Council Seeks Further Study of Two-Way Broadway

Council Seeks Further Study of Two-Way Broadway

Facing many critics from the public that showed up to speak against two-way Broadway, the City Council on Monday decided to defer any vote and, instead, hold a Committee on Conference to review the matter.

In August, the Traffic Commission voted 5-1 to approve the two-way plan, as well as a spate of many other non-controversial changes to Fay Square, Chelsea Square, Bellingham Square and City Hall Avenue.

Council President Damali Vidot called for the committee, and the Council approved the move. She said they had until Oct. 6 to hold the meeting and to have a vote of the full Council. The City Council must approve all actions of the Traffic Commission, but if they do not do so by Oct. 6, the Commission’s approval will become law.

Many on the Council have not made their opinions known yet, but some have, and ultimately the fate of two-way Broadway will fall on the votes of 11 members of the Council.

Council President Vidot has been critical of the idea, and has particularly disagreed with the planning process that has unfolded over the past two years. In the past, she has been against the change.

Councillor Leo Robinson, however, said this week he is in favor of two-way Broadway.

“I’m a two-way Broadway guy,” he said.

Councillor Joe Perlatonda has also spoke in favor of the plan, and said the one-way plan is dangerous because it calls for cars to park outside of the protected bike lane. He said that would leave those exiting their cars in a dangerous position with oncoming traffic and with oncoming bicyclists.

Meanwhile, Councillor Bob Bishop said he doesn’t buy the idea of two-way Broadway. To this point, he said he isn’t convinced it’s a good change.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Brian Kyes are some of the biggest advocates, and though they don’t have a vote, they have strongly called for the change for months.

Resident Sharleen McLain, however, was one of several residents who said the plan is flawed and has been forced upon the public.

“From the very first it was clear the City Manager and the planners have been pretty bent on getting two-way Broadway,” she said. “They’ve been pretty manipulative in moving forward on this two-way plan. None of these meetings have allowed for meaningful input. It wasn’t until the July Traffic Commission meeting that members of the public were able to speak directly to the plans.”

Said Barbara Richard, “I think two-way Broadway is spot-on dead wrong. Businesses will go under. I also think it hasn’t been a good enough outreach to the community.”

Ambrosino said he is in favor of the two-way plan, but he implored the Council to consider the plan is much more than just the two-way Broadway situation. He said there are many, many more non-controversial changes in the package that people do want universally.

“Much of what is before you is non-controversial,” he said. “Whether it’s Fay Square, Bellingham Square or City Hall Avenue, these provisions have no opposition to the changes.”

The Council will meet next on Monday, Sept. 24, and the Conference Committee will likely take place next week.

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Riseman Family Theatre Puts on Kids Version of Midsummer Night’s Dream

Riseman Family Theatre Puts on Kids Version of Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare has taken a youthful bent this summer in Chelsea Square as the Riseman Family Theatre is putting on two weekends of the classic Midsummer Night’s Dream with a full cast of young people.

Kelly Benitez, Katriana Franklin, Anthony Ramos-Weiss, and Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs perform as the laborers.

It’s the fourth full production put on by the Theatre – a branch of the Apollinaire Theatre – and the first time they’ve tackled Shakespeare.

“The youth program has been going on for a number of years, but with the advent of the Riseman, we are able now to put on full-scale youth productions,” said Danielle Fauteux Jacques of Apollinaire. “I think we thought it would be a great way to connect everything this summer, having two very different productions of the same play in one summer. It’s a fun play and a great play for kids. We’re also working on a grant with TND to get more activity in Chelsea Square, and so part of our production is performed outside by the fountain. The Midsummer play fit the bill in being able to go inside and outside. It’s been a fun way to engage people, even during the rehearsal programs outside.”

The play is directed by Armando Rivera, with the stage manager being Nina Weiss – both heavily involved with the Riseman.

Allison McCarthy has been involved with helping them backstage and recruiting young people.

She said there are nine students between ages 10-16 who are playing the principle roles. They committed themselves to a five-week intensive training program that met five nights a week.

Additionally, there are two groups of young children that play the fairies, and are between the ages of 5 and 9.

“I think it was great to have the adult production of Midsummer and then the kids production,” she said. “The kids got to go see the adult production at the PORT Park and observe the professional actors performing the play. That was really exciting for them as they got ready to do their own version.”

The play has already been performed last weekend for the first run, but it can be seen this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. starting in the Riseman Family Theatre, Chelsea Square.

Cutlines –

1

The Apollinaire Play Lab Midsummer Night’s Dream cast.

