Well Done:CHS Track Star Stephanie Simons Makes Good Showing at Nationals

Well Done:CHS Track Star Stephanie Simons Makes Good Showing at Nationals

Chelsea High track star Stephanie Simons became the first female athlete to participate in the National High School championship meet last weekend in North Carolina, doing the city proud as she took 15th in the high jump and 27th

CHS Sophomore track star Stephanie Simon in a promotional photo from the New Balance High School National Championships last weekend at North Carolina A&T University.Simon was the first female athlete in CHS history to go to the nationals, and she competed in two events. She placed 15th out of 54 in the high jump.

in the triple jump.

Simon, only a sophomore, has starred for the track team over the past year, along with her sister, Martine, who is a senior. Stephanie distanced herself from the pack in qualifying earlier this year to compete at the New Balance High School National Championships last weekend at North Carolina A&T University.

In the high jump, the talented sophomore finished 15th out of 54 competitors from all over the United States.

Meanwhile, in the triple jump, she placed 27th out of 44 competitors.

“The sky is the future for this talented student athlete – who is just a sophomore,” said Coach Mark Martineau. “She is already looking forward to next year and even better performances.”

Simon has already set several school records and placed high at the Division 1 State Meet earlier this year.

She is also a very talented hurdler as well.

Read More

City Manager says New Residency Ordinance Unenforceable Until 2021

City Manager says New Residency Ordinance Unenforceable Until 2021

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said he would gladly enforce the new Police and Fire residency ordinance confirmed last week at Council, but not until at least 2021.

“It has to be negotiated through collective bargaining,” he said. “The firefighters are under contract until 2021, and the police are now at the state Joint Labor Management Commission. It probably won’t be able to be negotiated with either unit until 2021. We have no plans to enforce it until there is a new contract because the law is clear this is a change in the contract subject to collective bargaining.”

The Council voted for the matter last month, and staved off a challenge to that vote last week, led by Councilor Giovanni Recupero. Recupero has tried for seven years to get the residency plan in place for new police and fire hires. The plan now in effect would require all new hires as of July 31 to live in the city for five years after hire.

The matter, however, cannot be enforced until the City Manager re-negotiates the contracts with the police and fire, meaning that all member would get raises in exchange for that change in working conditions.

Ambrosino said the unions could decide not to agree to the matter, which would also make it unenforceable if it is outside any contract.

“An ordinance cannot supersede a mandatory collective bargaining matter,” he said. “It is unenforceable until it shows up in a collective bargaining agreement.”

Read More

DiDomenico Delivers for Chelsea in FY19 Budget

DiDomenico Delivers for Chelsea in FY19 Budget

Sen. Sal DiDomenico and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate recently passed a $41.49 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019, including targeted investments to create opportunities and ensure access to the tools that individuals, children and families need to succeed in the economy and in their communities. This budget invests in key areas related to education, local aid, health and human services, housing, and tools for low income families.

“After careful deliberation, the Senate has passed a thoughtful budget that both reflects the shared priorities of our chamber and addresses the pressing needs of our communities,” said Sen. DiDomenico, Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “This budget includes key investments in many of my top priority items that will have a positive and direct impact on Chelsea, and I am happy to report that all of my amendments providing additional resources for our community were adopted to the final Senate budget. I would like to thank Senate Ways & Means Chairwoman Karen Spilka and Senate President Harriette Chandler for all of their great work to craft a budget that will undoubtedly help to move our entire Commonwealth forward.”

The budget invests significantly in education for people of all ages and backgrounds and focuses particularly on elementary and secondary education, including $4.91B for the Chapter 70 education formula, its highest level ever. This funding allows for a minimum aid increase of $30 per pupil for every school district across the state and 100% effort reduction to bring all school districts to their target local contribution. Under the Senate budget, Chelsea would receive $77.4M in Chapter 70 funds- $4.3M more than they received in state funding last fiscal year.

