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
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
•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
“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.
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.
of July No Holiday for Firefighters
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.”
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.”
Cause Many Dangerous Fires
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.
These incidents resulted in 12 civilian injuries, 39 fire service injuries and
an estimated dollar loss of $2.5 million.
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.
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.
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.
July 4, 2018, the Agawam Fire Department responded to a brush fire started by
three juveniles who were using illegal fireworks.
July 5, 2018, the Lynn Fire Department put out a car fire started by fireworks.
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:
22-year-old man was seriously injured when roman candles were set off inside an
22-year-old was injured in Gloucester playing with sparklers.
10-year-old boy was injured by illegal fireworks at a Marshfield beach on July
3, 2018. He was an innocent by-stander.
man lost part of his hand when a firework he was holding exploded. The
explosion occurred in a Mansfield MBTA parking lot.
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.
25-year-old Brockton man suffered injuries to his left hand when a “cherry
22-year-old Kingston man suffered injuries to his hands, face and stomach from
Fireworks Are Illegal in Massachusetts
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.
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,”
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.
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
Gallego hopes to return to Washington
following his academic career.
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.
That’s the message from Encore Boston Harbor
President Bob DeSalvio when it comes to the preparations for the opening of the
resort casino on June 23. DeSalvio said that hiring a majority of the workers
to train for three weeks, as compared to the one-week average in the industry,
will be worth every penny.
“In general we are in a very good position
right now,” he said on Tuesday. “I feel like the construction, the hiring and
the trainings are all coming together extremely well. Right now the number one
item is about working on training and role playing on our own people in
preparation for the arrival of our first guests. It was good to get the team in
early and have the mass orientation on June 3. The access to the building was
critical to making sure we had the necessary time to prepare.”
DeSalvio said many in the industry will
bring on most employees about a week ahead of opening. Some might stretch that
to two weeks. However, a three week, 20-day solid training period is unique.
“We have a full 20 days to completely
fine-tine and have five-star service levels and standards,” he said. “That’s a
big part of what we do. It’s an expanded preparation time, but that’s important
to us…Literally having three weeks is pretty unique, but it’s worth every penny
because we’ll get to thoroughly train our team members to that we can expect to
deliver a flawless opening.”
Right now, workers are busy role playing,
helping one another, and collaborating with helpers from the Las Vegas resorts
– who are initiating the new workers from the Boston area into the company
“The next couple days we start very
intensive role playing preparations with our team – we’ll eat at the
restaurants and walk all of the corridors,” he said. “We plan to occupy every
single guest room before guests arrive…We want to make sure we’ve got
everything covered. By occupying the rooms, it gives us a chance to see everything
to make sure it’s working – the air conditioners, the lighting and the TV. It’s
a great way to get it done instead of waiting for guests to come in and have to
bring something like that to our attention.”
That also goes for the kitchens – cooking
meals for practice to make sure everything is working correctly and all of the
materials are in place for when the first guests arrive.
DeSalvio said a good deal of what is
happening now on the construction front is interior work and bringing in food
and retail supplies.
The construction phase, he said, is done for
the most part – meaning that the largest single-phase construction project in
the state’s history came in on time.
“Construction is winding down,” he said.
“They’re doing minor landscaping and doing some interior finish work. But for
the most part, the construction has been completed.”
One of the more stunning aspects of the
building, DeSalvio said, was the sunset views of the Mystic River Valley facing
west. While the Boston skyline views are tremendous, DeSalvio said the views of
the Mystic are special because they have never been seen before.
“One of the unique aspects of the building
is the views from various angles, especially the higher up to you go – are
unlike anything we’ve ever seen because there has never been a building that
big in Everett,” he said. “Looking west from the tower up the Mystic River,
there’s a sense of the real beauty of that area.”
said the team has done outstanding work on all aspects of the resort, and he
said they are very much ready for their opening in less than two weeks.
This week, in one of the first mergers of
its kind in Massachusetts, East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) and
South End Community Health Center (SECHC) announced their intent to merge after
signing a definitive merger agreement.
Pending federal and state regulatory
approvals, SECHC will become a part of EBNHC with Manny Lopes remaining as
president and CEO. The merger will add SECHC’s 180-plus employees and 19,000
patients to the largest community health center in Massachusetts and one of the
largest in the country. SECHC will continue to provide comprehensive health
care services in the South End.
“As SECHC celebrates 50 years of service to
the South End, we also look to the future. Our number one goal is to strengthen
high-quality care for this community in an increasingly complex and volatile
health care system that favors economies of scale,” said Bill Walczak, CEO and
president of SECHC. “We have strategically considered many pathways to
achieving this goal over the past several years and are delighted to have
reached an agreement with EBNHC that positions community-based care to thrive.”
