Lucia Robinson-Griggs, who graduated from Pope John XXIII High School as one of its greatest athletes of all time, is enjoying much success in the coaching ranks.
Lucia Robinson-Griggs, MIT women’s basketball associate head coach, proudly holds the team’s NEWMAC championship trophy at the conference tournament in Springfield in the company of her proud family, from left, cousin Maureen Lee, cousin, Nickolette Mauch, father, Leo Robinson, uncle, D. Bruce Mauch, aunt, Gail Mauch, and aunt, Arlene Robinson.
Robinson-Griggs just completed a tremendous
season as the associate head coach of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(MIT) women’s basketball team. The Lady Engineers captured the NEWMAC
Conference Championship for the second year in row.
MIT played St. Joseph’s of Maine in the
first round of the NCAA Division 3 Tournament and lost 68-61.
Lucia’s father, Councillor-at-Large Leo
Robinson, mother, REACH Executive Director Linda Alioto-Robinson, uncle,
Chelsea Clock Company Vice President D. Bruce Mauch, and aunts Gail Mauch and
Arlene Robinson traveled to Ithaca College to root on Lucia’s MIT contingent in
the NCAA first round game.
Robinson-Griggs, who began her basketball
career in the Chelsea Youth Basketball League before starring for the Pope John
Tigers, was promoted to associate head coach at MIT this season. She recorded
her 100th career win at MIT in November.
A rewarding experience
What is the experience like coaching at MIT,
one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the world?
“Coaching at MIT is incredibly rewarding and
inspiring,” said Robinson-Griggs. “The women on the team are able to balance
their heavy course work, research and internships and are still able to be “all
in” for basketball. They spend time being dedicated to watching film, working
out in the weight room and doing their best on the court.”
Robinson-Griggs said because of the
student-athletes’ rigorous academic requirements, the coaching staff has to be
well prepared for the daily practices and strategy sessions.
“As a coach, our players’ schedules really
force you to be prepared in order to maximize your time with the team,” said
Robinson-Griggs. “We only have a two-hour window for practices, so our plans
for skill development and planning for opponents needs to be all encompassing
and ready to go. Knowing after graduation, the players will go on to have their
pick of careers makes you feel a sense of pride and awe that they also chose to
play basketball as part of their collegiate experience.”
Robinson-Griggs was previously the head
coach of the Lesley University women’s basketball team, leading the Lady Lynx
to two conference championships.
From college player
to college coach
Robinson-Griggs played college basketball at
Bentley University, a perennial Division 2 powerhouse coached by Barbara
Stevens. She received her undergraduate degree from Bentley and holds a
Master’s degree in Mathematics from Lesley. She is a mathematics teacher at
Revere High School where she has also coached in the football program. She is a
former women’s professional football player for the Mass Militia.
Robinson-Griggs has worked at several summer
basketball camps, including one directed by Brown University head coach Sarah
Behn, the former BC and Foxboro High School standout.
Leo Robinson, who played basketball for
Chelsea High School and Burdett College, said he was proud of his daughter’s
many accomplishments in the sport of basketball. He credits her dedication and
mastery of the fundamentals of the game as key factors in her success as a
“Lucia is a sound coach who understands the
fundamentals,” said Leo. “She is a good strategist who watches a lot of game
Robinson-Griggs was the keynote speaker at
the city’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration in January. The 31-year-old
scholar-athlete, role model and coach delivered an inspiring address that
earned her a standing ovation from the audience.
Lucia and her
husband, Michael, live in Chelsea and have two children, Kaia, 4, and Kellan,
Former Chelsea High scholar-athlete Elliot
Katzman served as moderator for Salem State University’s Agganis Forum Monday
night at the university’s Recital Hall.
Katzman appeared at the forum with
entrepreneur and philanthropist Bill Cummings. Katzman interviewed Cummings
about his successful career as the founder of Cummings Properties, Inc., that
is responsible for buying, building, and managing over 10 million square feet
of commercial real estate in eastern Massachusetts.
Cummings and his wife, Joy, are the founders
of New Horizons not-for-profit assisted and independent living communities and
the Cummings Foundation that has distributed more than $200 million in
charities since 1986.
