Fences, Construction Begins on Soldiers’ Home this Week

Fences, Construction Begins on Soldiers’ Home this Week

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home construction project will begin in earnest this week as fences are expected to go up around most of Malone Park.

Supt. Cheryl Poppe told the Record that the construction fence is scheduled to go up any day on about two-thirds of Malone Park, with about one-third of the park on the western edge to remain open.

“About two-thirds of the park will be fenced off and one-third will stay open,” she said. “That will help us start the drainage work, the geothermal wells and the parking lot. I want to make sure everyone knows what is happening with the project and that they can use the park one last time before it is closed off.”

The project will be the replacement of the old Quigley Memorial Hospital with a new Community Living Center for veterans. The $199 million project is a partnership between the federal and state government and represents one of the largest expenditures for long-term veterans care in the history of the state.

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A Visit from Santa

A Visit from Santa

Justin Machado holding his new Phlat Ball after his special visit with Santa at the Chelsea Police Station on Tuesday, Dec. 18. The annual pre-Christmas visit to Santa has become a staple for local children, with the Police partnering with the Early Learning Center (ELC) this year.

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Appreciation:Remembering Frankie Bernard, Who Had a Gift for Art and a Gusto for Life

Appreciation:Remembering Frankie Bernard, Who Had a Gift for Art and a Gusto for Life

Frankie Bernard was an inspiration to all, a man who never let his physical challenges deter him from his pursuits in

Frankie Bernard was a noted newspaper cartoonist and caricaturist whose artwork was enjoyed by many people.

life. With the support of a loving family and friends who enjoyed being in his presence, Frankie lived each day to its fullest.

Born with Spina Bifida, Frankie graduated from Chelsea High School in 1986 and attended the Massachusetts College of Art. He became an accomplished cartoonist and caricaturist, delighting readers on the pages of the Chelsea Record and its sister publications with his creativity and keen sense of humor.

He brought joy to visitors to Faneuil Hall Marketplace with his caricatures and taught others the craft of art and to appreciate it while serving as an instructor at Bunker Hill College and in school programs in Chelsea. Through social media, he developed friendships with other artists all over the country.

Francis J. ‘Frankie’ Bernard Jr., son of Mary L. (Manning) Bernard and the late Francis J. Bernard Sr., died on Dec. 18 after a brief illness. Frankie was 51.

“The most important thing I would want people to know is how strong he was, what he endured, and he just took it with a grain of salt,” said his sister, Maureen Bernard Jurgelewicz. “The hospitalizations, the procedures, and the tests, things most people couldn’t endure, Frankie met them head on as a fact of life.

“Interestingly enough, they told my mother that Frankie would live to be about 2 years old, so he defied that by a lot,” said Maureen. “He surprised the doctors with surviving and flourishing.”

And he did flourish, demonstrating an early gift of proficiency in art and caricatures. “That came out pretty much when he was a toddler – he was able to draw and he could pick up any song and play it on the keyboards, even though he never had lessons,” said Maureen. “You could see he had that gift at a young age. He was very artistic.”

Maureen recalled how Frankie would engage in recreational activities with the other children on Gardner Street and in the neighborhood, participating regularly in games like kickball and kick the can.

“He would try to keep up with us and he could,” said Maureen.

She describes her mother, Mary Bernard, as “an angel,” who devoted her whole life to Frankie with her care, her uplifting manner, and her kindness.

“Frankie and I had a good relationship, sometimes I was like a second mom to him, though he didn’t always like that too much,” said Maureen. “We did a lot together,  the past two years especially.”

Maureen said her brother loved Chelsea. “I tried to get him to move closer to me, but he wouldn’t budge – he loved everything about Chelsea. He loved his Chelsea friends.”

Sean Richards was one of Frankie’s closest friends, according to Maureen.

It was Maureen who wrote the beautiful eulogy that was delivered by Frankie’s nephew, Michael Bernard Jr., at the funeral Mass Dec. 22 at Our Lady of Grace Church.

Following is the eulogy:

Eulogy for Frankie

Love can cure your problems/You’re so lucky I’m around/Let my love open the door.

These are the lyrics to one of Frankie’s favorite songs from one of his favorite bands. They seem so fitting today as we pay tribute to our beloved friend, uncle, brother and son Frankie.

We love your strength and hope Frankie. Your Chelsea-strong fighting spirit. You showed us that strength means never giving up in the face of another hospital stay, another surgery or another social rejection. Your hope was for a better new day, each day, and that never waivered.

Frankie, we love that God blessed you with the gift of art. You loved to draw your caricatures and cartoons. It was your passion and profession. Other than a big tip or paycheck, you liked nothing more than to make people smile with your caricatures.

