New Year, New School

New Year, New School

Excited middle school students at the brand new Clark Avenue School ran in the front door as the 8:05 a.m. bell rang and the new school opened up. The new Clark Ave fully opened to students on Wednesday morning, Aug. 29, bringing phase 1 and phase 2 together – complete with a new gym, a new music room and an exciting outdoor courtyard space. Excited parents, students and school staff gathered in the new courtyard before school started – buzzing with excitement over having a new term start in a new building with all of the amenities.

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Making Plans for Chick Corea Concert

Making Plans for Chick Corea Concert

Minna Karas Marino (left) and Councillor-at-Large Leo Robinson have announced plans to hold a concert featuring Chick Corea, the Grammy-winning jazz pianist and composer, in the summer of 2019 at Chelsea Stadium. Karas Marino is a former Chelsea High School classmate of the legendary musician and artist while Robinson has also maintained a long-time friendship with Chick Corea. The Record sat down with the two local concert planners and the story will appear in an upcoming edition of the Chelsea Record.

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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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New School Leader:Lex Mathews Begins as CHS Principal

New School Leader:Lex Mathews Begins as CHS Principal

Alexander “Lex” Mathews was seen enthusiastically welcoming Chelsea High School students on their first day of

Lex Mathews, new principal of Chelsea High School, is pictured in front of the school sign.

school this week. That personable approach is an indicator of the accessible manner he will bring to his new position of principal.

Mathews, 49, also brings elite academic credentials to the principal’s office, having graduated from prestigious prep school Milton Academy and earned an undergraduate degree from Columbia University, and advanced degrees from Harvard University, and Hunter College in New York City.

Mathews began officially on July 1, succeeding Priti Johari, who is now an assistant superintendent of Chelsea schools. His administrative team at CHS includes Assistant Principals Linda Barber, Kim Murphy, Mark Martineau, and Magali Oldander, ELL Coordinator Deidre Collins, and Special Education Coordinators Alan Beausoleil and Daymon Peykar.

Originally from Alaska and California, Mathews previously served in school principal and assistant principal positions in Somerville, South Boston, Somerville, and the Bronx in New York City. He has 23 years of experience in the field of education.

Mathews will be in charge of the day-to-day operations at Chelsea High which has approximately 1,500 students.

“I strongly believe in teamwork and the idea that every employee in the school matters tremendously to students,” said Mathews. “The principal may seem like a really important person, but to some students, there’s a paraprofessional that matters a lot more than the principal. To some families, there’s a teacher that matters a whole lot more.”

Mathews also believes that for Chelsea High School to be successful, “we have to be able to work together.”

He will expect administrators to be in the hallways  “making connections, building community and raising expectations.”

Mathews organized a freshman class trip to Tufts University this summer. “The goal was to get them thinking about college in the ninth grade, instead of waiting for tenth, eleventh, or twelfth grade, because by that time, if you have a bad grade point average, it’s hard to recover,” said Mathews, who is married and has three children.

He is excited to be working with Supt. of Schools Dr. Mary Bourque and the faculty and staff at CHS.

“Dr. Bourque has been supportive, inspirational, accessible – just extremely helpful,” said Mathews. “The other employees have also been inspiring and helpful and all are seeking to make an improvement in the school. I also look forward to any opportunities to meet with members of the community.”

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Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

In presidential campaigns, the swing state is always Ohio.

In this year’s Democratic Primary on Sept. 4, Chelsea is Ohio.

The battleground for so many races that will be decided on Tuesday, Sept. 4, has been in Chelsea this summer. Whether it’s the congressional race, the DA’s race, or even the Secretary of State – Chelsea has figured big in the plans of many candidates as they try to stake out their territories.

There have been numerous debates, several rallies, and endless discussions about the Primary Election – particularly on the Democratic side – but this coming Tuesday, Sept. 4, the talk ends and the voting begins.

Perhaps the most prominent and far-reaching race on the Democratic ballot is between the five district attorney candidates. For the first time in more than a decade, after the retirement of DA Dan Conley, the DA’s seat is open, and the entirety of Suffolk County will be choosing the winning candidate in the Primary.

Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe and Rachael Rollins are all newcomers to Suffolk County politics and have had to forge paths in areas outside their typical spheres of influence. Most have had management experience and some have worked in the prosecutor’s office. Carvalho is a sitting state representative from Dorchester.

He has received the endorsement of Chelsea State Rep. Dan Ryan.

However, Rollins – who made a good showing at a debate here earlier this summer – has made great gains in Chelsea, nabbing the support of many City Councillors here, including Councilor Leo Robinson (At-Large), Councilor Roy Avellaneda (At-Large), Councilor Joe Perlatonda (District 3), and Councilor Giovanni A. Recupero (District 6).

Rollins has also received support of the Ward 4 Democratic Committee here.

