The Curse of Social Media and the Internet

In the aftermath of the terrible coordinated attacks by suicide bombers on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka that killed more than 300 people and wounded about 500 in churches and hotels across the small nation, the Sri Lankan government took the extraordinary step of shutting down social media platforms, including Facebook, You Tube, and Twitter, in order to prevent the dissemination of misinformation that might incite even more bloodshed among its various sectarian groups.

This decade has seen the spread of social media that rightly might be compared to an out-of-control wildfire. What initially was seen as an innocuous manner of sharing information among friend groups — think of friends sitting around a camp fire telling stories — has turned into a raging inferno whipped by the winds of greed and hatred that is destroying everything in its path.

Say what you want about the recently released Mueller Report, what is beyond dispute is that it shows that the Russian government used social media through coordinated bot attacks to spread misinformation among large swaths of the American public who utilize these forms of media. In short, the Russians are using social media to undermine our democracy.

The attacker in New Zealand who committed the atrocities in two mosques drew his inspiration from social media postings by right-wing organizations and individuals from around the world and then posted his carnage live online. It was hours before the social media companies were able to take down what he posted, but by then the damage had been done and his carnage had been viewed around the globe.

In some respects, these abuses of online platforms by those who wish to spread fear and disinformation are just the tip of the iceberg of the curse that has become the Internet.

There is no such thing as privacy for anybody, unless you live under the proverbial rock. Everything we do on-line is tracked and establishes a profile that can be used — and misused — by those who are keeping track.

The Chinese government is showing firsthand how the Internet can be wielded by a malevolent government (and non-government actors) to control both unfavored opposition groups and individuals.

The Chinese are employing facial recognition software to identify every person in their country — a monumental task in a nation of a billion or so people — but it already is being used to keep track of, and suppress, minority religious groups.

The Chinese government also is issuing a “score” for every person in the country — think of it as a credit score, but taken to the nth degree — that ultimately will rank every person in the country on a scale of social and economic acceptability, creating a hierarchy that will determine a person’s lifelong fate.

It also is clear that the internet has become the new battlefield among nations and others. Who needs nuclear weapons when a hostile government or terrorist organization or criminal enterprise can disable a nation’s energy grid or wreak havoc on the financial system or hold individuals and businesses hostage simply by employing malevolent software?

America’s military might — our trillions of dollars worth of aircraft carriers, stealth bombers, and drones — is no match for a computer virus or worm that attacks our nation’s infrastructure.

George Orwell, in his novel “1984,” describes a dystopian future in which the government, symbolized by Big Brother, scrutinizes every human action with the aim of creating conformity among its citizens.

Orwell wrote his novel in 1948. It is ironic — and incredibly prescient of Orwell — that the internet as we know it today was beginning to take shape in 1984.

It is clear in 2019 that the world Orwell predicted in 1984 has arrived — and we fear that things are going to get a lot worse before we figure out how to get this Frankenstein monster under control, if we ever do.

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License Commission Approves License for Carnival at Chelsea Commons

The carnival is coming to Chelsea.

On Wednesday, April 3, the Licensing Commission approved a four-day license for New Hampshire-based Fiesta Shows to hold a four-day carnival on the Chelsea Commons this spring.

During the short public hearing to approve the license, Chelsea Police Captain Keith Houghton said the City’s public safety agencies have never had an issue with Fiesta Shows. The company also runs events nearby in Revere and Lynn, among other communities.

At-Large City Councillor Roy Avellaneda said he’s had experience with Fiesta Shows owner John Flynn in the past, and that Flynn has always run a tight and secure ship with his shows. In addition, Avellaneda noted that Fiesta Shows will make a donation to the City’s summer jobs program.

Licensing Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said she did have some concerns about the carnival operating until 11 p.m., especially on Thursday night.

Flynn said while the license has the closing time at 11 p.m., festivities and rides typically wind down around 10 p.m., giving police time to sweep the area by 11 p.m. Music and amplification is usually shut down at 9 p.m., he added.

