Almost Immoral:Supt Bourque, Urban Educators Disappointed with “Fix” to Funding Flaw

Almost Immoral:Supt Bourque, Urban Educators Disappointed with “Fix” to Funding Flaw

Chelsea Supt. Mary Bourque said just when urban educators plagued with a flawed funding formula thought they made some progress, the state yanked all that progress from under them recently.

Bourque, the past president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents and the co-chair of the Urban Superintendents Network, has been working with the state for more than two years to fix a problem for Chelsea and many surrounding districts involving low income students – now called economically disadvantaged. The change has cost the Chelsea Schools millions of dollars per year in funding that they expected, but no longer qualified for.

“In the urban districts, we’re all on fragile ice right now,” she said. “Everything is coming at us at one time. It really begs the question about whether the allocation for education of students of poverty going to be the place where the state goes to make cuts and balance the budget every year. That’s not what the Foundation Formula budget is meant to do. It’s really almost immoral.”

Schools like Chelsea, Revere, Everett and Brockton – among others – have been hamstrung for the last two years due to major reductions in state funding due to the change in the formula. That change entailed making economically disadvantaged students qualify for that title only if their families were on some sort of public welfare benefit. Unfortunately, in communities like Chelsea, many families don’t qualify for those benefits due to their immigration status or because they haven’t been in the country legally for five years. Without that, the schools don’t receive nearly as much money to educate a very difficult and needy population.

This year, Bourque said, they added several new “qualifiers” for the economically disadvantaged tag – such as programs that students in Chelsea might qualify for despite immigration status.

However, as soon as that battle was won, Bourque said the state turned around and lowered the amount of money given for each student – making the gain a complete wash.

“We worked hard with the state to come up with solutions and they did add more students to qualify,” she said. “But as soon as we got more students, they reduced the amount of money given for each student.”

Bourque said the Chelsea Schools are likely going to be down another $1 million from where they feel they should be in the coming budget year. She said they will keep working on it, though.

It has been a real learning experience for the long-time administrator, though maybe not a positive one.

“To ignore systemic injustice and failure while children’s futures are compromised is morally and ethically, wrong,” she said. “It is not who we are as a Commonwealth nor is it who we want to be. The Grand Bargain of 1993 (for Education Reform) is not more and hasn’t been for many years. It is time for courage and time for action; our children and their futures are far too important.”

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Rep Ryan Praised for Commitment to Veterans

Rep Ryan Praised for Commitment to Veterans

State Rep. Dan Ryan is being lauded after having received the Legislator of the Year award from the state’s Veterans’ Services Officer organization.

State Rep. Dan Ryan is pictured on Jan. 24 receiving the Legislator of the Year award from the Massachusetts Veterans’ Services Officers Association at a State House ceremony. House Speaker Bob DeLeo (left) remarked that Ryan’s dedication to veterans is outstanding, especially considering his family’s record of service.

State Rep. Dan Ryan is pictured on Jan. 24 receiving the Legislator of the Year award from the Massachusetts Veterans’ Services Officers Association at a State House ceremony. House Speaker Bob DeLeo (left) remarked that Ryan’s dedication to veterans is outstanding, especially considering his family’s record of service.

Ryan received the award on Jan. 24 at a luncheon in the State House attended by family, friend, Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Bob DeLeo.

In particular, DeLeo told the Record he was touched by the remarks given by Rep. Ryan upon receiving the award.

Ryan told the audience of his family’s service, including in World War II, and how that guides how he handles things on Beacon Hill – which likely led to his designation.

“Danny is acutely aware of the distinct challenges facing veterans and military personnel in Charlestown and Chelsea and has been a fierce advocate for his district,” said DeLeo. “I was particularly touched to learn about the legacy of service and heroism in the Ryan family. Danny’s father and many of his uncles served in World War II. He is named after two of his uncles – one of whom was wounded in the Pacific and one of whom died fighting in France. In his remarks at the Veterans’ Service event, Rep. Ryan spoke eloquently of how this legacy guides his work on Beacon Hill.”

Speaker DeLeo also praised Ryan for his tenure in the House working on the Joint Committee on Veterans and as vice-chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use

District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards said she appreciated Ryan’s dedication to the district and the veterans in the district.

