About one month after former School Committeeman Julio Hernandez – the vice chair of the Committee – suddenly resigned, citing a lack of interest in the Committee from other members, one member is firing back to say the School Committee is committed.
In his letter last month, Hernandez cited
financial reasons mostly for his resignation, but also indicated that many
members of the School Committee didn’t show up to meetings and didn’t have the
best interest of the kids at heart.
In a letter to the Record this week, member
Kelly Garcia said she disagreed with that summation and defended her record.
“I persevered and fought against every
obstacle that came my way, and I continue to serve on the committee and stand
right by my students both in my classroom as a Special Education teacher, as an
advocate for increased funding at the State House on Beacon Hill, and the
School Committee member representing District 7,” she wrote. “I never gave up
on the students of Chelsea because once again, and in Hernandez’s own words,
‘our students’ education is no JOKE.’
“I was appalled to read such negative
commentary by a former elected official,” she continued. “A person who has
chosen to break his commitment to the Chelsea School District and its students
should not be now using social media to undermine those who are left to choose
a replacement, while at the same time, having to choose a new Superintendent.”
The letter also indicated that she believed
it was Hernandez that failed the students of Chelsea, urging him to move on
“Hernandez is an aspiring professional, and
I ask that he leave this position with dignity and respect for himself and for
his former colleagues who continue to work hard attending the majority of the
meetings, asking thought-provoking questions, and searching for the next
superintendent,” she wrote.
Hernandez’s resignation came just before the
resignation of School Committee Chair Rich Maronski, who also voiced
frustrations with the fact that many members don’t attend meetings. He is
continuing to serve out through the end of the superintendent search.
Around 20 members of the local community
gathered at City Hall on Monday, Feb. 25, for the meeting of the Chelsea City
On the agenda for Monday night’s meeting was
a ceremony to honor individuals in the Chelsea who have made a difference to
The first to be recognized Dr. Alfred
Donatelli, the chair of the Chemical Engineering Department at UMass/Lowell.
The City Council chose to honor Dr. Donatelli for “his many contributions in
the world of Science and Engineering.”
Dr. Donatelli is a proponent of STEM education,
which focuses on educating students in science, technology, engineering and
mathematics. He was featured in the
Record earlier in the week for a STEM education demonstration he gave at the
Chelsea Public Library.
A group of six individuals were also given
the Chelsea Trailblazer 2019 Award: Bruce Mauch, Grace Muwina, Saritin Rizzuto,
Lisa Santagate, Record Editor Cary Shuman and Leroy Tyler. In celebration of
Black History Month, the annual Chelsea Trailblazer award is bestowed on
individuals who have made positive contributions to their local community
through demonstrated commitment and service. Shuman was out of town, but the
remaining five recipients received awards from City Council and also posed for
photos with family and City Council members.
City Council Clerk Paul Casino called award
recipients “a beacon of light for all those who want to follow in their
When the floor was opened to members of the
public to speak, Joan Cromwell, the President of Chelsea Black Community (CBC),
shared her thoughts about Black History Month.
“Black History is not only for Blacks. It’s
American history and it’s a part of our history right here in the city,” said
Cromwell. “We’re all dealing with the same issues every day, so it’s a shared
month that we should all be celebrating together as a community.”
Longtime Chelsea resident Beverly Martin
Ross spoke next, adding, “We really appreciate our City Manager as well as our
newly appointed [Representative] Ayanna Pressley, who came out to serve the homeless
in honor of Black History Month.”
“I just want to give all the praise to the
Chelsea Black Community for the work they put in every year creating events all
month long,” said City Council President Damali. “There’s a lot of history here
in the community that’s rich and I appreciate all the work that goes into
keeping the black history alive here in the community. You guys are the real
A final Black History Month event was hosted
on Thursday, February 28, at the Williams Middle School, where keynote speaker
Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins honored the Chelsea Trailblazers.
The next City
Council meetings will be held at Chelsea City Hall on March 11 and March 25 at
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.
Kathleen Bray, Councilor Leo Robinson, Linda Alioto Robinson, Stephanie Rodriguez, City Manager
Tom Ambrosino, and Dan Cortell helped coordinate the evening for the REACH program. Linda Aliota Robinson, long-time director of the REACH program, was honored for her years of work with the youth of Chelsea High.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.