New Holiday Inn on Broadway Shows Strong Hotel Market

New Holiday Inn on Broadway Shows Strong Hotel Market

The new Holiday Inn on  upper Broadway, next to Mill Creek, is showing great occupancy rates and yet another

Sales Manager Joe Fiorello, General Manager Luziane Cavalcanti and Front Desk Clerk Carlota Dalomba gather at the front desk of the new Holiday Inn on Mill Creek. The new property opened about four months ago, but will have its official grand opening next week. It represents the fifth property for the Colwen Management
company in Chelsea.

strong property in the Chelsea-based Colwen Management group of hotels.

“We’re almost at 100 percent full occupancy for October,” said Joe Fiorello, director of sales for Colwen. “We’re really excited about that.”

The property officially opened on July 25.

The new, 124-room, full-service hotel gives Colwen its fourth property in Chelsea, with more than 500 rooms added since their first property – the Residence Inn – came online a few years back.

The new Holiday Inn will celebrate a blockbuster grand opening on Nov. 8.

Colwen now has the Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, Holiday Inn and Homewood Suites in Chelsea. That adds to their larger portfolio of properties across Greater Boston, including the new AC Hotel in the South End of Boston and the newer property that opened last week at Assembly Row.

The new property continues the tradition of great design on the properties, with interesting lighting and lots of natural light.

The foyer includes a great sitting area, with a fireplace as well.

Since it is a full-service property, Fiorello said the free breakfast option isn’t available. Instead, they have a European-inspired breakfast buffet and a al carte items as well. They also have a full restaurant and bar on the property, which Fiorello said would likely play well to local residents of Chelsea and Revere. They will be serving popular items like steaks, lobster rolls, salmon and other dishes.

“We are under the umbrella of IHG, but we are owned and operated by Colwen Hotels,” he said. “IHG wants to use this property as a prototype hotel. When other owners come into town, they said they want to bring them here to show them the property as an example for all future builds. Colwen is very good at managing, designing and operating.”

While there are no suites like in the other properties, the rooms are large and most try to focus on a view of the marsh or the City. Each room has smart TVs and luxury bath products as well. The building is an LEED certified property.

For functions, they do have a space that is available for small functions or meetings. It holds about 60-80 people and can be divided in half. It’s called the Mill Creek Ballroom.

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Drug Court Graduation Brings Tears of Joy, Celebration of Change

Drug Court Graduation Brings Tears of Joy, Celebration of Change

On Tuesday, April 10, at Chelsea District Court, the courtroom was filled with people who had arrest records as long as the Declaration of Independence. They sat at the tables where defendants usually sit.

They’d all been there before numerous times due to their addiction, drug use and petty crimes. This time, though, they were there to graduate – to acknowledge that they’d completed a program at least 18 months long with the courts that helped them turn their lives around.

The program is Drug Court, and it was innovated in Chelsea in 2000 and continues strong through the support of judges, probation officers, recovery coaches and other resources. It is a last stop, last chance for many people who have been in and out of jail for their entire lives.

“It saved my life,” said Erin Eckert, cradling her young toddler girl and noting that she was at the lowest one can get while on the streets of Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass in Boston’s South End – known as Methadone Mile. “It took me a long time to do this and make the decision. When I did, it literally saved my life.”

On Tuesday, seven people graduated from the program. Most had been in jail several times, had years or decades of court involvement. This time, though, they changed that trajectory. Most had been clean for more than a year, and most were employed. Families and supporters came to celebrate.

SJC Justice David Lowy was the keynote speaker, sharing how he had lost a cousin last year to opiate overdose. Almost all of the big players in the state’s judiciary were in attendance.

Everyone cried, but they were tears of celebration and relief.

Chelsea started and innovated the program years ago, and now there are drug courts in many of the urban District Courts that are built on that same model. It is a strike against the opiate epidemic, and one that works for many people.

