Roberto Jiménez Rivera Announces Run for Chelsea School Committee At-Large

Chelsea’s vibrant and welcoming community is the reason my wife Sarah and I chose to buy our home here. We hope to have children soon and can’t wait to send them to Chelsea Public Schools. I recognize the incredible potential our community holds, and want to help all our children achieve their goals and become part of the next generation of leaders in our community and beyond. For that reason, I am announcing my candidacy for Chelsea School Committee At-Large. As of this week, my signatures have been certified and I am officially on the ballot for the 2019 municipal election. I am excited to continue meeting Chelsea residents as I get ready to become an advocate for our students!

After high school, I was fortunate to earn a scholarship that allowed me to graduate college with little debt. I left my island of Puerto Rico to attend the University of Michigan, and after getting Bachelor’s degrees in business and informatics and a Master’s degree in higher education, I moved to Massachusetts for work.

Today, as a college admissions officer, I work hard to find students whose lives will be transformed by a college education in the same way mine has been. I’m running for Chelsea School Committee because I want more of our students to graduate high school and obtain a college degree. I want our students to feel supported from PreK to 12 and imagine broader possibilities for their future. I hope to have your support with your vote on Nov. 5.

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August Madness : Umemba, Castro Prepare for Fifth Annual Let It Fly Basketball Tournament Aug. 10

The five years have passed quickly since Kyle Umemba and Cesar Castro decided they wanted to run a basketball tournament for the youth of Chelsea.

“We’re just two Chelsea guys in the community giving back,” said Umemba.

Year Five for the Let It Fly Basketball Tournament is here and the best players in the area will gathering on Saturday, Aug. 10 at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club on Willow Street.

The first tournament in 2015 was held outside in 90-degree heat. The steamy weather prompted Kyle, 26, a graduate of BB&N and George Washington University, finance professional and fashion model – and Cesar, 28, a graduate of Salem State University known as “The Grand Young Man” for scoring 1,000 points in his CHS basketball career, CHS basketball coach and paraprofessional in the school district – brought the tournament indoors and it’s been played at the JGBC basketball gymnasium ever since.

According to the two co-directors, all the stuff that makes the tournament so special will be back in 2019. There will be public address announcing for each game, a DJ’s musical entertainment, free refreshments, and a raffle table.

Key community leaders such as CBC President Joan Cromwell (“We couldn’t do this without Joan,” son Kyle Umemba says proudly) and Chelsea Police Community Liaison Officer Sammy Mojica Sr. will be on hand to help make sure everything runs smoothly. Chelsea Police Officers David Batchelor and Keith Sweeney are also valuable contributors to the tournament each year.

Sammy Mojica Jr., who played college basketball at Drexel and is currently a professional player in the Puerto Rico Basketball League, will make a guest appearance. One year, NBA player Nerlens Noel of Everett, made a guest appearance.

One of the best players in the Let It Fly Tournament will be Jarnel Guzman, an All-Scholastic guard who led Lynn English to the Division 1 state championship in March.“If they’re a big name player in New England, they’ll be here,” said Castro.

Twelve teams, eight high school and four middle school, will compete for the titles. A standing room only crowd is expected throughout the day.

“It’s great energy,” said Umemba. “We want others to follow our lead and I think it’s having that kind of effect. One of our scholarship recipients, Alfredo Hernandez, held a tournament at Chelsea High School.”

“There was a tournament held at Clinton Court that was generated by our idea for a tournament,” added Castro.

Umemba and Castro aren’t sitting on their success. The plans are to take ‘Let It Fly’ national in the next few years.

And if their organizational talents in making Let It fly the premier summer hoop extravaganza in Greater Boston are any indication, we would suggest either get on aboard or get out of the way.

“We’re building a platform in Chelsea,” said Umemba.

“The important thing is that everybody has a great

time,” concluded Castro.

And if you can’t be there to enjoy the tournament in person, Chelsea Community Cable Television will be there to record the action for a broadcast.

“We’re so grateful to Mr. [Robert] Bradley and his station for covering it every year.” said the directors.

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Nevena Jurisic of Chelsea Receives Teamsters Local 25 Scholarship

Teamsters Local 25 awarded college scholarships worth $60,000 to 30 high school students at its May 19 membership meeting, held at the Local 25 Union Hall. Nevena Jurisic, of Chelsea, was among the recipients. A recent graduate of Chelsea High School, Ryan will attend Salem State University fall. Nevena is the daughter of Tihomir Jurisic, a Teamsters Local 25 member that works at Paul Revere Transportation.