  • A race that has been liveliest in Chelsea is that of Congressman Michael Capuano against Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley – both of whom are running for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

Both have visited Chelsea with some frequency.

Earlier this summer, Pressley and Capuano both rolled out major visits in the span of two days to liven up the base in Chelsea.

Capuano boasts the support of elected officials like State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Councillor Robinson, but more than a few have been swayed by the arguments of Pressley, who has been polished and professional throughout the race.

This week, Pressley made a major score in landing the support of a dozen or more Chelsea elected officials and community leaders. Some include Council President Damali Vidot and Chelsea City Councillors Enio Lopez and Yamir Rodriguez. Also, Chelsea School Committee Chair Jeannette Velez, Vice-Chair Kelly Garcia, School Committeeman Julio Hernandez and School Committeewoman Lucia Henriquez. Former School Committee Members Robert Pereira, Melinda Vega and Diana Maldonado are also supporting Pressley.

Chelsea has been a key battleground, but it’s a big district that stretches all the way down through Boston and to Randolph on the South Shore. How that works out is anyone’s guess.

  • A less heralded race in Chelsea, but one that will be on the ballot and has been contentious, is the contest between Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim and long-time Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

Galvin has been a stalwart in the State House for many years, and has been very critical of Zakim.

Zakim has returned the favor.

A debate two weeks ago between the two had some very big fireworks shot off from both candidates.

Zakim has had some strong endorsements statewide, which has turned some heads, but Galvin also has the experience of years in the seat.

It will be one to watch Tuesday night.

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New Clark Avenue School Opens with Buzz of Excitement on Wednesday

New Clark Avenue School Opens with Buzz of Excitement on Wednesday

It was a new year at the Clark Avenue Middle School Wednesday morning, Aug. 29.

But it wasn’t just any new year.

It was the year that students poured through a brand new front door to the clean, sparkling hallways of a brand new $54 million school building with all of the most modern amenities that their old school – the former 110-year-old Chelsea High School – couldn’t provide.

“I really want to see the new gym; I can’t wait,” said William Bay, a 7th grader, as he waited outside his new school Wednesday morning. “I guess I just want to see all of the school. I’m excited about the whole thing. I think it will help me do better in school. I’m going to learn more here.”

For parents, the excitement was just as frenzied.

“I’m so excited,” said Bernice Reyes, who brought her two sixth graders for their first day. “I have a college graduate who went to the old Clark Ave. I remember that school. It couldn’t give these kids what this one will.”

Said Sara El-Mahil, a returning student, “It’s better than the old one for sure. The classroom are larger and all the water fountains will work now. I really like the space in the front where kids can hang out before school. Everything is going to be more organized.”

The Clark Ave began several years ago, with Phase 1 concluding in December 2016 and kids being welcomed into the new classroom portion along Tudor Street. This year, however, the entire school was opened to students – revealing a new gym, new music rooms, the library and numerous other amenities that completed the project.

“It’s a fantastic building,” said Principal Michael Talbot. “The kids are going to love it. The teachers are going to love the new options that this building gives them to teach the kids. Everyone’s excited.”

Supt. Mary Bourque and other district officials, including Gerry McCue – who shepherded the project through before retiring this year, were on hand to welcome students and parents.

“I am so proud of what the City has done here with this facility,” she said. “This was the right thing to do for the kids and the community.”

One of the most appreciated things on Wednesday morning for the students, parents and staff was the new, sprawling courtyard and outdoor amphitheatre at the corner of Tudor  Street and Clark Avenue. The new space is still under construction, but was finished to the extent that it offered a great place to gather before school.

Previously, the school hugged the sidewalk, and there was little to no space for gathering.

The new outdoors space will support learning at the school, and will also be available for the community to use for things such as outdoor plays or movies.

Williams School sewer problems

The Williams School – home of the Browne Middle and Wright Middle Schools – experienced a heart-attack moment on Monday afternoon when a major sewer blockage threatened opening day.

Around 3 p.m. on Monday, the sewer backed up and caused a major problem in the school. All of the teachers getting prepared for the school year in the building were sent home.

Joe Cooney and his team at the Buildings and Grounds Department went to work on the problem and soon found that there was a huge cluster of baby wipes clogging the sewer pipe and drains.

“Joe’s team worked throughout the night washing and sanitizing everything and we were ready to be back in business Tuesday morning,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “I am truly the luckiest and most grateful Superintendent for our dedicated and hard-working Buildings and Grounds department.”

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Bet on U:First ‘Dealer School’ for Encore Casino Begins Classes Next Month

Bet on U:First ‘Dealer School’ for Encore Casino Begins Classes Next Month

Now that the Encore casino tower has come into full view of Everett, it’s time to learn how to deal a good hand.