“This last time I was up and down with it,” said Kristen Barnett, who entered the Drug Court in February 2015. “All I know is I changed my life this time. I don’t know what to say why I did it this time, but I did. I’m happy to be here today.”

Those graduating included:

  • Joseph Barbarisi
  • Kristen Barnett
  • Meredith Downing
  • Erin Eckert
  • Heritier Kindoki
  • William Paskell
  • Mynor Velasquez

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The Rose Rush is On: Valentine’s Day at New Regional Flower Exchange in Chelsea is a Better Experience for Buyers

The Rose Rush is On: Valentine’s Day at New Regional Flower Exchange in Chelsea is a Better Experience for Buyers

Anyone in Greater Boston who got a rose yesterday on Valentine’s Day likely had that rose pass through the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea.

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

In a formerly vacant warehouse on Second Street, the hub of Valentine’s Day – and every other flowery occasion – has been established.

The New England Flower Exchange on Second Street virtually handles about every rose that ended up in the hands of lovers on Valentine’s Day.

This past Monday, the Exchange was brimming with activity, as it was the last possible day for the nine wholesalers in the Exchange to get their product out the door to local florists, who in turn provide the necessary flowers, vases and accompaniments to customers for the big day.

It was the first Valentine’s Day holiday for the Exchange in its new location, after having moved from Boston’s South End (where it was next to I-93 and called the Boston Flower Exchange) after 50 years last March.

“Valentine’s Day is stressful,” said Jerry Cupp, of Cupp & Cupp Corp. – one of the long-time Exchange wholesalers. “I think that it’s one of the busiest times here at the Flower Exchange. So many things can go wrong. We’ve been going from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. If they had eight days, it would be eight days a week. Today is the big day though.”

For local florists who have been long-time customers of the Exchange in its former South End location – such as Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florist on Eastern Avenue – having the Exchange in Chelsea is a relief.

That was particularly true this week as it was the first Valentine’s Day where she didn’t have to wade through traffic on the Tobin Bridge and downtown Boston to get to her flowers and supplies.

“I absolutely love it being here now because it’s in Chelsea,” she said. “I love not having to go over the Bridge. I’m here two or three times a day. It’s so much easier. I came over here today and looked at the traffic backed up on the Tobin and said, ‘Thank God that’s not me anymore.’”

Paula Parziale, a long-time general manager of Berkeley Floral Supply – and an Everett native, said Valentine’s Day can be a challenge  for a wholesaler.

“We do call it hell week around here,” she joked. “It’s actually more clean and organized than it’s ever been. Valentine’s Day is all about roses. There are so many varieties of roses now, you have to get your orders in to the growers early so you don’t get bumped. For us, family and friends know not to call us or text us until Feb. 15 – unless it’s an emergency.”

The New England Flower Exchange is a wholesaler, much like many of the fruit and vegetable dealers in the neighboring New England Produce Center. That means the general public cannot waltz into the facility and buy directly from any of the business there. However, anyone with the proper floral credentials can establish an account, and most every florist in the area does their shopping at the new Exchange – which sources most of its flowers from Ecuador, the United States, Colombia and Holland.

Many of those growers begin growing to supply wholesalers at the Exchange right before Christmas – meaning that the flower’s journey begins long before February.

LaCount said many consumers think that the flower industry engages in price gouging at Valentine’s Day, but it’s not the case. Instead, she said the growers have to sacrifice two or three crops to provide the volume needed for the American Valentine’s Day. That special circumstance comes at a premium cost, she said, for the wholesalers.

“People don’t understand the growers have to forgo an entire harvest or two to get the kind of production needed for Valentine’s Day,” she said. “People think it’s gouging, but it isn’t. The volume is there, but the wholesale costs are so high that you don’t make a lot of money on Valentine’s Day. Normally, I would charge around $60 for a dozen roses, but that goes up to $90 on Valentine’s Day because the wholesale costs are twice as high. Believe me, I’d close the store on Valentine’s Day if I could, but I can’t because I haven’t won the lottery yet.”

