Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop Launch  Region-wide Community Health Needs Assessment

For the first time, Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are combining forces to conduct a comprehensive regional Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and design a Community Health Implementation Plan (CHIP). Major hospitals, along with health centers, human services providers and non-profits that serve area residents, are working with municipal leaders, health departments and the boards of health of each community to develop the plan. Residents of the three communities are being urged to go online and fill out a survey that asks about local health issues and other aspects of community life.

The effort is being co-coordinated by the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative and the Mass General Hospital Center for Community Health Improvement (CCHI) with the ultimate goal of identifying, prioritizing and addressing the most urgent health needs faced by each community and the region. Such assessments are often used to apply for targeted funding to help address community needs.

Every three years, most hospitals conduct a community health needs assessment to meet requirements set by the Affordable Care Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General also requires such a report and is encouraging regional collaboration among stakeholders, including among healthcare systems who share the same service areas. “This is one of the first regional assessments of its type in Massachusetts,” said Jeff Stone, Director of the North Suffolk Public Health Collaborative. “Mayor Arrigo, Chelsea City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Winthrop Town Manager Austin Faison realize that public health conditions don’t respect borders, and, working together we can solve some of our health challenges more effectively.”

“The North Suffolk Community Health Needs Assessment is critical for the City of Chelsea,” said City Manager Ambrosino. “Not only will it provide the information necessary for Chelsea to better understand our residents’ public health needs, but it will also enable us to properly prioritize resources to better address those needs. We encourage all of our residents to participate in upcoming surveys, forums and interviews.”

The collaborators have set an ambitious timeline. The CHNA and CHIP will be completed by Sept. 30, 2019, and will result in a guide for a three-year community health improvement plan that all providers can use. The process includes intensive data collection–hundreds of resident surveys, interviews and focus groups as well as collecting data from other agencies such as the MA Department of Public Health and the US Census.

A website has been created, www.northsuffolkassessment.org, to provide information to anyone who may be interested. People who live or work in Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop are encouraged to complete a survey. It is available in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic, reflecting the languages most frequently spoken in the communities.

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Chelsea Man Arrested after Leaving Two in Serious Condition

Chelsea Man Arrested after Leaving Two in Serious Condition

Police have arrested a 24-year-old Chelsea man in connection to a shooting and stabbing at 16 Pleasant St. early Saturday morning.

Hector Emilio Hernandez, was arrested on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm following the alleged attack, according to Jake Wark, spokesman for the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.

Revere police and emergency medical personnel responded to 16 Pleasant St. at about 1:45 a.m. Saturday to find a 27-year-old man from Chelsea apparently shot and a 23-year old man from Chelsea apparently stabbed. Both were hospitalized. State Police detectives were notified and the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit responded.

Hernandez is expected to be arraigned Monday in Chelsea District Court.

“The relationship between the parties involved remains under investigation, as do the circumstances surrounding the violent encounter,” Wark said in a statement.

Wark added that based on an investigation that continued through Saturday morning and into Saturday afternoon, troopers and officers developed information that the suspect may be in the area of Calumet Street in Revere.
Troopers and officers set up surveillance and observed a man matching the suspect’s description enter a residence on that street.

When police went to the house they observed the suspect exit a back door and try to climb a fence. He was caught and apprehended and transported to the State Police Barracks in Revere where he was booked on charges of attempted murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the Revere Police Criminal Investigation Division at 781-286-8340 or the Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit at 617-727-8817.

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Ambrosino: ‘Board Made a Mistake’ in Denying Traggorth Proposal

Ambrosino: ‘Board Made a Mistake’ in Denying Traggorth Proposal

City Manager Tom Ambrosino said the City would defend the Zoning Board of Appeals’ (ZBA) September decision to deny an affordable housing project on upper Broadway, but at the same time he said he personally believes the ZBA made a “huge mistake.”

The ZBA denied the 42 unit affordable- and market-rate residential development at 1001 Broadway in a narrow vote that was based on creating more homeownership opportunities in the City. The project included nine units of market-rate housing and enhanced access to the Mill Creek waterfront.

And Ambrosino said, personally, he feels like the Board should have vote for the project.

“Personally, I think the Board made a big mistake in denying that project,” he said. “Affordable housing is the single most critical issue facing the city and to reject an affordable housing project is ludicrous. It’s the single biggest issue I hear about every week in this office. Denying that project will not create one single unit of home ownership.”

Last week, developers Traggorth and The Neighborhood Developers (TND) indicated they would appeal the decision in Suffolk Superior Court, believing that the project had ample community support.

Ambrosino said the City would defend the decision to deny, as it does have to, but his personal opinion differs.