Encore Boston Harbor, Cambridge College in Charlestown and the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) announced this week that they will begin the first session of ‘Dealer School’ at Cambridge College in early September, focusing on teaching dealer basics, Blackjack games and Poker games. In coming years, they will also offer training on other games such as roulette and craps.

The collaboration is known as the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute and is long in the making, debuting now as Encore begins ramping up for the hiring of 1,100 dealers to fill out its gaming staff. Hirings will take place next spring, and it is expected that two full sessions of the Dealer School will be completed by the Encore opening on June 24, 2019.

Classes will start on Sept. 17, and the cost is $700. However, residents of Everett, Malden, Boston, Cambridge, Chelsea and Medford will have the opportunity to win scholarships that will make it free. The deadline to submit applications for scholarships is Sept. 10.

“We have been talking with Cambridge College for a number of months about this and it has worked out well,” said John. “The space is 2,500 sq. ft. and it will hold about 80 students per classroom. They will have three sessions per day.”

The sessions will run Monday to Thursday, with sessions at 8 a.m. to noon; 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. A student is expected to stay in their time slot once they start.

The Blackjack training will last nine weeks and the poker training will last 14 weeks.

There will also be a weekend session that only offers Blackjack training all day Saturday and Sunday for nine weeks.

Doug Williams, vice president of table games, Gary Hager, director of poker operations, and John all said that the Dealer School is a great opportunity to be ready when Encore ramps up to hire gaming staff next year. If one does get hired, it can mean a starting salary of $60,000 for a full-time job, plus benefits.

“This could be transformational for certain people,” said John. “In a matter of months for a 16-hour commitment and flexible times, you can begin a new career that starts at $60,000 for full-time work. It’s a chance for you to earn good money and have a career for the rest of your life. This isn’t for someone who likes to play cards and wants to do something fun. This is for someone really looking to make a career change.”

Said Williams, “It’s also a good avenue for someone who isn’t going to college or doesn’t want to go to college now. It’s a career you can take with you for the rest of your life. There aren’t many instances in a major metropolitan area where a new industry just pops up and you can get in on it.”

Added Hager, “When these kinds of jobs open up on the strip in Las Vegas, they don’t stay open long. These are good opportunities and this is getting in on the ground floor here.”

Those enrolled in the school will practice hands-on training, being taught by five former Encore dealers who will teach them all aspects of how to deal and oversee a good game. More than that, they will teach them the basics of being a dealer. That includes how to let people enjoy themselves and how to show off a good personality that will enhance the customer experience.

Basic requirements are that one have an 8th grade level of math competency; be 18 or older; be willing to work weekends, holidays and off hours; and have a great personality.

“The personality is very important,” said Williams. “We hear all the time it’s not whether a customer wins or loses that determines whether they had a great time, but it’s the interaction they have with the dealer. They may enjoy themselves more because you are they’re preferred dealer or you become their lucky dealer. You can go a long way here with a winning personality.”

John said, however, there is no guarantee that anyone who completes the Dealer School would be hired, but they would have preferred status.

“Honestly, we don’t know if they will definitely be hired by Encore,” he said. “It’s the first time we’re doing this. Obviously though, if you get through the program, you’ll have preferential status and you’ll be the first person we look to when we’re hiring.”

The full information about scholarships and enrollment in the Dealer School can be found at www.BetOnU.com.

Once again, classes for the first session start on Sept. 17.

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Rasi Chau Named CHS New Head Football Coach

Rasi Chau Named CHS New Head Football Coach

Rasi Chau has been a championship coach at various points in his career. He was an assistant coach for the 2005

Rasi Chau.

Super Bowl champion St. Mary’s High School football team, and most recently, for the Women’s Football Alliance national champion Boston Renegades.

Chelsea High School Director of Athletics Amanda Alpert was a player on the Renegades’ professional football team, so she witnessed first hand the highly skilled coaching techniques and winning attitude that Chau brought to the field each day.

Alpert has appointed Chau as the new head football coach at Chelsea High School. He was the defensive coordinator for the Red Devils last year.

Chau succeeds Jack Halas at the helm of the program and joins a group of CHS head coaches that includes such familiar names as Henry McCarthy, Anthony “Chubby” Tiro, Todd Flaherty, Bobby Fee, Anthony Cardarelli, Robert Tiro, Joe Gaff, and many others.

Chau, 37, is a 1999 graduate of Lynn Classical High School where he played football. He went on to play college football at Mount Ida.

He is excited to take over a high school program as its head coach for the first time in his career. He had served one season as a head coach of the Southern New Hampshire Beavers semi-professional team.

“I’m looking forward to the new season,” said Chau, who is also a certified football referee. “I’ve met with the players and they’re doing their summer workouts. We have 32 players in the program right now and hope to have between 35-40 players on the team.”

