthy Summer and Youths Jobs Program, The Paul and Edith Babson Foundation, Beacon Capital Partners, LLC, Cell Signaling Technology, East Boston Savings Bank, Highland Street Foundation/West End House, Legal Sea Foods, Miss Wallace M. Leonard Foundation, George Lewis – Haven Trust, Pabis Foundation, South Boston Community Development Foundation, Abbot & Dorothy H. Stevens Foundation, and TD Charitable Foundation; and Supporters 3A Marine Service, The Bay State Federal Savings Charitable Foundation, Andrew Calamare & Marianne Connolly, Cresset Group, Diversified Automotive, Goulston & Storrs PC, Mass Bay Credit Union, Massachusetts Marine Educational Trust, Randy Peeler & Kate Kellogg, Matthew J. & Gilda F. Strazzula Foundation, UDR, and Kyle & Sara Warwick.

Special thanks as well to the hundreds of individual donors for their generosity and to our partners at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, the Boston Centers for Youth and Families and the YMCA of Greater Boston for their support.

Thanks also to the Better Beaches Program and event sponsors: the Department of Conservation & Recreation, Harpoon Brewery, JetBlue, the Richard Saltonstall Charitable Foundation, P&G Gillette, National Grid, Comcast, Beacon Capital Partners, New England Picture, Mix 104.1, Boston Centers for Youth & Families, The YMCA of Greater Boston, The Daily Catch Seaport, Baja Taco Truck, the Blue Sky Collaborative, Keezer Sportswear, and the Harvey Traveler Collection for their support. For more information about Save the Harbor/Save the Bay and their free youth and beach programs, visit their website atwww.savetheharbor.org, or follow savetheharbor on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

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Gaming Commission Moves Quickly to Clear Encore of Lawsuit Charges

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) moved quickly last week to investigate claims in a class-action lawsuit against Encore Boston Harbor, and then announced on Thursday they felt Encore’s practices were appropriate – that the lawsuit “conflates” state regulations on Blackjack.

“We reviewed the claim and have preliminarily found Encore to be in compliance for payouts on Blackjack,” said Bruce Band, assistant director of the Investigations and Enforcement Bureau (IEB). “The word ‘conflate’ is exactly right here. Six-to-five is used for two things. One is a variation sub-game of Blackjack that so far hasn’t been dealt anywhere in Massachusetts. Six-to-five is also a type of payout for someone playing standard Blackjack if they hit a Blackjack. You need to know what they odds are at that table if they hit a Blackjack. That’s what that is.”

The lawsuit was filed by Attorney Joshua Garick on behalf of Richard Schuster of New York in a class-action format. Schuster had played at the Encore and alleged that they were playing the Blackjack game wrong, and that they were withholding change from patrons at the electronic redemption machines.

In terms of the change machines, Band said the machines at Encore payout dollar amounts, and then dispense certificates for the change. Those certificates are good for one year and can be claimed at the cashier. However, they can also be used at another slot machine.

Band said they felt that the redemption machines were operating at standard procedures for a casino, but they suggested a sign be placed on the machine making it clear what is happening with the change.

“What we did find was it probably wasn’t stated clearly enough so they have added a sign that clearly expresses this on the machine,” said Band.

Both claims, one on Blackjack and one on the change machines, were refuted by the MGC. Commissioners assured everyone that there is a state process for unclaimed winnings, and none of that money remains or stays with Encore. It is kept in a type of escrow account, and then turned over to the state at the end of one year.

All of it was much to the delight of Encore officials.

“I feel the lawsuit is completely without merit, and I was particularly interested in the issue about the redemption of the slot tickets,” said President Bob DeSalvio. “There were allegations in there that for some reason they thought we might be rounding to our favor. It is completely, utterly false. Every customer gets every penny they deserve at Encore Boston Harbor. Never would we engage in a practice that would actually keep any of a customer’s money they deserve. There is no way, shape or form any customer is not getting exactly what they should get. Nor is there any opportunity at the end of the year for any unclaimed monies to come back to the property.”

DeSalvio also said emphatically that Encore is following all of the Blackjack rules, and the MGC agreed with that in its report.

“The claims in the lawsuit are false and unfounded,” he said. “They went back and looked at our procedures. They went back and looked at our games. They went back and looked at the felt on the tables. What they found is they are all exactly as they should be. There’s really no issue at all on Blackjack. None. Zero. The rules are the rules and we are following the rules exactly and that’s what you heard the Commission say.”