“The City will defend the decision of the Board of Appeals,” he said. “My personal opinion is I like the project and supported the project. I wish them well (in their appeal).”

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Suffolk Success Story:University Renames Residence Hall in Honor of Michael and Larry Smith

Suffolk Success Story:University Renames Residence Hall in Honor of Michael and Larry Smith

Suffolk University renamed its oldest and largest residence hall in honor of two of its most esteemed graduates,

Chelsea High School classmates and friends joined Larry Smith and Michael Smith at the dedication ceremony of the Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall at Suffolk University. Pictured at the ceremony are, from left, Jeanne Blumer, Larry Smith, Barbara Lawlor, Michael Smith, Arlene Taraskiewicz, Helen Dobbyn, and Joanne Chelotti.

Michael and Larry Smith, during a ceremony Friday at the hall located at 150 Tremont St. across from Boston Common.

Shawn A. Newton, associate dean of students, served as master of ceremonies for the program.

“I’m extremely happy to welcome you to 150 Tremont St. today, Suffolk’s oldest and largest residence which is about to have its name changed,” said Newton. “Today we’re honoring with our special guests, Michael and Larry Smith, who without your generosity and support – thank you for being role models and for being great leaders. We truly appreciate your support to Suffolk.”

Marisa Kelly, just hours before her inauguration as the new president of Suffolk University, noted the history of Suffolk’s first residence hall and praised the Smith brothers for their extraordinary history of philanthrophy to the University.

“It really is a great day at Suffolk University and I’m so excited to be a part of this incredible dedication,” said Kelly. “This is the residence hall that launched Suffolk on the new chapter of this educational journey when it opened as the university’s very first on-campus home for students in 1976.”

Recognizing the Smiths’ ongoing generosity to the University, Kelly told the assemblage, “Michael and Larry Smith are really doing so much to build community here, of course by all of their contributions, but specifically what they’re doing to build community as part of our residence life program.”

Kelly said Michael (Class of 1961) and Larry (Class of 1965) each earned business degrees at Suffolk “and they were armed to find great success in the insurance business. They have been incredibly generous to their alma mater. Larry Smith now serves as a member of the University’s board of trustees. We thank you, Michael and Larry, for your loyalty to Suffolk, your exemplary generosity and we’re just so grateful for your involvement here.”

After receiving a warm ovation from the many guests in attendance, the two brothers, who grew up in Chelsea, took the podium for the ceremonial unveiling of the rendering for the new Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall.

Michael spoke first, thanking the University “for this great honor. “I wish my mom and dad were here to see it.”

“I love this university,” he said. “It helped us grow. I want to thank everyone for showing up today. It’s just overwhelming. When I went to college in the early 1960s, we had one building. It was a great education, great professors and I’m so proud of Boston and Suffolk University. I wish everyone the best success.”

Larry, a basketball star at Suffolk and at Chelsea High School, echoed his brothers’ sentiments, stating, “we’re very, very proud of Suffolk University.”

Larry recalled his humble beginnings as a boy, working early mornings in Boston as a window and floor washer. He said he would then change in to his school clothes at Chelsea High. He became a scholar-athlete on the basketball team and earned a scholarship to Suffolk.

“The tuition at that time was $600 and Suffolk University and Charlie Law came and gave me a scholarship,” he said.

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Suffolk Students Henry, Nastri Speak at the Dedication Ceremony

Suffolk Students Henry, Nastri Speak at the Dedication Ceremony

Two Suffolk University seniors, Sean Henry and Andrea Nastri, were the student speakers at the dedication ceremony for the new Michael and Larry Smith Residence Hall.

Henry, an ice hockey player representing Suffolk’s student-athletes, noted the Smiths’ past gifts that led to the creation of the Michael S. Smith and Larry E. Smith Fitness Center on campus.

“When it comes to being a student-athlete at Suffolk, you join a family bigger than you can expect,” said Henry. “Larry and Michael Smith, you came to Suffolk University in the 1960s and I know Larry was a star on the basketball team, so you’ve known for a long time how great this family is. Your loyalty to Suffolk and your numerous generous donations have changed this program and I hope that one day I can show half the generosity that you’ve shown this University. This residence hall is a great tribute to the two of you. We can’t thank you enough for everything you have given us.”

Nastri, a third-year residence assistant at the hall, said as a freshman, she met two of her best college friends in the residence hall.

“I was delighted to live in the city and be at Suffolk University and with that positivity, I met a lot of friends who shared my enthusiasm,” said Nastri. “This is not just a building across the street from the historic Boston Common. This is not just a Suffolk University building to me. This is my home. This is where I’ve grown up. This is where I’ve grown up. This is where I’ve connected with others. This is my place.