•In other business, the Commission denied a permit that would have allowed for Friday night social events at the Rincon Hondureno Function Hall at 194 Broadway. Commission members and City officials expressed concern that the social night would effectively turn the function hall into a nightclub.

•The Licensing Commission also approved a liquor license transfer for La Esquina Mariachi Restaurant at 170 Washington Ave., the former site of the Plaza Mexico restaurant.

The pastor and parishioners from the neighboring church expressed concerns about the new restaurant, given their experience in the past.

While the Commission approved the license, members asked that the owners are mindful of the past history at 170 Washington Ave.

“You need to be very conscious of the environment you are stepping into,” said Licensing Commission Chair Mark Rossi. “Please don’t disappoint us.”

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YMCA Teen Mentor and Major Influencer Fuentes Has Built a Huge Following on Social Media

YMCA Teen Mentor and Major Influencer Fuentes Has Built a Huge Following on Social Media

Carlos Fuentes is a flourishing social media star and mentor who is helping inspire others on their own health and fitness journeys.

And when we say star, well, Fuentes has more than 56,000 followers, a number that is growing every day.

Chelsea residents, classmates, and childhood friends will remember him well as the personable and multi-talented member of the Jordan Boys and Girls Club (JBGC), the hard-working and helpful student at CHS (Class of 2009), or the diligent staff member at the Chelsea Collaborative where he worked with administrators Gladys Vega and Roseann Bongiovanni.

Fuentes credited former JGBC Executive Director Josh Kraft for making his visits there a positive and productive experience.

“Josh is definitely a person who helped me,” said Fuentest. “Patricia Manalo was the performing arts director and she was the first one to say to me, ‘it’s okay to put yourself out there and do something different’ “I did ballet, tap, singing, and dancing. She helped me get out my comfort zone and that’s what my current journey has been about.”

Chelsea resident Carlos Fuentes, teen program director at the East Boston YMCA and social media star, is pictured outside the youth development and community sports facility.

Reflecting on his job at the Collaborative, Fuentes said, “Gladys and Rosie are awesome. They gave me my first job. I worked at the Collaborative for five years as an environmental Chelsea organizer.”

One of his childhood highlights was singing at the Zakim Bridge opening ceremonies with superstar Bruce Springsteen.

Fuentes graduated from Wheelock College with a degree in Social Work. While a college junior, he began working at the East Boston YMCA.

Today he is the Teen Program Director at the East Boston YMCA where he oversees relationships with the surrounding middle and high schools and manages the academic credit recovery programs as well as Y teen nights.

In 2016, Fuentes began posting photos of his workouts, attendance at musicals, and his various travels on social media.

“I was doing cardio workouts and then I signed up for personal training at the YMCA,” said Fuentes, who has lost 40 pounds on a three-year fitness program.

Fuentes said one of his transformation photos became an overnight viral sensation, with no less than 800,000 likes overnight.

One of his fans praised his healthy lifestyle and positive attitude, writing, “I believe in you, Carlos.”

Fuentes now posts videos every other day and the demand for more interaction on social media is growing.

“I just recently learned how to swim, so a lot of it is my swimming videos and my working out videos,” said Fuentes, whose father, Jorge Pleitez, is from El Salvador and mother, Suyapa Fuentes, is from Honduras. He has two older brothers, Miguel and Jorge.

Fuentes is part of the LGBT community and he is often sought out for advice by people who consider him an inspiration and a source of support.

James Morton, YMCA of Greater Boston president and CEO lauded Fuentes who is part of a caring, dedicated staff that has made the ‘Y’ a true community resource in East Boston.

“Carlos’ story is truly an inspiration to all,” said Morton, who is an avid runner and fitness advocate himself. “When people join the Y, they are seeking to improve themselves, but in actuality they are also part of creating a better community. The Y helps teens with job training, academic support, and college prep help.”

Ashley Genrich, aquatics director at the East Boston YMCA, taught Fuentes how to swim.

“Carlos is one of hardest workers I’ve ever met in my life,” said Genrich. “He figured it out pretty quickly and was hungry to learn all the different strokes. Now he assists with our swim classes. The kids love him. East Boston is such a family here and Carlos models what it is to be a huge member of the this community and the family. He’s an awesome guy.”