Additionally, this budget takes much needed steps to offset the cost to some school districts-like Chelsea and Everett- of educating economically disadvantaged students and allows these districts to more accurately count their students. In recent years, many Gateway City school districts have faced dire budget gaps due to a 2015 change in the way the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) calculates low-income or “economically disadvantaged” students. This count plays a key role in the Chapter 70 formula that determines the amount of funding school districts receive from the state.

As a result of this change, only students who are registered for social welfare programs like SNAP and Medicaid are categorized as economically disadvantaged, missing thousands of additional low-income students who are not accessing social services. However, under the Senate budget, communities will be allowed to choose their preferred method of counting economically disadvantaged students, thereby ensuring that Chelsea is able to count all of their students.

“I am thrilled that this change has been included in the FY19 Senate budget,” said DiDomenico. “This is a solution that I have long been advocating for, and I am confident this will have a major impact on the amount of Chapter 70 funding schools in my district will receive and will go a long way towards remedying the fiscal challenges that our local schools have been facing.”

As Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate, Sen. DiDomenico was able to secure a number of amendments providing additional funding for his local communities. In total, the Senator secured an additional $100K for the Chelsea community:

  • $25,000 CONNECT, a financial opportunity center in the city of Chelsea
  • $75,000 for a youth social worker in the Chelsea Public Schools

This budget also invests in programs and advances policies to encourage self-sufficiency and economic mobility for low income families, providing them with the tools to secure their essential needs and develop skills to join the workforce. Policy changes include:

  • Sen. DiDomenico’s bill to eliminate the family cap- a failed and outdated policy that denies Department of Transitional Assistance benefits to children conceived while the family was receiving assistance.
  • An increase in the child clothing allowance to $350 per child- a $50 perchild increase over FY18- to help families secure their basic needs
  • An increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) state match to 30% of the federal credit

Other top priority items for Sen. DiDomenico that were included in the Fiscal Year 2019 Senate Budget and will benefit Chelsea residents are:

  • $3.8 million for the state’s pediatric palliative care network to ensure there is no wait list for these critical services so children and their families have the extra care and support that they need;
  • $319.3 million to fully fund the Special Education Circuit Breaker;
  • $100 million to reimburse school districts for costs incurred when students leave to attend charter schools;
  • $8.7 million for Childcare Resource and Referral Centers to boost salaries and decrease caseloads for caseworkers helping parents, childcare providers, employers and community groups navigate the state’s early education landscape;
  • $4 million for Youth-At-Risk Matching grants, including support for YWCAs, YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs;
  • $33.4 million for adult basic education services to improve access to skills and tools necessary to join the workforce;
  • $10.3 million for summer jobs and work-readiness training for at-risk youth;
  • $16 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council to support local arts, culture and creative economy initiatives;
  • $16.2 million for local Councils on Aging to strengthen programs and services in senior centers in communities across the state;
  • $142.9 million for a range of substance abuse treatment, intervention and recovery support services, including funding to open five new recovery centers; and
  • $18.5 million for Residential Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT), including $3 million to expand eligibility to include persons with disabilities, seniors, unaccompanied youth and individuals.

A Conference Committee will now work out the differences between the Senate budget and the version passed by the House of Representatives in April. Fiscal Year 2019 begins on July 1.

Read More

Driver Convicted of All Charges in Fatal 2016 Collision

Driver Convicted of All Charges in Fatal 2016 Collision

A Suffolk Superior Court jury Wednesday, May 30, convicted a drunk driver of killing 25-year-old Marco Salguero-Cruz in Chelsea and speeding away from the scene after a night of drinking at a Chelsea bar.

Jurors convicted Jose Daniel Arevalo, 35, of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence and leaving the scene of a collision causing death. He will be sentenced Thursday morning.

“Two years ago, the defendant made a choice that cost Marco Salguero-Cruz his life,” DA Dan Conley said. “Suffolk prosecutors, Chelsea detectives, and State troopers worked for untold hours on this case, first to identify the suspect, then to apprehend him, and finally to hold him accountable.  He fled the scene. He fled the country. But he could not flee from justice in a Suffolk County courtroom.”