“Smith Hall will be the name people remember years from now when they laugh about the memories they made here,” said Nastri. “Smith Hall will embrace students with open arms in to a safe and inclusive environment.”

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Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

Looking at the Election:After Months of Campaigning, Congressional and DA Races Move to the Voters Sept 4

In presidential campaigns, the swing state is always Ohio.

In this year’s Democratic Primary on Sept. 4, Chelsea is Ohio.

The battleground for so many races that will be decided on Tuesday, Sept. 4, has been in Chelsea this summer. Whether it’s the congressional race, the DA’s race, or even the Secretary of State – Chelsea has figured big in the plans of many candidates as they try to stake out their territories.

There have been numerous debates, several rallies, and endless discussions about the Primary Election – particularly on the Democratic side – but this coming Tuesday, Sept. 4, the talk ends and the voting begins.

Perhaps the most prominent and far-reaching race on the Democratic ballot is between the five district attorney candidates. For the first time in more than a decade, after the retirement of DA Dan Conley, the DA’s seat is open, and the entirety of Suffolk County will be choosing the winning candidate in the Primary.

Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe and Rachael Rollins are all newcomers to Suffolk County politics and have had to forge paths in areas outside their typical spheres of influence. Most have had management experience and some have worked in the prosecutor’s office. Carvalho is a sitting state representative from Dorchester.

He has received the endorsement of Chelsea State Rep. Dan Ryan.

However, Rollins – who made a good showing at a debate here earlier this summer – has made great gains in Chelsea, nabbing the support of many City Councillors here, including Councilor Leo Robinson (At-Large), Councilor Roy Avellaneda (At-Large), Councilor Joe Perlatonda (District 3), and Councilor Giovanni A. Recupero (District 6).

Rollins has also received support of the Ward 4 Democratic Committee here.

  • A race that has been liveliest in Chelsea is that of Congressman Michael Capuano against Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley – both of whom are running for Congress on the Democratic ticket.

Both have visited Chelsea with some frequency.

Earlier this summer, Pressley and Capuano both rolled out major visits in the span of two days to liven up the base in Chelsea.

Capuano boasts the support of elected officials like State Rep. Dan Ryan, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico and Councillor Robinson, but more than a few have been swayed by the arguments of Pressley, who has been polished and professional throughout the race.

This week, Pressley made a major score in landing the support of a dozen or more Chelsea elected officials and community leaders. Some include Council President Damali Vidot and Chelsea City Councillors Enio Lopez and Yamir Rodriguez. Also, Chelsea School Committee Chair Jeannette Velez, Vice-Chair Kelly Garcia, School Committeeman Julio Hernandez and School Committeewoman Lucia Henriquez. Former School Committee Members Robert Pereira, Melinda Vega and Diana Maldonado are also supporting Pressley.

Chelsea has been a key battleground, but it’s a big district that stretches all the way down through Boston and to Randolph on the South Shore. How that works out is anyone’s guess.

  • A less heralded race in Chelsea, but one that will be on the ballot and has been contentious, is the contest between Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim and long-time Secretary of State Bill Galvin.

Galvin has been a stalwart in the State House for many years, and has been very critical of Zakim.

Zakim has returned the favor.

A debate two weeks ago between the two had some very big fireworks shot off from both candidates.

Zakim has had some strong endorsements statewide, which has turned some heads, but Galvin also has the experience of years in the seat.

It will be one to watch Tuesday night.

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Five vie Suffolk County District Attorney

Five vie Suffolk County District Attorney

With Suffolk County District Attorney (DA) Dan Conley announcing earlier this year that he will not seek re-election after leading the office for more than 15 years, a crowded field has emerged to replace him.

Five candidates—Evandro Carvalho, Linda Champion, Greg Henning, Shannon McAuliffe, and Rachael Rollins—are facing-off for the Democratic nomination on Sept. 4. Greg Henning, who is viewed as right leaning, appears to be the favorite with the remaining candidates splitting the progressive vote. The Record recently contacted the five candidates to ask them their pitch for Chelsea voters.

Greg Henning

“I’m running for DA because I have a vision for a safe and vibrant Suffolk County for everyone. Your next DA needs to be ready on day one to stem the tide of gun violence, combat the opioid epidemic, and build trust between law enforcement and the community. As an assistant district attorney for 10 years, I worked to deliver justice to victims of shootings and other violent crimes. As a teacher and mentor, I worked with young people to steer them away from crime in the first place. I hope to continue serving this community as your next DA.”