Meanwhile, the major story besides Valentine’s Day at the new Exchange is the move that they made last year.

“It has been such a smooth transition; it was wonderful,” said Janina Cupp, market manager. “They actually did business in the South End up to closing on Feb. 28, and on March 1 came over here and opened the next day. It’s been really great. It’s been better for some florists than others. Those from the North Shore and Maine love it. Those on the South Shore aren’t so happy, but they’re making the transition. The Tobin Bridge is the issue, but everyone has grown accustomed to it. The last market was worn. This market has a lot more open energy to it. There’s one aisle and you can see everything, plus the new lighting is much better.”

The Exchange began its build out in mid-December 2016 after their old location in the South End sold to the Abbey Group to be developed into about 1.5 million sq. ft. of premium high-rise office space. The former Exchange had been in that location for 50 years, but the development push on what had become prime property was too strong.

On March 1, 2017, nine of the wholesalers made the move, with one staying in the South End area and another closing. Several, such as Carbone, moved over their operations, but also significantly expanded their offerings of vases and other accessories.

A new wholesaler of vases from New York has also been added.

But the major message is that they’ve found success, and stayed together.

“It’s worked out a lot better than anticipated,” said Jerry Cupp. “We anticipated something like a 10 or 15 percent reduction in sales when we moved. It has turned out just the opposite. The way this building is designed is a lot better. It’s more open and you get a great visual of everything. There are coolers and refrigerators. You can get the product from the cooler trailer to the floor and the coolers much quicker. That matters.”

Parziale said one of the best parts for her has been keeping the wholesalers together. The floral business, she said, is one that doesn’t change much, and many of those in the wholesale and retail markets tend to become like family over the years. There had been a threat that everyone would split up, but the new Exchange has prevented that, she said.

“I don’t think there are too many complaints at all,” she said. “We’re just really lucky we all got to stay together because it’s very unique to see a Flower Market stay together under one roof. We could have all split up. That would have been sad. Many of us have been working side by side and together for 30 or 40 years…For the customers, it’s important because you walk in and have everything you need all in one place. You only have to get out of your car one time.”

Bob Hall of Kelley Wholesale Florists said they were also concerned in leaving the South End, but as it turned out, the concerns weren’t warranted.

“We were concerned, extremely worried really, about what would happen if things went the wrong way,” he said. “We had a few bumps, but in all, it’s been positive.”

Janina Cupp added that the City of Chelsea has been wonderful in the transition and the build out. Had it not been for the cooperation, she said, it would have been much more difficult.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he was glad to have the Exchange in Chelsea.

“We always try to be accommodating,” he said. “We are certainly happy to have them there. We certainly didn’t want that building to remain vacant.”

Cutlines –

FRONT 1291 –

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount of Washington Park Florists said having the New England Flower Exchange in Chelsea has made life much easier for her business, especially this week on Valentine’s Day. The Exchange moved to Chelsea last March from Boston’s South End after 50 years in that location. It was the first Valentine’s Day rush at the new facility for the wholesalers and their many customers from all over New England.

1300 –

Chelsea Florist Valerie LaCount talks over her order while Chris Birch of Cupp & Cupp Corp. wraps up a Valentine order.

1302 –

On Valentine’s Day in the New England Flower Exchange, Everett native Paula Parziale of Berkeley Floral Supply said it’s one week of chaos and careful preparation. The new Exchange celebrated its first Valentine’s Day in its new location on Second Street. The Exchange moved last year from its long-time headquarters in Boston’s South End.

1313 –

At the New England Flower Exchange on Second Street, MaryEllen Crowley of Berkeley Floral Supply wraps up an order from a customer. The Exchange was operating seven days a week for the past several days to keep up with wholesale flower orders for Valentine’s Day.

1317 –

A wall of red roses lined just about every stall at the market on Monday. It was the last big wholesale buying day for florists all around New England.

1342 –

Some nine wholesalers at the New England Flower Exchange on the Chelsea/Everett line celebrated their first Valentine’s Day in the new location this week.