Assistant District Attorney Michael V. Glennon proved at trial that Salguero-Cruz was struck by a silver Toyota Camry that left the scene on the night of June 4, 2016, in the area of Washington Street in Chelsea.  He died of his injuries at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Chelsea Police detectives and State troopers assigned to Conley’s office recovered images from cameras in the area that captured the vehicle’s path of travel as it exited the parking lot of a Washington Street bar at a high rate of speed, and later as it fled from the area of the crash.  Images captured prior to the crash depict the vehicle with two functioning headlights; footage captured immediately after the crash shows the vehicle with only one headlight working.

With the assistance of Conley’s Forensic Multimedia Lab and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Digital Evidence Lab, previously-deleted footage from a private security camera was recovered and enhanced.

Conley’s office, Chelsea Police, and State Police released images depicting the driver to the media and the public, and a person familiar with Arevalo contacted investigators after recognizing him.  Investigators were also able to independently identify Arevalo through witness statements, social media, and Registry of Motor Vehicles records, prosecutors said.

Additional footage depicted Arevalo inside the Washington Street bar consuming four beers and six shots in approximately 2.5 hours leading up to the fatal crash, prosecutors said.

Arevalo allegedly fled to El Salvador two days after the crash but later returned to the United States and was taken into custody in Texas by Texas Rangers acting on a Massachusetts warrant obtained by Chelsea and State police.

Read More

Troopers Arrest Suspect with Loaded Gun, Trafficking Weight Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine

Troopers Arrest Suspect with Loaded Gun, Trafficking Weight Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine

Late Tuesday afternoon, two members of the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit, working with an FBI agent, arrested a Boston man in Chelsea who was carrying an illegally owned firearm and trafficking weight amounts of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. on May 29, the Troopers and Agent were on patrol on Chelsea Street in East Boston when they observed a silver Volkswagen Passat driven by Bryan Cortez, 31, of Dorchester. One of the Troopers knew that Cortez did not have a valid driver’s license; the Troopers also recognized Cortez as the suspect who had dragged one of the Troopers with his car during a 2015 motor vehicle stop.

The Troopers and Agent followed the Passat onto Eastern Avenue in Chelsea, at which time they stopped it for the license violation. As they walked up to the suspect vehicle, it accelerated away at a high rate of speed. The Troopers and Agent followed in the direction in which the Passat had fled and soon located it at the top of Chester Avenue, a one-way street it had traveled up in the wrong direction.

As the cruiser approached the Passat, Cortez jumped out from the driver’s door and ran into a backyard. The Troopers and Agent searched for him on foot and in their cruiser, and eventually located him coming out of a backyard on Highland Street wearing a black backpack. A Trooper ordered him to stop, but Cortez ran away again. After a short foot pursuit and repeated commands for Cortez to stop running, he was cornered by the Trooper on the porch of a home on Highland Street. Cortez resisted arrest but was subdued.

A subsequent investigation revealed the contents of Cortez’s backpack to be a loaded Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact 9mm pistol; several bags containing a white powder consistent with fentanyl; a bag containing 43 Suboxone strips; several plastic bags containing a hard white substance consistent with crack cocaine; a brown Gucci bag containing several small plastic baggies filled with a tan substance consistent with heroin; three unidentified pills; and plastic baggies containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

The backpack also contained Cortez’s birth certificate, Social Security card, an RMV identification card, and an April 2018 mailing from the RMV notifying him of his license suspension. More than $1,240 in cash were also recovered from the backpack and Cortez’s person and seized as possible profits of narcotics trafficking.