Chau has selected Joseph Solomon as the team’s offensive coordinator, along with assistant coaches Richard Wilson, David Roque, and Steph Jeffers, who like Alpert, is a women’s professional football player for the Renegades. Mike Lopez has been named as equipment manager.

Chelsea will compete in the Division 8 Commonwealth Athletic Conference Small Division. Non-league opponents are Nashoba Valley, Whittier Tech, Greater Lowell, and Pope John (Thanksgiving game).

“I’m going to try to lead this team to the playoffs, but the first year as a new coach is always challenging because you’re trying to change the culture and make sure the players believe in you,” said Chau. “Right now, I like what I’m seeing with 20-plus kids lifting weights every day and participating in the pre-season conditioning drills.”

With the Chelsea High School football field being rebuilt, the Red Devils will play almost all of their games on the road this season. Chau said he has already introduced himself to the coaches in Chelsea’s two youth football organizations, Chelsea Pop Warner and Chelsea Pride.

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The Trucks Stop Here:Chelsea Food Truck Festival Scheduled for Aug 14-16

The Trucks Stop Here:Chelsea Food Truck Festival Scheduled for Aug 14-16

What better way to introduce the new ordinance allowing food trucks in the city than with a Chelsea Food Truck

City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher (left) and City Hall summer
intern Katherine Cabral invite Chelsea residents to attend the first-ever Chelsea Food Truck Festival Aug. 14-16 at the Williams School parking lot.

Festival?

That’s the path that City Solicitor Cheryl Watson Fisher and City Hall summer intern Katherine Cabral are taking with the city’s first food truck festival that will be held on Aug. 14-16 (Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.) at the Williams Middle School parking lot at the corner of Arlington and Fifth Streets.

Watson Fisher, head of the Law Department for the city and a graduate of one of the nation’s finest law schools (Boston College), is the chief organizer, while Cabral, a CHS graduate and student at Bates College, is in charge of marketing for the organizing team.

Watson Fisher, who also supervises licenses in Chelsea, drafted the food-truck ordinance, which took one year to develop and gain approval.

“We’re trying with this festival to show that there is a customer base and market for food trucks in Chelsea,” said Watson Fisher. “We also want to get the food trucks here as an event for employees of City Hall. The Williams School is a good location for City Hall employees and other people who also work in the city during the day.”

Several employees from city departments, including licensing, law, DPW, inspectional services, schools, city manager’s office, will be in attendance and interact with the community at the festival.

Representatives from the National Institute of Justice will be conducting a survey at the festival. The Hubcats, which promotes the well-being of cats, will have an information table. The Archery, Limebikes, and Carter Park Crossfit are among the local businesses participating in the festival. There will be music and a possible appearance of the Chelsea Police “Copsicle” truck.

Attendees will have a wide of variety foods available for purchase, according to Watson Fisher.

“We’ll have a Chilean food truck, a Vietnamese food truck, a gluten-free, vegan truck, an American barbecue truck, as well as tacos, sausages, hot dogs, and hamburgers, and desserts,” said Watson Fisher.

Cabral said the festival will help determine which type of food trucks might be popular if the trucks were stationed here on a daily basis.

“We’re bringing in a big variety of food trucks to see what the people want going forward and whether the food truck operators are interested in collaborating with Chelsea,” said Cabral.

Though Watson Fisher is ready to review applications for food truck licenses and to potentially grant them, there are no food trucks currently operating in the city.

“We have allowed food trucks at certain events,” said Watson Fisher. “But at this point there are no food trucks operating in the city.”

Cabral believes the festival will ignite an interest in food trucks wanting to set up shop in the city.

“We really do want this event to be a springboard for food trucks to come to Chelsea and to expose our dayworkers to see this an opportunity to try new things, so we’re super excited to hold such a multi-faceted event in our city,” said Cabral.

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Jose ‘Josey’ Cruz has Lent His Hands to Chelsea Walk

Jose ‘Josey’ Cruz has Lent His Hands to Chelsea Walk

Jose Cruz is quiet at the first impression, but he is intentional about and committed to improving his community.

At 13-years old and a student at the Browne Middle School, “Josey” called by those who know him well, has been volunteering at the Chelsea Walk with artist Silvia Lopez Chavez since the beginning of the project. Throughout sweltering hot days, Josey has been on scene helping the artist prime and paint the transformative mural which will make everyone in Chelsea proud.

Josey is the president of the Explorer Post 109, a community service and leadership club for Chelsea adolescents, teens and young adults. He exemplifies all of the good in Chelsea youth Ð respectful, kind and committed to helping out.  He has aspirations to become an aeronautical engineer. Every person who walks by says “hello” to Josey and remarks about what a “nice kid” he is.

Josey is just one of the dedicated people who are working to ensure this mural is led by and created for the community.

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