But Attorney Garick said he wasn’t pleased with the ruling by the MGC, and that’s why his client will take the matter before an impartial judge.

“It’s our interpretation of the regulations is that the game of Blackjack does not allow an eight-deck shoe where they pay 6-to-5 odds on the Blackjack,” he said. “We intend to fully raise all these issues to a judge rather than in a Commission where the inspector and the casino representatives are sitting at the same table.”

DeSalvio said they are going to seriously consider putting some electronic redemption machines on the floor that have the ability to dispense change. He said they made a customer-based decision early on to only put out machines that dispensed dollars. He said customers – especially at high-volume times – would rather not wait for a machine to be filled with pennies to get their dollar winnings.

“We will go back and take a look at having certain units on the floor that would make it more convenient to get the change,” he said. “Understand, the reason we did it this way was actually for customer convenience because if you are standing in front of one of those redemption units and it was to run out of pennies, and you had to wait 30 or 40 minutes, I’ll be you would be more upset about having to wait for 5 cents or 15 cents because that machine will lock up until it’s refilled with coin. The reason we did it was for customer service. If I can add another option to make it even more convenient for customers, I’m happy to do so. I’ll certainly take a look at that.”

Garick said they were happy the Commission and Encore paid attention to the suit, and that they were happy that some changes – like the change machines – were being considered.

“We’re certainly happy they have heeded the issues addressed in our lawsuit and have made some changes to the procedures they have,” he said. “I think that indicates they knew that there was some issues with the way they were dispensing change to customers. Frankly, I think this idea that people don’t want to wait for change is kind of a cop out. If I went to a table game and had $9.90 and the table minimum was $10, well they would wait for me to find that extra 10 cents…At this point the money is maintained by the casino. The regulations do require that after one year the money is paid to the state. We’re aware of that, but that doesn’t mean the consumer should be out that money that belongs to them.”

Garick said they didn’t plan to sue the MGC, and he said they did not have a court date yet.

DeSalvio said their attorneys would be responding to the suit “post haste.”

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Apollinaire Theatre Announces Resident Artist Program

Apollinaire Theatre Company announced this week it has received a $45,000 grant from the Boston Foundation to launch a Resident Artist Program at the Chelsea Theatre Works, through the Foundation’s Open Door Grants program. Apollinaire Theatre built the new Black Box Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works to address the facilities crisis that Boston area performing artists face, a crisis which came to a head with the closure of the Factory Theatre in the South End in 2014. Apollinaire held meetings with Boston theatre artists to determine what their needs and desires were for a theater space, and together they drew up plans for a new theater that would do more than replace the Factory Theatre, it would offer amenities historically out of the reach of Boston’s small theatre community, including on-site rehearsal and shop space.

But theatre companies need more than a home, they need support and resources, said Apollinaire. Now with the Resident Artist Program, Apollinaire will address another issue: Boston is a difficult place for theatre artists to call home. Many talented, hard-working performing artists in Boston can barely scrape by. They have day jobs and families and somehow find time and resources to make their art, but it is not a sustainable model for an individual artist, a small theatre company, or a community. With the Open Door Grant, Apollinaire will be able to better serve Boston’s performing arts community, which will in turn expand Chelsea’s burgeoning arts scene and bring new opportunities to the local community.
Resident companies will be awarded free rent in the Black Box Theatre, rehearsal space for their productions, and shop space to build their sets, along with a project stipend. This will free up the companies’ budgets to reallocate funds where they feel they need it most, be it increased artist compensation, increased marketing efforts to build a stronger audience base, or the ability for resident artists to take on more ambitious productions that carry greater costs. Companies will also meet together to share ideas, brainstorm challenges, and leverage shared resources, working to create a multi-purpose incubation space where artists and companies can collaborate and share resources at every phase of their work. Companies will also be asked to give back to the community of Chelsea, and one resident spot will be reserved for a Chelsea artist or group. “At a time when our research has shown both the need for greater support for artists and the benefits of artists’ involvement in the community, we are pleased to be able to support Apollinare Theatre’s Resident Artist program with an Open Door Grant,” said Orlando Watkins, Vice President for Program at the Boston Foundation. “We look forward to seeing how this program builds and strengthens the network of artists who call Chelsea home.”
•Information Sessions will be held at the Chelsea Theatre Works on Tuesday July 16 at 7:30 p.m., Thursday July 18 at 1 p.m., and Monday July 22 at 7:30 p.m., and all interested artists are encouraged to attend.

