By John Lynds
In an Op-Ed that appeared in State News on Monday, Dec. 18, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren called House Republicans onto the carpet for halting federal funding to the nation’s Community Health Centers like East Boston Neighborhood Health Center (EBNHC) while working on cutting taxes for the ‘wealthy”.
“I love community health centers,” Warren wrote. “They do wonderful work and enjoy widespread support. But I’m worried because Republican leaders in Congress have held these centers hostage by halting federal funding while they focus on passing tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s past time to step up the fight for community health centers in my state of Massachusetts and across the country.”
Warren argued that community health centers, like EBNHC, are a big part of what’s working well in health care today — more coverage at lower cost.
“They are on the front lines of the opioid epidemic,” she wrote. “They provide preventive services and chronic disease management. They are taking the stigma out of mental health treatment. And they save money by promoting disease prevention, providing care coordination, and reducing the use of hospital emergency rooms.”
On Sept. 30, Warren said Congress blew past a major funding deadline for community health centers — a reauthorization of the Community Health Center Fund.
“This program provides more than 70 percent of all federal funding for health centers,” she wrote. “Reauthorizing this program should be a no-brainer, and many of my Republican colleagues agree with that. But Republican leadership has been so focused on stripping health care coverage from many of the people who walk through the doors of community health centers that they ran right past this deadline — and they’ve just kept on running.”
Community health centers across the country are feeling the impact.
“They are holding back on hiring new staff or deferring opportunities to make vital improvements to their programs. If they don’t get this funding soon, they’ll have to make even tougher decisions, like laying off staff members, cutting services, or reducing hours,” she wrote. “In East Boston, which is geographically isolated from the rest of the city, the community health center operates an emergency room that is open around the clock.People who work in community health centers know that health care is a basic human right. The dedicated doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals at these sites take incredible care of families from every background. And they’re always looking for ways they can better serve their patients and their community. But community health centers can’t do this much-needed work if the federal government doesn’t keep its promises.”
Warren said tax cuts for billionaires shouldn’t come ahead of making sure that children, pregnant women, people in need of addiction treatment, veterans, and other vulnerable populations have access to health care.
“I’ll keep fighting for community health centers and for all of these health care programs that have improved the lives of people in my state and every other state,” she wrote. “I believe everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care. Community health centers excel at providing that care — and they deserve our support.”
EBNHC recently hosted Sen. Warren were she saw first hand the important work that the Health Center and its staff does on a daily basis.
“We were obviously so pleased to host Senator Warren on her visit tour to the Health Center and we are glad she is fighting hard for Community Health Centers like ours across the country,” said Snyder.
James Joseph Warren ll
James Joseph Warren II of Chelsea passed away suddenly in his home on August 13
at the age of 48.
James attended Chelsea public schools in his youth and had a love for baseball and every sport.
He was the beloved son of James and Karen Warren of Chelsea and is survived by his brother, Jerimy Warren of Chelsea, sister, Janeen Deleon and her husband, Osiris and nieces and nephews, Tayla and Jeremy Warren and Kamryn and Kollin Deleon of Peabody.
All services were held privately.
Retired seamstress and hand stitcher, nurturer and caregiver
Francisca Rivera of Chelsea died peacefully Sunday morning with her family by her side at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston following a brief illness. She was 89 years old.
The devoted wife of Eusebio Rivera, she was born in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, the daughter of the late Gregorio and Adelina (Cortes Arce) Cortes Roman. She has lived in Chelsea for many years.
Francisca was employed for many companies, but was mainly a seamstress and hand stitcher her whole life before she retired many years ago. She was a care giver who helped nurture and raise many children of the neighborhood and was an inspiration to all who knew her and loved her including her many children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great great grandchildren, and of course the neighborhood children.