4

Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs playing Lysander and Madison Weiss playing Hermia.

8

Lysander, played by Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs sleeps while Puck, played by Mya Feliz performs a little magic.

9

Kelly Benitez, Katriana Franklin, Anthony Ramos-Weiss, and Heschel Stemhauser Roelofs perform as the laborers.

10 Anthony Ramos-Weiss portrays a confused Bottom, who was not only given a donkeys head but also finds Titania, played by Niyoshi Encarnacion, magically in love with him.

15

Mya Feliz and Kelly Benitez.

Fairies –

In front of the Chelsea Square fountain, a group of young fairies dance during a portion of the outdoor show. Hair Fashion in Chelsea Square developed a special partnership with the young fairies and volunteered to do their hair and makeup for all the shows.

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Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

Day Center on Broadway Making Strides, Ready for Next Step

The Chelsea Day Center in the Light of Christ Church on Broadway has been a haven for those who had nowhere to go during the day, the folks that formerly hung out all day in Bellingham Square, and though it hasn’t been perfect City officials believe there is still a great need for the Center.

One wouldn’t get an argument from those who attend the Center.

“I came here to get away from the stress outside, and I have no stress here,” said Ovidio Ortiz, who has been coming for one year since the Day Center opened. “Shelters in Boston are very far and they have too much violence and drugs. Here, they don’t have that. This beats a shelter. There aren’t any problems inside and I wish they had it Saturday and Sunday too. Outside on the street people are fighting and drinking and doing drugs. Not here. I’m safe here and I can rest. We need this here.”

He was but one of about 20 people who were at the Day Center last Friday, Aug. 10. The Center is open Monday through Friday from the morning until 1 p.m. Those who attend can get food, three times a week they can take a shower, and they have access to medical care and a host of recovery services.

At the heart of it all has been Pastor Ruben Rodriguez and Pastor Ricardo Valle – who shepherds the Light of Christ Church.

Rodriguez has worked with the street population in Chelsea for years, and made a commitment to shepherd the Day Center for a year until it was up and running. On Aug. 20, he will move on to new things, and CAPIC will begin managing the Center with Valle and his volunteers.

“It’s been a great run, but it’s also been humbling,” he said. “There are pros and cons to it. We have had problems outside, and we’re working on that. What’s going on inside, people have gotten a lot from it. There’s been 6,000 meals served, hundreds of showers and hours and hours of rest for people who had nowhere to rest that was safe. We’ve had hundreds resourced to programs.

“The best part about this place though is a lot of the people doing the work are the people who come here,” he continued. “They have taken ownership of this place. That’s very good for them. They respect it. I hope they continue to respect it and build this community when I leave and CAPIC takes over.”

Pastor Valle said little by little they are making progress.

“When they come the first time, it’s really new to them and they aren’t sure about it,” he said. “But soon they come and it’s a home to them. The people who do really good, we give them work to do. When you start something like this, people will be against it and people will be for it. You do what you can to help. We pray about it, but the City agrees we need this place.”

And that is the case.

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said there is still good work going on at the Day Center. While the functions inside have been exemplary in helping people have a safe place and access to resources, there have been some problems outside after the Center closes. It has been a sore spot with neighbors, but Ambrosino said he believes they can solve that issue with CAPIC.

“The City still feels it is of very great need to have and overall we think it has been helpful, providing food and shelter and resources for a population we’re really trying to reach and engage,” he said. “There’s been some hiccups there with people loitering outside. We think based on our discussions, some actions we’re taking with the pastor and CAPIC will address these things. CAPIC will begin to be more engaged in the operation Aug. 20.”

Rodriguez said he is very proud of the work they have done, and is excited to get back to working directly with those on the streets – a calling he is very passionate about.

“You always are surprised who shows up here,” he said. “Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. I want people to know we tried to know we tried to make it the best way we could. I think it was a success. I hope as it goes on these people in the community that need this help are blessed.”

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Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

Game Night in Bellingham Square Gaining Momentum with Dominoes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cutline –

1 –

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

2 –

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

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Decision on Two-Way Broadway Traffic Draws Differing Opinions

Decision on Two-Way Broadway Traffic Draws Differing Opinions

The good news for Chelsea residents is that the $5 million redesign of the Broadway business district is moving forward, and a final decision will be made by the City Council about its exact components next month.

And if the vision and innovativeness that City Manager Tom Ambrosino fostered in all parts of Revere can be matched here, then Chelsea residents can expect a Broadway and Bellingham Square bustling with activity and commerce.