Asked about his splendid performance as
moderator that drew applause from the audience, Katzman said humbly, “It was an
honor to moderate the discussion with Bill Cummings. He is not only an
incredibly successful entrepreneur, but an amazing individual who is making a
big impact in the world.”
Katzman himself is also an incredible
success story. He is a Salem State alumnus, a Salem State trustee, and general
partner at Commonwealth Capital Ventures, a private venture capital firm based
in Woburn that invests in early and growth stage technology companies. Prior to
joining Commonwealth in 2007, Katzman was a general partner at Kodiak Venture
Partners from 2002 to 2006.
Elliot and his wife, Donna (Frangiamone)
Katzman, were classmates at Chelsea High. They reside in Marblehead.
For 65 years, the DiPietro family has been
offering general family dentistry to patients from Revere and around the area.
Keeping the business strong today are three siblings.
Dr. William DiPietro DMD, Dr. Christopher
DiPietro DMD (Tufts University School of Dental Medicine) and dental hygienist
Gina DiPietro share their workspace and their enthusiasm for dentistry every
Their father Dr. Joseph DiPietro, who lived
on Rumney Road, started the business in 1954 and built the office at 123 Revere
St. in the 1970s. He retired at the end of 1993 and passed away in 2016.
“It’s been two generations of personal care
and attention,” said Dr. Christopher DiPietro.
The practice uses an intra-oral camera so
patients can see the work going on, and all the dental work done in high
magnification, he added. They also use digital X-rays.
“We use the latest materials, metal free,”
Dr. Christopher DiPietro said.
Dr. Rebecca Paccone, DMD, is also a member
of the practice. Paccone is a graduate from University of Pittsburgh School of
Dental Medicine. The practice uses specialists for oral surgery. Most root
canals are done in the office, but in a pinch a specialist can also be called
Many of the employees have worked for
DiPietro for more than 10 years.
DiPietro Family Dental Care was awarded 2018
Best of the Best Award from Market Surveys of America.
“Our father had a lot of influence on us, we
wanted to be like him,” Dr. Christopher DiPietro, adding that when they came to
the office the biggest toy was the water spray.
As the siblings matured, they would assist
their father with dental procedures, handing him instruments and gauze as
All of this exposure to dentistry at a young
age has stayed with all three through adulthood.
“Being exposed at an early age, we picked up
on the dentistry,” said Dr. Christopher DiPietro. “That’s how we developed an
interest. Today they find they can be working at opposite ends of the building
and not see each other all day.”
“We get so busy with what we are doing,” he
said, but they’ve allowed each other to have space.
They can also brag that they have some of
their original patients from 1954.
“We have some who were single in 1954, who
are now great grandparents,” he said. “We have a lot of generations of the same
family. That’s pretty much how we have built our patient base.”
Dr. Fatima Maarouf is approaching the second
anniversary of her growing dental practice, Harborside Dental, 313 Main Street.
Two years ago Dr. Maarouf made a major
decision in her career to acquire the practice of long-time Winthrop dentist,
Dr. Richard Schwartz, who had served the community for four decades.
“Dr. Schwartz retired and I took over the
practice,” said Dr. Maarouf proudly.
One of the first orders of business was
selecting a name for her new practice. As a homage to the town’s status as a
seaside treasure, Dr. Maarouf chose, “Harborside.”
think of Winthrop as a beach town and I love the beach and being around
Winthrop, so we decided Harborside is a good, calming name,” she revealed.
Dr. Maarouf has made an investment in the
town and its future. She and her husband, Hugo Solis, who works as an attorney
for the BPDA and as a real estate agent for the Winthrop office of Coldwell
Banker, moved from East Boston to Winthrop a year ago. Harborside Dental is a
member of the Chamber of Commerce and she and her husband are members of the
Cottage Park Yacht Club.
Harborside’s dental assistant, Mirjeta
Gjinovici, and treatment coordinator, Lindsey Robinson, also call Winthrop
There have been some noticeable changes made
in the dental office in the past two years. Dr. Maarouf renovated the entire
office, installing new dental chairs, computers, software and other
Dr. Maarouf, 33, grew up in Lebanon where
she attended American University of Beirut and received her degree in Biology
in 2007. She graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of
Dentistry in Richmond in 2011. She moved to Boston in 2012 and completed her
residency program at Tufts University, performing adult special needs dental
care and hospital-based dental care.
