Supt. Mary Bourque called on faculty and staff from around the district at her annual breakfast on Monday, Aug. 28, to lead students, families and the district to social justice.
“We are a district committed to ongoing improvement on behalf of our students and as such we have four schools implementing Turnaround Plans this year and five schools implementing Accelerated Improvement Plans,” she said. “We believe we can do better for our students and these plans are a reflection of where we will work to do a better job in the coming year. This is social justice… Our profession of education is one of leadership and service—service to young people and service to the next generation. Our work is about building the future. Our profession of ‘urban’ education is one of social justice. We open the doors of opportunity for our students.”
Her comments come one year after unveiling a new five-year plan for the district at last year’s breakfast.
A good part of her speech detailed some of the goals that have been met.
One major accomplishment laid out last year was the ability to get computers in the hands of students and to use them to focus on the new trend of student-centered learning. This year, she said a major part of that goal of getting computers – or one-to-one technology – has been accomplished.
“We expanded our technology initiative and proudly boast that we now have one-to-one devices in grades 2-12,” said Bourque.
Other initiatives achieved and pointed out in the plan included:
We expanded our Caminos dual enrollment program at the ELC and will continue to expand annually.
We continue to build the internal and external pipelines and career ladders for future teachers and administrators with our partnerships with Lesley, Endicott, and Harvard Colleges to name a few.
At Chelsea High School (CHS) the district successfully initiated the biliteracy credential and 11 graduating seniors received the award upon graduation in June.
At CHS, Advance Placement scores show a 4 percent increase in qualifying scores of 3, 4, or 5 from 32 percent last year to 36 percent of AP tests administered this year.
Another major achievement she pointed out was the growth in the dual enrollment program with Bunker Hill Community College.
She said in 2017, CHS graduates earned 1,162 college credits equaling 385 courses during their years at CHS and while working on their high school diploma.
“That was a savings of over $200,000 on college tuition and fees and over $50,000 on books,” she said. “Does anyone doubt that we will be offering a pathway for students to complete their Associate’s Degree at the same time they are receiving their high school diploma from Chelsea High by June 30, 2021? Let us be the first high school in the State to offer this pathway.”
Going back to her theme of social justice, Bourque said the times are very uncertain, and with teachers and staff in the Chelsea Schools leading on a social justice mission, they are also leading in accordance with the district’s mission.
“Our foundational beliefs center around our mission statement: ‘We welcome and educate ALL students,’” she said. “This is social justice in action, to welcome and educate– inclusive of all– to seek equity in educational opportunities for career and college success for each and every student…
“As a school system, our goal remains to ensure all of our students graduate with the skills, confidence, and habits of mind they need to be successful in college, career, and life,” she continued. “We have no misplaced compassion for our students. We hold them to the same standards of excellence as all other students in our State of Massachusetts are held to. This is Chelsea Public Schools’ social justice.”
Senator Sal DiDomenico recently joined State Senators and Representatives from throughout the United States during the 2017 National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Summit held in Boston. Each year elected officials meet to share information and best practices at this conference held in different part of the country. This year’s summit was the largest in several years with over 6,000 legislators convening in our Capitol. Senator DiDomenico is a member of several NCSL committees, including Student Centered Learning, and he participated in several sessions on topics such as redistricting, education, intergovernmental affairs, media relations, and manufacturing. This summit was also attended by associations, foundations, and governmental agencies and DiDomenico met with many of these organizations including the Nellie Mae Foundation to speak about their work funding educational initiatives throughout New England. “It was great to join colleagues from throughout the country, and gather information that we can use in our own districts and throughout the Commonwealth,” said DiDomenico. “Having this summit in Boston also allowed us to showcase our collaborative approach to governing that has moved our state forward.”
Since 1975, NCSL has been the champion of state legislatures. They have helped states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems. They fought against unwarranted actions in Congress and saved states more than $1 billion. They strive to improve the quality and effectiveness of the state legislatures, promote policy innovation and communication, and ensure states have a strong cohesive voice.