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Memoire Nightclub at Encore Attracts Celebrity Djs At Huge Opening

The opening of the Mémoire Nightclub in Encore Boston Harbor bought in a star-studded lineup of DJs, and hundreds of guests, last week – punctuated by former NBA star Shaquille O’Neal (DJ Diesel) on June 27.

Mémoire opened its doors last week, and quickly showed that it would attract the top talent when it comes to club DJs – bringing in Shaq, Fadil El Ghoul (R3HAB), and Steve Aoki.

All three are some of the top DJs in the world and attract thousands when they play shows in large arenas.

“What an exciting first week at Mémoire,” said Randy Greenstein, principal at Big Night Entertainment Group, which operates the club within Encore. “We kicked off opening night with Dutch-Moroccan DJ R3HAB followed by Steve Aoki on Monday – two of the top DJs in the world right now. We also had an electric night with Shaq on Thursday and look forward to continuing to bring top talent from all over the world to Encore Boston Harbor. Our guests have been really excited by the state-of-the-art technology at Mémoire, like the Funktion One sound system, the custom LED ceiling, and the 450-inch LED wall, which creates a really high-energy and exciting experience.”

Big Night will also be operating the flagship Mystique Asian-fusion restaurant within the resort casino as well, and together, both venues are an exciting addition for Encore.

“The restaurants, lounges and amenities at Encore Boston Harbor offer some of the best and most enjoyable dining and nightlife experiences in the nation, which makes Mystique and Mémoire a perfect fit,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Encore Boston Harbor. “Big Night Entertainment Group owns and operates several of the most popular and award-winning restaurants and luxury nightclubs in the region and is very well respected in this marketplace. They know how to amaze people in every way and will help mark Encore Boston Harbor as the premier dining and nightlife destination for all who visit, live or work in the region.”

Mémoire accommodates up to 650 guests, and the 8,000 square-foot luxury nightlife destination flaunts lustrous gold surfaces, plush accents, sensuous leather contours, custom marble tables, glistening chandeliers, and state-of-the-art technology. With a firm emphasis on cultivating a VIP atmosphere, Mémoire is outfitted with 20 luxurious VIP tables, multiple bars, and alluring private areas that set the scene for a memorable night.

On Thursday, prior to the show featuring Shaq, the NBA legend and former Boston Celtic walked the Encore gaming floor – greeting guests and taking hundreds of photographs with fans.

Hundreds crowded the dance floor to listen to DJ Diesel, and it’s a scene that is a rarity in Boston, and one that Big Night Entertainment and Encore hopes will establish a high-profile nightlife on the banks of the Mystic River.

In July, the venue will welcome renowned artists such as Lucky Lou (July 6), Elephante (July 7), Vinny Vibe (July 20), Ikon (July 26) and Chantel Jefferies (July 28).

Memoire is open Friday – Sunday 9 p.m. – 2 a.m.

•Mystique Opens to large crowds

Mystique Asian Restaurant & Lounge is another Big Night partnership with Encore, and expects to bring elevated Pan-Asian dining to the property.

“Mystique and Mémoire are destined to be flagship destinations at Encore Boston Harbor,” said Principal Ed Kane of Big Night Entertainment Group. “We are thrilled to be able to deliver the premier, first-class experience that guests will expect at the resort.”

Kane told reporters working on the design and execution of Mystique had reinvigorated him.

“This one I’ve been so excited about,” he said, noting that the last time he was this excited was with the opening of Tosca. “I love it. To see it reaching completion is extremely exciting. It was two years in the making and it’s open and it’s been a lot of work.”

Named for both its alluring design and waterfront location, guests will be transported on a mystical journey through Asia upon entering Mystique Asian Restaurant & Lounge. Mystique features a 16,400 square foot dining room and lounge with panoramic windows and a beautiful 40-seat terrace that looks out onto the Mystic River. Designed by award-winning designer Peter Niemitz, Mystique features luxurious finishes and rich textures throughout the open dining room with seating for more than 450 guests. The space boasts an expansive stone bar with seating for 28, plush lounge seating, a sushi counter, and a glamourous open kitchen with a captivating robata grill. Throughout the restaurant and lounge are one-of-a-kind Asian-inspired décor curated from around the world. A picturesque seasonal patio with seating for 36 overlooks the Mystic River under the lights of the Encore Boston Harbor sign.