“I ended up loving Boston and staying in the
area,” said Dr. Maarouf.
became an associate dentist at offices in the Boston area, but had dreamed of
having her own practice.
“I realized that eventually I wanted to be a
business owner,” said Dr. Maarouf. “When this practice came up, it was in a
really cute town and excellent location with ample parking and T accessibility,
so I felt it was a great opportunity. My husband and I really love it here. My
team also lives here. We’re all invested in the town.”
Dr. Maarouf performs dentistry for patients
of all ages, as early as age one to those in their senior years.
“We do a variety of fillings, crowns,
fluoride treatments (for children), cleanings, extensive veneer and bridgework,
implants, extractions, and teeth whitening,” said Dr. Maarouf. “We also work
closely with specialists for certain procedures such as extensive root canals
and implant placement.”
Dr. Maarouf recommends preventative care for
all patients and suggests regular checkups every six months.
She has begun a series of educational visits
to local pre-schools where she talks about the importance of dental care.
“Prevention is really important, especially when kids are young,” she said. “I
try to teach them that it’s fun to be at the dentist.”
Dr. Maarouf tries to accommodate her many
patients’ work and activity schedules with expanded office hours (8 a.m.- 7
p.m. on some days and is open one Saturday a month).
And she is also expanding her knowledge,
keeping abreast of the latest technological advances in the dentistry. “I do a
lot of continuing education courses and attend workshops and seminars
throughout the country.”
Dr. Maarouf said the decision to open her
own practice was a tough one, but she is pleased with the reception in Winthrop
and excited about her future here.
“There are challenges that you don’t
anticipate and you’re responsible for everything, good and bad, so there’s a
lot that is put on your shoulders – but when you’re trying to create something
that you love, it makes it all worth it at the end of the day,” Dr. Maarouf
Dr. Fardad Mobed and Dr. Lily Parsi
certainly have a lot in common.
Both are scholars, which goes without
saying. They hold degrees in engineering: Dr. Mobed, a Bachelor’s in Electrical
Engineering, Dr. Parsi, three advanced degrees in Civil, Water Resources, and
Computer System Engineering.
Both attended dental school in the Boston
area. Dr. Mobed completed his dental training at Boston University while Dr.
Parsi studied at the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine.
But perhaps, most significantly, they share
the same home address. Dr. Mobed and Dr.
Parsi are husband and wife, the parents of two children.
And they have been practicing dentistry
together at their state-of-the-art offices, Northgate Dental, located at 603
Broadway that has been in existence for 27 years. Dr. Mobed is an endodontist
specializing in root canal surgery. Dr. Parsi is a pedodontist specializing in
Dr. Mobed began his practice in 1992 at the
Northgate Shopping Center before moving to Broadway. Dr. Parsi joined the practice in 2008. They also have a
dental practice in Brookline.
Yes, they do work side by side in the Revere
office, though as Dr. Parsi states, “I treat the children. He treats mostly
Of course, everyone asks the question,
“What’s it like for a couple to work together?”
“It’s great – we really support each other
quite a bit,” said Dr. Parsi. “I feel it’s good to know that you can trust the
other person 100 percent.”
Dr. Samantha Bogle is the orthodontist at Northgate. Dr. Joey
Chang is the oral surgeon and the director of the pre-doctoral program at Tufts
School of Dental Medicine.
Do Dr. Mobed and Dr. Parsi talk about
dentistry at home during dinner?
“Unfortunately, a lot,” Dr. Parsi said,
“We go to dental conferences together but we
attend different lectures,” added Dr. Mobed.
The dentists have stayed on top of the major technological advances in their profession and their offices feature the latest state-of-the-art equipment.
“I think one of the biggest changes have
been in CT scans and microscopes, and everybody gets white fillings instead of
silver fillings,” said Dr. Mobed.