We loved your gusto for life. It was there as a kid playing kick-the-can on Gardner and Parker. Always keeping up with the neighborhood kids. It was there for concerts and karaoke as an adult. For attending your beloved Celtics and Red Sox games.  You were always ready, willing and able to pursue a good time.

Frankie we love that you were a great friend. You loved nothing more than spending time with your friends.  From your friends awakening you from hospice care in the ICU to meeting you at the PPC or the Brown Jug, you cherished each and every moment with them.

We love your love for family. As an Uncle, Brother and Son you have taught us so much. You gifted us with the lessons of patience and perseverance. You were a living example of never sweating the small stuff. You and Mom were a living example of dedication and truly unconditional love.  This love was truly the best medicine of all.

We were so lucky you were around.

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Income Tax Rate to Drop to 5.05 Percent Jan 1

Income Tax Rate to Drop to 5.05 Percent Jan 1

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue confirmed last week that the required revenue metrics have been met to ensure the state’s Part B income tax rate will drop on Jan. 1, 2019 from the current 5.10 percent to 5.05 percent.

“A strong economy and careful management of the Commonwealth’s finances have created the conditions for Massachusetts taxpayers to get a much-deserved break,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “We are pleased that next year we will see taxpayers be able to keep more of their hard-earned money.”

A state law enacted in 2002 provides the statutory mechanism to lower the Part B individual income tax rate, based on certain revenue milestones. The legislation replaced a tax-rate reduction schedule that had passed by ballot initiative in November 2000.

“I was pleased to receive confirmation from the Department of Revenue that the revenue trigger had been met. This reflects steady revenue growth and a nice break for taxpayers,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan.

The law provides that for each tax year in which certain inflation-adjusted baseline revenue growth requirements are met, the income tax rate will be reduced by increments of 0.05 percentage points until the rate reaches 5 percent.

Part B income includes wages, salary, and many other forms of income, including self-employment income; business, professional and farm income; S corporation distributions; and rental income from personal property. The rate associated with Part B income is also applied to several other income categories, including interest and dividends and most long-term capital gains.

There are five revenue tests that determine whether a rate reduction is required, beginning with growth in revenue over the previous fiscal year, and including a series of four additional growth measures. If any one of the incremental tests is not met, the rate reduction does not proceed. With DOR’s certification of the most recent revenue measure, all five tests in 2018 have now been met.

The rate reduction was last triggered on Jan. 1, 2016, when it dropped from 5.15% to 5.10%. Previous reductions included:

  • Jan. 1, 2012 (rate reduced from 5.3% to 5.25%)
  • Jan. 1, 2014 (rate reduced from 5.25% to 5.2%)
  • Jan. 1, 2015 (rate reduced from 5.2% to 5.15%)

The state budget for Fiscal 2019 accounted for the income tax rate change, which is projected to reduce tax revenue by approximately $84 million in Fiscal Year 2019 and approximately $175 million in Fiscal Year 2020.

If revenues in 2019 are sufficient to trigger a further rate reduction, the Part B income tax rate will drop to 5% for the 2020 tax year.

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Peace on Earth…in All Languages

Peace on Earth…in All Languages

The Berkowitz School Select Chorus sent a message of peace on Earth is four languages on Tuesday
morning at their annual Winter Holiday Concert. The group of first-through-fourth graders brought their show to a conclusion with ‘Circle the Earth with Peace’ at the show – a message well-received by all during the Christmas season.

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Job Fair

Job Fair

James Ashe of Encore Boston Harbor spoke to a Chelsea resident about upcoming job opportunities at the casino in Everett. Thousands of jobs are coming up to be filled at the casino before it opens in June 2019. Chelsea residents do have a hiring preference for the jobs.

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Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban, to Go into Effect December 2019

Council Passes Plastic Bag Ban, to Go into Effect December 2019

When Chelsea residents go shopping for the holidays next year, they will have to either bring their own bags or pay a dime for a heavy-duty plastic bag.

Monday night, the City Council approved an anticipated single-use plastic bag ban in the city. The ban goes into effect one year from the Dec. 17 vote.

The proposal has been discussed in committee and meetings on the ban have been held with local businesses, but the issue was not listed on Monday night’s agenda.

District 4 Councillor Enio Lopez made the motion to take the ban out of conference committee and have it voted on by the full Council. Lopez noted that single-use plastic bags are bad for the environment and are also a constant source of litter around the city.

“This is a great idea and it is in our power to do it,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “I think small businesses will be able to adjust to the change.”