Added Kate Martinez, 17, who works part time in the teen program, “Being at the Y has always felt like a second home because of Carlos. He helps me balance my schoolwork and sports. He’s also given me the opportunity to support other youths with their homework and taking part in ‘Y’ activities.”

Meanwhile, Fuentes is becoming so popular and uplifting across many age groups and lifestyles that he is being approached by clothing companies to promote their products. A local film maker has also reached out to Fuentes for a project.

“I’m trying to see what endorsements are available,” said Fuentes. “The response has been overwhelming. A lot of people on Instagram say they appreciate me being vulnerable. Because of this platform that I have, I am looking to expand my outreach.”

Fuentes said he’s pleased that the East Boston ‘Y’ is attracting members from Chelsea. “It’s great that some of our participants are from Chelsea. I’ve tried to make it known that Chelsea residents are welcomed. My heart has always been Chelsea.”

And Fuentes is happily putting his hometown and the East Boston YMCA on the map through his tremendous following on social media.

With his ability to lead and inspire others, is an entry in to the political arena in his immediate future?

“I’ve thought about it,” he admits. “But not right now.”

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Encore Boston Harbor Commits $10 Million to Greater Boston Social, Civic Institutions

Encore Boston Harbor Commits $10 Million to Greater Boston Social, Civic Institutions

Encore Boston Harbor is committing $10 million over the next four years to support a wide range of social programs and civic institutions that will help those in need and improve the lives of residents in local communities, the company announced on Tuesday – also known as Giving Tuesday.

To assist in managing funds and identifying the most meaningful philanthropic efforts, the company is partnering with the Connors Family Office, led by Boston civic leader Jack Connors Jr.

“Giving back to the communities where our employees and guests live and work has always been a part of who we are as a company,” said Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts. “It’s not in our corporate DNA to just write a check for a donation or buy a table at a charity event. We want to make an impactful difference in the lives of people and effect real and positive changes in our communities. We believe committing $10 million and teaming with the Connors Family Office will go a long way towards realizing our goal.”

Together, the Connors Family Office and Encore Boston Harbor will develop an Advisory Committee to advise on and assist in the disbursement of funds from Encore Boston Harbor. The committee will provide recommendations to Encore Boston Harbor for the distribution of funds, targeting programs that support at-risk-youth education, cultural enrichment and vibrant communities.

“It is impressive to see a new business come into town and make such a concerted effort to positively impact the surrounding community,” said Jack Connors Jr. “Encore Boston Harbor is poised to make a real difference for some very worthy organizations.”

Encore Boston Harbor has been active in local philanthropy prior to Tuesday’s announced commitment of $10 million. Long-standing recipients of Encore’s corporate giving include the Boston Pops, Wang Theater, New England Center for Arts and Technology, Disabled American Veterans, and Latino 30 Under 30, among others. Recently, Encore Boston Harbor donated $100,000 in support of The Greater Lawrence Disaster Relief Fund.

Encore Boston Harbor announced last week that it was the lead sponsor and supporter of a unique partnership between the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the Boston Public Library that is bringing a major exhibit by renowned French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec to the MFA.

The $2.6 billion Encore Boston Harbor resort is scheduled to open in June 2019.

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School Updates

School Updates

DISTRICT-WIDE

  • The Chelsea High Cross Country team welcomed our Middle School Cross Country team for an intense indoor cardio workout two weeks ago. The Middle School Cross Country team has been working so hard to prepare for their season. Yesterday, they completed their first time trial of their meet course. Their coach is extremely proud of their determination and team work.

BERKOWITZ SCHOOL UPDATES

  • The Berkowitz School held its first school-wide assembly this week. Students had a great time learning about the core values of respect, responsibility, empathy, and determination. Students were also recognized for exemplifying these values. We also had a visit from our special friend and Mascot, “Berky,” who told our students about our year-long apparel fundraiser. Students will be taking home flyers with information on how to order our Berkowitz school customizable clothing. Clothing can be ordered at berkowitzspiritwear.com. Some 20 percent of all sales will go directly towards Berkowitz School student activities.