State officials made their first presentation of the proposed Community Living Center at the Soldiers’ Home, a project that will replace the Quigley Hospital and require the removal of the iconic Soldiers’ Home water tower.
The $199 million project, some 66 percent of which could be federally funded, has the makings of improving the living conditions of those in the long-term care portion of the Home – taking them from open wards that are no longer permissible to private rooms with social areas arranged in “houses.” However, to date, and through a large part of the meeting Thursday night, Aug. 3, the overall project has been overshadowed by the potential loss of the water tower.
Some residents have voiced approval for the project, but want those building it to see if they can save the tower or come up with a similar iconic structure. Other residents have started a very popular online petition to ‘Save the Chelsea Water Tower,’ and it has caught on.
On Thursday night, many of the voices of the veterans, who have yet to be heard, resonated.
“I guarantee you a few years after it’s gone…we’ll barely remember it,” said Daniel Heagan. “You’ll say, ‘I know there was a water tower there, but I don’t even remember what color it is.’ Please accept this change. It’s for the best of the veterans. Please go along with it. This is a positive change for the men and women who represented you in combat. You won’t know it’s gone in a few years.”
Tom Miller, who has lived at the Home for 11 years and is a member of the Honor Guard, said the priority is now the veterans.
“The water tower provided some great memories,” he said. “Right now the priority is to build a new Quigley Hospital. That needs to be the focus. We can always have those memories. The Historical Society will have wonderful photographs. We can have a party when it comes down to celebrate what it meant. But it has to come down.”
However, many long-time Chelsea residents said they hoped there could be a compromise.
“When I come over the Tobin Bridge and have people in the car I point to the tower and tell people that is where I live,” said School Committeeman Rich Maronski. “You can see the tower from East Boston. That’s where I live. The residents really wish if you could preserve it or move it, that would be great. The veterans health care comes first, but we wonder if there is a chance to do something.”
Councillor Matt Frank said he loves the Soldiers’ Home and all that it represents. He said he believes its time to support the veterans to get the new home, but he also said he hopes there can be some accommodation for the tower.
“Sometimes emotions do matter and I think it’s for the best of the veterans community to be visible to everyone around like they are with the tower,” he said. “You see it every day. If you lose something that’s such a visual reminder, people would drive by without knowing what this place is…My biggest fear is the Solders’ Home could be lost in the shuffle. I think we need to take (resident) emotions into account.”
Some in the audience suggested replacing it with a “ginormous” flag that could be seen from downtown Boston, as the tower is.
Francisco Urena, secretary of Veterans Affairs, led the meeting and said that they are listening to the public and the residents. Both he and Supt. Cheryl Poppe said the status quo with open wards must be replaced, as they get marked deficient frequently and could lose crucial funding.
To weigh in, the state has established an e-mail to submit comments. It is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last fall, when Chelsea’s Edma Ortiz began to get increasingly concerned about the presidential election and what was at stake for immigrants and the Latino community, she finally found the time to get to Chelsea City Hall to register to vote in the election.
However, an irregular work schedule that required her to work odd hours during weekdays, and the death of her mother that took her to Puerto Rico for nearly a month in October, delayed her trip to City Hall.
Getting on a plane Oct. 19 to go back to Boston, she remembered thinking that she needed to go register for the election.
On Oct. 20, she went to the Chelsea Collaborative to get the details on how to fill out the documents.
However, she found out she was one day late – the cutoff for registrations was on Oct. 19, many weeks before the Nov. 6 election.
With that news, the life-long U.S. Citizen was disqualified to cast her vote in what was one of the most important elections in modern history.
That and many other similar stories led the Collaborative to file a lawsuit last year challenging the voter registration cutoff – and this week the Supreme Judicial Court ruled in their favor.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) ruled this week that the voter registration law in Massachusetts – which calls for a cutoff for voting registration several weeks before any election – infringes on the rights of voters and should be reconsidered.
