Let’s Not Even Think about Spring

Let’s Not Even Think about Spring

Spring has sprung,

The grass is riz.

I wonder where,

The flowers is? 

Springtime in eastern New England — now that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.

This Tuesday, March 20, will mark the official start of the 2018 spring season. In view of the trio of nor’easters that have pummeled us in the past two weeks, thoughts of spring no doubt are dancing in all of our heads as we look to put the recent rough patch of late winter storms behind us.

But being the longtime (and long-suffering) New Englanders that we are, we know that spring is merely an illusion in our sliver of the world.

The weather can be sunny with temperatures in the 60s in the vicinity of Route 128, but for those of us closer to the ocean, we may as well be in another climatic zone altogether. Onshore breezes that blow off the ocean waters, where temperatures still are near-freezing, offset the warm air by at least 10 degrees and the wind itself makes us feel even chillier.

To be sure, there may be a day here or there when the ocean-effect will be of no consequence because the wind will be blowing offshore. On those glorious occasions, we will bask in the warmth of a sunny, 70-degree day. But days such as those, always too few and far between, will be only a tease.

The editor in one of our former sister publications, The Winthrop Visitor, put it succinctly when he wrote these words in 1888: “The season has arrived when Winter and Spring appear to strive for mastery. A day almost like June in its mildness is succeeded by weather that smacks of the Arctic regions, and poor human again assumes his furs and his warmest garments.”

Yes, we can hope for the arrival of an early spring season. But we know from experience that spring truly will not arrive for us for  weeks to come.

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Rep Ryan Praised for Commitment to Veterans

Rep Ryan Praised for Commitment to Veterans

State Rep. Dan Ryan is being lauded after having received the Legislator of the Year award from the state’s Veterans’ Services Officer organization.

State Rep. Dan Ryan is pictured on Jan. 24 receiving the Legislator of the Year award from the Massachusetts Veterans’ Services Officers Association at a State House ceremony. House Speaker Bob DeLeo (left) remarked that Ryan’s dedication to veterans is outstanding, especially considering his family’s record of service.

State Rep. Dan Ryan is pictured on Jan. 24 receiving the Legislator of the Year award from the Massachusetts Veterans’ Services Officers Association at a State House ceremony. House Speaker Bob DeLeo (left) remarked that Ryan’s dedication to veterans is outstanding, especially considering his family’s record of service.

Ryan received the award on Jan. 24 at a luncheon in the State House attended by family, friend, Gov. Charlie Baker and House Speaker Bob DeLeo.

In particular, DeLeo told the Record he was touched by the remarks given by Rep. Ryan upon receiving the award.

Ryan told the audience of his family’s service, including in World War II, and how that guides how he handles things on Beacon Hill – which likely led to his designation.

“Danny is acutely aware of the distinct challenges facing veterans and military personnel in Charlestown and Chelsea and has been a fierce advocate for his district,” said DeLeo. “I was particularly touched to learn about the legacy of service and heroism in the Ryan family. Danny’s father and many of his uncles served in World War II. He is named after two of his uncles – one of whom was wounded in the Pacific and one of whom died fighting in France. In his remarks at the Veterans’ Service event, Rep. Ryan spoke eloquently of how this legacy guides his work on Beacon Hill.”

Speaker DeLeo also praised Ryan for his tenure in the House working on the Joint Committee on Veterans and as vice-chair of the Committee on Mental Health and Substance Use

District 1 City Councilor Lydia Edwards said she appreciated Ryan’s dedication to the district and the veterans in the district.

“Rep. Ryan has proven himself to be a strong advocate for veterans and their families in his district,” she said. “His exemplary dedication is regarded in the State House and beyond as he is a reliable presence at all veteran sponsored events, including the Memorial Mass at St. Francis de Sales every year since becoming an elected official.”

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Silver Line Stations Come Together, Service to Begin in April 2018

Silver Line Stations Come Together, Service to Begin in April 2018

By Seth Daniel

The new Chelsea Station behind the Market Basket on Everett Avenue is nearly completed now, with a goal of opening up service at the four new stations on the new SL3 line in April.

The new Chelsea Station behind the Market Basket on Everett Avenue is nearly completed now, with a goal of opening up service at the four new stations on the new SL3 line in April.

A projected 19 minute ride with no transfers from downtown Chelsea to the Seaport in Boston is but months away as the MBTA puts the finishing touches on four stations and the dedicated busway in Chelsea’s new Silver Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line – which will be known as SL3.