Manny Lopes, president and CEO of EBNHC,
added, “Our organizations have shared a common mission for decades and there is
a lot we can learn from one another. As health centers, it is our duty to
innovate and grow in financially sustainable ways to ensure we are preserving
and advancing affordable, accessible, high-quality care in communities that
need it most. We believe that welcoming SECHC into our organization will benefit
patients, staff, and our communities.”
Post-merger, EBNHC will support
approximately 1,200 employees and more than 100,000 patients per year with an
operating budget of $165 million, providing high-quality services and programs
in neighborhoods on both sides of Boston Harbor.
The East Boston Neighborhood Health Center
(EBNHC) has been a vital part of its community for more than 40 years,
providing easily accessible, high-quality health care to all who live and work
in East Boston and the surrounding communities of Chelsea, Revere, Everett, and
Winthrop. EBNHC supports more than 1,000 employees and handles 300,000 visits
per year – more than any other ambulatory care center in New England.
Community Health Center (SECHC) is a comprehensive health care organization for
all residents of the South End and surrounding communities. Founded in
1969, SECHC is committed to providing the highest quality,
coordinated health care that is both culturally and linguistically sensitive to
every patient, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender
identity, physical ability, and/or income. SECHC’s multi-cultural and highly
trained staff of 180-plus serves more than 19,000 patients with an operating
budget of $16.5 million.
Route 1 Northbound:
Approaching the Tobin Bridge from Boston, the workzone begins in the righthand
lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m. –10 p.m.)
and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10 p.m.–5
Route 1 Southbound:
Approaching the Chelsea Curves from the North Shore, the workzone begins in the
lefthand lane. 2 of 3 travel lanes will be open during daytime hours (5 a.m.
–10 p.m.) and at least 1 travel lane will be open during overnight hours (10
Ramps: All on- and
off-ramps will remain open at this time.
Local Streets: The
Spruce Street temporary reconfiguration will remain in place for approximately
Most work will occur in
during daytime working hours (6 a.m – 2 p.m.) on weekdays. Some work will take
place during the afternoon (2pm – 7pm) and nighttime working hours (9 p.m. – 5
a.m.) and on Saturdays (6 a.m. – 2 p.m.)
There will be no work on
Monday, May 27 in observance of Memorial Day.
Summary of Work Completed
In the two weeks prior to
May 19, crews implemented additional lane closures to establish the median work
zone, installed new drainage in Carter Street parking lot, and prepared,
painted, and repaired portions of the bridge deck and joints.
Description of Work
Route 1 Northbound:
Demolish and excavate grid deck concrete fill, power wash grid deck, repair
bridge deck and joints, clean and weld new deflector plates.
Route 1 Southbound:
Install negative pressure containment system, powerwash and excavate around
support column footings, install micropiles, conduct surveys, upgrade
utilities, and deconstruct the median barrier.
Local Streets: Prepare and
pave new Carter Street parking lot.
The North Washington
Street Bridge Replacement is also underway which requires local traffic
impacts. For information or to sign up for project-specific construction
look-aheads like this one, visit the project website.
Drivers should take care
to pay attention to all signage and police details and move carefully through
the work zone. Police details, changes in lane markings, temporary controls
such as barriers and traffic cones, signage, and other tools will be used
throughout the project to control traffic and create safe work zones.
The contractors are
coordinating with local event organizers and police to provide awareness and
manage traffic impacts during events. For your awareness, during this
look-ahead period, the following events are scheduled:
Playoffs (TD Garden): To be scheduled
Red Sox (Fenway
Park): May 19 at 1:05 p.m., May 27 at 4:05 p.m., May 28 at 7:10 p.m., May 29 at
Boston Calling Music Festival (Harvard Athletic Complex): May 24 –
BHCC Honors Class
of 2019 at 45th Commencement Ceremony
On Thursday, May 23, Bunker Hill
Community College (BHCC) awarded 1,754 degrees and certificates to the
Class of 2019 at the 45th Commencement Exercises.
BHCC President Pam Eddinger opened the
ceremony with the annual “ritual of gratitude,” where
graduates thank family and friends in attendance for their support
throughout their educational journey. Eddinger also reflected on the cultural
wealth of the graduates and how it left a positive impact on her as College
“I am braver today because I have learned
from your struggles and have seen your courage,” said Eddinger. “I am more
hopeful, because you have shown me, in your multiple languages, your ancestral
songs, and your lived experiences that while life can be harsh, it is also
limitless and ever-renewing.”
Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher
Education Carlos E. Santiago delivered the keynote address. In his remarks to
the graduates, he encouraged the graduates to use their education to give back
to their communities. “Your communities benefit from your time and
talents,” he said. “As students at our community colleges, you are uniquely
connected to your cities and towns. I urge you to stay connected – to hold
tight to your civic compass. Let it point you to where you can make a
Santiago also received the President’s
Distinguished Services Award in recognition of his extraordinary service to the
community and BHCC. Santiago has served as Commissioner of Higher
Education since July of 2015. Santiago has made a great impact on important
issues affecting the BHCC’s students; in particular his commitment to equity in
higher education is something that resonates with us at the College.
The BHCC Nurse Education
Department was awarded with the Trustees Distinguished Service
Award, presented by William J. Walczak, Chair of the BHCC Board of
Trustees. The department was recognized for the success of its
collaborative leadership, steadfast resolve and decisive actions toward a
secure and thriving program, and in recognition of the increased success of
their graduates on the NCLEX Examination.
For the past two years, new leadership
and the full and ongoing engagement of the Nursing Education program’s faculty
and staff were all critical during an intensive reaccreditation process. The
program’s faculty and staff have implemented high impact student success,
pedagogical and post-graduate student interventions that have achieved
immediate results: most notably an NCLEX Examination pass rate of 94% for its
fall 2018 graduating class. Dean of Health Sciences Maryanne Atkinson,
Assistant Dean Donna Savino, Director Elizabeth Tobin and Associate Professor
and Chairperson Kristen Wenger accepted the award.
at Thursday’s ceremony were faculty speaker Bryan D. Craven,
Student Government Association President Joan Acosta Garcia, and
President’s Leadership Award recipients Cam Do and Eva
It’s a general consensus among City
officials that parking and traffic are among the greatest challenges facing
But the best way to help ease clogged
streets and ensure residents aren’t endlessly circling their block to find an
open parking spot are open to debate.
The latest proposal is an ordinance
introduced by City Council President DamaliVidot and District 1 Councillor
Robert Bishop seeking a change in the City’s off-street parking requirements.
Under the proposal, the residents of any
development or housing that is granted relief by the Zoning Board of Appeals
(ZBA) from the City’s parking requirements won’t be eligible to participate in
the residential permit parking sticker program. Already, in Everett, City
officials at their ZBA have been requiring new developments or expanded housing
units in triple deckers to not participate in their parking sticker program.
That tool has proven quite successful over past several months.
The Chelsea proposal will head to the
Planning Board for a recommendation before coming back for a public hearing
before the City Council.
“This will require any developer that comes
into the city to put their money where their mouth is by asking tenants not to
participate in the City parking program,” said Vidot.
Bishop said it is unfair that larger
developments come into the city and ask for and are granted well below the 1.5
parking spaces per unit required by the City.
“There are too many units and not enough
parking,” said Bishop. “Where do you think all those cars go? They go all over
the streets, that’s where they go.
“There is very little parking even in areas
where there was once parking. This is something we should have done years ago.”
District 6 Councillor Giovanni Recupero said
that while developers promote the use of Ubers, Lyfts, and public
transportation, the fact is that more development brings more cars into the
“There are more cars being registered in our
city, our streets can’t support all the cars,” Recupero said.
If developers want to build in Chelsea,
Recupero said they should do like they do in Boston and provide parking
underneath the units.
Several councillors said there are still
some questions about the proposal made by Vidot and Bishop.
Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda asked
what would happen with condominiums, where there are owners as opposed to
tenants. He also questioned what would happen if developers did provide
“If they meet the conditions and there are
15 spots for 10 units, would we still allow the parking sticker?” he asked.
Avellaneda said he is supportive of working
out more details for a parking plan, and also noted that many of the biggest
parking issues come not from the larger developments, but from smaller
conversions where parking relief is granted for buildings increasing from one
to two or two to three families.
District 3 Councillor Joe Perlatonda said
there needs to be a closer look at the overall parking program for the city.
He said the current program, which limits
resident sticker parking to 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. is unfair to residents.
“Unless we change the parking program to
24/7, these people are still going to be parking in our streets, and I’m sick
of it,” said Perlatonda.
Suffolk County District Attorney announces community meeting in Chelsea on June 19
Rachael Rollins, the dynamic district attorney who became the first female elected to the esteemed Suffolk County position last November, was the guest speaker at the Chamber of Commerce Luncheon Wednesday at the Holiday Inn/Boston Logan Airport Chelsea.
Rollins proved to be as dynamic a speaker as
she is a public official.