The case was brought by the Chelsea Collaborative and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) against the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
“We are extremely happy with the outcome on this case,” said Gladys Vega of the Collaborative. “We strongly feel that this law has to change and we are not saying this should have anything to do with same-day voter registration. What it should have everything to do with is U.S. Citizens being able to have their vote.”
The ACLU said it was a victory for democracy in the state.
“This is a major victory for democracy in Massachusetts, as the court agreed that the arbitrary 20-day voter registration cutoff law is unconstitutional and disenfranchises thousands of potential voters throughout the Commonwealth every election,” said Carol Rose, executive director of the ACLU Massachusetts. “As the Trump administration is seeking to limit access to the ballot, Massachusetts should lead nationwide efforts to ensure that everyone has a right to vote. As champions for freedom, the ACLU of Massachusetts is committed to working together with other advocates and the Massachusetts Legislature to protect and expand access to the ballot.”
Vega said the cutoff limits force people to focus on the election in October and September – times when people aren’t paying as much attention.
However, she said when people really want to vote, they find that they no longer can do so.
“I’ve had people come down with the card to register well before the election and we had to turn them away,” she said. “It was too late. One man tore the card up in front of me and said, ‘Why do I even bother.’ That shouldn’t happen…We have to register voters at a time when no one cares about it rather that at a peak time when people start caring about voting and can no longer participate.”
She said one witness in their case before the SJC testified that more than 6,500 voters had been turned away after the cutoff.
She also said technology has come to a point where a cutoff so many days ahead of time is not needed.
“Enough was enough,” she said. “We felt that this was against the Constitutional right to vote. They don’t need the processing time and documentation time any more. Things are done so much quicker that shouldn’t be a problem now.”
The Court has instructed the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Bill Galvin, to craft a law that will be more accommodating.
It will then have to be passed by the State Legislature.
We wish to take this opportunity to congratulate our State Senator, Sal DiDomenico, for his recent appointment by Senate President Stan Rosenberg as the Senate Chair of the newly-created Italian Caucus of the Massachusetts legislature.
The establishment of the Italian Caucus comes at the urging of the Italian Consul General to Massachusetts, Nicola de Santis, who foresees the caucus as an instrument for fostering cultural and trade relations between Massachusetts and Italy.
In this era of increasing globalization, the Italian Caucus can serve an important purpose, especially in Massachusetts, where 14 percent of our residents confirm that they are of Italian heritage. Further, Massachusetts is one of the leading states for trade with Italy, and the Italian Caucus clearly can play a key role in enhancing economic development and opportunity among businesses here and in Italy.
For Senator DiDomenico, we are sure the appointment brings enormous personal satisfaction because of the pride he takes in his Italian-American heritage. Given Senator DiDomenico’s unique background and yearning to improve ties between Italy and America, his appointment by Senate President Stan Rosenberg as a chair of this committee is an outstanding one in every respect.
The push by Wynn Boston Harbor to include a 4 a.m. liquor license for casinos in the State Budget paid off Monday when Gov. Charlie Baker signed off on a Budget that included the special license in an “Outside Area” of the Budget.
Local officials responded with some concerns, including Chelsea/Charlestown State Rep. Dan Ryan – who said this should be the beginning of a discussion with the communities around the casino, and not a “final verdict.”
The 4 a.m. license in the Budget does not yet mean Wynn is free and clear to get the extended license – which goes beyond the normal 2 a.m. closing by two hours, but requires anyone drinking in those hours to be actively playing a casino game. The Budget item only allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) to grant such a casino license if it deems such a move appropriate.
Elaine Driscoll, spokesperson for the MGC, said they have reviewed the amended statute and would conduct a thorough public discussion if any licensee were to request the extension. To date, she said, none have.
“If a licensee makes a request to extend drinking hours pursuant to the amended statute, the Commission would expect to conduct an extended public discussion on the issue and hear from a full range of constituencies, but at this time no such request has been made,” she said.