Cortez acknowledged that he does not have a license to carry a firearm. Troopers transported him to the State Police Barracks in Revere, where he was booked on the following charges:

Unlawful possession of a firearm;

Unlawful carrying of a firearm, third offense;

Unlawful carrying of a loaded firearm;

Armed Career Criminal;

Possession of a firearm in commission of a felony;

Trafficking heroin;

Trafficking fentanyl;

Trafficking cocaine;

Resisting arrest;

Failure to stop for police;

Operating a motor vehicle with a revoked license;

Negligent operation of a motor vehicle; and

Speeding.

Read More

Changing Lives:New Pilot Program a Hit Right Off the Bat with CHS Students

Changing Lives:New Pilot Program a Hit Right Off the Bat with CHS Students

In the big scheme of $100 million-plus budgets, $150,000 is pretty small potatoes, but that small allotment approved by the City Council went a long way to instantly changing the trajectory of dozens of Chelsea High (CHS) students last Thursday, May 10, when they learned that the City would pay for them to finish their Associate’s Degree after graduation.

CHS Principal Priti Johari made the announcement to 94 seniors that qualified for the new pilot program approved by the Council about one month ago. At first, there was an air of disbelief.

But after about 20 minutes, there were smiles and a lot of tears from students gathered there – many of whom had given up on going to college.

Guidairys Castro said she had been accepted to UMass Dartmouth, Roger Williams and two other colleges. However, even with financial aid, it was still out of her reach, and even though she gathered more than 12 college credits at Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) through the dual enrollment program over the past two years, she said she wasn’t even going to be able to pay for finishing that Associate’s program.

“I would say this is life-changing,” she said. “It definitely changes everything for me. I wasn’t thinking about getting to go to college. This is a very good opportunity for me. I didn’t think I would have the money I needed to finish and then go on to a university. I applied to so many colleges and got accepted, but when the financial aid numbers came back, I realized it wasn’t going to happen for me. Today, that all changed.”

On Thursday, Castro sat down with the other 93 seniors who qualified, most not knowing what the big announcement was going to be. Johari said students had to complete 12 credits, and if they agree to stay in Chelsea and go to BHCC, they can finish their Associate’s Degree on the City’s dime as part of the program.

“This is a special group and a really exciting announcement,” she told them. “The City of Chelsea is investing in you. That is exciting…They want you to go to college and graduate, then come back to Chelsea. We want higher education to be more affordable. I know a lot of you have big dreams and can’t go to college because of money. City Manager Tom Ambrosino and the Council wanted to take money away as an obstacle.”

Ambrosino was heartened to hear of the scene after the announcement, and said it made him believe that the program is worthy and should be continued next year.

“I’m thrilled because this is exactly why we did that program and how we wanted it to work,” he said. “We wanted it to change people’s lives.”

Others in the room were relieved because they were going to have to pay out of pocket to finish at Bunker Hill.

Barbara Mendez and Emily Romero said they were going to have to take a year off to work full-time, perhaps more than one job, to be able to pay for going back to Bunker Hill next year.

With the announcement, that all changed.

“We were going to work for a year, but now there is no point in doing that,” said Mendez.

Both were interested in nursing, and early childhood care. The plan was to finish the Associate’s and transfer to a university – which is the popular route nowadays for students wishing to save significant money on college.

“Most of us in this room are the first to even consider college in our families,” said Romero. “It’s a big achievement for our family. They are going to be so happy to hear this. I feel this is really going to help me because I was going to have to pay out of pocket, and I didn’t know if I would have the money. It’s a great opportunity.”

For David Cruz, the scholarship is going to speed up his career path, as he wants to finish up at Bunker Hill and transfer to Bridgewater State. There, he wants to study aviation so he can be an airline pilot.

“It’s what I’ve always wanted to do as long as I can remember,” he said with a smile.

The applications for the new program were due on Monday, May 14, and many of the 94 eligible students were expected to apply.

Read More

The Big Deal:DiDomenico Shepherds Big School Funding Fix Through Senate Budget

The Big Deal:DiDomenico Shepherds Big School Funding Fix Through Senate Budget

If the world of education funding has been a massive break over the past three years, then Sen. Sal DiDomenico is the technician who showed up just in time this year with the parts to fix it.