Dr. Parsi said preventive care should begin
early. “The primary goal in pediatric dentistry is to prevent cavities, so we
want to see children as early as 6 months old, but no later than the first year
of age,” said Dr. Parsi. “Because the objective is to teach the parents how to
take care of their children, ideally so the children will never have cavities,
rather than seeing them at the time when there are already cavities in the
Dr. Parsi said Northgate wants to be “a dental home for families, so patients know where to go when there are issues, but hopefully we can prevent these issues from happening.”
27 years in
Dr. Mobed has been a practicing dentist in
Revere for 27 years. He has treated two generations of families who have been
coming to Northgate Dental.
“I like the people,” said Dr. Mobed. “It’s a
good community and they’re appreciative of what you do for them.”
“I’ve had patients who I saw when they were
very little, and now they now see him,” said Dr. Parsi. “Depending on the
patient’s personality, anywhere between the ages 15-18, they’re ready to see
the adult dentist.”
She is proud to see her patients dedicating
themselves to dental care and prevention.
“I’m especially happy to see the children
whom I’ve seen six months old, because they end up being very healthy, and it
makes me sad when somebody whom I’ve never seen, comes in to the office and
they have major needs. I’m glad we’ve made such a strong connection to families
that we’ve known for a long time. It’s very satisfying.”
Dr. Parsi recommends that her patients have
regular dental check-ups every six months.
Interestingly Dr. Mobed came to the United
States from Iran 40 years ago with the goal of becoming a professional soccer
He accomplished that goal, earning a spot on
the Boston Teamen professional team that was based in Framingham.
One of his fondest soccer memories was
playing for an Iranian team that had an exhibition game in that country against
Brazil and Pele, arguably the greatest soccer player in history.
“In 1978, Brazil came to Iran for some
exhibition games when Pele was at the top of his game and was most famous at
that time,” recalled Dr. Mobed. “I was fast, but too skinny, otherwise I
wouldn’t be a dentist now.”
But fortunately for their many patients, Dr. Fardad Mobed and Dr. Lily
Parsi are dentists now and they look forward to continuing their successful
partnership at Northgate Dental for many years to come.
Chelsea’s Justin Turner is coming off of a league MVP season in Cross Country, and has been racking up wins for indoor track this winter as well. The senior captain said he loves chemistry, but hopes to working in computer programming. Here, he is shown running the two-mile at a meet last Weds., Jan 9, during a meet at Lynn Tech.
When Chelsea High track standout Justin Turner hits the last lap of a two-mile race, it isn’t so much the training or preparation, but the mental toughness to find energy that just isn’t there. He would know.
The senior captain has prevailed in most
every two-mile event already in the indoor track season, and he also made a
huge splash in the Commonwealth Athletic Conference (CAC) as the League MVP in
“I think the finish is more mental, probably
because you know you’re so close to the finish and you want to do anything you
can to get there and also hold off anyone who is exact same thing to try to
catch you…At the beginning, I try to hold off the adrenaline rush for the
start. It’s about getting a good pace and settling in and focusing. On the last
few laps, you pull out everything you have left in order to finish – and that’s
the mental part.”
Turner, 17, attended the Early Learning
Center, the Berkowitz Elementary, the Wright Middle School and Chelsea High. He
said he started being athletic at a young age, playing football and other youth
sports, and becoming the athlete in his family.
He began cross country and track his
freshman year, and has participated continuously all four years. Having been
mentored by star athlete Jose LeClerc, who graduated last year, Turner said he
stepped up to lead the team this year. Though he is a quiet leader, he said
that he believes other team members look up to him.
Turner said he enjoys distance running
because it’s a very controlled sport.
“It’s more about paying attention to what
I’m doing and not getting distracted by what’s around me,” he said.
“You have to motivate yourself and if you
don’t it’s hard to stay focused,” he added.
When it comes to the classroom, Turner has
never had a GPA below 3.5, and he said he enjoys chemistry the most. However,
he hopes to focus his attention on computer programming in the future.
He said his older sister is involved in
that, and he watched her over the summer programming video games, and he felt
that was something he really wanted to do.
He has applied to seven colleges so far, but
said he hopes to be able to go to Suffolk University so he can try to run track
and cross country there as well.