HOOKS SCHOOL UPDATES

  • The Hooks School had its 1st Annual Back to School Social. Students and families sat in front of the Hooks School, had a picnic and listened to some read alouds from Principal Lubarsky and Assistant Principal Dore. Teachers on the Family Outreach Committee organized this event and did an outstanding job getting students from all four grades.

WRIGHT MIDDLE SCHOOL

  • The 8th grade teachers at the WSTA have organized grade-wide team building events for our students throughout the first few weeks of school.

CHELSEA HIGH SCHOOL

  • The boys’ and girls’ cross country teams got off to a strong start on Wednesday, Sept. 12, with both teams winning their meets against Whittier Tech and Presentation of Mary.  The girls, who are the defending dual and league meet champions, were led by captains YaridDeras and Jocelyn Post, who finished first and third. SailaCarriento was sixth overall, Karina Avalos was tenth, Yarelis Torres was eleventh and twin sister Nicole was thirteenth.  The girls will be competing in Malden next week against Mystic Valley.

The boys’ team was led by captain Justin Turner who was the overall winner.  Co-captain Julio Valladares was second overall followed by Raphael Castillo in fourth.  Oscar Amaya was fifth and Jazmany Reyes and Limilson Tavares finished eighth and ninth respectively. The Whittier boys were the two time defending league champions and had won 23 straight dual meets before Wednesday’s loss to Chelsea. The boys will also be competing next Wednesday against Mystic Valley.

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Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

Social Security Matters – When Should I Apply for Social Security?

By AMAC Certified Social Security Advisor Russell Gloor

Association of Mature American Citizens

Dear Rusty: I will be turning 62 in 2018; birth date 9/24/1955. My husband is 77 and receiving Social Security.  Longevity runs in my family. I have been self-employed all my life. I am still working and my husband collects a pension, Social Security and RMD from a traditional IRA, so there is no need for additional monies under my current circumstances. When should I start taking Social Security?   Signed:  Thinking about Retirement

Dear Thinking: The question of when to take Social Security normally gets an answer of “It depends on your health, your family history of longevity, and your need for the money”.  You’ve already addressed those items so I’ll focus on your main question – when should you start taking Social Security?

Even though you’ll be eligible to collect Social Security when you turn 62, if you do so you will only get 74.17% of the retirement benefit you would be entitled to at your full retirement age (FRA). Whenever you apply, you will be deemed to be filing not only for your own retirement benefit but also any spousal benefit you may be entitled to from your husband’s work record. Similar to your SS retirement benefit, your spousal benefit would also be reduced because you took it early; instead of being 50% of your husband’s benefit at your FRA, you would only get 35% at age 62 (if that is larger than your own retirement benefit). The point I’m making is that by claiming SS early, any benefit you’re entitled to will be reduced from what you would get at your full retirement age.

Just as you are penalized for claiming before your full retirement age, you are rewarded for waiting beyond it to claim Social Security retirement benefits. In fact, for each year you wait beyond your full retirement age, your retirement benefit will be 8% higher than it would be at your FRA. That will continue up until you are 70 years old when your retirement benefit will be 30.67% higher than it would have been at your FRA. You stop earning additional credit at age 70, so there’s no reason to wait beyond that to apply. Let’s use an easy example to illustrate: If your FRA retirement benefit is $1000, by applying at age 62 you would only get $741 per month instead of $1000. But if you wait until you are 70 to claim benefits, you would get $1306 per month, nearly twice what you would get by applying at age 62.

There are two other factors you should incorporate into your thinking:

1) At your FRA, you will be entitled to ½ of your husband’s benefit at his FRA.  If your spousal benefit at your FRA is substantially more than your own retirement benefit, then applying at your FRA may be a good strategy, as opposed to waiting and earning delayed retirement credits.

 2) Once you have reached your FRA you will be entitled to 100% of your husband’s benefit amount if he should predecease you. If your eventual survivor’s benefit would be more than your own FRA benefit amount, you might be better served by claiming your retirement benefit earlier than age 70.