DiDomenico reported this week that the Senate Budget proposal – which has now moved to the House and needs agreement there – contains a once-and-for-all fix to the education funding formula that has wreaked havoc on communities like Chelsea for the past three years.

“This is a big deal,” he said on Tuesday. “This is the fix that is going to solve all our problems that we’ve been dealing with over the last several years with school funding…This was the simple fix we’ve been hoping to get for a long time and there was hesitation to do it. I want to thank Senator Karen Spilka for doing this change. It’s a big deal for Everett and Chelsea and 14 other communities in the state. It’s a major policy shift and a major win for our communities.”

The fix in the budget is quite simple in that it restores the method of counting low-income – now known as economically disadvantaged – students through the use of free and reduced lunch applications. Three years ago, the federal government and the state government adopted a new way of counting such students using federal benefits as an indicator. However, many low-income and immigrant families do not qualify for federal benefits, and thus are not counted despite being impoverished.

That leaves the local communities on the hook, and it has been daunting. All the while, the state has been hesitant to restore the old counting method using free and reduced lunch forms. The first step to change that has now passed the Senate and could become law if the House and Gov. Charlie Baker also adopt it.

The matter is an outside section that passed in the Senate Budget last week.

DiDomenico said he has begun reaching out to allies in the house, including State Reps. Joe McGonagle (D-Everett), Dan Ryan (who represents Chelsea) and State Rep. RoseLee Vincent (who represents Revere and Chelsea) – as well as Speaker Bob DeLeo.

DiDomenico said he believes that the governor will be open to looking at the change if it makes it past the House and to his desk.

“I believe at the end of the day he’ll be receptive to it,” he said.

If approved, the change would begin in Fiscal Year 2020 – which would mean funding would roll in locally in September 2019. School Districts would begin counting in the new fashion, however, this fall – with a deadline of Oct. 1, 2018. That would secure the new funding allocation – which is the old funding method – by the 2019-2020 school term.

“We wouldn’t have to worry about how our students are being counted ever again,” he said. “I can’t underestimate how important this is. This is everything for the School Department right now…I want to thank all of the administrators and teachers for the hard work they’ve been doing while they’ve gotten less than their fair share of funding.”

DiDomenico said it is a major priority for the Senate, and he believed that would help get it into the final budget later this spring.

MORE GOOD NEWS IN EDUCATION FINANCE

Last week, Senator Sal DiDomenico and his Senate colleagues unanimously voted to pass a monumental education reform bill to update the state’s 25-year-old funding formula.

The bill was highly-touted by superintendents such as Chelsea’s Mary Bourque, and was sponsored by Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, with DiDomenico as a co-sponsor.

Established by the 1993 Education Reform Act, the Foundation Budget formula was designed to ensure every Massachusetts student was provided a quality education. However, in the 25 years since, little has been done to update the formula, hampering districts’ efforts to provide every student with the quality education they deserve.

“Today, too many of our students are receiving their education in schools that face crushing fiscal challenges,” said DiDomenico. “Our teachers and administrators do everything they can to provide their students with the best possible education, to lift them up, and put them on a path to success.  Yet that job has become increasingly difficult, as year after year, schools have been forced to make difficult cuts as a result of state funding that fails to keep up with their needs. I am very proud to support this bill that will help to ensure that all of our students, regardless of their zip code, have access to the high quality education that they deserve.”

In 2015, a bipartisan commission was convened with the purpose of reviewing the Foundation Budget and making recommendation for potential changes to the formula. Consequently, the Foundation Budget Review Commission (FBRC) found that health care and special education costs have far surpassed assumptions built into the original education formula. It also found that the original formula drastically understated the resources necessary to close achievement gaps for low-income and English Language Learner students.