“These students are the future of our nation,” said Teamsters Local 25 President Sean M. O’Brien. “They are smart, engaged and an example of all that is good in the world. If the achievements and goals they have had so far is any indication, we can expect nothing but greatness from the future generation.”

President O’Brien was joined by Massachusetts Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-3), who helped present the student scholarships.

“I am so proud of the 30 recipients of the Teamsters Local 25 Scholarships. I grew up in a union household, and know first-hand how important this kind of support can be to families working hard to make ends meet so they can build a better life for themselves and their children. Supporting one another is what union membership is all about. I look forward to these students continuing to grow and make a positive impact in their communities,” said Trahan.

Since 2006, Teamsters Local 25 has awarded nearly $600,000 in scholarship funds. All students are children or grandchildren of Local 25 members or retirees.

Teamsters Local 25 is the largest Teamsters Union in New England, representing more than 12,000 workers.

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Council to Camera : Matt Frank Pivots to a World Behind the Lens

Matt Frank has always carried his own unique viewpoint of Chelsea, his own deep respect and love for a city he grew up in during its worst times, and for which he helped shepherd as a City Councillor during the ascent to some of its best times.

Now, after having retired from politics last election cycle, the life-long Chelsea resident has turned to a life behind the camera – taking up photography in a serious way and making more than a hobby out of it. Last weekend, he premiered his first solo show at the Chelsea Prospers Gallery in the windows of the former Salvation Army store.

“The show is up and I think we had a great opening before the Night Market last weekend,” he said. “This is a show I call ‘Modern Nostalgia.’ The focus is the things we know here that we have lost. We lost the water tower at the Soldiers’ Home and the Chelsea Clock building and the old Clark Avenue School, which I have pictured aside the new Clark Avenue School building…There are pictures of the downtown and the Tobin Bridge and one of kayakers on the Creek by the Bridge at sunset. Many don’t see Chelsea as elegant and pretty. But I think my photos are how a lot of residents see Chelsea…It’s an aspirational image and that’s how we feel about Chelsea at its best.”

Frank began playing around with a camera many years ago when he was working in Harvard Square, taking pictures for his job there as a necessity. It was a situation where he once got a very iconic photo of Lady Gaga when she was in Harvard Square visiting.

After he left the Council, he said he was looking for a hobby and all signs pointed to his camera. He purchased a little better camera and went to work in his hometown.

Since then, he has captured images that have gotten great feedback from residents as he showed them prints or posted them online – motion photos of Bellingham Square, or swans in Mill Creek, or sunsets over the Mystic/Tobin Bridge.

Soon, he was one of the leading voices – among many voices – in what Frank and others are calling the ‘Beautiful Chelsea’ movement.

That has come not just in the form of traditional photographs, but also with photo pillows, magnets, mugs and other items.

“It’s becoming a bit of a movement now,” he said.

Frank said he would like to continue his journey by adding more portraits, and more photos of people, but he said he also likes the idea of continuing on with inspiring photos of Chelsea. “Maybe I’ll focus on different communities, but honestly the Chelsea ones get a great reaction,” he said. “That’s because I know Chelsea. I suspect when I take pictures of other cities, it’s the same way. I think that what it is. My Chelsea pieces have my spirit in it. I think I see Chelsea in the way that others from Chelsea see it.”

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Prattville Councillor Bob Bishop Won’t Seek Re-Election : Crowded Field Takes Shape as Candidates Pull Papers for…

Prattville City Councillor Bob Bishop said this week he will not seek re-election to a second term, leaving an open district seat for candidates to vie for.

“I’ve decided I’m not going to be running this time around,” he said. “We’ll see what transpires in the future, but I think I’ve had enough this time.”

Bishop was elected in 2017 to represent Prattville in District 1 after former Councillor Paul Murphy stepped away to spend more time with his growing young family. Bishop was the former City Clerk in Chelsea, and was an alderman back in the old form of government. He was a staunch fiscal conservative on the Council and a voice of restraint in a time when the City has spent a lot of money on improvements and programming.

He will continue to serve out his term, which ends in early January 2020.

Bishop did pull Nomination papers in May, but elected not to turn them in.

According to City records, that leaves only Todd Taylor right now on the list of candidates who have pulled papers.

Taylor narrowly lost to Bishop in the 2017 election, and has served on the Planning Board. He pulled papers for the seat on July 11.

Candidates have until Aug. 4 to turn in signatures on their Nomination Papers.

•In other Council election news, the at-large race has shown some real interest so far with all three incumbents pulling papers and three newcomers seeming looking to challenge.