Already, a great amount of excitement has built throughout the community as the stations begin to look like finished products and the lettering denoting ‘Eastern Avenue’ and ‘Chelsea’ have been affixed to those stations. A spokesman for the MBTA said the T is excited to start service in April.

“The MBTA and MassDOT are very excited to be just months away from introducing Bur Rapid Transit service for customers traveling to and from Chelsea,” said Joe Pesaturo, for the MBTA. “The MBTA anticipates beginning Silver Line Gateway service in the early spring of next year. The existing Silver Line in Boston has been very popular since its launch because of the frequent levels of service and increased capacity. MBTA General Manager Luis Ramirez is looking forward to a celebration in the spring in Chelsea to mark the start of service.”

The completion of the four new BRT stations and the dedicated busway will conclude Phase 1 of the Silver Line Gateway expansion project – which has essentially brought the Silver Line from Logan Airport over to Chelsea. The new Chelsea service, however, will not go to the airport and the SL3 line will bypass the airport with a stop at the Blue Line Train Station where airport shuttles can be taken to terminals.

In documents presented to the MBTA Board last summer, the new service expects to have a total daily ridership of 8,730 people, with new transit trips being 2,500 (meaning people that will use the service who now do not use the MBTA).

At peak, it is estimated there will be 22 BRT buses on all three Silver Line routes, and that the SL3 Chelsea wait times will be around 10-12 minutes at peak times and 12-15 minutes at off-peak times.

MBTA estimates show that currently to get to the World Trade Center stop in the Seaport from downtown Chelsea takes 37 minutes and requires two transfers. That would be paired down to 19 minutes and no transfers on the new SL3 line.

To go from the airport to the World Trade Center station now takes 20 minutes with one transfer. The SL3 line would take seven minutes and no transfers.

The entire first phase of the Silver Line Gateway project cost $46.5 million and included rebuilding the Washington Avenue bridge, constructing a 1.1 mile dedicated busway, a half-mile shared-use path and the four new stations.

A second phase has been fully funded at about $29 million and includes building the Chelsea Intermodal Center, which includes a new Commuter Rail Station and a new railroad signaling system to improve traffic flow in Chelsea. The new station, unlike the existing station, will be fully accessible. The MBTA expects to solicit construction bids for Phase 2 this winter, with work beginning next summer.

One of the key initiatives for MBTA General Manager Ramirez, he said, is to get a comprehensive strategy for marketing a promoting the new service well in advance of the launch. Many of the new service options introduced by the MBTA in recent years suffer from low ridership due in many cases to people having little information about the new service.

The MBTA right now is working to select a qualified firm to handle the jobs of:

•Advertise the new service to existing and prospective customers.

•Highlight the benefits of Silver Line Gateway service relative to existing bus services in the area, including dedicated lanes and limited stops.

•Promote the ongoing work the MBTA is doing to improve its transportation offerings.

“The firm will work with the MBTA to develop well-rounded marketing and communications strategies that achieve the goals, including but not limited to market research, specifying target audiences, generating message concepts, proposing an effective mix of media, and partnering with local community organizations as part of the public outreach strategy,” said Pesaturo.

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Thank You to Our Veterans

Thank You to Our Veterans

Its was 99 years ago this Saturday, on Nov. 11, 1918, that World War I formally came to a conclusion on the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month.

Americans observed the first anniversary of the end of the war the following year when the holiday originated as Armistice Day in 1919.

The first world war was referred to at the time as “the war to end all wars.” It was thought that never again would mankind engage in the sort of madness that resulted in the near-total destruction of Western Civilization and the loss of millions of lives for reasons that never have been entirely clear to anybody either before, during, or since.

Needless to say, history has shown us that such thinking was idealistically foolhardy. Just 21 years later, the world again became enmeshed in a global conflagration that made the first time around seem like a mere practice run for the mass annihilation that took place from 1939-45.

Even after that epic second world war, America has been involved in countless bloody conflicts in the 72 years since General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri. Today, we still have troops fighting on battlefields in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Niger, and God-knows-where else.

Peace at hand has been nothing but a meaningless slogan for most of the past century.

Armistice Day officially became known as Veteran’s Day in 1954 so as to include those who served in WWII and the Korean War. All of our many veterans since then also have become part of the annual observance to express our nation’s appreciation for the men and women who bravely have answered the call of duty to ensure that the freedoms we enjoy as Americans have been preserved against the many challenges we have faced.