That likely won’t be for long though, as Wynn Boston Harbor has made no bones about its desire to have the extended, but restricted, liquor license.
Earlier in the spring, Wynn said it needed the extended hours to be competitive in the marketplace on the East Coast – citing that competing casinos in New Jersey and Maryland had 24-hour liquor licenses. They said they were willing to compromise so as to have a 4 a.m. closing, with the extra hours being limited only to service on the casino floor and only to patrons actively involved in playing. It is two hours later than casinos in Connectia well.
“Wynn Boston Harbor will attract tourists from across the country and around the world who are expecting a late-night resort experience,” said Bob DeSalvio, president of Wynn Boston Harbor. “This legislation allows us to deliver an enjoyable stay for guests while maximizing job creation and tax revenue to the Commonwealth. It’s important to note that the extended two-hour service is limited only to patrons who are actively playing on the casino floor and will not apply to any other restaurants and lounges located in our resort, in the City of Everett or in any of our surrounding communities.”
State Rep. Dan Ryan said the inclusion in the State Budget should be an invitation for Wynn – if they apply for the extension from the MGC – to begin a discussion with the community.
“I have expressed concerns in the past as to extended alcohol service hours in general, and at gaming establishments in particular,” he said. “This section of the budget is a pro-active and necessary step for the further consideration of the extended hours discussion. This is the first step in a discussion not a final verdict.”
Ryan said he believes that, having worked in hospitality since high school, there needs to be a discussion about how to make sure the casino doesn’t become a spilling ground for everyone in Boston who wants to get a last drink.
“From a pure business point of view, my gut tells me, no world-class establishment wants to become a late night drop-in for those seeking an extended late last call,” he said. “With this in mind, should the MGC grant late night licenses, I see input from surrounding communities as vital to helping Wynn and other gaming establishments ensure that this does not happen.”
Theresa M. (Poto) Meads of Middleton, formerly of East Boston and Revere, passed unexpectedly on Tuesday, July 11 after being stricken at her home and taken to Beverly Hospital.
Born and raised in East Boston, she was a graduate of Fitton Catholic Central High School, Class of 1953. Theresa and her late husband, Stanley, lived in East Boston, then moved to Revere for more than 45 years before moving to Middleton about five years ago. Mrs. Meads was a stay-at-home mom, serving and spoiling her husband and two sons, daily. Her ability to spoil and indulge was not confined to her immediate family. Grandchildren, and most recently, her dear great granddaughter, Mia Rose have also been the recipients of her never ending love and attention. Theresa thoroughly enjoyed her family.
Among her epiphanies in life, five years ago, when she relocated to Middleton, she came upon St. Agnes Church in Middleton. This chapel-like parish became a tremendous source of comfort, peace and joy for her and for the rest of the family. Her late husband, Stanley J. Meads, who died on August 22, 2014, passed following a very long and agonizing period of declining health and without the nurturing and comfort that St. Agnes Parish and that community provided, the struggle would have been impossible. Her kindness and overwhelming generosity to St. Agnes is rather unique and inspiring.
She was the cherished mother of Gary J. Meads and his wife, Patricia of Revere and Mark M. Meads, the proprietor of Rapid Flow, Inc. and his wife, Roberta of Middleton; the devoted grandmother of Amanda M. Meads and Mark A. Meads, both of Middleton; dear sister to Philomena Betano and her late husband, Roy of East Boston, Eleanor T. Hitchings and her late husband, Kenneth of Revere. She is also lovingly survived by her sisters-in-law, Philomena “Philly” Meads of East Boston and Theresa Merino of Peabody. “GGT” also leaves her precious great-granddaughter, Mia Rose, many nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews and her dear friends, Rosemary “Buzzy “Russo” and her husband, Joseph, of Winchester. A special remembrance to Theresa’s late canine companion “Teddy.”
Funeral arrangements were by Vertuccio & Smith, Home for Funerals, Revere. Interment was private. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to The Restoration Fund at St. Agnes Church, 22 Boston St., Middleton, MA 01949-2199. For additional information, please visit: www.vertuccioandsmith.com.