“The people that are most impacted
negatively by the criminal justice system – it has nothing to do with race and
almost everything to do with poverty,” Rollins told the luncheon audience. “If
you can’t afford somebody who can navigate fluently through the criminal
justice system – you are at a significant disadvantage.
“I don’t care what hue your skin is – if you
have no money, the system does not work well for you, period, end of story,”
In well-received remarks, Rollins spoke about
the DA’s mission as the chief law enforcement office of Suffolk County. She
addressed serious issues such as the opioid crisis. She talked about the
marijuana industry and law enforcement’s efforts in the field since
recreational marijuana became legal in the state.
Chamber President Joseph Mahoney noted
Rollins’ achievements as a Division 1 college athlete at UMass/Amherst. While
at UMass, she challenged school leaders to increase the number of athletic
scholarships given to female students.
Rollins also used the forum to make a major
announcement: she will hold a community meeting on June 19 at 6 p.m. at the
Chelsea Senior Center.
It is the second such quarterly meeting in
the county following the inaugural session in Roxbury. It will be in the style of
a state of the union/state of the city, followed by a question-and-answer
Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Chelsea
Police Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez praised Rollins’ initiative
to host a community meeting in the city.
“A community meeting on a regular basis is a
great idea,” said Robinson, an early supporter of Rollins in her campaign for
office. “It follows through on her pledge to be accessible and accountable to
our residents. I expect to see a tremendous turnout of people welcoming her to
Chelsea on June 19 and learning about the important role the DA’s Office has in
Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes was a guest at
the luncheon while Roca Assistant Director Jason Owens, who provided an
overview of Roca’s efforts during brief remarks, led a delegation from the
Rollins called on Kyes to elaborate on the
challenges facing police officers in regard to the new marijuana laws.
“We have individuals in the state, police
officers in the state who are known as drug recognition experts (DREs),” said
Kyes. “There are only about 200 DREs out of 17,000 police officers, including
the State Police. At the end of the day, when an officer sees somebody and
they’re unsteady on their feet, bloodshot eyes – they could potentially get
probable cause to make an arrest, but then without that DRE to do an added
evaluation, when it goes to court, these individuals aren’t getting convicted.
“Right now, some judges will allow the
testimony pf a DRE and some will not,” concluded Kyes.
Rollins’ remarks were videotaped by Chelsea
Community Cable Television. Executive Director Robert Bradley said the luncheon
will begin airing on the cable television station.
A 38-unit affordable housing project at the
former Midas site on Broadway can move forward after the Zoning Board of
Appeals (ZBA) unanimously granted a special permit for the project Tuesday
The $15 million project is a partnership
between the Traggorth Companies and The Neighborhood Developers (TND). The
developers initially came before City officials last year with plans for a
42-unit housing development with some market rate units included.
In addition to cutting the project down to
38 units and making all the units affordable, a planned fifth floor of a
building along the Broadway side was eliminated.
“This project cannot do everything for
everyone, but it can achieve many things for Chelsea by creating 38 units of
affordable housing,” said Dave Traggorth of the Traggorth Companies. “This
blighted site pays very little in taxes. This will change that and bring
revenue to the city.”
In addition to providing affordable housing,
Traggorth said there will be public access to Mill Creek for all Chelsea
As has been the case during past public
hearings on the project, a number of community members touted the need for
affordable housing in Chelsea and TND’s past successes in bringing affordable
units to the city.
City Council President Damali Vidot said she
has never supported a TND project in the city until this one.
“There is a huge problem with affordability
in this city and we are displacing residents at a rapid rate,” said Vidot.
Resident Sandy Maynard supported the
creation of affordable units and the improvement of a blighted site in the
“I can’t think of a better project than this
one to meet that (affordable housing) need and to beautify Chelsea,” said
Maynard. “That lot is an ugly, ugly place.”
Several residents who have been homeless
also spoke in favor of the project and of the need of affordable housing.”
A letter from District 3 City Councillor Joe
Perlatonda cited his objections to the project, including the welfare of
neighboring residents due to traffic and parking concerns.
City Councillor-At-Large Roy Avellaneda, who
has spoken against approval of the 1001-1005 Broadway project in the past, said
his overreaching concern has been TND’s lack of a vision to bring affordable
home ownership, as opposed to rental units, to the city.
“Teachers and city employees are not able to
bid on homes (in Chelsea) and they are pushed out,” said Avellaneda. “I
understand the need for affordable housing, but there is no balance here …
There is a broader discussion that is needed in this community.”
The special permit granted by the ZBA was
required because the project did not meet minimum zoning requirements for rear
yard setbacks, number of off-street parking spaces, and maximum lot coverage
A housing lottery will be held for all of
those units, with 30 offered at 60 percent of the Average Median Income (AMI)
for the area (about $64,000 for a family of four) and eight at 30 percent AMI
(about $32,000 for a family of four). The maximum preference allowable under
state law will be given to Chelsea residents for the units.