In addition to her loving husband, she is survived eight children: Eida Feliciano of Littleton, Domingo and Sigfredo Feliciano, both of Chelsea, Nelson Feliciano of Beverly, Jennifer Morales of Peabody, Steve
Rivera of Tewksbury, Jacqueline Forstrom of Clinton and Randall Rivera of Florida; 21 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, six great great grandchildren and several nieces and nephews. She was predeceased by two brothers and four sisters.
Her Funeral Service will be held on Saturday August 26 at 3 p.m. at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witness, 40 Hy-Sil Ave, Revere, to which relatives and friends are kindly welcome to attend.
Arrangements were by the Conway, Cahill-Brodeur Funeral Home, 82 Lynn St., Peabody. Visit www.ccbfuneral.com to sign on-line obituary.
Revere native, resident of Chelsea and Florida
Alice L. (Upton) Williams died at the residence of her daughter, Sandra, where she has made her home for the past two years. She was 91 years old.
Alice was born and raised in Revere and graduated from Revere High School in 1943. She married and raised her family in Revere for more than 40 years. They moved to Chelsea where they remained for about 10 years and where she and her late husband were very active in the Mill Hill Naturalization Club of Chelsea until 1996 when her beloved husband, Wilfred H. “Bill” Williams, Jr. passed unexpectedly on October 11, 1996.
In 1998, she moved to Florida with her daughter, Donna E. Williams and remained there until moving back to New England when Donna passed in 2015.
She was the devoted mother of Sandra E. “Sandy” Johnson and her husband, John E. of Melvin Village, NH, JoAnn A. Williams of Brattleboro, Vermont and the late Donna E. Williams; the dear sister of Lawrence Upton of Hallandale, Florida and the late: Robert F., John, William, Thomas and Edward Upton, Dorothy Cuningham and Marilyn Perry. She was the cherished grandmother to: Jennifer J. Bennett and her husband, Sean of Concord, NH, Jason J. Johnson and his wife, Courtney of Birmingham, Alabama, Matthew Flake of Everett, Jon W. Johnson and his wife, Jill of Avon, CT., Anna Quinn and her husband, John of Brattleboro, VT, Joshua W. Johnson and his wife, Meghan of Wolfboro, NH and Kelsey Carew of Queens, NY. She is also lovingly survived by 11 great grandchildren and many nieces, nephews, great nieces and great nephews.
Funeral arrangements were by the Vertuccio & Smith Home for Funerals, Inc. of Revere. Interment was in Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to your favorite Hospice Organization, in memory of Alice L. Williams. For additional information, please visit www.vertuccioandsmith.com.
Alexandra Judith Milroy’
Private funeral services were held last week for Alexandra J. Milroy who passed away unexpectedly at 28 years of age on Friday evening, August 11.
She was thebeloved daughter of Paula A. Matrinko and Bryce Milroy. “Alex” spent her early years in Quincy, moved to Malden as a young girl and has resided in Chelsea for the past five years. She attended elementary school in Malden and the Northeast Regional Vocational School in Wakefield. She graduated Metro-Tech in 2007 with a certificate in cosmetology and continued her education at the David Nicholas Institute.
She worked as a make-up specialist for Sephora and was recently employed at Tweed Barber Shop in downtown Boston. She enjoyed being a Make-Up Artist, time with friends and listening to music. She will always be remembered as being a great friend, her overwhelming personality and her loving but sometimes sarcastic wit. She willforever be the beloved daughter of Paula A. Matrinko of Chelsea and Bryce A. Milroyand his wife, Laureen of Brockton; loving sister of Dominic M. Milroy of Chelsea, Jason and Matthew Ignacio of Dartmouth and Meghan Rego and her fiancé, Kevin Pineirho of New Bedford. She was the dearly loved grandniece of Jenny Markevich and the cherished niece of Michael and Cheryl Matrinko, Nicolas Matrinko. She was the adored godmother to Aubrey Matrinko; cherished granddaughter of the late Paul and Nella (Markevich) Matrinko, Bryce and Ann “Chickie” Milroy and loving aunt to Hannah and Leah Ignacio, Marissa Pineirho and Joseph Ignacio. She is also survived by many loving cousins.