Shannon McAuliffe

“I have always chosen the hard fight because it was the right fight. First, I never prosecuted one way like the other candidates and now claim, ‘Sorry, I’ll try being fairer now.’ Second, as a 12-year Suffolk County public defender and long-time Suffolk County resident, I have more experience in these very criminal courts than any opponent. Third, I led two sites at Roca, an innovative organization literally proven to reduce recidivism amongst Suffolk County’s court-involved young adults. Finally, I am the only candidate with a proven track record of fighting against injustice and doing different to get different results.”

Rachael Rollins

“The primary responsibility of the DA is to keep our communities safe. I will do that – but I will do it differently. My Administration will give voice to victims and survivors of crime.  We will work to solve the 1000+ unsolved homicides in Boston. We will seek to end wealth and race-based disparities by tackling the cash bail system. I understand that mental illness and substance abuse require treatment, not incarceration. I will work hand-in-hand with our diverse communities.  With 20+ years of legal and leadership experience, I can implement real progressive criminal justice reform. Get involved at rollins4da.com.”

Evandro Carvalho

“I’m running because it’s time for a DA from our community. It’s time for a DA with the leadership and training to transform the office and keep our communities safe. It’s time to elect a DA with a proven record of fighting for the people.

I’m a former Assistant District Attorney and current State Representative from Dorchester, where I live with my wife and daughter. I went to Madison Park High School. I led the fight for criminal justice reform on Beacon Hill and as the DA for Suffolk County, I’ll make the office more accountable, equitable, and transparent.”

Linda Champion

“This race is not about politics, it’s about the community. As someone who has lived in poverty, been homeless, experienced the trauma of domestic violence and substance abuse and endured gender and racial discrimination, I feel I can lead the district attorney’s office through the difficult challenges that are ahead of us. I will lead the DA’s office away from a scorecard mentality and toward reducing recidivism through community collaboration, with the overall goal of crime prevention.”

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Large Crowds Enjoy Live Racing, Food Trucks at Suffolk Downs

Large Crowds Enjoy Live Racing, Food Trucks at Suffolk Downs

More than 13,000 people came to Suffolk Downs this weekend to enjoy live thoroughbred racing and a food truck festival.

And what a show it was. There was a carnival-like atmosphere on two hot summer days at the popular East Boston racetrack.

Longtime horseracing fans stood trackside next to some some young families who were getting their first, up-close look at what was once one of the most popular sports in the United States. The Kentucky Derby, for example, is still often called “most exciting two minutes in all of sports.”

Chief of Operations Chip Tuttle, a giant in the industry of horse racing, was very pleased with the large turnout on both days. He said the food trucks are always a nice draw that gives people variety over the standard racetrack faire.

There had been some concern at mid-week that the weekend of racing might not materialize after the State Legislature failed to vote on the measure during the last day (July 31) of its legislative session. But the legislature met informally Thursday to reinstate the law and Gov. Charlie Baker signed it, thus allowing for simulcasting and live racing to resume.

“Thankfully it was taken care of quickly and we appreciate the work of the House leadership, and the Senate, and the governor to get it remedied in less than 48 years hours,” said Tuttle. “We thank Speaker DeLeo for his efforts especially.”

Tuttle said that Suffolk has a request before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to add another weekend of live racing on Sept. 15-16. “It’s on the Commission’s agenda for their meeting on Aug. 14,” said Tuttle. “We’d really like to run one more weekend. There’s certainly funding to do it in the Racehorse Development Fund and it helps the local horsemen, the Massachusetts breeders. They don’t have as many opportunities to run for purse money as they like and we’re doing our best to accommodate them.”

Tuttle said that Suffolk Downs will be open through the end of the year (2018) for simulcasting.

“And we’re already in discussions with both the horsemen and HYM [the real estate company that will be redeveloping the Suffolk property] about dates for the first half of 2019,” he added.

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Frustrated House Waited for Horse Racing/Simulcast Bill All Night

Frustrated House Waited for Horse Racing/Simulcast Bill All Night

Live horse racing and simulcasting took a topsy-turvy ride over a period of 48 hours last week, when the Sport of Kings became illegal in the Commonwealth for the first time in generations.

All of it came as a result of the State Legislature’s run up to the end of its two-year Legislative session on Tuesday and into Wednesday (July 31 and Aug. 1) night Ð and it was a frustrating end for Speaker Bob DeLeo, who said they waited all night for the Senate to send back an approved Racing Bill.

It was considered a non-controversial, annual renewal, but it was a wait that proved fruitless and frustrating for the Speaker.

When the bell sounded to end the session, racing hadn’t been done, and that technically made it illegal Ð something with dire consequences for Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Race Course, both of which had major racing events last week.

