Freezin’ for a Reason: Chelsea Rotarian Joe Panetta Will Jump into the Atlantic for Polio Eradication

Freezin’ for a Reason: Chelsea Rotarian Joe Panetta Will Jump into the Atlantic for Polio Eradication

Rotary District 7930 will hold its 9th Annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 9th, at Long Beach in Gloucester. The event is part of Rotary International’s ongoing campaign to eradicate polio in our lifetime. More than 300 people are expected to plunge into the cold waters off Cape Ann this year including the Rotary Club of Chelsea. Last year, over 250 people braved the icy waters, raising more than $100,000 and welcoming Rotarians, friends, and family members from 45 Rotary Clubs.

Since 1985, Polio has become the signature cause for Rotary International as it has teamed up with partners including The Global Poverty Project, The Global Eradication Initiative, The World Health Organization, and The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since that time, more than a billion dollars have been raised among Rotary clubs worldwide and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. When Rotary International took on the battle against this disease, more than 350,000 people spanning 125 countries were impacted. Today there are three countries left where it has not been eradicated – Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. However, due to combined targeted efforts and donations,

Nigeria reported no new cases of polio in 2018 and the number of total cases last year fell to just 29 worldwide!

Again, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged a 2:1 match for every dollar Rotarians raise toward eradication efforts. For as little as $0.60, a donation can make the difference in changing a person’s life. Please support your local Rotarians as they brave the icy waters off Gloucester to help eradicate polio in our lifetime. The Chelsea Club has set a goal at $1000 to aid in the district’s goal of raising $250,000. The district is utilizing an electronic fundraising process. Supporters are encouraged to log on to Chelsea Rotary’s team page and make a donation to help Rotarians lead the way to eradicate this dreaded disease. https://app.mobilecause.com/vf/polio/team/Chelsea

For more information on how the Rotary Club of Chelsea serves the local and global community, visit chelsearotary.org or contact the club at mfoley@xsshotels.com

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Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

Book Review”Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World”

This is an exemplary retrospective of the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath. Adam Tooze regales us with a depiction of the horrors that were unfurled during and after the crisis. the book is divided into four parts, each of which attends to different facets of the 10-year period following the financial disaster.

The author does a nice job of holding the reader’s interest. The book is filled with facts and figures pertinent to the monetary emergency, but Tooze does his best to make it accessible to the average reader.

The crisis originated in the United States when Lehman Brothers collapsed, but to quote Tooze: “ To view the crisis of 2008 as basically an American event was tempting,” but in fact the emergency spread all over the world, especially to the Eurozone, which experienced the brunt of the crisis around 2010 and 2011. Tooze divides the blame on liberals and  conservatives alike, although I got the feeling that he is/was a moderate left-winger.

In Europe the difficulties involved Ireland, Spain and most famously and harmfully Greece, which experienced economic turmoil after European authorities imposed austerity measures due to a terrible run on banks. European countries, especially Germany experienced great duress over the prospect of bailing out Greece.

In addition, the world was beset by what was viewed as populist political remedies, in particular the rise of Donald Trump in America and the Brexit vote in Britain. Tooze attributes most of the blame for these maladies to the shaky fiscal situation which arose from the crisis of 2008. The author lumps all these phenomena under the financial banner, and I am not sure they were all interrelated, but he does make an intersecting case for it all.

Tooze’s chapter on Trump elaborates on what the author believes to be the rise of a right wing demagogue, but he barely mentions the positive effect that Trump has had on the U.S. economy.

The crisis of 2008 was widely viewed by many to be the most unstable period since the Great Depression, which germinated in 1929 and lasted beyond the 1930s. During the latest crisis, millions of people lost their jobs and/or homes in the period from 2008 to 2015. President Obama who inherited the mess from the previous Bush Administration, did his best to contain the crisis, but the enormity of the instability was such that government intervention by itself could not contain the onslaught from the failing banks.

Adam Tooze is a gifted writer and his book on the fiscal disaster is filled with minutiae relevant to the duration of the financial difficulties.  I had never heard of Tooze before I read this book, but I will pay great heed to whatever he publishes in the future.

“Crashed” is an excellent read. The reader leaves it well informed on the niceties of finance. You, the reader will find it to be an excellent book. I recommend it heartily.