As you can see, most of the answer to your question depends upon whether your benefits as a spouse or a survivor will be more than your benefit based upon your own work record. If not, then waiting beyond your FRA up to age 70 will yield you the maximum retirement benefit. But if your spouse and/or survivor’s benefit will be more than your own retirement benefits, then applying at your full retirement age may be the best strategy. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you go to www.ssa.gov and set up your personal “My Social Security” account which will give you access to your currently estimated retirement benefit. Comparing that to your potential spousal and survivor benefits should give you the answer you’re seeking.

The information presented in this article is intended for general information purposes only. The opinions and interpretations expressed are the viewpoints of the AMAC Foundation’s Social Security Advisory staff, trained and accredited under the National Social Security Advisors program of the National Social Security Association, LLC (NSSA). NSSA, the AMAC Foundation, and the Foundation’s Social Security Advisors are not affiliated with or endorsed by the United States Government, the Social Security Administration, or any other state government. Furthermore, the AMAC Foundation and its staff do not provide legal or accounting services. The Foundation welcomes questions from readers regarding Social Security issues. To submit a request, contact the Foundation at info@amacfoundation.org.

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May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

May is Mental Health Month: Start Reaching Out

By Sheldon Bycoff

One problem of modern life is social isolation.

Described in journals as a person’s “perceived social isolation,” i.e., a subjective belief that they are socially isolated, another way of summarizing this condition is simply “feeling lonely.”

The opposite feeling – that you have a network of supportive relationships – provides numerous psychological benefits, including a sense of belonging, an increased sense of self-worth, and a feeling of security.

Thankfully, there are actions people can take to reduce a sense of isolation (discussed below).

 

  • Causes of Isolation

Many circumstances can lead one to feel isolated, including: a job loss; a divorce; injury or illness; the death of a loved one; having a family member with an illness that requires extensive care; etc.

  • Implications of Feeling Isolated

Besides negatively affecting one’s mood, feeling isolated and lonely is a risk factor for many medical conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, cardiovascular disease, depression, and impaired executive functioning.

In fact, the influence of social relationships on the risk of death is comparable to well-established mortality risk factors such as smoking and alcohol consumption and exceeds the influence of other risk factors such as physical inactivity and obesity.

  • Ways to Reduce Isolation

Numerous authorities, including the Mayo Clinic, have suggestions for increasing one’s social network, such as:

Take a weekly class, whether at a gym, a local college, or as part of adult education, so that you will have regular contact with the same people and be more likely to establish friendships.

 

  • Volunteer.  

Join a lecture series.

Consider getting a roommate.

Change your housing situation to one where there are more opportunities to be a part of a community.

Go online (especially helpful for people who are homebound).

Options abound: join a chat room for people who share one of your interests, e.g., writing, cooking.

Keep in touch with out-of-state friends and family thru Skype, Facebook (or FaceTime on an iPhone).

Visit sites designed specifically for people going through stressful times, such as a divorce, or the arrival of a new baby. Expand your social sphere through social networking sites such as Facebook.

  • Primer on Building and Nurturing Friendships

Respond and Reciprocate. Answer phone calls, return emails, and reciprocate invitations in order to let people know you care.

Don’t compete. Be happy (not jealous) when your friends succeed.

Be a good listener. When someone is talking, really listen to what they’re saying (as opposed to formulating in your mind your next response).

Don’t overdo it. Be careful not to overwhelm friends and family with phone calls and emails.  In addition, be wary of “oversharing” with new or casual acquaintances and on social networking sites.

  • Summary

Taking the time to build a social support network is a wise investment in your mental well-being and physical health.  Research also shows that those who enjoy high levels of social support live longer.  Whether you make more friends or improve the quality of relationships you already have, you’ll reap a plethora of rewards.

By Sheldon Bycoff is President, Mental Health Programs, Inc.

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Writers Series at South End Library

The 2016-17 South End Writes series will include debut novelist and baker Louise Miller (The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living); Dina Vargo (Wild Women of Boston) and the culinary luminary Gordon Hamersley.