Member of the Chelsea High School Football Hall of Fame
John W. Kursonis, a lifelong resident of Chelsea, died on July 11 at the Massachusetts General Hospital. He was 79 years old.
Born in Everett, he was a graduate of Chelsea High School. Class of 1956 and a member of the Chelsea High School Football Hall of Fame. He furthered his education in the liberal arts program at Dean Junior College in Franklin. For over 30 years, he worked for Cabot Stain on Marginal Street and also at their plant in Newburyport.
The devoted husband for 51 years of Frances L. Ciaramella, he was the beloved father of Kimberly Ursino and her companion, Jeffrey Mariano of Middleton; brother of the late Helen Kursonis and Theresa Korajczyk; cherished grandfather of Daniel and Dylan Ursino and is also lovingly survived by his nephews: Richard Korajczyk and his wife, Eileen of Woburn, John Korajczyk and his wife, Lori of Wilmington and by his great nephews, Andrew, Jeffrey and Timothy Korajczyk.
Family and friends are kindly invited to attend a memorial service in the Smith Funeral Home, 125 Washington Avenue, Chelsea, today, Thursday, July 20, from 5 to 7 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 6:45 p.m. Committal Services will be private.
To send a message of condolence to John’s family, please visit www.smithfuneralhomes.com.
Retired Roadway Express truck driver
Richard F. Jankowski of Revere, formerly of Chelsea, passed away on Tuesday evening, July 11 at the Cambridge Hospital after a long illness. He was 78 years old.
Born and raised in Chelsea, a son of the late Charles and Lillian (Schrimpf) Jankowski, he attended local schools and graduated from Chelsea High School. In the mid 1960’s, Richard settled in Michigan, worked as a professional truck driver with Roadway Express and was a member of the Teamsters Local 486 in Saginaw, MI. After a chronic back injury, in 1997, Richard took an early retirement from driving and moving heavy freight. He resettled in Revere 20 years ago and was a resident of the Jack Satter House in Revere for most of that time. He also began a new career as a shoe salesman, working for the next five years with Michelson’s Shoes in Lexington. He was a former member and past president of the Arlington Touchdown Club, enjoyed bowling and was a member of the Chelsea Night Owls League. He was also an avid Red Sox fan.
In addition to his parents, Richard was also preceded in death by his sister the late Lorraine Sian and his brothers, the late Ernest, Edward and Jerry Jankowski. He was the dear brother of Charles Jankowski and his wife, Joan of Wakefield, Mary Morelli and her husband, George of Danvers and Paul Jankowski and his fiancée, Susan Foley of Woburn, He is also survived by many nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were by the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.
Jennie L. Fulco, a lifelong Chelsea resident, died at home on Thursday, July 6, following a long illness. She was 89 years old.
Born and raised in East Boston, her family moved to Chelsea more than 70 years ago. Miss Fulco spent her entire career in the garment industry (Boston’s Garment District) as a seamstress.
She was the daughter of the late Calogero and Carmella (Lazzaro) Fulco; the devoted sister of Josephine Vitale and her late husband, Robert, Grace Navarro and her late husband, Pat “Nicky” and Michael “Mike” Fulco and his wife, Margaret, “Peggy,” all of Chelsea, and the late Domenica Medige, Lena and her late husband, Anthony “Tony” Stec, Charles Fulco and his late wife, Virginia, Salvatore Fulco and Frank Fulco. She is also lovingly survived by her sisters-in-law: Helen Fulco of Revere and Rosalie Fulco of Cailfornia. An extended family of cherished nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, who loved and respected her as their second mother also survive her.
Interment will be held privately. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to the Restoration Fund at Immaculate Conception Church, 22 Lowe St., Revere, MA 02151. For additional information, please visit www.vertuccioandsmith.com.
Boleslaw ‘Bill’ Czyzewski, Jr.