Executive Chef Anthony Micari, an alumnus of Makoto in Miami, offers a carefully crafted selection of Pan-Asian delicacies, with highlights including an extensive robata program, artful sushi creations, and an array of traditional dishes with a modern spin. Micari offers fresh and bold flavors, using the freshest ingredients possible and presented beautifully with artistic details. Guests can anticipate seasonally inspired menu items that highlight the bounty of New England while celebrating modern interpretations of Pan-Asian cuisine as well as show-stopping large format.

Kane said they do take reservations, but they will pride themselves on offering space – including large groups – to walk-in guests.

“We’re going to hold 50 percent of our capacity for walk-ins and large parties,” he said. “We think that mix will work for us. We’ll make the effort to move things around and get you in. If you are looking for a place at the last minute, we want you to call us or come in.”

Mystique’s signature robata grill is a focal point, offering a visual culinary experience where guests can watch items from land, air, and sea grilled to perfection. Cooked over white binchotan charcoal, the robata dishes are designed for sharing. From steaks such as a Japanese New York Strip to a large Tomahawk and inventive dishes like the Avocado Bomb with sudachi aioli, toasted sesame and ponzu, the robata offers guests freshly grilled items that span local seafood, beef, poultry and vegetables with a Japanese-inspired flare. Mystique’s sushi program, led by Head Sushi Chef and Makoto alum Tony Mai, features a selection of wild caught fish flown fresh daily from Japan. Guests can anticipate classic sushi and sashimi offerings, as well as inventive interpretations that feature unique and rare fish, designed to intrigue diners and introduce them to new flavors. Chef Micari and Chef Mai are sourcing a variety of iki jime fish from top fisherman around the world, offering the best quality sushi possible with daily omakase specials.

Mystique is open daily for lunch and dinner starting at 11:30 a.m.

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Fire Officials Urge the Public to Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals

“Last year, several people lost fingers and suffered serious burns lighting off illegal fireworks in Massachusetts,” said State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey. “Thirty-four firefighters were injured when an errant firework ignited a six-family building. Have a fun but safe Fourth of July and leave the fireworks to the professionals,” he added.

Fourth of July No Holiday for Firefighters

Needham Fire Chief Dennis Condon, president of the Fire Chiefs’ Association of Massachusetts, said, “The Fourth of July holiday is a busy time for firefighters. We are supervising the professional displays so that they are safe for spectators and licensed operators; we are busy responding to all types of fires and medical emergencies. In fact, the week of July Fourth is one of the busiest times of the year for fires.”

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey said, “This year, set a good example for your children. Just as children know where you keep the matches and lighters, they know where you stash your illegal fireworks.” He added, “Children imitate adults. If you use fireworks, children will copy you, not realizing how very dangerous fireworks are.”

Fireworks Cause Many Dangerous Fires

Last summer, there were many fires, amputations and burn injuries from illegal fireworks in Massachusetts. In the past decade (2009-2018), there have been 800 major fires and explosions involving illegal fireworks in Massachusetts[1]. These incidents resulted in 12 civilian injuries, 39 fire service injuries and an estimated dollar loss of $2.5 million.

· On June 25, 2018, people shooting fireworks in the street started a fire in a six-unit Lynn apartment building. One ricocheted to the second floor porch and ignited several items. The fire spread to the rest of the second floor and to the third. Thirty-four firefighters were injured at this fire.

· On July 2, 2018, the Worcester Fire Department was called to a fire in a three-unit apartment building. The fire was started by fireworks igniting trash in a first floor doorway.

· On July 3, 2018, Dartmouth District #1 responded to a pier fire at Anthony’s Beach. Crews discovered remains of many fireworks on and around the pier after the fire was extinguished.

· On July 4, 2018, the Agawam Fire Department responded to a brush fire started by three juveniles who were using illegal fireworks.

· On July 5, 2018, the Lynn Fire Department put out a car fire started by fireworks.

Fireworks Injuries

In the past decade (2009-2018), 38 people were treated at Massachusetts emergency rooms for severe burn injuries from fireworks (burns covering 5 percent of more of the body) according to the Massachusetts Burn Injury Reporting System (M-BIRS). Fifty-five percent of the victims were under age 25. Eighteen percent (18 percent) were between the ages of 15 and 24; 8 percent were between the ages of 10 and 14; 18 percent were between five and nine; and 11 percent were children under five. The youngest victim was a six-month old boy. These victims are scarred for life. In the past year:

· A 22-year-old man was seriously injured when roman candles were set off inside an Amherst apartment.