1344 –

Janina Cupp, market manager, said they move from Boston’s South End to the Chelsea/Everett line has been very positive, despite initial concerns from many wholesalers.

1355 –

Elgreen Orchids owner Jeff Kim said as a specialist, the move has been hard on his business, but things are starting to turnaround. The new facility is much easier for keeping his colorful orchids though.

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A Comfortable Fit:Former School Committeewoman Lineweaver Brings a Wealth of Experiences to Kelly School

A Comfortable Fit:Former School Committeewoman Lineweaver Brings a Wealth of Experiences to Kelly School

By Seth Daniel

After having worked in Boston schools, and having also served on the Chelsea School Committee, Lisa Lineweaver is bringing her talents this year to the very school where her own kids go – the Kelly School.

Joining Principal Maggie Sanchez, Lineweaver came on earlier this summer as the new assistant principal at the school – coming over after having worked in the same role at the Blackstone Elementary School in Boston’s South End for seven years.

Now, she’s back on this side of the Mystic/Tobin Bridge, and enjoying the idea of working where she lives – ready to welcome students back to school this coming Tuesday, Aug. 29.

“There were some changes coming at the Blackstone and I had worked there for seven years and saw this opportunity to come home to Chelsea,” she said. “It was a fantastic opportunity…There is so much I’ve learned in Boston that is a great compliment to what Chelsea and the Kelly School are doing. There are things I saw at the Kelly I borrowed for the Blackstone and things at the Blackstone that I have brought to the Kelly. I bring a few missing pieces of the puzzle.”

One interesting new experience for Lineweaver, whose husband is former Councillor Brian Hatleberg, is that she has also been a parent at the Kelly. Both of her daughters have attended the Kelly, with Holly moving on to the Browne Middle School this year. However, Hazel is still at the Kelly and going into the third grade.

“She keeps saying how cool it’s going to be to go to school with mom,” she said. “But it also means I bring a parent perspective to the job. We have this long, complicated school supply list. Do we need it to be that complicated? Do parents find it frustrating? It’s not a transformative change, but it can help parents. If someone is having trouble with something at the school, I have that connection. I live here. My kids are here too. We’re going to make this work for you.”

Beyond that, Lineweaver also brings the experience of having served on the Chelsea School Committee for eight years – just a few years ago leaving the seat.

She said that is an experience that helps her see beyond the four walls of the school building, and to bring a birds-eye view of the district and all of its moving pieces to the building.

Lineweaver completed her graduate degree from the Harvard School of Education in 2001 and worked for the Boston Plan for Excellence eight years before taking the job at the Blackstone.

Now, being home feels rather comfortable after so many years working elsewhere, she said.

“It feels like joining a community I have one or two feet in already,” she said.

Classes start for schools throughout the district on Tuesday, Aug. 29.

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Double Murder Defendant Familiar with Apartment Building

Double Murder Defendant Familiar with Apartment Building

A Chelsea man who once worked at the scene of a brutal double homicide in South Boston was ordered held without bail at his Suffolk Superior Court arraignment for the murders of Lina Bolanos and Richard Field on Monday, July 10.

Bampumm Teixeira, 30, was indicted June 28 and arraigned Monday on two counts each of first-degree murder, armed robbery, and kidnapping by confinement, and one count of armed home invasion for the May 5 incident at 141 Dorchester Ave. in Southie. At the request of Suffolk Chief Trial Counsel John Pappas, Clerk Magistrate Edward Curley ordered Teixeira held without bail.

Conley’s chief trial counsel, Assistant District Attorney John Pappas, told the court that Teixeira had previously been employed as a concierge at the South Boston building where Bolanos, 38, and Field, 49, lived on the 11th floor. As such, Teixeira was familiar with the interior of the building as well as its parking garage.

Pappas told the court that a person wearing gloves, a hat, a hooded jacket, and a bright yellow shirt and carrying a string-style backpack was in the area of the building as early as 2:40 that afternoon and snuck into the garage shortly before 4 p.m. Bolanos entered the building at about 5 p.m. and Field at about 6:30 p.m.