“While Senate Bill 2506 represents a seven-year fix to the Foundation Budget for school districts across our State it also represents far more,” said Supt. Mary Bourque. “Senate Bill 2506 more importantly represents who we are as a Commonwealth and what we stand for and what we value. The passage of this bill says that children and their education, children and the opportunities we can provide, children and their future are important to us; we prioritize our children and their education. Senate Bill 2506 is about defining and supporting the future of our Commonwealth; but most of all, passage of Senate Bill 2506 is simply the right thing to do!”

In all, the bipartisan commission estimated that Massachusetts is currently undervaluing the cost of education by $1-2 billion every year. This has forced deep cuts to classrooms and critical programs, and resulted in one of the worst achievement gaps in the nation. In recent years, schools in the Commonwealth’s Gateway Cities have been especially hit with crushing budget shortfalls, with two of the Senator’s communities— Everett and Chelsea— being some of the school districts that have been most severely impacted.

The bill would implement the recommendations of the FBRC and begin updating the Chapter 70 education formula to more accurately and equitably distribute state resources to the Commonwealth schools.

The vote follows months of advocacy by education stakeholders across Massachusetts. More than 50 school committees across the state have passed resolutions supporting the reforms, and Brockton Public Schools announced earlier this year that they are preparing to sue the Commonwealth for failing in its constitutional obligation to properly fulfill funding.

Read More

Police Briefs 04-19-2018

Police Briefs 04-19-2018

DRUG BUST

On April 10, at 8:19 a.m., a well-being check was executed at 93 Parker St. Upon arrival at the address three individuals were observed fleeing the residence. After further investigation, all three were placed into custody for narcotics charges.

Derik Hidalgo-Sanjuan, 19, of 192 Shurtleff St.; David Hurtado, 27, of 725 Broadway; and Pedro Colon, 29, of Revere; were all charged with possession of a Class B drug and conspiracy.

KNOW WHERE I CAN GET SOME CRACK?

On April 14 at 2:47 a.m., two male parties were observed chasing each other in front of the Fine Mart, located at 260 Broadway. The victim stated that he encountered the suspect near 52 Hawthorne St. when the victim asked the suspect if he knew where he could purchase crack cocaine.  The victim then pulled out $251, at which point the suspect grabbed the money and fled the area. The victim chased him down, and police locked the suspect up.

Johel Mims, 18, of Malden, was charged with unarmed robbery and assault and battery.

STABBED FATHER IN NEW YORK

On April 14, at 1:24 a.m., information was received from New York State Police that suspect had stabbed his father, who was sent to the hospital and required

emergency surgery. New York State Police had information that the suspect was fleeing the State of New York and heading to his mother’s residence in Chelsea. The subject was located at 9 Guam Rd. and placed into custody for being a fugitive from justice out of New York State.

Yunis Aden, 24, of Cleveland, was charged as a fugitive from justice.

A LONG, LONG DISAGREEMENT

On April 9, at 12:34 a.m., officers responded to the New England Produce Co. Bay # 1 (Travis Fruit Company) on the report of a past assault with the victim on scene. Officers learned that the two drivers who occupied the truck had an ongoing argument that started in Virginia and escalated during their travel to Chelsea.

It all came to a head on the dock at the Produce Center when one driver attacked the other by kicking him while he was on the ground. He was placed under arrest on scene.

Andrew Ramirez, 30, of Santa Fe Springs, CA, was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon (shod foot).

CRASH ON CHESTER

On April 14, at 11:15 p.m., officers responded to 138 Chester Ave. for a report of a car crashing into several parked vehicles. Dispatch reported that the driver was attempting to leave the scene. Officers observed a white Mercedes in the middle of the roadway with significant damage to the front end and the suspect standing just outside the driver’s door. Several neighbors were out on the sidewalk who were pointing to the suspect and stating that he was the driver. Based on observations the operator was placed under arrest.

Renato Garcia, 29, of 149 Congress Ave., was charged with operating under the influence of liquor, reckless operation, speeding, stop sign violation and failing to wear a seat belt.