Although Veteran’s Day, as with all of our other national holidays, unfortunately has become commercialized, we urge our readers to take a moment, even if just quietly by ourselves, to contemplate what we owe the veterans of all of our wars and to be grateful to them for allowing us to live freely in the greatest nation on earth.

In addition, let us offer a prayer that despite the drumbeats of war-talk emanating from Washington these days, a peaceful solution will be found for all of our present-day conflicts before they escalate into a full-fledged war.

If nothing else, Veterans Day should remind us that freedom isn’t free and that every American owes a debt of immeasurable gratitude and thanks to those who have put their lives on the line to preserve our ideals and our way of life.

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Photographer Dr. Marshal Reiner and Ansu Kinteh, RN, of Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care stand in the room dedicated to Dr. Reiner’s work. Reiners amazing wildlife and landscape photography from around the world was on display last Thursday, Oct. 26, in the annual Chelsea High and Chelsea Jewish Elderly Care joint art show.

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The Opioid Epidemic is Truly Frightening

The Opioid Epidemic is Truly Frightening

If you were to ask the typical American what they believe to be the greatest danger to the well-being of our children and citizens, no doubt most would answer the threat from international terrorism.

But the reality is that terrorism, even if you count the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, registers barely a blip on the screen of actual threats to the safety of American citizens.

Tens of thousands of our people are killed each and every year by guns and drunk drivers, numbers that each and every year far surpass the number of Americans killed by terrorist acts.

Then consider that the Centers for Disease Control estimate that two million people in the United States are infected annually by hospital-acquired infections, resulting in 20,000 deaths. The CDC also tells us that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including more than 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure. This is about one in five deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.

To a large extent, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

But now, tobacco use aside, there is a threat to our collective national health that rapidly has surpassed most other means by which Americans die and which poses an immediate danger to our children.  We are talking about deaths from the opioid epidemic that, according to figures researched by the New York Times, increased by 20 percent from 2015 to 2016 and was responsible for the deaths of almost 60,000 Americans last year.

These numbers are staggering when you think about it. That one-year total represents more Americans than were killed in the entirety of the Vietnam War and about 20 times the number of American soldiers killed in the Iraq war — and this is happening year-after-year-after-year.

Traditional heroin is not the culprit. Rather, the synthetic opioids, most prominently fentanyl and carfentanil, which are far more potent than heroin (but which are much cheaper to manufacture), are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of our people when they are laced into, or substitute for, heroin, cocaine, and even marijuana.

These opioids are being manufactured and shipped into the United States primarily from China. Mexico formerly was the principal manufacturing site, but these drugs are so powerful (carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that is 5000 times more powerful than heroin) that they can be shipped in very small, undetectable quantities and still make huge profits for drug dealers.

Two 13 year old boys recently died in Utah from an overdose of powerful synthetic opioids that were provided to them by a 15 year old boy who had obtained them over the internet from China.

Just a few grains of these synthetic opioids in powder form can kill a person — that’s how strong they are — and they are being mixed into recreational drugs by drug dealers who clearly do not care about the health of the persons to whom they sell their poison.

Our law enforcement and health officials must devise creative and innovative ways to treat this epidemic because the traditional model of law enforcement clearly is not working.

In addition, it is up to every parent to warn their children of the dangers of illicit drugs. “Recreational drug use” has taken on a new meaning these days — instant death — and this requires parents to be ever-vigilant to ensure that their children do not fall victim to what has become a national scourge that is getting worse.

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The Olympic Spirit Still Exists

For almost all of us, the Olympics have provided memories that have lasted a lifetime. We can all measure how old we were, or where we were, when we recall Olympic moments both from our youth and through adulthood.

For example, who among us (of a certain age) does not remember, as if it were yesterday (or so it seems), Mike Eruzione’s “shot heard ’round the world” when he scored the game-winning goal that defeated the Russians in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid? Or when Bruce Jenner (now Caitlin Jenner) won the decathlon in the 1976 Montreal Summer Olympics? We could go on-and-on ad infinitum describing the scenes from the highlight reel of Olympic moments scrolling through our mind.