“Rep. Ryan has proven himself to be a strong advocate for veterans and their families in his district,” she said. “His exemplary dedication is regarded in the State House and beyond as he is a reliable presence at all veteran sponsored events, including the Memorial Mass at St. Francis de Sales every year since becoming an elected official.”

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Ward 4 Democratic Committee Elects Delegates to the State Convention

Ward 4 Democratic Committee Elects Delegates to the State Convention

Registered Democrats in the City of Chelsea Ward 4, held a Caucus on February 3, 2018 at the Chelsea Public Library to elect Delegates to the 2018 Democratic State Convention.

Elected Delegates are:

Olivia Anne Walsh

91 Crest Ave.

Luis Tejada

103 Franklin Ave.

Thomas J. Miller

91 Crest Ave.

Theresa G. Czerepica

21 Prospect Ave.

This year’s State Convention will be held June 1-2 at the DCU Center in Worcester, where thousands of Democrats from across the Commonwealth will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide office, Including Constitutional officers and gubernatorial candidates

Those interested in getting involved with the Chelsea Ward 4 Democratic Committee should contact Attorney Olivia Anne Walsh, Ward 4 Chair, at 617-306-5501.

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CAPIC – Celebrating 50 Years of Community Service – 2017 Highlights

CAPIC – Celebrating 50 Years of Community Service – 2017 Highlights

During 2017, CAPIC celebrated its 50th year as a community action agency.  Since 1967, CAPIC has served as the federal and state designated Community Action Agency for the communities of Chelsea, Revere, and Winthrop although in 1965 the City of Chelsea received its first grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity to establish the Chelsea Community Action Council and Community Action Programs Revere Initiative.

Throughout five decades, CAPIC has been both the first stop for people in need, as well as the last stop when other resources have failed. We are problem solvers, always going beyond what is ordinarily expected and achieving the not so possible. As a multi-service community-based organization, CAPIC has provided comprehensive, one-stop anti-poverty services to thousands of individuals and families who seek help. The unique composition of the Board of Directors representing public, private and low-income sectors of the three communities has been our mainstay that ensures consistency and oversight; safeguarding that the basic mission of the organization was always preserved.

Locally, CAPIC has been the front line of defense for persons in need, especially during times of family crises, and natural disaster as first seen in October 1973 when CAPIC was commissioned by FEMA to relocate 200 displaced families from housing after the great conflagration that devastated over a 20 block area of Chelsea and again in February 1978, when during the blizzard, CAPIC provided housing, clothing, food and emergency oil to hundreds of Revere families displaced by flood waters and those who were snow bound. Most recently, on July 28, 2014, CAPIC placed Revere families who were displaced by a tornado in emergency housing and again on June 13, 2017 when a four alarm fire on Taft Street, Revere caused many to be without shelter. Resources were immediately mobilized and together with Revere officials, families were placed in temporary shelters.

Here we are today, a vibrant organization that provides a myriad of life sustaining services to over 15,000 area residents annually. During 2017, CAPIC provided nearly 2,000 at-risk, low-income individuals and families with access to food and basic needs; prevented 33 families from becoming homeless through the utilization of United Way EFSP funds; prevented an additional 23 families from becoming homeless through EOHHS Flex funds for rental assistance; distributed 1,500 winter coats to needy adults and children through a partnership with Anton’s Cleaners Coats for Kids program; distributed donated Christmas/holiday toys to 450 low-income children; provided 50 victims of domestic violence with comprehensive case management, advocacy, and counseling services; and provided 100 street-involved individuals in Chelsea with substance/alcohol related issues with direct comprehensive support service. In addition, CAPIC’s Mobile Outreach Team conducted intensive street outreach in Chelsea to identify and refer street-involved homeless individuals experiencing alcohol/opioid addiction for services which included 50 sober living placements and 40 medical interventions with a volunteer licensed physician.

CAPIC also partnered with MGH on the Merck Foundation: Alliance to Advance Patient-Centered Cancer Care Grant. This is a two-year grant program that works to improve equity by advancing cancer patient-centered care for underserved populations.  In May 2017, CAPIC was designated by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) as the official Continuum of Care -Balance of State Homeless Provider for Chelsea and Revere.  Given this official designation, CAPIC is commissioned to assume responsibility to coordinate homelessness prevention activities for Chelsea and Revere and also coordinate the Annual Point-In-Time Count (in conjunction with DHCD), and organize volunteer efforts for counting unsheltered persons in Chelsea and Revere.  CAPIC also received an FY’17 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the City of Chelsea to enhance access to health care for low-income populations in Chelsea.