Beyond the classroom and the athletic
fields, one might have seen Turner in the front row of the concert band, where
he plays flute and piccolo.
He said his mom and dad, Russell and Erikka
Turner, have been a support system throughout his track career not only for
himself, but also the whole team.
“My mom and dad and family came to my first
meet and they always come when they can,” he said. “They support me throughout
my years and they support the rest of the team too. They don’t just support me,
but everyone on the team.”
Turner also has three siblings, Jyllian,
Teri and Kyle, and he said he has enjoyed growing up in Chelsea.
“There is a stereotype out there that Chelsea
isn’t the best place, but people in this community fight that stereotype and
they do everything they can to make it the best city it can be,” he said.
It’s been so long since Chelsea has sought
out a new superintendent that there isn’t even a current job description.
For so many years, Boston University (BU)
appointed a superintendent as it ran the public schools for decades, and when
current Supt. Mary Bourque came into the role, it was long-decided that she
would succeed former Supt. Tom Kingston – the last BU appointee.
Now, for the first time in 30 or 40 years,
the School Committee will be tasked with finding a new leader for the public
“This is all new to all of us,” said Chair
Rich Maronski. “It’s even new to the School Department. They don’t even have a
job description for superintendent. They have to create one now, which tells
you how long it’s been.”
Bourque said the Collins Center was most
recently used by the schools to hire Monica Lamboy, the business administrator
who took the place of Gerry McCue. She said it was also used to hire City
Manager Tom Ambrosino and former City Manager Jay Ash.
“The first couple of steps will go slowly,
but from the middle of February to May it will be intense,” she said. “I can’t
be involved in it then. I’ll be more of the logistics part. There is a lot of
community input, but it’s a School Committee decision. Chelsea hasn’t had a
search since before BU…One interesting point is we don’t have any internal
candidates. In Revere, Supt. Paul Dakin was succeeded by an internal candidate,
Dianne Kelly. None of our internal candidates feel they are ready to move up.
Because of that, it’s going to be an outside candidate.”
Maronski, Supt. Bourque and the rest of the
Committee met with the Collins Center last Thursday, Jan. 10, to go over the
timelines and parameters of the upcoming search.
“It’s all structured by the Collins Center,”
he said. “They are looking at the May 2 School Committee meeting for us to vote
on this. That would be the first Thursday in May. I believe they will want to
get it done by June because that’s a very busy month for us. I think the
Collins Center is pretty good. They had all the dates worked out and structured
for us. That helps.”
The notice of a job opening will go out on
Feb. 8, and focus groups of teachers, staff, parents and community groups will
form about the same time. They will be charged with coming up with a candidate
profile that will be used by a Screening Committee to review all of the
The Screening Committee will be selected by
the School Committee on March 7, and it will be made up of appointed members,
including City Manager Tom Ambrosino, parents and teachers.
They will conduct private interviews of
candidates in April, and they will forward a public list of finalists to the
Committee around April 4. Community forums and public interviews will take
place from April 22 to 25.
A contract is proposed to be signed by May
Bourque said she will remain on through
December 2019 so that she can mentor the new person and help transition them
into the “Chelsea way.” Since it will be an outside candidate, she said that
will be critical.
“Chelsea has a very strong reputation and coming
in with a solid transition plan with the exiting superintendent to help them is
something people will like,” she said. “At the same time, it is an urban district
and it is a complex district. Some people don’t like that, others do.”
Between taking her kids to gymnastics and riding
her bike from her Somerville home to the CHA Everett (formerly the Whidden),
Dr. Erika Fellinger somehow finds time to perform just about any kind of
surgery that might walk through the doors of the community hospital.
Her dedication and listening skills, many
say, are notable, and it is one of many reasons she was recently named a Boston
‘Top Doc’ in the latest issue of Boston Magazine. Once a year, the magazine
highlights several doctors and specialists who have gone above and beyond in
the medical profession. This year, Fellinger was recognized.