During the era of the Cold War, the Olympics served as a proxy for the battle between the United States and the former Soviet Union in what was perceived as the contest between democracy vs. communism, freedom vs. repression. But with the Cold War long over, the political overtones of the Olympics have all but disappeared, which has been a good thing. Although it would be nice to see America’s Justin Gatlin win the gold in the 100 meter dash, sports fans of all nationalities have thrilled to watch Jamaica’s Usain Bolt (the fastest man ever) sprint to victory-after-victory-after-victory in the last two Olympics — and no doubt will be rooting for him and his Jamaican teammates to make it a triple-medal three-peat.

The Olympics have something for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest among us. There are enough sports competitions and more than enough heroes for everyone to have their own favorite athlete to root for. Still for others, the elaborate pageantry of the opening ceremonies put on by the host country constitutes a spectacle that draws in all of us and establishes the magnitude and specialness of the games.

This is not to say that the Olympics are all fun and games. As with any event that draws world-wide attention and that involves billions of dollars, the Olympics have been plagued by controversy of all kinds. From Hitler’s 1936 Olympics that fed into Nazi propaganda, to the judging controversies of the Cold War era, to the tragedy of the terrorist attack in Munich in 1972, to doping scandals, to the the more recent accusations of bribery of Olympic officials by host countries, the Olympics have fallen far short of its own creed:

“The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered, but to have fought well.”

But despite all of the controversies, the Olympic spirit has survived and the present games in Rio de Janeiro are no exception. We hope all of our readers find the time to enjoy the 2016 games and to do so with their families and friends. Even in this age of on-demand television and live streaming on personal devices, the Olympics are best-enjoyed as a shared experience.

They are only here for two weeks — so make the most of them.

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The Words That Shook the World

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

When the members of the Second Continental Congress gathered in Philadelphia in June, 1776, it was not at all clear that they eventually would declare their independence from England. Although the “shot heard round the world” had been fired at Concord more than a year earlier in April, 1775, and a de facto state of war existed in some regions of the colonies, many in America still held out hope that they could come to some sort of agreement with England regarding taxation and representation such that secession would not be inevitable.

However, with leading thinkers such John Adams making the case to break free from England, the momentum to declare independence overcame even the most skeptical of the colonists.

On July 2, the delegations from 12 states voted to declare their independence (the delegation from New York abstained) and on July 4, the various delegates signed the Declaration of Independence.

Thomas Jefferson’s words in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the Declaration are among the most famous in the English language and the most widely-quoted in any language since they became published. (Although we should note that Jefferson’s use of the word “men” was quite literal, inasmuch as it did not include women, and it certainly did not include African slaves of either gender.)

However, the use of the adjective “all men” is what was most revolutionary about the Declaration. The signers themselves mostly were of America’s aristocracy — Jefferson himself was a plantation owner with many slaves — but they clearly were meant to include even those of the non-aristocratic class.

That one sentence in the Declaration upended the world order of that time. It set the stage for the French Revolution a few years later and eventually the demise of monarchies throughout the world. Our democracy as we know it today rests on the premise that every citizen should have an equal voice in the operation of our government.

So as we celebrate the holiday weekend with our friends and family, let’s remember that the freedoms we enjoy today all began with a few novel words written 240 years — and that we should not take for granted the legacy that the Founding Fathers bestowed upon us.

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Congratulations,CHS Class of 2016

For our community, high school graduation time is a city-wide celebration, even for those who do not have children or relatives among the graduates. All of us take pride in the accomplishments of our graduates, for we know that they represent the future leaders of our community and our world, and that all of us have played some small role, even indirectly, in their nurturing and development from young children to the adults they are today.

Seeing the balloons and other signs of graduation-related celebrations around Chelsea brings a smile to our faces, for they evoke the memories from the time when we were high school grads.

For the parents of the grads, who will be watching their sons and daughters proceed to the podium to receive their diplomas, the moment will be bittersweet. We are reminded of the words from that song from Fiddler on the Roof:

Where is the little girl I carried?

Where is the little boy at play?

I don’t remember getting older,

When did they?

Thinking about the cross-currents of time and space shared by the previous classes of Chelsea High School and 2016, we realize that no doubt it is inconceivable for the members of the Class of 2016 even to imagine coming together for their 25th or 50th reunion.

However, if any members of the Class of 2016 feel that the 2031 or 2066 are a long, long way away, we do have one piece of advice to offer all of the members of the class: “Carpe diem” — seize the day. Unlike a sports event, life does not offer any time-outs. The clock keeps ticking — “Time and tide wait for no man,” as the poet said — and we must strive to do the best we can every day of our lives. Fifty years from now, we can assure all of the graduates that none of them will want to look back 50 years and think, “What might have been…”

We offer our congratulations to the members of the Class of 2016 and their families. We know we join with the entire Chelsea community in wishing them the best of luck in the years ahead.