Should friends desire, contributions in Alexandra’s memory may be made to St. JudeChildren’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105. For online guest book or to send expressions of sympathy, please visit www.WelshFuneralHome.com
Lorenzo Roderico Sanchez
Longtime fleet auto/truck mechanic for Republic Services
Lorenzo Roderico Sanchez passed away at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston
surrounded by his family on Monday, August 14. He was 60 years old.
Born and raised in San Jose de Idolo,
Suchitepéquez, Guatemala. he was one of eight children born to Nicolasa Amanda
Rodas-Merida of Texas and the late Rodrigo Sanchez-Flores. He received his early
education in Guatemala.
As a young man in his early twenties, Lorenzo immigrated to the United States and first settled in Somerville. He also resided for several years in Medford. He was the father of three children. For the last 10 years, Lorenzo resided in Lynn and was employed for many years as a fleet Auto/Truck Mechanic working for Republic Services in Boston.
Lorenzo’s favorite pastimes revolved around his family and friends, especially his children and all of his favorite nieces and nephews. He enjoyed all things related to cars and trucks and will be fondly remembered for his calm and peaceful demeanor.
He is lovingly survived by his children: Maximiliana “Millie” Sanchez and her
husband, Brian Latter of Chelsea, Sandy Sanchez of Roxbury and Jeffrey Sanchez of
Revere. He was the spouse of Maria Olga Sanchez de Cabral of Medford and the
cherished grandfather of Marissa, Aaron, Aiyanna and Adriana. He is also survived by
three beloved brothers, four adoring sisters and by many loving nieces and
Funeral arrangements were by the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, Chelsea. Lorenzo is to be repatriated to his home country next week for entombment in his family’s mausoleum in the cemetery at San Jose de Idolo, Suchitepéquez in Guatemala. To send expressions of sympathy, please visit
By John Lynds
EBNHC CMO Dr. Jackie Fantes and EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes present U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren with a gift.
Last week the Democrats had a huge victory as the U.S. Senate failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obama Care. While there was much to celebrate as several Republicans, like Senator John McCain, cast votes against the Senate bill to repeal Obama Care, Senate Democrats like Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren say the fight is ongoing and Obama Care is still under attack by many Republicans in the House and Senate.
Warren was back in Massachusetts Monday and toured the East Boston Neighborhood Health Center, a place that long before Obama Care offered quality health care to people of all ages, races and backgrounds regardless of their ability to pay.
Warren toured both the Health Center’s Gove Street and Maverick Square facilities and ended her tour with a roundtable discussion where she heard from health care providers, patients and partners of EBNHC.
“I want to thank Senator Warren and her team for visiting the Health Center today,” said EBNHC CEO Manny Lopes. “We are so happy about the work she has done to help the lives of individuals that don’t have a voice but also her work to protect the Affordable Care Act and making sure people living in this country not only have access to coverage but access to high quality health care. On our door it says ‘All Are Welcome’ and we continue to provide service to anybody who walks through our doors regardless of their ability to pay and we have stayed true to that statement.”
Warren heard testimony from EBNHC different departments and programs that have helped improve the lives of countless residents in Eastie and the surrounding communities. Whether its the Health Center’s PACE program that helps seniors live at home independently, EBNHC highly successful pediatrics department and school based health care program to cutting edge metal health and substance abuse programs, Warren said she was beyond impressed with the team at the Health Center and the services they have been able to provide to thousands of low-income residents that would otherwise be left without stable health care.
Warren also heard from patients who have benefitted from EBNHC’s quality care and programs with one patient saying she passed up the chance to purchase a nice house for a good price north of Eastie because she feared her and her family would not get the same quality health care outside of the neighborhood.