But a big question about “The New Broadway” remains: Should the six city blocks from Williams Street to City Hall Avenue be a one-way street (as it exists now and has for many decades) or a two-way street?

The Chelsea Traffic Commission hosted a public meeting Tuesday night at City Hall to hear residents’ opinions about the potential change of Broadway to a two-way street. The Commission is scheduled to vote on the matter at its next meeting before the Council casts the final vote about the entire redesign project, including the traffic plan.

Alexander Train, Chelsea’s assistant director of the department of planning and development, gave a thorough presentation of the re-imagined Broadway project that will totally transform the business district’s intersections, sidewalks, bicycle paths, tree pits, and physical appearance.

“We’ve completed the planning and development portion of the process and we’re now approaching the Traffic Commission to vote and adopt and enact the plan,” said Train. “Their vote will be relayed to City Council, who has the authority to approve or reject their decision.”

Police Chief Brian Kyes spoke in favor of a two-way Broadway, saying it would improve the flow of traffic.

“If a person double parks his vehicle, we have a reason to tow the vehicle ASAP,” said Kyes. “We want to keep the traffic flowing.”

Kyes said he was happy to hear that the intersection of Broadway and Third Street will have traffic lights in the redesign project. “Broadway and Third is probably one of the most dangerous intersections in the entire state,” said Kyes.

He said that when he drove from the police station to City Hall for the meeting, “the backup when I got to Hawthorne Street was incredible, because everybody is making the loop (around Broadway). I think the final [redesign] project makes a lot of sense. I drive down Broadway, Revere all the time and I very, very rarely see double parking there.” Councillor-at-Large Damlili

Vidot said she would like to see the city pay more attention to cleaning up Broadway (such as removing the weed in the metal grates). She also disputed the claim that two-way traffic would curtail double parking and that it would make it safer for pedestrians. She also asked about potential back-ups on the Tobin Bridge and how it would affect traffic on a two-way Broadway.

Vidot said she was not happy with the swiftness of the entire redesign process.

“I urge everyone to just take several steps back and let’s figure out a way to engage more people,” said Vidot. “The way that this process has gone, having a meeting in the middle of summer when the City Council isn’t even meeting – in a hot room where everyone is aggravated and we had to wait 10 minutes to even start the meeting, all of it is just not right.”

Ambrosino, who favors a two-way Broadway, said the traffic configuration should not predominate the discussion of the redesign project.

“That’s only a small part of the reimaging Broadway,” said Ambrosino. “Many of the improvements [to Bellingham Square, Fay Square, City Hall Avenue, traffic signals at dangerous intersections] are happening regardless of which of these two configurations between Williams and Fifth Streets is chosen. Even the one-way configuration is a major improvement over the two-lane speedway that currently exists on Broadway. The two-way configuration is still safer, calmer, and slower for bicylists and pedestrians.”

Ambrosino said the two-way configuration will be “transformative.”

“It will make a difference to the feel and the look of that downtown. It makes it vibrant. It makes it aesthetically pleasing. This will be better for pedestrians, for traffic, and for businesses.”

Rick Gordon, owner of Allen Cut Rite on Broadway, said the No. 1 issue in the downtown district is parking. “I personally prefer a one-way plan for the flow of traffic. The street is much narrower than other communities and I don’t think two-way makes a business more visible.”

Gordon credited the Chelsea Police for their efforts in slowing down motorists and enforcing double-parking restrictions on Broadway. Some residents at the meeting had noted that double-parking is a recurring issue on Broadway.

Councillor-at-Large Roy Avellaneda, whose family owns Tito’s Bakery, asked whether the City Council will have to vote on the redesign project in its entirety as opposed to voting on individual components such as the traffic configuration, and the placement of new bus stops and traffic lights on Broadway.

Following more than two hours of discussion, the one-way/two-way Broadway issue remains a hotly debated one and all eyes will be on the Traffic Commission when it convenes for a vote at its next meeting.WE should be Ambrosino said he favors a two-way Broadway

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Auditions Being Held Midsummer Night’s Dream

Auditions Being Held Midsummer Night’s Dream

Apollinaire Play Lab invites youth ages 11 to 16 to audition for their summer production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream! The youth production will take place in August, following the professional company’s production of the same play this July in PORT Park. All performances are FREE!