Retired Massachusetts State Police Sergeant
Boleslaw A. ‘Bill’ Czyzewski, Jr., of Waltham, formerly of Chelsea, a retired Massachusetts State Police Sergeant, passed away on July 11 at the Massachusetts General Hospital after a brief illness. He was 65 years old.
A son of the late Boleslaw A. and Loretta D. (Zaborski) Czyzewski, he was born and raised in Chelsea, attended local schools and graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in Boston.
He was the beloved husband of 43 years of Diane C. (Giancola) Czyzewski. Together they resided in Waltham for the past 40 years raising two daughters there. Bill continued his education at Boston State College, and received his masters degree in Criminal Justice from Anna Marie College. He was appointed to the Massachusetts State Police attached to Troop “E” for most of his tenure serving at the rank of sergeant. Ten years ago he retired from the State Police after 33 years of service.
Bill enjoyed playing golf and boating, and he was a Boston sports enthusiast, favoring the Patriots and Red Sox. He was also a longtime member of the Polish Falcons Nest 485 in Chelsea.
He is survived by his wife, and he was the devoted father of Mary Bonilla of Henniker, NH and Julie DiMatteo and her husband, David of Billerica; the cherished grandfather of Ryan and Brooke Bonilla and Domenic DiMatteo and dear brother of Lodzia Czupryna and her husband, Dan of Statesville NC. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews.
Funeral arrangements were by the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Following a funeral mass at St. Stanislaus Church, interment was at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett.
Perky the police dog enjoyed her visit to the Chelsea Public Library, as children ask questions about her job.
The Chelsea Public Library hosted Meet Chelsea Police Dogs, the first event of the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ summer reading program, on June 22. Perky, a 2 ½-year-old Black Labrador Retriever, and her handler, Officer Eddie Noftle, visited the library to teach families about their work in the Chelsea Police K-9 Unit.
“With the way things are today, we feel that explosive detection dogs are very important,” said Officer Noftle. “She is so accurate.”
Perky is a single-purpose dog, trained in detecting the odors of 42 explosives, such as shell casings, guns, and bombs. When she locates a threat, Perky will passively sit as close to the explosive as possible while remaining at a safe distance, and is then rewarded with food.
“She has crawled under a little Toyota Corolla, and crawled under a dashboard to get to the source of the explosive,” described Officer Noftle.
Perky has had 16 weeks of training with the Massachusetts State Police and the Connecticut State Police, and has worked with Officer Noftle for more than a year. Most recently, the partners patrolled Sail Boston, and will be protecting the Esplanade during the Fourth of July celebration.
“She has no handler protection trained into her, so she’ll probably lick everyone. She’s very friendly,” said Noftle to listeners. “She started as a seeing eye dog. I believe her food drive is what kept her out of that program, but for a police dog, a high food drive is perfect.”
After a day of work, Perky will return home with Officer Noftle, and roll into a ball beside him.
“I am very excited about the theme, which is build a better world,” said Martha Boksenbaum, Children’s Librarian. “It ties into STEM, but also has a social justice aspect of treating each other nicely, and building a world we want to live in. I think it’s going to be really fun.”
During the 2017 ‘Build a Better World’ program, children are encouraged to add blocks to the LEGO structure in the children’s section of the library as a literal interpretation of building a better world together as a community. The library will be offering special events throughout the summer, including animal shows, reading in the park, and a LEGO club.
“I am most excited about the very last program, a Solar Eclipse Viewing Party,” said Boksenbaum, about the Mon., Aug. 21 gathering at 2:30 p.m. on City Hall lawn. “We received a grant from NASA and the American Library Association to celebrate the total eclipse. You can see the eclipse from the entire United States of America.”