In addition, CAPIC helped 3,431 low-income households keep warm during the winter months through the Fuel Assistance Program, as well as provided weatherization and heating efficiency services to 80 households, and replaced and/or repaired a total of 435 inefficient heating systems; provided 400 individuals referred by the Social Security Administration with responsible payee support services; filed tax returns for 192 individuals; and provided over 500 low-income children 0-13 years with Head Start/educational support, child care, after school, and summer camp programming, as well as over 400 families with parenting skills and healthy family development through the Chelsea/Revere Family Network program.  CAPIC Real Estate, Inc. in partnership with CAPIC purchased a 13-unit lodging house at 72 Dehon Street, Revere, in an effort to preserve tenancies through affordable housing.

Our ability to accomplish this work, past and present, is a direct result of those people who have chosen public service as a career and the dedicated members of the Board of Directors and Policy Council. They strive to have a better community, with employment opportunity, safe housing, education, food, clothing and healthcare for everyone. We express our gratitude to our elected and appointed delegation that without their support we could not succeed. There are also the compassionate partners at DHCD and HHS that understand the plight of the poor; there are those in sister organizations whose collaboration and cooperation make our work more effective. Perhaps the greatest asset that we have and sometimes overlook, is our clergy, whose spiritual guidance and prayers have given us the courage and motivation to persevere in an environment where it isn’t popular to be poor.

We have also forged strong alliances with the local police and fire departments and greatly appreciate the support and assistance we receive from the city and town Community Development and Health Departments. Over the years we have relied on our historic alliance with local school departments that have provided us with space for Head Start and After School/Summer Camp programming. Special thanks to former State Representative Kathi-Anne Reinstein, Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Representatives RoseLee Vincent and Dan Ryan; and Senators Sal DiDomenico and Joe Boncore for their untiring support for CAPIC throughout the years.

A quote from CAPIC’s third Executive Director: “Progress has not been easy- there have been crises, cutbacks, quarrels, opposition. Yet, when it was most important, we have always closed ranks and worked together, and so accomplished much. Perhaps even more important are our less tangible accomplishments. Because of CAPIC, thousands of Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop residents, especially low-income people, have become aware of their rights and responsibilities, and the value of working together to improve opportunities for all.”

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Chelsea Wards to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

Chelsea Wards to Elect Delegates to Democratic State Convention

Registered Democrats in these will hold a caucus on February 3, 2018, 10:00 a.m. at Chelsea Library to elect delegates and alternates to the 2018 Massachusetts Democratic State Convention.

This year’s state convention will be held June 1-1 DCU Center in Worcester, where Democrats from across the state will come together to endorse Democratic candidates for statewide office, including Constitutional Officers and gubernatorial candidates. The caucus is open to all registered and pre-registered Democrats in Chelsea Wards 1, 2 & 4.

Pre-registered Democrats who will be 18 by September 18, 2018 will be allowed to participate and run as a delegate or alternate.

Youth, minorities, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals who are not elected as a delegate or alternate may apply to be an add-on delegate at the caucus or at  www.mass.dems.org.

Those interested in getting involved with the Democratic ward committee Committee should;

Jose Vaquerano Ward 1 617-279-3867

Sandra Brown Ward 2 617-466-1548

Olivia Walsh Ward 4 617-305-5501

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Coming to a TV Near You:Hollywood Hits Revere Beach for a New Pilot Program

Coming to a TV Near You:Hollywood Hits Revere Beach for a New Pilot Program

by Sue Woodcock

Film crews descended on Revere Beach Boulevard and Bill Ash’s Lounge at the end of last week. Crews were filming a television pilot for Showtime called, “City on the Hill” and a scene called “The Approval.”

Crews have also been filming in Malden. Star actor Kevin Bacon (Footloose) is tagged to be a part of the show although he was not in Revere.

The scenes are set in the late 1980s or early 90s and the show is supposed to be a “cop-type” drama.

The Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR) closed down Revere Beach Boulevard from just before Shirley Avenue to Revere Street. One scene being shot was along the boulevard starting at the Bandstand and traveling down to the State Police Barracks. The shot, captured from a camera mounted to the top of a blacked out Porsche Cayenne (rented out for two days at $40,000, according to a crew member.) The scene being filmed showed an armored car truck being followed by a minivan.