  • Tuesday, October 25: Louise Miller, a Boston-based writer and pastry chef who won a scholarship to GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator program, will read from her debut work of fiction, ‘The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living,’ published this summer by Viking’s Pamela Dorman Books imprint.
  • Tuesday, November 22: Just in time to get advice about Thanksgiving’s feast, the beloved and greatly missed South End culinary luminary, Gordon Hamersley, will talk about his life as a prize-winning chef, current food writer for the Boston Globe and long-time neighborhood fixture.

CANDIDATE KEITH ENDORSED BY B&T

Calling him a “refreshing change” in “the current environment of extreme political polarization”, Banker & Tradesman has endorsed John Keith for Suffolk County Register of Deeds.

“A seasoned Boston real estate agent, Keith has a general familiarity with how the Registry operates and seems genuinely eager to learn what he doesn’t know,” read the endorsement.

“Keith is an active user of social media, tweeting his observations about real estate and the city with light, offbeat humor – under which lies a deep understanding of the market and the various forces that shape it. Throughout his campaign Keith has made clear he has both the ability and the desire to do the job, which comes with an annual salary of $124,000, and comes across as the most earnest and forthcoming of what is clearly a strong field of candidates.”

John Keith is a Massachusetts native, a graduate of Northeastern University, and a long-time Boston resident. He has been a real estate broker for the past 14 years. He has a background in management, and experience in accounting, software implementation, and data and business analysis.

The election for Suffolk County Register of Deeds is on November 8, 2016.

PUMPKIN FLOAT ON FROG POND

Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced that the annual Fall Pumpkin Float returns to the Boston Common Frog Pond on Sunday, Oct. 23, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Hundreds of illuminated jack-o’-lanterns will be floated on the water accompanied by spooky family activities.

Attendees are asked to bring 8-inch or smaller carved pumpkins that will be lit and then floated on the Frog Pond for a dramatic early evening display.  In addition, attendees are invited to view creatively carved and decorated jack-o’-lanterns from various local sports teams and organizations.  Adults and children are encouraged to wear Halloween costumes and participate in a wide range of fun activities.  Children are invited to decorate luminary bags which will be displayed and illuminated along the edge of the Frog Pond.  Test your courage and problem-solving skills in our haunted zombie maze.

This free family-friendly event will also include a magician, a visit from the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, children’s crafts, an IKEA selfie booth with LATTJO costumes and sweet treats to try, games and giveaways by Magic 106.7, and scarily delicious snacks and refreshments provided by IKEA, Capital One Café, HP Hood LLC, and DAVIDsTEA.

All pumpkins will be donated to The Trustees of Reservations after the event for composting.

For more information, please call the Boston Parks and Recreation Department at (617) 635-4505 or visit www.facebook.com/bostonparksdepartment or www.boston.gov/parks.

FENWAY COMMUNITY CENTER

The Fenway Community Center has booked several special events over the next several weeks. The Center is located at 1282 Boylston St. and the phone number is (857) 246-9053.

  • Social dancing on Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:20-3:20 p.m. at the Center, mostly with Chinese music and frequented by Chinese elders, though all are welcome.
  • Student Volunteers – The Fenway Community Center is calling on Northeastern University students who will be living off-campus this fall to volunteer at the Center. Greeters are needed for a one-hour weekly commitment. Volunteers who serving 11 hours or more in a three-month period will be invited to the FCC Ice Cream Social as an appreciation. For more information, contact hello@fenwaycommunitycenter.org.
  • Welcome to the Neighborhood for Northeastern University students who might be interested in the Fenway Community Center. The group will meet every month on the first Thursday, starting Oct. 6.
  • Councilor Josh Zakim District 8 Fall Community Night will take place on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 6 p.m. at the FCC. Pizza and refreshments will be provided.