The full Summer Reading Program series of events includes:
Thurs, July 6 at 11 a.m.- Wingmasters: Bird Show
•Thurs, July 6 at 1 p.m. Chelsea Lego Club
•Thurs, July 13 at 11 a.m.- Malik the Magic Guy
•Fri, July 14 at 12:30 p.m. – Mariana Iranzi bilingual Spanish & English Sing-A-Long
•Thurs, July 20 at 11 a.m.- Toe Jam Puppet Band
•Thurs, July 27 at 11 a.m.- Sciencetellers
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 11 a.m.- Animal Adventures
•Thurs, Aug 3 at 1 p.m.- Chelsea Lego Club
•Fri, Aug 4 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
•Tues, Aug 8 at noon – Field Trip to the Boston Public Library. Registration Required.
•Thurs, Aug 10 at 11 a.m.- Pumpernickel Puppets
•Fri, Aug 11 at 1 p.m.- Movie: To be announced
Fri, Aug 18 at 1 p.m. – Movie: To be announced
•Mon, Aug 21 at 3 p.m.- Solar Eclipse Viewing Party on City Hall Lawn.
A man who falsely claimed to be a basketball player for Texas A&M University has been charged with an armed robbery of the Rosev Dairy on Monday, a violent robbery where more than $40,000 in cash was stolen from two men heading to the bank with the day’s proceeds.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m. on Monday, Chelsea Police responded to an armed robbery outside Rosev Dairy on Griffin Way, during which a suspect brandishing a firearm robbed two employees of that business who were leaving the premises with cash proceeds.
The suspect forcibly took two bags containing in excess of $40,000, entered a nearby parked vehicle occupied by a female driver and a male passenger. The suspect vehicle, a white Volkswagen Jetta, fled down Eastern Avenue, and one of the victims followed it in his own car. The Jetta continued onto Clinton Street to the dead end portion of Lisa Lane. At that point, the suspect who committed the armed robbery fired at least two shots at the victim’s car that was following him. At that point, the victim backed up, fled the area, and called 911.
The 911 call was received at the State Police Barracks in Revere, and a Be On the Lookout Alert (BOLO) was put out for the suspect vehicle. State Police Sergeant Edward Troy heard the broadcast alert and went to Mahoney Circle in Revere, where he monitored traffic looking for the Jetta. A short time later, Sgt. Troy saw the suspect vehicle coming through the rotary. As the suspect vehicle turned onto Shirley Avenue in Revere, Sgt. Troy pulled behind it and activated his marked cruiser’s lights and siren in an attempt to conduct a motor vehicle stop. The Jetta did not stop and turned right onto Walnut Avenue, where it pulled to the right and stopped next to a playground. At that time, a male passenger got out of the Jetta; Sgt. Troy got out of his cruiser and ordered the passenger back into the Jetta. Instead of complying, the passenger leaned back into the Jetta and began to retrieve something while continuing to glance back at the sergeant and ignoring his orders to cease.
Even when Sgt. Troy then drew his service pistol and ordered the suspect to the ground, the suspect ignored his orders, grabbed a large bag from the Jetta, and ran toward Shirley Avenue. Sgt. Troy ran after him and advised the Revere Barracks that he was in a foot pursuit with a possibly armed suspect. The running suspect took a left turn onto Sumner Street, and tried unsuccessfully to open the passenger door of a parked van. When he couldn’t get into the van he kept running up Sumner to a pickup truck, where he stopped, ducked down, put the bag down, and was trying to remove something from inside his sweatpants while looking directly at Sgt. Troy, who was running toward him. The sergeant again drew his pistol, pointed it at the suspect, and ordered him to show his hands and get on the ground. With his free hand, the sergeant also drew his Taser electronic control weapon and continued to order the suspect to surrender.
Instead, the suspect again grabbed the bag and began running again. He crossed Sumner Street onto Walnut Place with Sgt. Troy again in foot pursuit, continuing to yell commands at him to surrender. On the sidewalk of Walnut Place, Sgt. Troy deployed his Taser again and struck the suspect with the weapon’s probes. The suspect was momentarily immobilized and fell to the ground, but after a few seconds tried to get up and flee again. The sergeant reactivated the Taser. After a few seconds, the suspect again regained mobility and tried to pull the probes out. The suspect began violently resisting Sgt. Troy’s attempts to wrestle him to the ground. After fighting the violent and aggressive suspect for several more moments, Sgt. Troy was able to put back onto the ground on Walnut Place. He held the suspect down while two other troopers reached the scene and took the suspect into custody, as he continued to resist the entire time.