All the vehicles being used are late 1980s and 90s models. There was an old Lincoln Continental, a Jeep Grand Wagoner with wood paneling and an old Volvo.

The outside of Bill Ash’s Lounge was transformed to the “Ebb-Tide” a restaurant/bar type of place. Last Wednesday afternoon about 20 electricians and crew members were inside the dive redoing all the lighting.

The crew was very tight-lipped about what they were working on and unknowing members of the public who just wanted to go for a walk, were redirected away from the filming areas.

No word on when the show will air.

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Sen Elizabeth Warren Urges Congress to Restore Funding to Community Health Centers like EBNHC

Sen Elizabeth Warren Urges Congress to Restore Funding to Community Health Centers like EBNHC

By John Lynds

In an Op-Ed that appeared in State News on Monday, Dec. 18, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called House Republicans onto the carpet for halting federal funding to the nation’s Community Health Centers like East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) while working on cutting taxes for the ‘wealthy”.

“I love community health centers,” Warren wrote. “They do wonderful work and enjoy widespread support. But I’m worried because Republican leaders in Congress have held these centers hostage by halting federal funding while they focus on passing tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s past time to step up the fight for community health centers in my state of Massachusetts and across the country.”

Warren argued that community health centers, like EBNHC, are a big part of what’s working well in health care today — more coverage at lower cost.

“They are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic,” she wrote. “They provide preventive services and chronic disease management. They are taking the stigma out of mental health treatment. And they save money by promoting disease prevention, providing care coordination, and reducing the use of hospital emergency rooms.”

On Sept. 30, Warren said Congress blew past a major funding deadline for community health centers — a reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund.

“This program provides more than 70 percent of all federal funding for health centers,” she wrote. “Reauthorizing this program should be a no-brainer, and many of my Republican colleagues agree with that. But Republican leadership has been so focused on stripping health care coverage from many of the people who walk through the doors of community health centers that they ran right past this deadline — and they’ve just kept on running.”

Community health centers across the country are feeling the impact.

“They are holding back on hiring new staff or deferring opportunities to make vital improvements to their programs. If they don’t get this funding soon, they’ll have to make even tougher decisions, like laying off staff members, cutting services, or reducing hours,” she wrote. “In East Boston, which is geographically isolated from the rest of the city, the community health center operates an emergency room that is open around the clock.People who work in community health centers know that health care is a basic human right. The dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals at these sites take incredible care of families from every background. And they’re always looking for ways they can better serve their patients and their community. But community health centers can’t do this much-needed work if the federal government doesn’t keep its promises.”

Warren said tax cuts for billionaires shouldn’t come ahead of making sure that children, pregnant women, people in need of addiction treatment, veterans, and other vulnerable populations have access to health care.

“I’ll keep fighting for community health centers and for all of these health care programs that have improved the lives of people in my state and every other state,” she wrote. “I believe everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care. Community health centers excel at providing that care — and they deserve our support.”

EBNHC recently hosted Sen. Warren were she saw first hand the important work that the Health Center and its staff does on a daily basis.

“We were obviously so pleased to host Senator Warren on her visit tour to the Health Center and we are glad she is fighting hard for Community Health Centers like ours across the country,” said Snyder.

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Police Briefs 01-04-2018

Police Briefs 01-04-2018

ROBBERY ON BROADWAY

On Dec. 22, at 5:20 p.m., officers responded to 165 Walnut St. for a report of a past armed robbery. Upon officers’ arrival, they made contact with the victim and alleged robbery suspect, standing out front of the building. The victim claims the suspect took $200 from him after he left the ATM at the Chelsea Bank on Broadway. The suspect claims the money was used to buy drugs from him and that the victim complained about the quality of the drugs purchased.

Jose Rivera, 32, of 11 Congress Ave., was charged with unarmed robbery.

REFUSED SERVICE AT BAR

On Dec. 22, at 10:49 p.m., officers were dispatched to the Spanish Falcon Club located at 158 Broadway on the report of a fight outside.

Officers observed security outside speaking to a group of men, two of which appeared intoxicated. As Officers spoke to security, they were informed that the two intoxicated males had been causing a disturbance because security refused them entry due to their state of intoxication.