District 1 Councillor Robert Bishop said he initially had some mixed feelings about the proposed ban, but said he was swayed by Sunday night’s ‘60 Minutes’ segment on the environmental dangers of plastic.

“I think plastic will kill us all if we keep going the way we are going,” said Bishop. While Bishop said plastic bags are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dangers of plastic, banning plastic bags is a start.

District 3 Councillor Joe Perlatonda voted for the ban, but said he did have some concerns about the cost to consumers and businesses. While single-use plastic bags will be banned, consumers will be able to purchase sturdier, multi-use plastic bags for 10 cents.

Councillor-At-Large Leo Robinson shared some of Perlatonda’s concerns and recommended the proposal be kept in committee, giving local businesses more time for input.

But the majority of the Council favored taking action Monday night.

“There have been other cities that have implemented this, and you can see a huge difference in the streets,” said District 2 Councillor Luis Tejada.

The one year time-frame before the ban goes into effect will give the City time to do outreach to local businesses, and give the businesses time to go through any existing stock of plastic bags.

The ban passed with a 10-1 vote, with District 8 Councillor Calvin Brown casting the lone vote against it.

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Holiday Open House

Holiday Open House

The Bellingham-Cary House held its annual Holiday Open House on Saturday evening, Dec. 7, with a good turnout of residents coming to celebrate the holidays in the historic home. Pictured here are the Board of Trustees: Jean Chapman, Corresponding Secretary; Faye Dookharan, Treasurer; Matt Frank, and Karen MacInnis, President.

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Senior Captain Balances Work, Family, School and…Basketball

Senior Captain Balances Work, Family, School and…Basketball

Jose Gutierrez wears many hats in his family and on the Chelsea High basketball team as well, but this week, he is wearing the captain’s hat and has taken one step in leading an experienced hoops team to a good year.

Chelsea kicked off its season on Tuesday against Essex Aggie and cruised to an easy victory behind the defensive effort and leadership of Gutierrez.

The Record sat down with Gutierrez on Monday afternoon, and the two-time captain and senior said they have a scrappy team this year.

“We have a very scrappy defense this year,” he said. “I’m excited to see how we do on the defensive end and how that will create our offense. We’re going to be all up in your face – rah-rah – trying to put pressure on you so you’ll turn over the ball. It’s a very scrappy team.”

The team returns seven seniors for second-year Coach Judah Jackson, and Gutierrez said they have learned from their playoff loss last year against Waltham.

“Last year we didn’t have the experience,” he said. “this year, we’re full of seniors. If we all do what we’re supposed to be doing, we’ll have that confidence come playoff time to get that kind of win.”

Gutierrez, 18, grew up in Chelsea and went to the Kelly School and the Wright Middle School before landing at Chelsea High. He also played in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League (CYBL) and said it made him more of a team player.

“It helped me to focus more on the game and not just going out as an individual player,” he said. “Every year it was myself and another kid who did everything for the team. We would win, win, win and then during the championship we would always lose because we were just two guys and never involved our other team members. That helped me grow as a player because my IQ for basketball got a lot better.”

Same could be said for his academic IQ as well.

Gutierrez busies himself taking a rigorous college preparatory schedule and is enrolled in the Bunker Hill Community College program that allows students to take college classes in high school.

“It is a lot more difficult this year,” he said. “Right now I’m trying to focus on my high school classes so I can go to Bunker Hill next year and pursue my dream of becoming an EMT.”

Becoming an EMT is very personal for Gutierrez, who said two years ago he and his family watched helplessly as his father had a heart attack in their home. When the paramedics arrived, he said he was impressed with their skill and how they were able to care for his dad.

It hooked him.

“Two years ago my dad had a heart attack 20 minutes before we celebrated Christmas,” he said. “We celebrate at midnight and right before he had a heart attack. It was so tough to see my dad having cold sweats and shaking and I couldn’t do anything. That’s really when I knew I want to be an EMT.”

Gutierrez also runs track and plays soccer too, having been on this fall’s outstanding Chelsea High soccer team that went undefeated in the regular season.

However, Gutierrez also has to work as a janitor at a local radio station, where his parents supervise him. He is also responsible for watching his 9-year-old sister, who has become the team mascot and honorary water girl.

He said every time he hits the practice floor or suits up for a game, he has to thank his parents, Rafael and Nolbia. He said it’s because of them that he even gets to still play sports.

“They have helped me so much,” he said. “If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be doing this. I’m a senior and I need to work and save money. It’s because of them I’m able to do three sports every year and do what I want to do.”

Gutierrez and the Red Devils will host Greater Lowell at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 14, in the gym.

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