“It was a surprise, and it’s an honor,” she
said. “I think it speaks a lot for CHA. I love my colleagues. We have a mission
driven group of physicians and I consider myself one of them. I love my
patients and listening to their stories and knowing their families and the
staff here. I think if that’s what gets you ‘Top Doc,’ then there needs to be
more of it. That’s really what we need more of in medicine. We need people who
enjoy the stories and the people. I’ve been on the other end as a patient and I
know how it feels. Even if I can’t fix them, the listening I can do is
Fellinger didn’t come by way of Harvard or
Boston University, like many top doctors in the area, but rather by way of the
mountains and valleys of practicing community medicine in Vermont – with a few
years training in Africa as a member of the Peace Corps as well.
She said the key for her has been to focus
on the patients of Everett, Chelsea and Revere and really get to know them. As
a general surgeon mostly conducting minimally invasive surgery, she can be
doing everything from removing a gall bladder to repairing a knee to treating a
gunshot wound that cannot wait.
In the midst of those procedures, she said
she has always made an effort to visit with the patients – learning about them
whether they are five generations in Everett or they have just arrived from any
number of countries around the world.
“General surgery isn’t usually warm and
fuzzy, but I feel fortunate the training I had in Vermont featured role models
that listened to patients and their stories,” she said. “It helped to find out
what was wrong with them. Coming down here, I realize now that was a really
unique experience and I am fortunate.”
Fellinger, 50, was born in Washington, D.C.,
but said her “hippie” mom retreated to Maine when she was 11. As the oldest of
five children, she said there wasn’t a lot of money, but there was always a lot
of work to be done. She got a big break in landing a scholarship to Smith College.
After college, though, this non-traditional surgeon took another
non-traditional route on her way to the operating room.
“After college, I thought I wanted to go to
medical school, but wanted to get experience so I joined the Peace Corps,” she
said. “I ended up in Africa for four years. It was life changing. I still have
friends there, and with cell phones, it’s much easier to talk to them now.”
She returned to the United States and
enrolled in the University of Vermont Medical School (which is Maine’s in-state
medical school). She married a Vermonter, and was a resident for 10 years up
there, later completing a fellowship in minimally invasive surgery at Bay State
Medical Center in western Massachusetts.
Some 14 years ago, she got an offer to come
to the “big city,” being offered a position at the former Whidden and at
Cambridge Hospital. Going back and forth between the two facilities, however,
was challenging. Soon, she was able to decide between the two, and she chose
“I had a choice between Cambridge and
Whidden and I chose Whidden,” she said. “I loved it. It’s a great operating
staff. Everybody really cares and bends over backwards to help out. I also love
the patients. My practice has grown. I see many of my patients out in Everett
when I go to eat, and I’ve even seen patients while taking a steam at Dillon’s
Russian Steam Bath in Chelsea.”
The hospital has changed, she said, but only
for the better – as she noted everyone is now board certified and it’s much
more academic. She said she often describes herself to patients as a “butts and
guts surgeon” due to the fact that general surgery can entail both parts of the
More than anything, she said she enjoys
being a compassionate physician who could face just about any kind of care.
“It’s a community hospital,” she said. “I
love being able to take care of anything that comes through the door.”
married, and has three children between the ages of 13 and 8. They make their
home in Somerville.
The greatest legacy of Elaine Marie Richard was seated in the front rows
at the Our Lady of Grace Church.
The four loving and devoted sons, Ken, Jim, Jack, and Edward – these four
scholar-athletes, all graduates of Chelsea High School and the best
universities in the nation – led a beautiful tribute to their beautiful mother.
When it came time to encapsulate all that Mrs. Richard had meant to her
family and the great example she had set for her children and the family, it
was Jack Richard, who stepped to the lectern to deliver the eulogy.
A brilliant, personable man who excelled at Tufts University and Boston
College Law School, Jack rose to the occasion with words that showcased the
richness of his talents.
“Before I speak for my brothers, I should first speak for my mother,” he
began. “Many of you here today have been so good to her through the years, and
I know she would want me to begin by thanking you all and by telling you how
much she and we appreciate all your kindnesses to her big and small.”
Jack told the assemblage that the day truly was “a celebration of life, a
full life very well-lived and filled with great joys, but also marked by great
Jack said their mother grew up in a
big triple decker in Chelsea “in a house full of family and faith” where she
was doted on by her older sister, Marjorie, and brother, Edward.