Apollinaire Theatre Company is known for environmentally staging its summer park shows. The audience moves with the action of the play, and different scenes are staged in different areas of the park. (If you attended the PORT Park production of Hamlet in 2016 you might recall the titular character delivering his to-be-or-not-to-be speech from atop one of the towering salt piles.) Following in the footsteps of the professional company, Apollinaire’s young actors will employ environmental staging with their youth production. The audience will be taken from in the Riseman Family Theatre out into Chelsea Square!

Armando Rivera, whom you may have seen on the Apollinaire stage (Everyman, First Love is the Revolution), will be directing the show. Armando has been a teacher and director at the Play Lab since 2016, just before the opening of the Riseman Family Theatre at the Chelsea Theatre Works. Armando says, “This is an amazing opportunity for young artists to create work that will be shared directly with their community. Our production of Shakespeare’s Midsummer will be a hilariously fun learning experience for everyone who gets involved.”

Auditions are being held this Saturday, June 9 at 2:00. You can email apl@aplylab.com to reserve your audition slot. There is no need to prepare a monologue and no previous acting experience is required. Youth who are interested in design and working backstage are encouraged to audition as well! Auditions will be in an open class format, and the entire group will work together over the course of the 45 – 60 minute audition.

The Play Lab didn’t forget Chelsea’s younger budding thespians! There are also dance & singing performance classes available this summer for youth ages 4-11. Children in these classes will appear as the fairies in two of the youth performances of Midsummer lending extra magic to the production! No audition is required for these classes; registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. The Play Lab makes scholarships available to ALL who need them to attend!

Crista Núñez, who began teaching at the Play Lab in the spring, will lead the dance & singing performance classes. Crista, originally from Guatemala, has taught more than 300 students during her career at Ballet Armonía. She studied ballet for 18 years with the methodology of the Royal Academy of Dance from London. As a vocalist, she has won first place in national contests as a soloist and with her band. “Discipline and art are perfectly combined by participating in this class and performances of Midsummer,” says Crista. “Students will grow as professionals, experience being an integral part of a performance, and gain confidence.”

The Play Lab’s production of Midsummer is part of a larger effort organized by The Neighborhood Developers (TND) in conjunction with the City of Chelsea’s Downtown Initiative to activate Chelsea Square with arts programing this summer. In addition to the two-week run of the youth production of Midsummer (August 10-12 and 17-19), there will be other regular performances in Chelsea Square throughout the summer, including live music. The kickoff event for the summer series in Chelsea Square is Thursday, June 9, from 6:00 to 8:00pm. The Apollinaire Play Lab will be hosting a booth with fairy-themed crafts and sign-ups for the audition and dance & singing classes.

Visit them online at aplaylab.com! Or you can call (617) 615-6506.

The Apollinaire Play Lab is a program of Apollinaire Theatre Company (ATC), Chelsea’s award-winning professional theatre.  ATC produces adventurous contemporary theatre, and free outdoor summer shows. The ATC’s home is the Chelsea Theatre Works in Chelsea Square, which houses their three theatres: the Apollinaire Theatre, the Riseman Family Theatre, and the Black Box—a co-working rental theatre for Boston Area performing artists. Visit them on the web at www.apollinairetheatre.com.

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City Leaders, Community Rejoices with Ban of Alcohol Nip Bottles

City Leaders, Community Rejoices with Ban of Alcohol Nip Bottles

The bottles are little, but their size does not hide the volume of litter they create, nor the public drunkenness they spark.

And so it is, the License Board and City leaders worked together with Chelsea Police recently to ban alcohol nip bottles (1.7 oz. plastic bottle liquor shots) that litter the City’s streets and are believed to be a major cause of the open drinking in Bellingham Square and other locales.

The decision came down on May 22 with a 4-0 vote, with the impetus for the ban coming from City Councillor (and former License Commissioner) Roy Avellaneda. The measure not goes to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for final approval, but it is expected to meet muster there.

License Commissioner Roseann Bongiovanni said it was quite a coup for the City to make this step.

“The licensing board took a big step forward in trying to crack down on the proliferation of public drinking and drunkenness by banning the sales of nips throughout the entire city,” she said. “We will also be discussing banning the sale of pints of alcohol and single beer cans at our upcoming meeting in June.  I’d like to thank Captain Houghton, Officer McLaughlin and the full CPD team who made a robust presentation about how alcohol abuse is far more problematic in Chelsea than heroin addiction is, yet the latter gets so much more attention. I also offer our deep gratitude to Gladys Valentin from CAPIC who spoke about the efforts she is leading to curb substance abuse and help those with addiction get the services they need.”