Incumbents Damali Vidot (Council President), Roy Avellaneda and Leo Robinson have pulled their papers, and perhaps joining them on the ballot are Mark Rossi (who is currently the License Board Chair and lives on Clark Avenue), Karen Santos (Cook Street), and Christopher Winam (Congress Avenue).

In District 2, incumbent Luis Tejada has taken out his papers for a re-election run, and he is being challenged by Olivia Anne Walsh of the Soldiers’ Home and Melinda Vega Maldonado, of Clark Avenue.

In District 4, incumbent Enio Lopez could have a challenger in Nelson Molina, of Marlborough Street, who pulled his papers early on May 1.

District 5 Councillor Judith Garcia is set to run again for her seat, but she already has some competition in Jason Bonetti of Beacon Street.

In District 6, Councillor Giovanni Recupero has filed for re-election, but he has a possible challenger in Christopher Assante of Hawthorne Street.

Councillors Joe Perlatonda (District 3), Yamir Rodriguez (District 7) and Calvin Brown (District 8) have filed for re-election and have no challengers as of yet.

•The School Committee at-large race features incumbent Frank DePatto facing former member Sean O’Regan and newcomer Roberto Andres Jimenez-Rivera.

In District 1, incumbent Rosemarie Carlisle is facing two challengers, James O’Regan and Bruce Harrison.

In District 4, incumbent Lucia Henriquez has an opponent in Sabrina Marie Wadhams of Gerrish Avenue.

District 7 School Committeewoman Kelly Garcia has a potential challenger in former member Charles Klauder – who was on the Committee for a few terms awhile back.

In the other districts, the incumbents have pulled papers, but have not challenger as of yet.

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‘People of Chelsea’ Exhibit Now Underway at City Hall

Chelsea photographer Darlene DeVita hosted her “People of Chelsea” exhibit Monday night at City Hall.

The exhibit featured individual black-and-white photographs that DeVita had taken in the city. In the text underneath the photo, the subject expressed his/her opinions and thoughts about Chelsea.

Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson and Police Capt. David Batchelor, one of Chelsea High School’s greatest all-around athletes, were among those featured in the exhibit.

Bill Carriere, who works full time at Home Depot in Chelsea, said he was “incredibly honored” to have his photo included in the exhibit.

“I’m proud to be among all the diversity and all the photos and wonderful stories that have been highlighted here,” said Carriere. “Darlene’s work is really amazing. She’s so passionate about this project.”

Sarah Putnam, a photographer who assisted DeVita as a Spanish language interpreter and editor of the interviews, said, “I love her work. She’s a very good photographer. She has a great eye and we just had so much fun working together.”

DeVita, who has lived in Chelsea for 15 years, said the exhibit was the culmination of a three-year project. She has been a photographer for 30 years, having first been inspired by a teacher, Byron Baldwin, at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, N.C. “I owe my photographic career to him,” said DeVita.

Councillor-at-Large Calvin Brown and Chelsea Police Community Engagement Specialist Dan Cortez joined residents in congratulating DeVita on her inspiring exhibit.

“I’ve been getting a very good response,” said DeVita, who helped launch the Chelsea Art Walk. “I love Chelsea and everything that is going on in the city. I want to see Chelsea stay as the great community that it is.”

Silvia Lopez-Chavez, a mural artist, said of her friend Darlene’s work: “I love the fact that she’s showcasing the beautiful people of Chelsea. There is such a variety of groups and people and it is nice to be able to connect the community through art. She’s a really good photographer and I got the opportunity to collaborate with her creating the banners in the city using her photographs.”

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Genevieve Spinelli

The passing this past week of Genevieve Spinelli, who owned and operated Genevieve’s Dance Studio for 42 years, marks the end of an era for those who lived in this city in the latter part of the last century.

Genevieve taught two generations of children the joys of dance, installing in each child a sense of self-confidence, teamwork, and discipline. Parents admired her both for the individual attention she gave to their children and for the uplifting manner with which she taught each and every cild.

The end-of-the-year recitals were a source of much joy for Genevieve, as she watched her students perform so confidently in front of large audiences for the first time.

Her generosity of spirit, her ability to make each child feel special, and her vibrant personality made each day at the studio a fun and enjoyable after-school activity for all of her dancers.

She was the wife of Ralph Spinelli, with whom she shared 50 years of marriage. Ralph was her most valued supporter and No. 1 fan, knowing his wife was revered by children and parents alike. Ralph himself possesses an incredible ability to tell a story or a joke and bring a smile to those fortunate enough to be in his company, and together Genevieve and he were an inseparable pair who made a difference in the lives of those who were fortunate enough to attend her school.