For her part, Warren thanked the Health Center staff and board for being on the front lines and being a shinning example of everything that is right with quality affordable health care.
“I just wanted to come by today (Monday) and thank all of you,” said Warren. “An amazing thing happen last week. We were able to save health care for millions of Americans across the country. I just want to be clear that this has been a hard fight and we’ve been in this fight for a very very long time.”
Warren said the fight really began following Obama Care’s passage and then having to defend expanded health care coverage to millions of Americans day after day.
“When this year started we didn’t have the votes to stop the repeal but what we did have is people from all over this country that got into the fight including people like you from our Community Health Center,” said Warren. “You got into the fight in different ways. One of those ways was just by doing what you do every day and showing America that this is the way we can provide high quality health care to all of our people.”
When arguing on the Senate floor, Warren said she points to Community Health Centers as the shining stars of what works in the the health care industry.
“Every time I hear the arguments that costs are rising or things are not working I say ‘take a look at our Community Health Centers’,” said Warren. “EBNHC is one of the best examples of how affordable quality health care can be delivered to thousands of people every day.”
Warren said the Senate Republican’s failure to repeal Obama Care was a triumph for democracy.
“Enough people from across America said ‘health care is a basic human right, and we will stand up and fight for basic human rights’,” said Warren. “This is not a partisan issue, it’s a human issue and I think that is powerfully important to realize.”
Over the national debate of whether or not to repeal Obama Care, Warren said something magical happened across America.
“America believes in health care coverage, maybe not everyone, but I think there has been a huge shift and people are seeing health care as a basic human right,” said Warren. “Also, in the first time in its 52 year existence we talked openly about Medicare. We put a human face on Medicare and talk about who gets Medicare and why they get Medicare and why Medicare is so important. People are realizing that Medicare is not about ‘some others’ but about all of us as human beings and it was important to talk about the faces of Medicare and the people that are touched by Medicare. I think now much of America has a better understanding not only of how health insurance affects our health care system but how Medicare and Medicaid are an equally important component of that system.”
In the end Warren said the fight to preserve Obama Care is not over.
“This fight is not over and it can come back at any moment,” said Warren. “There are still those across the country that want to fight to roll back health care coverage. We have to be vigilant and we can not move backwards or lose focus in this fight. People like Manny (Lopes), Senator (Joseph) Boncore and people from across Massachusetts have been in this fight and standing shoulder to shoulder by showing up at rallies, sending emails and texts and making calls. You’ve done everything to say I want my voice heard in this big national health care debate.”
“I came here today to just say it has been an honor to work alongside all of you,” she added.
By Seth Daniel
Elsy Sanchez, 17, is one of 11 Chelsea High students to be awarded the new Seal of Bi-Literacy this year during graduation.
Eleven new Chelsea High School (CHS) graduates will carry at least one more award with them this year than did other classes at CHS, and that award is the newly piloted Seal of Bi-Literacy that Chelsea and several other districts are implementing.
Sarah Warren of Chelsea Public Schools said Supt. Mary Bourque and the administration was looking for a way to recognize students who had strong bi-literacy skills. In Chelsea, because so many students are fluent in Spanish and English, the designation was meaning and was a way to market this unique skill to colleges and employers.
The Awards were given out at the annual Chelsea High Awards Night on Monday, June 5.
“We have just started this,” said Warren. “Dr. Bourque wanted us to see how we could get a meaningful designation in place that would recognize students that achieve bi-literacy,” said Warren. “As a district, we want to recognize students that become proficient in more than one language. We believe that is a very valuable skill for college and in the workplace. In Chelsea, we have a great amount of people who are proficient in more than just English. We’re very excited to be able to introduce this award when students achieve full proficiency in two languages.”
Bourque said she was very excited to be able to premiere the new award to 11 students in the class. She said they will move forward with it in the future as well.