Shortly after 8:30 p.m., the concierge at the building’s front desk contacted Boston Police to report a call he had received from a friend of a resident. The concierge reported that this friend had received a text message from Field telling him to call 911 for a man armed with a gun in his home. This same friend moments later called Boston Police directly and recounted the same plea for help.

Officers responded to the scene and proceeded to the 11th floor, where they observed a set of keys on the floor in the hallway outside the victims’ door. After knocking, announcing themselves, and receiving no response, they used the keys to access the residence.

After announcing themselves once again inside the darkened residence, one of the officers spotted an unknown person later identified as Teixeira dressed in dark clothing, and – believing this person either pointed or fired a weapon at them – two officers discharged their own weapons, injuring him. The officers provided first aid to Teixeira, who was wearing gloves, outside the apartment. He allegedly stated that another person would open fire on the officers if they went back inside.

Teixeira was transported to Tufts Medical Center and a Boston Police entry team made its way into the residence. Inside, officers found the Bolanos’ and Field’s bodies in separate areas; they had been bound, suffered massive traumatic injuries, and were declared dead at the scene.

Just outside the apartment, where Teixeira had been apprehended and briefly treated, homicide detectives found a string-type backpack containing a replica firearm, personal property belonging to the victims, and other items. In the immediate vicinity of the bag were a bright yellow shirt and a large carving knife. Just inside the door was a second backpack containing jewelry belonging to Bolanos.

Katherine Moran is the DA’s assigned victim-witness advocate. Teixeira is represented by attorney Steven Sack. The case returns to court on Sept. 12.

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ZBA Approves Winnisimmet Lounge by Ciao

ZBA Approves Winnisimmet Lounge by Ciao

By Seth Daniel

The Chelsea Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved a special permit and variances that pave the way for the newest culinary advancement in the City – with the owners of Ciao Pizza and Pastas moving forward to open a small plate lounge that will serve alcohol and gourmet foods.

The proposal by Edson Coimbra and Marvin Posada, owners of Ciao, completes a recent aggressive expansion by the gourmet pizza parlor on Williams Street. The Lounge will be on the first floor of a new building at the old location of Parrotta’s Bar.

Coimbra lined up many supporters who came to speak on behalf of the owners and their vision for the space, which does include a bar, but not the kind of rowdy bar that the space was known for when Parrotta’s occupied it.

Some abutters have not been happy with the plan as they believe it could re-ignite troubles at the location that existed when the old bar was there.

Coimbra has said he plans to bring an upscale dining experience similar to the small plate restaurant Barcelona in the South End.

With their approvals in hand, Coimbra said they would begin work on the new restaurant hand in hand with the development of the dwelling units.

Meanwhile, Ciao is nearly complete with the build out of a gourmet grocery and pasta factory at a space in Chelsea Square.

In other ZBA news:

  • The 45-unit apartment building proposed at 170 Cottage St. was continued once again.
  • Variances and a special permit were granted at 157 Clark Ave. for an awning for a store and an increase in the parking lot from 14 spaces to 28 spaces.
  • A cell phone store was okayed at 364 Washington Ave.
  • Combining two lots was allowed at 25-27 Suffolk Street in order to build a new four-family dwelling.
  • A minor modification was granted to a dental office at 950 Broadway for extension of office space.
  • A minor modification was granted to the car wash at 284 Eastern Ave. to use another building.

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McKinley School demo, Quincy School plans put on bookshelf for now

By Seth Daniel

A sudden and controversial plan to potentially demolish the McKinley South End Academy on Warren Avenue in the South End and build a new 4-6 story school to house the Josiah Quincy Middle and High Schools has been shelved for the time being in order to get more input from faculty, parents and – most importantly – the community.