SOUTH END DATES

  • Hayes Park is having a Silent Auction Fundraiser on Thursday, October 20, from 6-8 p.m. at Woodmeister Master Builders, 1317 Washington Street. Tickets available online.
  • BRA Director Brian Golden is confirmed to return to the South End Forum at its Nov. 1 meeting, according to Steve Fox, moderator of the Forum. Golden spoke at length during the September Forum meeting, and many questions remained when time ran out. He will be back to continue the conversation.
  • Old Dover Fall Social, Join Old Dover Neighborhood Association for a Fall Social at LaMotta’s Restaurant, 1357 Washington St., on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 6-8 p.m. Complimentary apps and a cash bar.
  • Alley Clean Up, residents from East Springfield and Mass Avenue will join neighbors and the Boston Police to conduct a fall cleanup of Alley 716. The event is billed as a great opportunity to meet neighbors and visit with old friends while addressing a quality of life situation. Gloves and garbage bags will be provided. Any questions can be addressed to Vicki Via at viarun@aol.com
  • Bed Bugs! South End librarian Matt Krug has organized a seminar on Thursday morning, October 6, at 10:30 a.m. on the subject of bed bugs. Yes, bed bugs appear to be a problem in the South End. The speaker is Jonathan Boyar an associate certified entomologist and pest control operator with many years experience. For details, call 617 536-8241.

RETIREMENT PLANNING FROM GOLDEN AGE CENTER

The Golden Age Center and Castle Square Tenants Organization are partnering to bring valuable information to educate residents and the community regarding retirement planning. The SHINE program will present a retirement planning workshop on Monday October 17, 6-8 p.m. in the Castle Square Community Center on the 2nd floor (476 Tremont St.). The workshop will be conducted in English and Chinese. Refreshments provided.

Please contact Xiaoping Wang with any questions at 617-357-8548.

Workshop topics will include:

-Medicare, Medicaid, and other Health Insurance

-Social Security eligibility with Medicare, Medicaid

-Calculating social security retirement benefits

-Deciding between full and early retirement

-Managing 401 K or 403 (b) Retirement income

FENWAY/SOUTH END HOURS FOR CONGRESSMAN CAPUANO

Congressman Michael Capuano will hold office hours for the Fenway and South End neighborhoods on the second Thursday of every month at the Fenway Community Health Center, 1340 Boylston St.

The hours are from noon to 1 p.m. and will have a representative from Capuano’s office in attendance.

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Jazzin’ It Up

jazz

Galen Abdur-Razzaq lit up Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) Chelsea Campus on Monday afternoon with his flute and four piece jazz band, which was spiced up in between with a comprehensive history of jazz and the social history behind the music. The program was part of BHCC’s Black History Month celebration. The program was a hit with everyone who attended.

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Chelsea Fire to Run ‘Toys for Tots’ Campaign

By Seth Daniel

Chelsea Firefighters will be collecting toys for the Toys for Tots and Globe Santa program once again this year, and based on their research, that generosity could land to a needy family in Chelsea.

“We did a little research into the Globe Santa and Toys for Tots and found out that more than 800 children had been helped in Chelsea and 400 families by those organizations,” said Firefighter Phil Rogers, who is leading the campaign with Firefighter Jimmy Ruiz.

The Fire Department will be accepting new, unwrapped toys at the Central Fire Station seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. until Dec. 18.

Anyone in need of donations is urged to contact City Hall, their social worker, pastor or Globe Santa.

“Anything to help the kids,” said Ruiz. “We have to act fast and quick because it’s only going until Dec. 18 and that’s coming soon.”

Firefighters Jimmy Ruiz, Gabrel Ruiz, Mark Lee, Phil Rogers, Carlos Carrasquillo and Rony Gobin at Central Fire Station last week with the Toys for Tots drop-off box. They are gathering toys as a drop off location until Dec. 18.

Firefighters Jimmy Ruiz, Gabrel Ruiz, Mark Lee, Phil Rogers, Carlos Carrasquillo and Rony Gobin at Central Fire Station last week with the Toys for Tots drop-off box. They are gathering toys as a drop off location until Dec. 18.

So far, donations are trickling in, but firefighters are hoping to get some major donations before the deadline to turn over to the Marines, who conduct the annual toy drive. The Toys for Tots program is conducted by the U.S. Marines and has been in place since 1947.

In 2013, Toys for Tots gathered 16 million toys and donated them to 7 million needy children.

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