Avellaneda said he had always wanted to ban nips when he was on licensing, but was told it couldn’t be done legally. However, he said he read an article about Everett banning nips recently, and decided it was time to revisit the issue.

He wrote a letter to the License Commission, and once new Chair Mark Rossi took the reins, he scheduled the hearing – which took place on May 22.

“This alcohol abuse in public has been going on since I was a kid and I walked back and forth from St. Rose School and my dad’s baker on Broadway,” said Avellaneda. “You have to go the point of the source and we believe part of the problem is the sale of these nips. We hope this is a first step. We also want to stop the sale of single-cans of beer. I think anyone who wants a single serving can get that in a bar instead of in a brown bag on a park bench…This is about cleaning up the downtown and making it more family friendly and business friendly.”

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes said the Department has been pushing for the ban for many years.

“This extremely important decision by the Chelsea Licensing Board is a huge step forward…,” he said. “For well over a decade the Police Department has been pushing for the elimination of sales of these so-called ‘nips’ – comprised of 1.7 ounces of alcohol – and single cans or bottles of malt beverages from our local licensed liquor and convenience stores. Far too often we have made observations of individuals in an inebriated state in the area of Bellingham and Chelsea Square because of the overconsumption of these particular alcoholic beverages. They have secreted the containers in their clothing only to be tossed in the street after their use. This local measure should go a long way towards reducing open air intoxication in our vibrant downtown neighborhoods.”

City Manager Tom Ambrosino also supported the measure, saying it will help solve part of a long-standing problem.

“I think the impact on the downtown will be very positive,” he said. “We have an issue with litter and alcohol consumption in public. This is one of many positive steps we’re trying to address the problem.”

Avellaneda said it could end up helping the stores that depend on the sales of nips.

“We may see an environment created downtown that helps these stores in terms of sales in a different way to a different clientele,” he said. “Maybe they will increase their sales to other customers and that could make up the difference.”

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Secretary Pollack Would like Silver Line to go to Everett

Secretary Pollack Would like Silver Line to go to Everett

Just as the Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line gets ready to launch in Chelsea on April 21, State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a meeting in Boston that she would like to see it eventually expand to Everett – a plan that Everett officials and the Lower Mystic Regional Transportation Working Group has touted as well.

The Silver Line 3 (SL-3) will being operations on April 21, making a 30-minute journey from the Mystic (Market Basket) Mall to South Station, via Logan Airport and the Seaport in Boston, every 10 minutes. The BRT will run on a separate bus-only lane through Chelsea and over the Chelsea Street Bridge.

Pollack said that a draft of the soon-to-be-released Transportation plan, called Focus 40, will have a recommendation for Everett to be included in an expansion of the new Silver Line service.

“That service will open on April 21, and we’re looking forward to the opening,” she said. “That is a BRT service and we hope to continue it from Chelsea into Everett and Sullivan Square and other highly congested areas. That’s one other thing we are looking at in our Focus 40 plan.”

Those statements came at a breakfast in the Back Bay on March 20 where Pollack was the keynote speaker and addressing investment in the Orange Line. She also highlighted the new Silver Line service and the agency’s hopes to expand it in the years to come.

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Photography Contest to Capture Richness of Life in Chelsea, and Fame for Local Artists

Photography Contest to Capture Richness of Life in Chelsea, and Fame for Local Artists

Amateur and professional photographers of any age are invited to participate in the Welcome to Chelsea Photo Contest.  The contest is presented by Chelsea Prospers, the City of Chelsea’s initiative for vitality in the downtown, and the Facebook group Chelsea MA Photography Club coordinated by photographer and former City Councillor Matt Frank.

The organizers seek images that capture the richness of life in this dynamic city.

“What people, places and things tell you that you are home?  What image serves as invitation for others to visit Bellingham Square, Chelsea Square, Broadway? What does Chelsea mean to you? Everyone sees the city through a different lens, and we want you to show us your view!” they declare.

Entries will be accepted until May 31, 2018 via the contest website at https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea. An illustrious panel of judges will then select multiple winners in the categories of Local Business; The People of Chelsea; Community; and Chelsea, Past and Present. The panel will nominate a slate of finalists for a People’s Choice award to be determined via popular votes on the Chelsea MA Photography Club Facebook page.

All of the top images will be reproduced in large print format and displayed in the new storefront gallery, Gallery 456, coming soon to the former Salvation Army store on Broadway.  At the conclusion of the summer-time exhibit the winners will take home their high-quality, framed images with the Best in Show and People’s Choice winners receiving additional prizes.

