Fight Against Homelessness

Fight Against Homelessness

Pastors Ricardo Valle and Ruben Rodriguez show their determination to keep up the fight against homelessness during the one-year anniversary celebration of the Selah Day Center at Iglesia De La Luz Church on Broadway last Friday, Aug. 31. The Day Center has gone through ups and downs, but has provided great services to those facing homelessness and addiction issues.

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Time for a Trim

Time for a Trim

The 3rd annual Chelsea Free Back-to-School Haircut day took place at the Jordan Boys & Girls Club on Monday, Aug. 27. Six area barbers cut the hair of boys and girls in preparation for the first day of school Aug. 29. Here, event founder Luis Rodriguez and Councillor Yamir Rodriguez with William Arvarbo, who has a fresh trim.

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Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

If Bellingham Square is going to be fully returned to the community, then let that return be led by dominoes.

Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez checks his dominoes during Game Night on Tuesday, July 31, in Bellingham Square. Game Night is slowly gaining popularity, and the City initiative takes place every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.

It was slow going at first for the introduction of an outdoor Game Night on Bellingham Square – which is sponsored by the City’s Chelsea Prospers initiative. A few would trickle in and out, but the hard-scrabble Square had gained a reputation that many Chelsea residents hadn’t yet forgotten.

But now with about a month under the belt, momentum for the simple fun in the Square has begun to form with about 10 or so regulars – and that momentum has everything to do with something as simple as a domino.

“For me, this is the most popular game in Puerto Rico,” said Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez, who moved to Chelsea from Puerto Rico seven years ago. “It makes me feel great because I feel like I’m right at home in my hometown. I’m meeting people in Chelsea and talking to people I don’t know. It makes me feel welcome.”

As the group enjoys their game, salsa music plays in the background and many observers pass by – seemingly wanting to join in, but not entirely certain why people are playing games in Bellingham Square.

“It’s very comfortable here now and that’s surprising,” said Sheila Rohena. “I grew up here, so begin able to come out of my house and sit here in the Square is great. I used to be scared to come out of my house because of all the things that happen here. Now, I’m sitting here and enjoying myself in the Square. That’s pretty amazing because there was a lot of bad stuff happening here. Did I think this would happen? Not for the life of me.”

But certainly it was, and Rohena and others who participate in Game Night found a peacefulness in the Square on a sunny, warm summer night that hasn’t existed there for a long time.

“I really like that it’s right here in this spot,” said Tina Rivera. “I like it being here at City Hall because it’s had a very bad reputation for so long. There used to be game tables here permanently, but they had to take them down. A lot of people were hesitant to bring them back, but we did it in a very low-cost, low-key way. It’s going well. There are now problems. You see from this that we can have nice things. You have to just trust people sometimes.”

Rodriguez has even brought in some converts like Jen Matheson, who is new to downtown Chelsea and was taught how to play dominoes. Now she’s a regular.

“I live right here and it’s so great to be able to come out here and meet new people,” she said. “They taught me how to play dominoes. I didn’t even know, and now I’m winning a lot of the time.”

Rivera said she has hoped for community building events like a Game Night for a long time because it promotes stability and familiarity. Without that, there is no community, she said, and that makes the people vulnerable.

“If we don’t get back to being a community, it makes it even easier for another community to replace us without us knowing,” she said.

There is no end date in sight for the Game Night, and organizer Mimi Graney said they will likely go until it gets too cold.

For now, the goal is not to get the ‘Chiva’ – which is Spanish for ‘female goat’ and is slang for getting no points in a game of dominoes.

But for the future, the goal is to have several more tables full of people from the community functioning normally and having fun together.

Certainly in Chelsea, if anything, a domino game is good first step.

Cutline –

1 –

Roberto ‘Tito’ Rodriguez checks his dominoes during Game Night on Tuesday, July 31, in Bellingham Square. Game Night is slowly gaining popularity, and the City initiative takes place every Tuesday from 6-8 p.m.

2 –

William Molino celebrates a win in a game of dominoes during the Chelsea Prospers Game Night on Tuesday. Watching him enviously are Raul Melendez, Alex Garcia and Mike Vega.

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Halloween Ready

Halloween Ready

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Ready to conquer Halloween was Miley Rodriguez, who dressed up as Batgirl and was determined to win a prize during the 13th annual Community School Halloween Party on Sunday, Oct. 29. Halloween parties and trick or treating was everywhere in the city this past week.

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Chelsea ES$G Member Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

Chelsea ES$G Member Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

An East Side Money Gang (ES$G) member, known as “Superbad,” was sentenced Monday in federal court in Boston for racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

Josue Rodriguez, a/k/a “SB,” a/k/a “Superbad,” 20, of Chelsea, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns to 10 years in prison and five years of supervised release. In June 2017, Rodriguez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base.

Rodriguez is a member of the ES$G, a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ES$G uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses.

Rodriguez admitted that on July 5, 2015, he ambushed a rival gang member who was walking down the street, shooting at him with a semi-automatic pistol, but did not hit him. On March 29, 2016, Rodriguez and another ES$G member agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ES$G member so he could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ES$G.

On April 3, 2016, the third gang member used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang.

One of the targets was shot but not killed.

On May 26, 2016, Rodriguez attempted to hide the .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver used in a shooting, as well as spent and live shells, after another ES$G member/associate attempted to shoot a rival gang member.

The East Side Money Gang was also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (crack) and heroin.

Rodriguez conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute at least one kilogram of cocaine base. Rodriguez further admitted that he stored drugs at, and distributed drugs from, his home in Chelsea, and that the gang maintained at least one firearm at the location.