· A 22-year-old was injured in Gloucester playing with sparklers.

· A 10-year-old boy was injured by illegal fireworks at a Marshfield beach on July 3, 2018. He was an innocent by-stander.

· A man lost part of his hand when a firework he was holding exploded. The explosion occurred in a Mansfield MBTA parking lot.

· The Tewksbury Fire Department provided emergency medical care to a man who lost a part of every finger on his right hand when a firework he was holding exploded.

· A 25-year-old Brockton man suffered injuries to his left hand when a “cherry bomb” exploded.

· A 22-year-old Kingston man suffered injuries to his hands, face and stomach from a firework.

All Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts

The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts. This includes Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane” fireworks. Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Sparklers burn at 1,800ºF or higher. It is illegal to transport fireworks into Massachusetts, even if they were purchased legally elsewhere. Illegal fireworks can be confiscated on the spot.

For more information on the dangers of fireworks, go to the Department of Fire Services webpage Leave the Fireworks to the Professionals.

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A Prestigious Honor

Juan Gallego Receives Harry S.Truman Scholarship

Juan Gallego came to the United States from Colombia in 2004. He could not speak English.

He enrolled in the second grade and was an English Language Learner (ELL) at a Boston public school for two years.

In 2007, his family moved to Chelsea and he began attending the St. Rose School. He graduated from Matignon High School in 2015 where he was a football captain and star quarterback and involved in several school and community service projects.

The son of Maria Barrientos, Gallego attended Bridgewater State University for a year.

“During my freshman year in college, I had a realization that I needed to try and succeed academically in order for me to help my community,” said Gallego.

At that time, he had begun coaching high school football at Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River and continued on as the head freshman coach at Randolph High School.

“The coaching was the motivation for me to really get my act together and try to do more, not only for myself, but to give back to these communities that are being disenfranchised to a large extent,” said Gallego.

On to Northeastern and a Call From the College President

Coinciding with his desire, in his words, “get my act together,” Gallego decided to transfer to Northeastern University, Boston. He was drawn to the school’s outstanding co-operative education program and interested in the Northeastern law school.

“When I first came to the United States, I lived in my aunt’s house which was a two-minute walk to Northeastern,” recalled Gallego. “My mom said I should strive to go to law school there and ever since then, I’ve wanted to go to law school at Northeastern.”

Everything has clicked well for Gallego at Northeastern where he is studying Political Science with a minor in Urban Studies. One of his favorite instructors at NU was former Gov. Michael S. Dukakis.

Gallego is a Dean’s List student with a 3.7 grade point average. He was recently notified that he has received a Harry S. Truman Scholarship in recognition of his community service and his aspiration to continue in public service. He was the recipient of a $30,000 scholarship to be used toward his graduate degree.

“I was really excited to receive the Truman Scholarship,” said Gallego. “The opportunity that I will have through this scholarship is going to open a lot of doors for me personally and help me give back to the many communities that I have been a part of.”

Gallego received notification of the prestigious award from Joseph A. Oun, president of Northeastern University.

“I was studying abroad and I was in Athens, Greece, the foundation of democracy, and I got a call from the president of Northeastern,” he said with a smile. “What a thrill. It was amazing.”

Offers praise for Sen. Edward Markey

Gallego had served as an intern in the Washington, D.C. office of U.S. Sen Edward J. Markey. He had the opportunity to travel to Korea to participate in an academic exchange program.

“It was a great experience to be exposed to foreign policy and expand my horizon at what else is out there in the world,” said Gallego. “I owe a large extent to where I am today to Sen. Markey and his staff. They’ve been great mentors, supporters, and friends.”

Gallego said he admires U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “for her grassroots efforts and the shock that she has brought to national politics overall.”

“She’s been able to galvanize support from all over the country,” said Gallego. “She’s been able to really be the star of the Democratic Party.”

He also cited State Rep. Andy Vargas of Haverhill as “a force of nature and a voice for the Latino community in Massachusetts.”

Gallego hopes to return to Washington following his academic career.

“Being in Washington was an amazing experience in all aspects and if I do aspire to be a public servant one day, I think that experience is much needed in order to be able to understand the many different opinions and the gridlock that can happen in politics and government,” he said.

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