The judging panel includes:

  • Darlene DeVita, an award-winning fine art photographer who specializes in portraits that capture the energy and humanity of her subjects. Her creative eye, patience, humor and unobtrusiveness have made her one the most sought-after photographers in Greater Boston. Between photographing weddings and exploring her fine art world, Darlene shoots portraits at her studio in Chelsea. She was Co-Director of the Gallery@Spencer Lofts for fourteen years, served as a member of the Chelsea Cultural Council and is a co-founder of CHARCOLL (Chelsea Artists Collaborative).
  • Matt Frank is a life-long resident of Chelsea and served on the Chelsea City Council for ten years after four years on the Planning Board.  His government, non-profit and community-based work focuses on policy and project-based initiatives that serve the public interest. His interest in communications and community building combined with a deep appreciation of the beauty of city life led Matt to pursue an interest in photography. Matt captures our beloved city with a painterly eye as he celebrates the colors, textures and moods of Chelsea’s ever-changing landscape.
  • Roselee Vincent holds the16th Suffolk District Seat in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, comprised of the communities of Revere, Chelsea and Saugus. A champion for the arts, Rep Vincent served on the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tourism, Arts and Cultural Development, giving her an opportunity to visit with arts advocates across the state and learn how the arts are vital to local economies across the Commonwealth.
  • Sury Chavez, a painter, was born in Los Angeles but spent much of her childhood in her ancestral home of Guatemala. While East Boston is where she now resides, the colors, flora and fauna of Central America continue to inspire her work. Local businesses, The Cuscatlan, Bella Isla Express and Pan y Café, have partnered with Sury for decorative murals and menu boards and she’s working with Chelsea’s Beautification Committee to illustrate “Welcome to Chelsea” signs for key locations throughout the city.
  • Marianne Ramos is a self-taught “outsider artist” who believes everyone can express themselves through art. A resident of Chelsea for the past 35 years, she serves as Program Coordinator for the Chelsea Senior Center. What began out of economic necessity became the foundation of her artistic philosophy as Marianne embraces a Do-it-Yourself approach and environmental stewardship through the use of recycled and non-toxic materials. An extension of her civic involvement, Marianne’s works are typically presented in settings that foster community building.

Beyond the photography exhibit on Broadway, all submitted photographs will contribute to a collection of images for the promotion of the City of Chelsea as a great place to live and to visit. Submitted photos will become part of a collection of images for use by the City in materials like municipal reports, the city website and informational brochures.

For more information about the Welcome to Chelsea Photography Contest visit https://tinyurl.com/PhotoContestforChelsea.

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New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New Early Morning MBTA Bus Routes Started this Week

New, early morning bus routes on several area MBTA lines began on Sunday, April 1, for a one-year early morning pilot program on the routes.

The pilot will be on the MBTA’s busiest key bus routes serving neighborhoods within the immediate Boston core traveling to downtown Boston, the Seaport, and key stops in between beginning as early as 3:20 a.m. Serving residents who start their work day before many people’s alarms ring, the new routes are part of the MBTA’s continued commitment to expanding offerings for those riders who need them most.

There are nine routes on the pilot, and four of them serve the areas of Everett, Chelsea, Revere, East Boston and downtown Boston. Those routes in this area include:

  • Route 104 – Lynn Street Revere via Broadway Everett to Sullivan Square.
  • Route 109 – serving Broadway Everett.
  • Route 117 – serving Wonderland Revere to East Boston, via Revere, Chelsea and Eastie.
  • Route 455 – Salem to Wonderland Revere.

“The T’s expansion into early morning bus service will provide an important opportunity for the changing needs of Massachusetts’ workforce,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Throughout this one-year pilot, the MBTA will be able to gather important information about changes in bus ridership and analyze that data to better inform future transportation plans around the Greater Boston area.”

“The launch of early morning service demonstrates that the MBTA is acting on its top priority to put the needs of its customers first,” said Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. “This new transit option will serve workers who must start their day earlier than most. Other commuters and city residents depend upon these essential workers and the MBTA’s ability to get them to their work places safely and on time.”

The changes also include additional service on existing routes during pre-dawn hours. Some routes will extend beyond their normal end points during the early morning to provide direct service to downtown Boston and Logan Airport, allowing customers to reach those destinations even before trains start running. Early morning service is already a part of the MBTA’s bus service on several routes, but these added services represent earlier and/or extended routes on several bus lines. This expansion is the result of a year-long ridership study and planning initiative at the T, which resulted in the identification of key routes where early morning demand is heaviest.

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