The plan surfaced in small pieces over the summer, but really emerged this fall in the neighborhood as those from the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association began to get details of the plan through working in a relatively new friendly partnership with the McKinley community. A preliminary plan discussed was to build the new, much larger school on the site of the McKinley South End – which houses a very vulnerable special needs population, many of whom suffered severe trauma – and then move McKinley students into a facility on Columbia Point in Dorchester.

To date, Ellis members said there has not been any community meeting with them about what could be a very inconvenient and neighborhood-changing school building project.

The Sun previously reported that a deadline of Sept. 29 had been imposed on the Boston Public Schools (BPS) to present a plan to the state School Building Authority (MSBA) in order to advance the Quincy School project to the next stage of the planning process.

The end result of that was BPS asking for a delay.

“They told us they were seeking an extension,” said Matt Donovan of the MSBA. “Nothing was submitted to us by the Sept. 29 deadline to make the agenda for the Nov. 9 Board meeting. We’ve been working with them for awhile. We’ll look forward to planning for this and continuing our working relationship with Boston.”

In a statement, BPS told the Sun they needed time to review the project with the community, and that any project involving the Quincy School and McKinley Schools would be run through the existing 10-year Facilities and Education Master Plan that is currently being conducted. That process is expected to start having reports on the educational aspect this week, and facilities projects within that plan would be unveiled later in the fall.

“The Build BPS 10-Year Facilities and Educational Master Plan will inform any future major school capital investments to ensure that any changes best meet the demands of 21st Century learning for all students,” read a statement to the Sun. “Boston Public Schools feels it necessary to request time from the MSBA to adequately evaluate impacts and convey implications to stakeholders and community members. BPS works closely with partners at the MSBA to ensure timely and transparent communication relating to the timing, cost and feasibility associated with a major capital project involving multiple sites. Major logistical moves must be evaluated to determine impact to cost, schedule, enrollment, transportation, assignment and community impact.”

Neighbors abutting the project have been flabbergasted by the lack of information and communication given to them on what would be an extraordinary change to their properties, many of which would have had their views and sunlight blocked.

Betsy Hall, an abutter who also happens to be president of the Ellis South End, spoke as a abutter said she was disappointed that the City hadn’t yet reached out to the neighborhood or the abutters. She also said she was relieved that the brakes have been put on for now.

“As an abutter, I am relieved to learn that this project has been postponed, hopefully for a long time,” she said this week. “The neighbors were deeply concerned about uprooting the kids with no clear option for relocation as well as about such major construction in the midst of this relatively fragile, residential neighborhood. Speaking for the Ellis South End Neighborhood Association, I continue to be amazed at the lack of transparency over this project. I saw my role as one of sharing information and all I could share were rumors… Going forward, for everyone’s sake, perhaps we can be better informed.”

A facilities proposal, based on several community meetings last spring and summer, is expected to be presented to the Boston School Committee this fall. Any project or proposal including the Quincy School or the McKinley South End would be included, or not, in that 10-year plan.

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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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South End Historical Society House Tour

The 48th Annual South End House Tour has been set for Saturday, Oct. 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Lauren Prescott of the South End Historical Society told the Eight Streets Neighborhood Association on Tuesday, Sept. 13.

The tour this year will feature six homes in the Pembroke Street area that will showcase a variety of styles in the South End, from three-story condos to majestic Brownstones to historic notables.

The South End Historical Society is located at 532 Mass Ave. and is interested in getting volunteers to help as “sitters” during the home tour.

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Chelsea Couple Devoted to Healing,Bringing Change,With the Arts

By Seth Daniel

Chelsea residents Jay Paris and Anna Myer watch their art come to life in a recent performance of ‘Invisible: Imprints of Racism,’ at Ramsay Park in the South End near the Lenox Housing Development.

Chelsea residents Jay Paris and Anna Myer watch their art come to life in a recent performance of ‘Invisible: Imprints of Racism,’ at Ramsay Park in the South End near the Lenox Housing Development.