Those of us who were blessed to know their son, Robert MacDonald, in his youth, remember his early and successful involvement in the performing arts and what a terrific person he is.

In Genevieve Spinelli, Chelsea truly has lost a legendary figure — a link to a glorious period in our history when dancing was an activity for so many of our youngest residents. Genevieve inspired countless young people in this city to develop a lifelong appreciation for dance.

We know we join with all of our fellow residents in expressing our condolences to her family. Genevieve was a wonderful lady and truly will be missed.

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Ivy League-Bound: Chelsea Twins Natalia and Yasmine Calvo Will Attend Harvard and Princeton Respectively

It is a story of a determined young woman who came to this country from Costa Rica, worked hard, raised two beautiful daughters as a single mother and made their education a top priority.

Ana Romero, who arrived in the U.S.A. 27 years ago, sat proudly among the other parents at the recent Excel Academy High School (East Boston) graduation ceremonies at Faneuil Hall’s Great Hall.

Chelsea resident Ana Romero is pictured with her twin daughter, Natalia and Yasmine Calvo, following their Excel Academy Charter High School graduation ceremony at the Great Hall at
Faneuil Hall, Boston.

Ana’s twin 17-year-old daughters, who were born five minutes apart, Natalia Calvo and Yasmine Calvo, were receiving their diplomas, and as a result of their overall academic excellence and contributions to their school community, were on their way to two of the world’s most prestigious universities.

Natalia will enroll at Harvard University in Cambridge while her sister, Yasmine, will enroll at Princeton University in New Jersey. Both schools are members of the Ivy League.

Chelsea Roots

The sisters’ journey began at the Kelley School in Chelsea where they attended grades 1-4. Natalia and Yasmine moved on to the Excel Academy Chelsea in the founding class and attended the charter school through eighth grade.

“We were in separate classes all through elementary and middle school,” said Natalia.

“I had requested separate classes because I wanted them to be themselves,” said Ana Romero.

Onward to Excel High School in East Boston

They remained in the Excel Academy Charter School system, moving to a brand new high school in East Boston in the tenth grade as members of the school’s first graduating class of 100 students.

They were certainly at the top of their class, not only establishing their academic credentials as high honor roll students and members of the National Honor Society, but becoming school leaders and representatives in the Model United Nations.

History teacher and Model United Nations advisor Kate Lints and computer science and Technology Club advisor Nora LaCasse were their favorite teachers at Excel. The Calvo twins were co-founders of the Technology Club.

They also praised Excel college counselor Nicole Repp.

“She’s great – we love her,” agreed the sisters.

“She’s [Repp] very patient, very knowledgeable, she helped them through the college admissions process,” lauded Ana Romero.

Natalia received the school’s top science award while Yasmine received the top mathematics award and a community award.

Interestingly, both young ladies are lifeguards at the Jordan Boys and Girls Club. They had joined the club as 11-year-olds.

“Gina [Centrella] has been really great at connecting us to different resources,” said Natalia about the club’s executive director. “Whenever there’s an opportunity, she always makes sure to let us know.”

Ana Romero is very happy with her daughters’ experience at the Boys and Girls Club.

“I love the club,” said Romero. “They not only worked there and taught the kids how to swim, but they had a great swim coach Travis Robinette].”

“He [Robinette] put us in a scuba diving course and we learned how to scuba dive, surf, and snorkel said Natalia.

During their careers, both sisters helped other students with academic tutoring.

Applying to College

Natalia and Yasmine applied to several colleges and were accepted to the best schools in America.

They learned of their acceptances to their Ivy League schools on March 28.

Natalia, who is a Noonan Scholar and took summer courses at Amherst, chose Harvard among five Ivy League acceptances. Johns Hopkins, Wellesley, and Tufts were also on the sisters’ list of elite schools.

“I liked how close the school was [to Chelsea] – and I wanted to be close to my mom,” said Natalia, in explaining her decision to attend Harvard. “The college has a lot of history. I remember visiting Harvard in middle school. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never get in here’ – and now I’m going there, which is like – crazy.”

Yasmine talked about her decision to attend Princeton.

“The first time I heard about Princeton was from reading [Supreme Court Justice] Ana Sotomayor’s biography during summer reading at the beginning of freshman year,” said Yasmine, who had attended the Beaverworks summer program at MIT. “I really liked the vibe at Princeton.”

The sisters will both study Computer Science at their respective universities.

Encouragement and Support from Mom in Their Earliest Days

Ana Romero is very excited about her daughters’ future plans.