Read More

Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

Council Passes Unique Pilot for Students, Not Everyone on Board

The Chelsea City Council passed a unique pilot program by a vote of 8-2 on Monday night that would allow qualifying students at Chelsea High an opportunity to finish their Associate’s Degree after high school on the City’s dime.

The program is a partnership with Bunker Hill Community College (BHCC) and was championed by City Manager Tom Ambrosino this year in his State of the City. It is seen by him and the School Department as a logical extension of the dual enrollment program at the high school that allows students there to take college level courses at BHCC.

The problem with the program in Chelsea, Ambrosino and others said, is that many students after graduation don’t have the financial resources to continue on and finish the Associate’s Degree they have been working towards.

The pilot program would use $150,000 in the first year, and would be open to students who have completed 12 credits while still in high school within the dual enrollment program. They also must remain Chelsea residents while receiving the benefit.

If a student applies for and gets a Pell Grant, BHCC will provide a subsidy as well and will waive tuition for the student as part of their end of the bargain.

“I had concerns at first, but I did some digging and it’s a good program,” said Councillor Leo Robinson. “I will be supporting this.”

“Many of the students in dual enrollment can’t complete their degree by the time they graduate high school, and they just don’t have the resources to complete it afterward,” said Council President Damali Vidot. “I think now is a great time to invest in our young people.”

But not everyone was on board, and some who voted for it had concerns as well.

Councillor Luis Tejada ended up voting for the matter, but said he was challenged by it.

“My challenge is with the money going to just Bunker Hill,” he said. “What I have a bigger problem with is you take care of your household first before you take care of your extended family. If you take care of everyone else before your household, you will tank…We have a $3 million deficit in our school system and Free Cash should be devoted to that first…If there is excess cash, maybe it should be devoted to the public schools.”

The chief detractor, however, was Councillor Bob Bishop, chair of the Finance Committee. Bishop said it’s a good program, but shouldn’t be funded by the taxpayers.

“To me, it’s a big problem because we’re using taxpayer money on something we’re not required to spend it on,” he said.

“This $150,000 is a pilot program and next year it could possibly be a lot more money,” he said. “I don’t understand how we can get involved in the business of paying for college for a select few…I suspect this is a misuse of taxpayer dollars. This is $150,000, but it will be $500,000.”

Councillor Giovanni Recupero agreed with Bishop, saying it should be funded by private money and not taxpayer dollars.

Councillor Roy Avellaneda said it was about investing in the future of students in the modern era.

“The school education system we have is outdated,” he said. “Everyone knows you need more than a 12th grade education in this economy. You need advanced courses beyond high school. As a City, we have to prepare them. It only makes sense to prepare them for today. Unlike 30 or 40 years ago, a college education is required for that.”

Councillors Judith Garcia was absent for the vote, but had vocally supported the matter in previous meetings.

  • On a related note, the Council voted 10-0 without much discussion to approve a $50,000 program to help City Hall employees pay for courses to advance their education. That program was also proposed by Ambrosino and championed by the Council.

Read More

Chelsea Police, Cops for Kids with Cancer Assist Local Family

Chelsea Police, Cops for Kids with Cancer Assist Local Family

Cops For Kids With Cancer collaborated with the Chelsea Police Department collaborated to present a donation to a local family during a ceremony at the station.CHEL_20180405_A1

Through a translation by Chelsea Police Officer Sammy Mojica, Sandra Ingles said her family was “very grateful” to the Chelsea Police and the Cops For Kids With Cancer charity for their assistance during this tough time.

Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes praised Cops For Kids With Cancer as “a great charity and an awesome program.”

“They go to police departments throughout New England and assist families with children afflicted by this illness,” said Kyes. “They help out these families during difficult times. We thank this organization very much for coming to Chelsea today.”

Captain Mike Drummy of the Massachusetts State Police said families are referred to the charitable organization by local police departments and social workers. The organization has donated more than $3 million to families.

Read More