When audiences leave the most recent performance by the BeHeard.World dancers, they don’t usually leave with a smile on their faces, but rather, this summer, they typically leave thinking very hard about serious issues involving race.

Anna Myer and Jay Paris, who live in the Spencer Lofts in Chelsea, have been touring all over Boston this summer performing on lighted basketball courts their newest dance and poetry work called, ‘Invisible: Imprints of Racism,’ on basketball courts and next to gritty housing developments.

“It’s a challenging piece because no one wants to address it, it being race,” said Paris this week. “You find people leaving who are ashamed about it and some are angry about it. It comes down to confronting it and getting past the sense of being deprived or the sense of being privileged…As two middle-aged white people, Anna and I didn’t want to put this piece together alone.”

Added Myer, “The company is very mixed and we discussed this within the group for about a year. We all like each other a lot so it makes it a safe environment to talk about race…It’s really come full circle for me with this piece. I have always, always, always been interested in racial issues since I was a kid in Cambridge. It’s really come full circle in the sense that my work in the performing arts and social justice and equity have all come together.”

Paris and Myer moved to Chelsea about one year ago from Cambridge and continued their work in Boston, mostly at the housing developments in Franklin Field (Dorchester) and Lenox (South End). Most recently, last month, they performed the piece on the basketball court at Ramsay Park near the Lenox development, a park long in need of a makeover and, at times, quite dangerous for young people. It’s the kind of place they want to be, though.

“I’ve been working with the North American Family Institute for a number of years and I didn’t want to work with kids already in the court system, but rather to do prevention work with kids by developing programs for them before they get there,” Paris said. “Those programs were primarily in Franklin Field and Lenox. Prior to that, I had a career as a writer and photojournalist in the magazine world. I was always interested in the arts, though, and creating opportunities for kids in the arts. I kept hearing of this woman, Anna Myers, who had a renowned dance company. She had been going to the inner cities and getting rap and hip-hop performers and putting them into her company to perform. We finally met and began collaborating a lot. Then we fell in love and eventually got married.”

Myer has a dance and poetry company that performs the works like ‘Invisible,’ using nine dancers and four poets.

Meanwhile, Paris works another program that brings youth into the program and helps them to discover their voice in the arts. He has been filming that experience and expects to release a documentary on it in January. The film focuses on the first 19 kids that they took into the program and the changes that came about after they were immersed into the arts programming.

“It’s about using the arts to give these kids a voice so they can say what they want to say,” said Myers. “It’s very empowering. In 2014, we had 19 kids participating from the Lenox Housing Development and Jay filmed the whole program. The film is really about what art does for human beings and for kids. It changes them and gives them a voice. Those same kids were interviewed one year later and it’s incredible the changes that happened to them. Their confidence is up, they’re trying new things they wouldn’t have done like debate team. We need arts in the world.”

Myer came to meet Paris through a tragedy in her life that changed her direction totally.

After growing up trained as a ballet dancer and dancing at Boston Ballet and others for a time, she established several smaller and successful companies.

“I started everything over and part of that was choreography and I got into modern dance,” she said. “I had a company for a long time and I began including the inner city artists and dancers in my work. That opened up a whole new way of choreographing and working.”

That, of course, also led her to Paris, and the both of them to Chelsea one year ago this week.

“I feel like there’s great potential for arts here,” said Myers. “I love that it is it’s own city. It’s like stepping back in time and it’s diverse and has its own unique character.

Said Paris, “We love Chelsea and there is so much about it to love. We love the diversity of it. We know it’s challenging sometimes, but we like that. We love the interest in the arts here and the interest in community betterment. Ultimately, we’d like to bring BeHeard here with offices and studio space and keep going.”

The ‘going’ part could very well be sooner than later, as both said they feel the ‘Invisible’ piece could be something that tours the country on basketball courts and fields all over America – taking the temperature of the nation on race.

“We’d love to have an organization that gets people thinking and have a movement where change happens,” said Myer.

Added Paris, “Instead of putting out fires, we’d love to prevent the fires at some point.”

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