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An All-Time Great:Vito Maida Recalls His Days in Chelsea Football

Cary Shuman

Vito Maida has his rightful seat the table of the all-time greats in Chelsea High School sports history.

Now 89 years old and living in Tewksbury with his wife, Lucy, Maida has nothing but positive memories of his days wearing the CHS football uniform.

Maida attended the Mary C. Burke and the Carter School, but it was at Chelsea High School where he became a legend.

“I actually began playing football for the Carter Junior High School team and we were undefeated in the city,” recalled Maida.

At Chelsea High, the 5-foot-9-inch, 180-pound Maida became the starting guard on offense and the noseguard on defense and played every minute of every game.

“We beat Everett, 13-12, in my sophomore year,” recalled Maida. “We were 5-5 in my junior year.

And then came 1944 and perhaps the greatest season of all time for the Red Devils. On a squad stacked with greats like Paul “Choc” Glazer, John Glowacki, Nate Finklestein, Abe Garnick, Buster Saladino, Sonny Finnigan, Al Generazzo, and Johnny Houghton, Chelsea defeated Class A teams Bedford, Arlington, Malden, and ultimately shared the Class B state championship with Saugus.

“Nate was a quiet guy but boy, was he tough,” said Maida. “I used to call him the fifth man in the other team’s backfield. Nate was an All-Scholastic and he went on to play at Villanova. Nate and Choc were the ends on offense. Choc had great hands and he helped the offensive line with his blocking. And Choc was an even better basketball player.”

Maida remembers teaming with Abe Garnick on the Red Devils’ big and powerful offensive line. “Off the field you wouldn’t think that Abe was tough. He was mild mannered but when he stepped on the field he was an incredible lineman. Abe and I used to double-team people and knock them out of the stadium.”

Glowacki was the team’s strong-armed, accurate throwing quarterback while Sonny Finnigan and Buster Saladino were the tough, hard-nosed running backs.

Maida, who was one of the captains in the 1944 season, had sensed the Red Devils would accomplish something special after Chelsea dominated bigger schools in preseason scrimmages. The Red Devils finished with a 9-1 record, its lone blemish coming at the hands of Saugus.

Following that historic season, Maida was selected to play in the first Suburban-North Shore all-star game at Manning Bowl in Lynn. “There were 20,000 fans at the game,” said Maida.

But Maida still had another chapter to write in his football career. After serving a 19-month stint in the U.S. Navy aboard the U.S.S. Indiana during World War II, Maida matriculated at Coburn Prep School in Waterville, Maine, where his football team had an undefeated season.

Maida, who had previously earned a scholarship to Brown University before leaving for the war, decided to attend Northeastern University. He excelled in four years of college football and earned a degree in Business Administration in 1952. He was inducted in to the Northeastern University Athletic Hall of Fame for his excellence in football in 2006.

Maida enjoyed a successful career in business working for Star Market as the electronic data processing and systems manager. He later became the comptroller for Star Market and continued his career as an administrator at other companies. He retired in 1991.

Maida and his wife, Lucy, have been married 67 years. They had five children, Richard, 64, triplets Robert, Thomas, and Paul, who are 59 years old, and a daughter, Ann Marie, who passed away at the age of 36 in 1988.

The son of Bruno Maida, a World War I veteran, and Lucy Maida, Vito remembers his father’s grocery store in Mill Hill. He looks back at his days growing up in Chelsea as the “best time of my life.”

“My father had a grocery store on Eastern Avenue called B. Maida’s Market,” he said. “My brother, the latr Dante Maida, who was a captain with Joe Bevere of the 1949 Chelsea team, later opened a transmission shop right next door. Chelsea was a close-knit community and you got to know everyone of every ethnicity – Jewish, Polish, Irish, Italian. We used to tease each other all the time. Those were great days. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. I still get back to Chelsea occasionally and it’s changed a lot but it will always be the hometown I loved.”

As you would expect, Vito Maida entered the was the Chelsea High School Hall of Fame and was inducted alongside two of his teammates, Nate Finklestein and Paul “Choc” Glazer.

It was a fitting tribute to Vito Maida – a man who excelled on the gridiron and was a sportsman on and off the field.

Vito Maida

Vito Maida

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