Rodriguez is one of 53 defendants indicted in June 2016 on federal firearms and drug charges following an investigation into a network of street gangs that had created alliances to traffic weapons and drugs throughout Massachusetts and to generate violence against rival gang members. According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts.

During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.

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Congratulations Alejandrina

Congratulations Alejandrina

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Mrs. Alejandrina Rodriguez, a long-standing Chelsea resident and community activist, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Multidisciplinary Studies degree from Cambridge College recently.Her family wished her well and said they are very proud of her achievement. “I am so grateful to have such a blessing in my mother,” said the family. “She has been a role model for so many people in her community, including myself. It is to admire how she has achieved all these goals. Because of her, I am who she wants me to be, an educator. I have seen her work all these years, working day and night, striving to get to her classes after work, getting home late at night. She is unstoppable. She deserves the degree that she has obtained with all her effort. My mother is #1.”

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Back to School Cuts

Back to School Cuts

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For the second year in a row, Chelsea barbers pooled their resources to help young people in the community look sharp for school. Councillor Damali Vidot, Councillor Yamir Rodriguez, and barber Luis Rodriguez organized the event this year, with music and free haircuts for Chelsea kids at the Boys & Girls Club.
More than 50 kids got spruced up to start of the school year, which began on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

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ES$G Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy

ES$G Member Pleads Guilty to RICO Conspiracy

A Chelsea East Side Money gang member, known as “Superbad,” pleaded guilty Monday in federal court in Boston to racketeering and drug trafficking charges.

Josue Rodriguez, a/k/a “SB,” a/k/a “Superbad,” 20, of Chelsea, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conduct enterprise affairs through a pattern of racketeering activity, commonly known as RICO, and one count of conspiracy to distribute cocaine and cocaine base. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Sept. 13, 2017.

Rodriguez is a member of the East Side Money Gang (ESMG), a Chelsea-based street gang, which uses violence to further its criminal activities and enforce its internal rules. Specifically, ESMG uses violence to protect its members/associates, target rival gang members/associates and intimidate potential witnesses.

On July 5, 2015, Rodriguez ambushed a rival gang member walking down the street, shooting at him with a semi-automatic pistol, but did not hit him. On March 29, 2016, Rodriguez and another ESMG member agreed to provide a .22 caliber revolver to a third ESMG member so he could “spank” with it – meaning that he could use it against rivals of ESMG. On April 3, 2016, the third gang member used the revolver to attempt to murder two men believed to be members/associates of a rival gang. One of the targets was shot in the head.

On May 26, 2016, Rodriguez attempted to hide a .38 caliber Smith and Wesson revolver used in a shooting, as well as spent and live shells after another ESMG member/associate attempted to shoot a rival gang member.

The East Side Money gang was also involved in drug trafficking, including cocaine, cocaine base (“crack”) and heroin. Rodriguez conspired with other gang members and associates to distribute at least a kilo of cocaine and cocaine base. Rodriguez further admitted that he stored drugs at and distributed drugs from his home on Tudor Street in Chelsea, and that the gang maintained at least one firearm at the location.

Rodriguez is the 11th defendant of 66 alleged gang members/associates from the Greater Boston area, who were charged in June 2016 with federal firearm and drug offenses, to plead guilty.

According to court documents, the defendants, who are leaders, members, and associates of the 18th Street Gang, East Side Money Gang and the Boylston Gang, were responsible for fueling a gun and drug pipeline across a number of cities and towns in eastern Massachusetts. Specifically, the gangs created alliances in order to traffic weapons and drugs, including cocaine, crack, and heroin supplied though a Brockton-based drug network.

During the course of the investigation, more than 70 firearms were seized.

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Police Briefs 09-08-2016

Tuesday, 8/30

Jose Davila, 47, 614 Dudley St., Dorchester, was arrested for shoplifting, trespassing, furnishing false name and on warrants.

Jose Manuel Ramos Rodriguez, 30, 157 Park St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing and assault and battery.

Wednesday, 8/31

Mark Brenner, 35, 37 Merritt Ave,. Brockton, was arrested for defacing property, tagging property.

Thursday, 9/1

Rigoberto Ramirez, 38, 23 Eleanor St., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing, possessing Class B drug, receiving stolen property over $250.

Jose Gonzalez, 18, 189 Washington Ave., Chelsea, was arrested for trespassing, possessing burglarious instrument, receiving stolen property over $250.

Carmen Claudio, 46, 295 Spruce St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault with a dangerous weapon, threat to commit crime.

Josue Lara-Villata, 22, 77 Addison St., Chelsea was arrested for larceny of motor vehicle/

Heather Wilson, 26, Homeless, was arrested for sexual conduct for fee.

Friday, 9/2

Kiana Freeman, 19, 8 Wilbur Rd., Dorchester, was arrested on a warrant.

Wilson Mauricio-Estaban, 25, 32 Brookvale St., Lynn, was arrested for unlicensed operation of motor vehicle, failure to yield at intersection.

Vincent Gabriello, 35, 25 Farragut Ave., Medford, was arrested for shoplifting.

Saturday, 9/3

James Freitas, 37, 204 Malden St., Revere, was arrested on a warrant.

Shayna Fields, 20, 55 Cottage St., Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class D drug, drug violation near school/park, and warrant.

Juvenile Offender, 17, Chelsea, was arrested for distribution of Class B drug, warrant.

Sunday, 9/4

Amy Pinabella, 43, 14 Bloomingdale St., Chelsea, was arrested for assault and battery on a pregnant person, disorderly conduct.

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