“We were waiting for it to come back from the Senate so we could vote on it,” DeLeo said this week. “It never made it back to the House for a final vote so that there would be no disruption in racingÉI have to say, it was very frustrating to be waiting all night for the legislation to come back and it never did. I know that things get lost. I appreciate that, but we’re talking about people’s livelihoods and people who rely on that paycheck. I thought it was important that got done and that’s why we moved so quickly to get it straightened out the next day on the governor’s desk to sign by mid-day.”

Indeed, by Thursday afternoon, racing had been restored, and DeLeo said that was because he and his team moved immediately all night long to make sure it passed.

It didn’t stop the talk, however, about why Senate President Karen Spilka hadn’t taken up a matter so important to Speaker DeLeo’s district in a session that ended with a bit of animosity between the two bodies Ð particularly on the failure to pass an education funding and health care bill by the end of session.

Some inside sources have said that it was retribution from Spilka to DeLeo for not passing certain things that were important to her Ð essentially, they said, making racing a pawn in a larger political spat.

DeLeo played that down, however, this week, saying only, “We were just awaiting the documents from the Senate.”

Spilka told the State House News Service last week that racing was simply one of many bills that failed to pass before the session’s end.

“Just like every single year, we don’t always get to everything,” she said to State House News.

Suffolk Downs COO Chip Tuttle said he was glad to see that the matter was quickly resolved, which meant that it didn’t disrupt Suffolk’s weekend of live racing Saturday and Sunday.

“We want to thank the House, Senate and Governor for addressing this today and we’re looking forward to two great days of racing this weekend,” he said late on Thursday.

But Suffolk, Plainridge and Raynham didn’t get there without sweating it out for a period of many hours when their product has suddenly become unauthorized.

On Wednesday morning, the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) put out a letter of direction to Suffolk Downs, Plainridge Park and Raynham Taunton Greyhound Park.

The letter said that the Commonwealth’s legislation for live racing and simulcasting had expired on July 31 at midnight and no action had been taken to renew or replace it.

“As of today, there is not statutory authorization for live horse racing or simulcasting in the Commonwealth,” read the letter. “Please be advised that until further notice from the Gaming Commission, simulcasting in all forms under any license at your facilities is suspended. Further, live racing at Suffolk Downs and Plainridge Park is also suspended until further notice.”

The MGC added the item as an emergency agenda item for its meeting on Aug. 2, in Springfield, but as they got to the matter, DeLeo had straightened everything out.

Getting it fixed was the main point of the matter, DeLeo said this week.

“Suffolk did have a very big live racing weekend coming up, but for meÉwe have a number of people who live and work in my district who quite frankly live paycheck to paycheck and can’t afford even one day without that paycheck,” he said. “That’s very important and that’s why the very next day we worked to get it passed on signed by the governor.”

The Racing/Simulcast legislation doesn’t sunset again until July 31, 2019.

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Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, Broadway House of Pizza Showing Support for Chelsea Walk

Dimitris Meletlidis, owner of Broadway House of Pizza, was skeptical about the Chelsea Walk Revitalization Project when he was first approached about the idea.  Now, he is one of the project’s biggest proponents.

Dimitris, came from Greece in 1981 and attended Northeastern University where he earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in electrical engineering.  He and his family purchased the Chelsea locale in 1987, just a few doors down from its present location.  When the existing building became available, he bought it and opened up the thriving business he has run for the last 30-plus years. He also owns Prattville Pizza as well as locations in Revere and West Roxbury.

Dimitris comes to Chelsea twice a day and often is here until midnight or later.  He knows practically everyone in the city, quickly chatting up teenagers, adults and the elderly alike.  With a twinkle in his eye and a quick laugh, he says, “I’ve known this guy since he was practically a baby, always coming in for pizza!”

It is no surprise Meletlidis feels a strong sense of ownership and connection to Chelsea and the Chelsea Walk. He checks out the progress of the transformation daily and has donated pizza for Artist Silvia Lopez Chavez and the multitude of volunteers she’s had on hand over the past week.

Previously unsure of the project, now just like the Chelsea Walk’s transformation, Meletlidis is changing his mind and thinking it might just be nice to have the mural extend to the back of his building too.

As a proud husband and father of two Ð a son studying at Amherst and a daughter studying law at Suffolk Ð Meletlidis exemplifies the theme behind Lopez Chavez’ mural “A City of Dreams.”

The mural takes inspiration from the diverse multi-cultural background of Chelsea people, a city which has welcomed immigrants from various countries for many years, working together to promote inclusivity, diversity and tolerance.

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