Sgt. Troy recovered from the suspect’s sweatpants pocket a Springfield Armory .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol with a laser sight. The gun was loaded with one round in the chamber and two more in the magazine. The suspect was given his Miranda Rights and he identified himself as Xavier P. Harbert, adding that he had never been arrested in his life. Troopers recovered the bag the suspect had fled with and determined it to be a large women’s handbag containing multiple stacks of US currency inside plastic deposit bags.
Meanwhile, Troopers returned to the site where the Jetta had been stopped and found the car gone. It was located a short distance on Walnut Avenue. More plastic bank deposit bags containing US currency were inside the vehicle. The armed robbery victims positively identified the suspect as the man who had robbed and shot at them.
All evidence pertaining to the armed robbery was turned over to Chelsea Police.
The suspect was brought to the State Police Barracks in Revere to be booked.
He had in his possession a driver’s license identifying him as Xavier Paul Harbert, and he said he was a basketball player at Texas A&M University. However, after Troopers took his fingerprints and submitted them to a national fingerprint database, Troopers learned that the suspects true identity is Joshua Kountze Andrews, 31, with a lengthy criminal history and an open warrant out of Middlesex County for firearm and drug offenses. The shirt that Andrews was wearing was turned over to the State Police Crime Scene Services Section for processing for evidence related to gunshot residue.
Further investigation by Troopers revealed that a man named Xavier Paul Harbert, the false identity that Andews used, holds a driver’s license in Texas. Troopers formed the opinion that Andrews falsely procured a Massachusetts drivers license using the stolen identity of that person.
State Police charged Andrews with Armed Robbery; Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon; Assault and Battery on a Police Officer; Carrying a Firearm Without a License; Carrying a Firearm With Ammunition; Resisting Arrest; Giving a False Name to Police; and Identity Fraud.
He was also arrested on the outstanding Middlesex County warrant.
Investigation into the armed robbery incident and Andrews’ accomplices is ongoing.
The Chelsea City Council voted 10-0 to approve the City Budget for fiscal year 2018 during its meeting on Monday night, approving an increase in the budget to $163.39 million.
The Council also approved a Water Enterprise Fund of $7.7 million and a Sewer Enterprise Fund of $11.74 million – all of which is funded by the ratepayers and the tax levy.
The budget is slightly out of balance, with an expenditure of $674,154 in Free Cash necessary to balance the books – less than has been used in year’s past despite an aggressive spending plan put forth by City Manager Tom Ambrosino.
“This budget re-affirms our commitment to provide good services to the resident of Chelsea,” he said.
Some of the budget priorities include the downtown initiative, the downtown coordinator position, social service contracts, two new firefighters, youth programming, summer jobs for youth and additional positions and administrative support at City Hall.
However, the main expenditure comes to the Chelsea Public Schools, which was hit over the head with a funding hammer by the state in that the funding formula statewide has changed and to the detriment of Chelsea and other urban schools that have poor students who aren’t on welfare programs. The old funding system allowed for students in the district to self-report being low income. However, the new system requires students to be on an official welfare program to qualify as low income – unlocking additional funds for the schools.
This year, the City gave $4 million to help make up the gap created by this discrepancy in the state funding formula. Last year, the City gave $2 million for the same cause.
In a previous budget hearing, Ambrosino said it cannot continue forever.
“I want the school administration to hear this clearly, this cannot be sustained,” he said. “We cannot continue to make these expenditures to fill these funding gaps out of the City Budget.”
That will likely be a hot topic of debate next year as Budget season rolls around if the state has once again not taken action to fix the funding problem.