Elaine Doherty Richard was an
excellent student herself and graduated at the top of her class at the St. Rose
“When Elaine Doherty, that cute little girl, grew to become a beautiful
young woman, she met the one and only love of her life,” said Jack. “Ken
Richard was talented, handsome, strong, and as we kids would say, ‘wicked
Elaine Doherty and Kenneth Richard married when she was 22. “The four of
us were always so proud of both of our parents,” said Jack.
The four boys were born five years apart. Mrs. Richard would prepare meals
for her four sons and her husband each day. She would send her sons off each
morning to Our Lady of Grace School. The boys did their homework at night at
the dining room table with the assistance of their mother.
“But day after day, every day, Elaine Richard did it all with grace and
with cheer,” said Jack. “All in all, our mom, against all the odds at that time
and place, she succeeded. She was proud to say she went 4-for-4 with her sons.”
But just as Elaine and Kenneth Richard “were about to enjoy all the
benefits of their work – with all four kids in college, they were finally about
to get some well-deserved time together for themselves, my young and healthy
dad passed away suddenly,” related Jack. “My mother’s sweet and happy world was
crushed. She was only 44 years old.”
Following the death of her husband, Elaine Richard “never quit on life and
she soldiered on, and day by day, year by year, she built a new life and she
taught us a lesson in grace and in perseverance, a truly good example.”
“If you know my brothers and me,” then you know Elaine Richard,” said
Jack. He praised his brothers, “Ken, who was thrust in to the role of the man
of the house when he was just a college kid, protective of us all and the most
solid dependable man there is; Jim, a deeply spiritual man whose faith and his
family are the very center of his life; and Ed, the best guy with the biggest
heart who would do anything for you, but also with the strongest will of anyone
I’ve ever known. We are what we are because of her.”
Jack Richard said this Christmas their mother gave the family “the most
important gift and lesson.”
“She taught us how to die,” said Jack. “For two weeks, we had all been
taking turns at her bedside, just as she had done with us so many times when we
were sick as children. We got to say how much we loved each other. We held her
hand and we told her how good she was. She spoke of how this family she had
built would live on, in us, in her 12 grandchildren, in her five
Elaine Doherty Richard died on Christmas day. She was 86 years old. She
will be missed.
There has been no shortage of discussion about what people think about public transportation service in Chelsea, but many of those conversations don’t always include the elderly, and that is one of the largest populations to use the service.
On Monday morning, GreenRoots staff and a graduate student from Boston University gathered to speak to seniors in a multi-lingual, confidential discussion about what needs to be improved.
“We wanted to have this conversation because so many seniors depend on public transportation,” said Sarah Levy of GreenRoots. “We want to know what is working and what is not working. We hope this will being a conversation on how to improve public transportation for you all. It’s not going to be us coming one time and going away.”
The group was lively and many seniors turned out for the meeting.
Some of the answers were unique to the older popular.
“The strollers are often a problem for us,” said one woman. “Seniors get on with canes or walkers and the baby strollers block the space. When the bus starts going, they can’t get to a seat because the strollers slow them down. They can fall down.”
Added one woman, “I would suggest that they have strollers get on in back. That gives more space for seniors in the front.”
Another request was to educate the young people and adults about getting up to provide a seat for an elderly person.
“I hope the T can have an educational campaign to better let young people know that they are supposed to get up and provide a seat for an elderly or handicapped person,” said one man.
By and large, though, the biggest complaint for seniors was the infrequent service and the inaccurate time schedule.
“If you don’t come at the right time, you have to wait another hour,” said one woman. “The 111 is usually ok, but the 116, 117 and 112 are always late and they are too crowded. Sometimes you can’t get on because it’s full and then you have to wait an hour for another bus.”
Added another woman, “Many people are left behind because the buses are so crowded. They are left standing there in the cold because there is no room for them.”
Other major concerns were:
There needs to be more places to get a Charlie Card in Chelsea.
The MBTA needs to schedule a time to come to Chelsea to do photos for Senior ID Passes.
There needs to be more regular 111 buses and fewer 111C buses.
The Chelsea loop bus to the Mystic Mall needs to be more predictable, and it needs to also go to the Parkway Plaza.