There will be 42 parking spaces for the 38
units (the majority of which will be two-bedroom apartments). And because of
state law regulating public access to public waterways, 31 of those parking
spaces will be available as public parking from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to provide
access to Mill Creek for everyone.
•In other business, the ZBA held a public
hearing for a retail marijuana shop at the site of the former King Arthur’s
strip club at 200 Beacham St. GreenStar Herbals, Inc. is seeking to tear down
the existing two-story building and replace it with a one-story retail
Representatives from GreenStar said the
building will feature state-of-the-art security and 34 parking spots on site.
Representatives of several of the neighboring local produce businesses came to
express concerns about traffic and parking affecting their businesses.
The GreenStar proposal still needs to go
before the Planning Board later this month before coming back to the ZBA for
special permit and variance approvals.
•The ZBA also
denied a special permit for a church to operate out of the second and third
floors of 307 Broadway because the plan did not include any parking spaces.
Current and former
municipal employees crowded into Monday night’s City Council meeting as the
council took up a vote to allow City Manager Thomas Ambrosino to negotiate
changes to the city’s group health insurance policies.
Most of those employees
did not leave happily or quietly as the council voted 8-2 to grant Ambrosino
that authority to negotiate the changes. Councillors Roy Avellaneda and Yamir
Rodriguez voted against the order, while Councillor Calvin T. Brown was not
present at the meeting.
The city’s current group
health plan is governed by a three-year agreement with the Public Employee
Committee (PEC) that expires on June 30 of this year.
“During the months of
November through March, I did attempt to negotiate with the PEC a new
multi-year agreement that would provide some cost savings to the group health
plan,” Ambrosino stated in a letter to the council. “Unfortunately, I have not
been able to reach agreement with the unions.”
General Laws, Ambrosino stated, in the absence of a new agreement, the old PEC
agreement will remain in effect indefinitely. Without City Council action,
Ambrosino said he cannot put any health care cost savings in place.
The action approved by the
City Council allows the city to take advantage of recent state legislation that
allows municipalities to implement cost saving plan design changes on its own
if no agreement can be reached with the PEC as long as the city agrees to share
a percentage of its first year cost savings with the unions.
With the newly granted
authority by the council, the City Manager said he will negotiate reasonable
design changes to the city’s group health policies, likely by imposing
deductibles in line with deductibles paid for health insurance by state
Ambrosino said even with
any changes, Chelsea will always have health insurance at least as good as that
provided to Massachusetts public employees.
However, a letter to the
City Council submitted by the Chelsea Public Employees Committee outlined over
two dozen reasons why members believe the adoption of the changes to the group
health insurance should not be adopted.
“The PEC strongly believes
that the adoption of Sections 21-23 is inappropriate and premature for multiple
reasons: the Self-Insurance Trust Fund is running about a $2 million surplus;
the PEC has agreed to apply any surplus to reduce future health insurance
costs; City Manager Thomas Ambrosino wants the sickest families among City
employees and retirees to pay $1 million more on an annual basis currently paid
by the City; the PEC and City Manager Thomas Ambrosino agree that no changes to
employee/retiree health insurance are needed until FY2022; Ambrosino has failed
to bargain in good faith for a successor PEC agreement; a grievance, including
an alleged unfair labor practice, are pending at this time; and Sections 21-23
will effectively disable bargaining on health insurance,” the letter summarizes.
City Council President
Damali Vidot noted that her husband works for the Department of Public Works
and that any changes in health insurance would directly affect her. However,
she said the changes are necessary to allow Ambrosino to negotiate with city
“We hire the Town Manager
to negotiate with the unions, and I’m not comfortable when he does not have all
the tools needed for the negotiations,” said Vidot.
Vidot she said she hopes
Ambrosino can go back to the unions with the new negotiating tools and find
common ground with the unions. In addition to wanting the best for city
employees, Vidot said the council has a fiscal responsibility for the entire
The council president also
said that there has been some miscommunication on the issue, especially when it
comes to retirees. Vidot said changes to group health insurance plans would
only affect a very few retirees who do not qualify for Medicare.
District 1 Councillor
Robert Bishop said he agreed that the City Manager should have all the tools
available as he negotiates with the city’s union.
As the vote took place, many in the audience shouted and voiced their
displeasure, with several people stating the council should be ashamed of their
vote. The meeting came to a brief halt as the crowd noisily filed out of the
council meeting, with several audience members individually appealing to