They were asked to leave several times, but were becoming aggressive towards employees. As officers engaged the men in conversation, it was apparent that the men were upset at having been refused entry and wanted to continue their night of drinking. The two men refused the officers’ orders to leave the area and became loud and boisterous, causing a disturbance. The first male was placed into custody after violently resisting officers in their attempt to place him under arrest. The second male, and brother of the male taken into custody, refused orders to leave, and he also became aggressive and was taken into custody after a struggle.

David Garcia, 24, of 141 Marlborough St., was charged with disorderly conduct.

Kevin Garcia, 21, of Lynn, was charged with disorderly conduct, assault and battery on a police officer and resisting arrest.

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Chelsea-Based Roca will Launch New Public-Private Partnership with Baltimore

Chelsea-Based Roca will Launch New Public-Private Partnership with Baltimore

Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh announced this month a $17 million public-private partnership with Roca, anchor business institutions and philanthropic organizations to help Baltimore’s highest risk young people disrupt cycles of poverty and incarceration.

Roca is a Massachusetts-based group that has earned national recognition for providing some of the most innovative and effective interventions for young adults most at risk for committing or becoming a victim of violence.

The program currently operates in four sites in Massachusetts (Boston, Chelsea, Lynn, Springfield) and will replicate its model in Baltimore City.

“This is a very special announcement for me because we believe the approach to violence reduction is holistic, and we want to be inclusive in our approach to reducing the violence that exists in our city,” said Mayor Pugh. “Roca is not just a program that focuses in on individuals between the ages of 17-24, it is an intense focus that helps young people move beyond violence and into the types of job training, and personal development that leads them to become more productive members of our community.”

The significant new partnership will join other efforts to proactively engage high-risk youth in the City of Baltimore, and to reduce recidivism for those who have already encountered the criminal justice system. It will be funded by a combination of private and public dollars raised by Roca and the City of Baltimore, with a request for State funding still pending.

“We are humbled by the incredible efforts in the city to bring about change,” said Roca founder and CEO, Molly Baldwin. “At Roca, we are painfully aware that we can neither arrest nor program our way out of the violence devastating this city and that we need a different approach. We are so grateful for the invitation to help and we know we have a lot to learn as we initiate our work in Baltimore.”

Currently, Roca serves over 1,000 high-risk young people in 21 communities in Massachusetts and has been preparing to work in Baltimore for the past five years. Roca plans to serve 75 young people in Baltimore during its first year and gradually increase its services to 300 young people annually over the next three years.

Roca will begin operations in Baltimore during Summer 2018. An intensive planning process already is underway.

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Chelsea Housing Extends Visitor Time for Hurricane Victims

Chelsea Housing Extends Visitor Time for Hurricane Victims

By Seth Daniel

As Puerto Rican residents continue to trickle into Chelsea following the massive Hurricane Maria devastation, the Chelsea Housing Authority (CHA) announced they would extend the time visitors are allowed to stay with residents – and also consider extensions in some cases.

Director Al Ewing said they have been working close with the Chelsea Collaborative, the City of Chelsea and the state to formulate a plan to accommodate family members that need to live with CHA residents. By rule, CHA only allows visitors to stay in a public housing unit for 21 days. After that, penalties begin to accrue for the resident.

That has been a problem statewide as wary Puerto Ricans flock to the area to live with family members while their homes and their island are repaired from the once-in-a-lifetime storm damage. With nowhere else to turn, residents in public housing have opened their homes to family, but in fact trouble looms due to the 21-day rule.

“What we have done is extended the 21-day limit allowed for visitors to 45 days,” he said. “The key is residents need to notify us who is living in the unit. Obviously we want to work with the residents and this was a terrible disaster and a terrible situation…At the end of the 45-day period, if there is a need for an extension while family members look for permanent housing, we will work with them on a case-by-case basis.”

Ewing said they have encountered some folks from Puerto Rico and one woman from Houston – which both suffered severe storm damage – and he said they have lowered the documentation threshold for them. While there aren’t many units available, he said they are taking applications.

“We have reduced the documentation because people are obviously coming here without the ability to have documentation,” he said. “We just don’t have a lot of vacancies in public housing, especially at this time of year. That’s why we wanted to especially relax our regulations for visitor stays so that people can live with family until they can find a permanent situation.”

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