“The Seal is a recognition of the fact that Chelsea Public Schools values students’ language skills and heritage as a huge asset,” said Bourque. “This credential will travel with our graduates as they move on to higher education and future employment. There is increasing demand – both in Massachusetts and nationally – for employees who are literate in two or more languages. By encouraging students to earn the Seal, we are sending the message that the ability to communicate in more than one language and to bridge different cultures is part of being a well-rounded global citizen in the 21st Century. It takes a lot of hard work to become fully proficient in two or more languages, and I couldn’t be more proud of these young people for their high level of achievement.”
Warren said there are three levels for the Chelsea seal.
Platinum winners achieve a 5 on their Advanced Placement Spanish Test and an advanced on their MCAS English Language Arts (ELA) test.
A gold winner scores a proficient on their MCAS test and a 5 on their AP Spanish.
A silver winner scores a proficient on their MCAS test and a 3 or 4 on their AP Spanish.
Elsy Sanchez, 17, was one of the first Gold Seal winners, and came to that point after starting out her high school experience in the English Language Learner (ELL) program.
Sanchez was born in Chelsea and attended the Sokolowski School and the Clark Avenue Middle School. However, after fifth grade, tired of going back and forth to Honduras where her parents had moved – having left Chelsea behind – she decided to stay in Honduras. However, after being in Honduras for some time, Sanchez realized that she had some pretty big goals for her future. She decided that getting to an American university from Honduras was going to be very tough, but getting there from Chelsea was more likely a successful path.
“My father asked me if I wanted a Quincenaera party or to go back to Chelsea,” said Sanchez. “I decided to come back here. So I came and quickly realized my English wasn’t as good as when I left for Honduras in 5th grade. One thing I wanted to do was go to college here. When I came back to Chelsea, I understood what people were saying, but i couldn’t express myself…Sometimes I would start a sentence and not be able to finish it because I couldn’t think of the right word.”
Sanchez entered the ELL program, known as the Bridge Academy at CHS. There, her teachers saw she was talented and had big goals and just needed a push.
“The teachers always pushed me to challenge myself,” she said. “They are always there to support you. They work to make connections with you. If they see someone who they thinks needs a push, they will push you to do better.”
With that support upon moving back, Sanchez was able to move to the regular Chelsea High program by her sophomore year, regaining her English fluency again.
In her senior year, Sanchez has put her English headaches behind her and took six Advanced Placement classes, including Physics, Stats and Language.
She said she plans to go to Salem State in the fall to study biology and Spanish, with the goal of becoming a pediatrician.
“I really like kids,” she said. “I always thought that because I also like science, I could become a doctor and help kids and people feel better. That is the perfect combination for me.”
As for the seal, she said it has the potential to open doors not only for school, but also in the workplace.
“I think it will help me in many different ways,” she said. “We live in a country with many different languages and being able to be fluent in multiple languages will open doors for me along the way. This helps me to market that and it goes on my transcript and on my resume.”
By Seth Daniel
City Manager Tom Ambrosino and Chief Leonard Albanese hotly disputed claims made by the Chelsea Firefighters Union last week that the City was unwilling to fund kevlar helmets to protect them in an active shooter situation, indicating that the Union would not have even had the ballistic vests that came in handy during the May 22 active shooter situation on Warren Avenue if they had done things their way.
Both contended they did not make comments indicating that the helmets couldn’t be funded because they would likely never be used, but instead fought back the Union’s attempts to not put ballistic vests into service on May 5, as they wanted to get collective bargain a pay raise first.
Had he and the chief not been insistent with the union, Ambrosino said the vests would have been hanging unused in the Station on May 22 when a man shot at police and firefighters on Warren Avenue.