“They’re hardworking kids, they’re very grounded,” said Romero. “I have no doubt that they’re going to succeed at college. I always encouraged them to go to high school, go to college, get a good education, and have a good career.”

Natalia recalled how their mother encouraged them to start thinking about college at a very young age.

“I remember when we were little kids, she said, ‘you have to go college,’’ recalled Yasmine. “My sister and I are so grateful to our mother for all the sacrifices she made.”

“Yasmine took the words out of my mouth,” said an equally thankful Natalia.

For the first time in August, the Calvo girls will be heading their separate ways, Natalia to Harvard, Yasmine to Princeton.

“Hopefully we’ll beat Harvard in football,” said Yasmine, with a smile.

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Two Finalists Vying For Massport CEO Job

The Massport Board of Directors announced that Boston Planning and Development head Brian Golden and Massport’s Port Director Lisa Weiland have emerged as the two finalists who will be considered for the Massport CEO post.

The Massport board will meet during a special meeting Thursday and make its final decision on whether it will be Golden or Weiland for the $300,000 a year job that will oversee Logan International Airport and the Conley Shipping Terminal in Southie.

After a nation-wide search that included 170 applicants for the job the Massport board cut the list down to 40, then 10, then four before Golden and Weiland emerged.

“I want to hear three things from the two candidates; their vision, how familiar and experienced they are in working the levers of local and federal government, and maybe most importantly, what experience they have working with local impacted neighborhoods,“ said Massport board member and Eastie resident John Nucci. “Those were former CEO Thomas Glynn’s strengths and it’s what we need again right now.”

In 2016 the Massport board voted to promote Weiland from Acting Port Director to Port Director.

Wieland has served as the Acting Port Director since March of 2015 and previously as Maritime’s Chief Administrative Officer. As Port Director, she oversees planning, development, marketing, operations, security, financial management, administration and maintenance of all of Massport’s non-aviation properties. Before joining the Maritime team, Wieland served in several roles at Massport, including the Director of HR Strategy and Employment and the Director of Corporate Planning and Analysis. Wieland has been with Massport since 2006.

Prior to her employment with Massport, Wieland worked as a consultant for Bain & Company serving health care and consumer products clients, and for CNN in various news and political assignments. She received her B.A. from UCLA in Political Science, and her M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

As BPDA Director since 2014, Golden functions as the BPDA’s chief executive. He oversees the agency’s core missions of community-engaged planning, regulation of major real estate development, management of the BPDA’s real property, and workforce training programs.

An attorney since 1993, Golden is a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, where he served the Allston-Brighton neighborhood of Boston. He was also the New England Regional Director at the US Department of Health and Human Services, a Commissioner at the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy, and a member of the Board of Directors at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston.

Golden has served as a U.S. Army officer, active duty and reserve, for more than twenty years. His military experience included duty in Bosnia, Iraq, and Israel/West Bank.

Golden is a graduate of the Boston Latin School and Harvard College. He received a Master’s degree from the U.S. Army War College and a law degree from the College of William and Mary’s School of Law.

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Jocelyn Poste a Graduate With Many Titles

When one addresses Chelsea High graduate Jocelyn Poste, they wouldn’t be incorrect to call her ‘Madame President,’ yet they could also refer to her as the Salutatorian of the Class of 2019, or for another angle, as the best female athlete of the year.

Or if none of those are of interest, she could certainly be called a passionate community activist.

It’s hard to find one title to pin on Poste, 18, but that is what defines her time at Chelsea High.

This year, Poste was one of the handful of students that fought hard to get the graduation exercises back outside at the Stadium. And even in the face of adversity, they continued.

Poste said it was an experience that will shape her after high school.

“I never really got involved with politics until that happened,” she said. “There were plenty of people who said we couldn’t do it. We kept at it and it worked. I talked with Damali Vidot (Council President) about it and she said we had to come back and take her seat when we’re older. I don’t know if I would get into politics, but I want to be a voice for the people certainly.”

Poste began her career at the Silber ELC and then went to the Kelly School and the Clark Avenue Middle School.

She will attend Union College as a Posse Scholar, meaning she will have a full ride to the New York school as well as a support network. She said she was not sure about going out of state to college at first, but the Posse Scholarship was too good an opportunity to pass up.

There, she will focus on biology so she can pursue her goal of being a dermatologist.

That dream stems from a video that was popular in middle school that went viral. It was called Dr. Pimple Popper and it was something she said pointed her in that direction.

She said she wanted to thank her parents, Steven Poste and Angela Burgos, for supporting her through high school.

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