“We did not use those words, never did,” he said on Monday. “The union did not want to deploy the vests until they had all the equipment at once (vests, goggles and kevlar helmets). The Chief’s position was that it’s better to have some protection than not to have any protection right now. We told them we wanted to deploy the vests and then we would deploy the helmets as soon as the budget is passed in July…So, we deployed the vests on May 5. If the union had its way, they wouldn’t have had vests on Warren Avenue that night. The vests would have been sitting in the station. As the chief says, that wouldn’t have been a help to anyone.”
Albanese took great exception to reports in the Boston media and in the Record based on complaints by the Union and its president, Anthony Salvucci, last week in the wake of the incident on Warren Avenue. The Union contended that it wasn’t safe to deploy things piecemeal and that they had been told the helmets would likely never be used. Salvucci suggested that the helmets be made available immediately using Free Cash, rather than after the budget is passed in July.
Albanese said he has made the department into a leader on active shooter training and equipment since coming to the City in 2016.
He said there was really no plan in place at the time, and he quickly made it a priority to get the training and equipment for the department. That priority list included following a funding plan for the safety equipment.
The vests came through a grant to the police and fire departments, with training on the vests coming in April and the vests ready for deployment in early May.
However, he said those vests were nearly put on hold by the Union due to the desire to collectively bargain a pay raise for having members use them.
“On May 4, 2017, I received an email communication from President Salvucci requesting that these bullet proof vests not be placed on the apparatus on May 5 until the union has a chance to Impact Bargain this change,” read a letter from the chief to the City Council. “Secondly, he requested that the Local receive and increase in their Hazardous Duty Pay for providing this service. Because this policy has been in effect since September 2016, and by our mission and duty as firefighters, I could not in good conscience delay the issuance of this equipment that would undoubtedly protect our firefighters should the need arise…Had I granted President Salvucci’s request, these ballistic vests would have been on the floor in my office last Monday, instead of on the bodies of our firefighters.”
Albanese said it is not a funding issue, but one of timing.
“This is not a funding issue,” he wrote. “It is a timing issue. We cannot solve every problem we face at once. The department has set a plan in place and we are following it successfully. We are researching and consulting to make sure we get the right equipment. At the same time we are addressing training needs for the various other threats we face as an All Hazards Fire Department.”
He said he is confident that the Chelsea Fire Department is a leader in responding to such an incident – and in fact they were the first department to use the training that has them protected by a SWAT team when extinguishing a major fire in an active shooter situation.
“It is undeniable that our department was ready to face the challenge of Warren Avenue,” he wrote.
Ambrosino said the helmets are in the Chief’s proposed budget, and will be ordered if the Council approves that budget this month.
Fifteen members and staff of the Chelsea Collaborative participated in the First National Senate Hearings on Immigration Reform in Washington, DC, this February.
“It was amazing,” says Yessenia Alfaro, Director of Organizing, Social and Economics Department. “It was exciting because we met with congressmen, the Chief of Staff, and Senator Elizabeth Warren.”
At American University, the delegation took part in the National Alliance of Latino American and Caribbean Communities forum, “Lifting Latino Voices,” where they discussed the topic of undocumented families living in the US, professional workers’ rights, and putting an end to the extensive deportations that split apart families.
Representing the Latin America community in DC was important because the Chelsea Collaborative was able to advocate for Latin Americans in Capitol Hill. They gave voices to the majority of residents living in Chelsea.
“It is important for us to make an impact and be heard,” asserts Alfaro.
The climax of the trip was the statements made by Chelsea Collaborative members to Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Congressman Capuano and his staff. Alfaro felt as though they understood and were sympathetic to the struggles of immigrant families.
“The welcoming of the new office with Senator Warren, allowing us to give testimonials, and having her say she is in support of fixing the immigration system,” were highlights for Alfaro, in addition to visiting the State House.
The Chelsea Collaborative will be hosting the Chelsea Latino Immigrant Committee’s annual retreat on March 15 at 10am. There will be a community presentation and analysis of the immigration system, its laws and how they impact families.
“They will incorporate the different resolutions that are being proposed from the Democratic Party and Republican.”