Bernie Kelly

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Saying Bye to a Landmark: Soldiers’ Home Tower Ceremony Friday

Saying Bye to a Landmark: Soldiers’ Home Tower Ceremony Friday

The Chelsea Soldiers’ Home water tower – a beloved local landmark – is slated to come down next month, and this Friday, the Soldiers’ Home is inviting everyone to its grounds to give an official good-bye to the red and white checkered symbol of Chelsea.

“The ceremony Friday is going to be very informal, but meaningful,” said Supt.      Cheryl Poppe. “We’ve invited a lot of officials and the entire community. If anyone has a memory or a letter they would like to read, this would be a good time for that. This is a time for residents, staff and Soldiers’ Home residents to give the tower a farewell.”

Poppe said the tower has to be taken down due to the new $199 million Community Living Center project, which is starting construction now and will be in full building mode this spring. The tower has been a beloved symbol of Chelsea for decades since being put up in 1958. The red and white checkered tower was used to pump water, but for many more it became a symbol of the City of Chelsea – with people being able to see its ‘Chelsea Soldiers’ Home’ lettering from far and wide.

Poppe said it hasn’t been functional since 2009, and is structurally unsound now. There was no way to save it from the wrecking ball in order to build the new Center, but they do plan to commemorate it with a photo montage or a small model on the property.

“The construction company is still exploring ways to remove the tower and there are many ways,” she said. “They’re still examining things like how many layers of paint are on it and how they can safely take it down. It might now be until late in December, but we do expect it to go down soon. We wanted to make sure people had a chance to say good-bye before that happened.”

In addition, part of Malone Park will also be taken up soon by fences that will be used for construction activities and parking.

“I know I want to take my last walk around that loop before it’s not available,” said Poppe. “I’m sure others do, too.”

The Soldiers’ Home has had many scares over the years due to underfunding and the fact that the Quigley Hospital has open wards, something that was permitted in the past but no longer is.

“When it was built, you were supposed to come here, heal and then go home,” she said. “It wasn’t meant to be a home. Now, of course, people stay here and it is their home. This new Center will make it more of a home, right down to how the meals are prepared.”

Poppe said the fact that the hospital is getting a remake is a tribute to Lawrence Quigley, who advocated for years and years to get it built in the first place.

“At one point he said that the VA had done 21 surveys and 21 studies and it was time to do something,” he said. “He was trying to take care of the veterans from World War I, not even knowing his son would go to World War II and need the same services.”

She said there was quite a lot of folks who were sentimental or upset about the removal of the tower at first, but she said she believes in recent months many have seen the value of the overall project.

“The residents have a sentimentality for the tower, but at this pint they realize it is more important for veterans who need long-term care now and in the future to be served by this Community Living Center,” she said.

The farewell to the Chelsea Soldiers’ Home tower will take place on Friday, Nov. 30, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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The More Women, The Better

The More Women, The Better

Say what you will about the state of politics in our country these days, one thing that is undeniable is that Americans have become more engaged in the political process than at any time in our recent history.

The recent election of scores of women, of diverse backgrounds, to public office has signified that men no longer will be running the show.

This is a good thing, not only for women, but also for men — and by extension, for our entire nation and the world — because when those who control our democratic institutions reflect the make-up of those whom they are serving, the end result will be policies that benefit all Americans, in all our diversity, rather than just the few.

It took the current political environment to wake us up from our complacency .

We look forward to our new Congress and trust that the talented and energetic women who will be serving as our senators and representatives will bring a positive attitude and some meaningful changes to the status quo.

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Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Be Sure to Thank Our Veterans

Its was 100 years ago this Sunday, on Nov. 11, 1918, that World War I formally came to a conclusion on what is famously referred to as 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 we now know as Veteran’s Day 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 73 years since General Douglas MacArthur accepted the Japanese surrender on the Battleship Missouri. Today, we still have troops fighting — and dying — on frontlines around the world.

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 to 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 overcome.

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.

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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Obituaries 11-08-2018

Obituaries 11-08-2018

Cornelius “Neil” Barnes

November 07, 1927 – November 03, 2018

Cornelius F. “Neil” passed away at the Marian Manor in South Boston on Saturday, Nov. 3. He was 90 years old. Born and raised in South Boston, a son of the late John Patrick and Sarah (Williams) Barnes, he graduated from South Boston High School and enlisted in the US Army during final days of World War II. He was honorably discharged in 1948 and returned to South Boston. Neil re-enlisted and served during the Korean conflict. Holding the rank of Sergeant, he served as an MP and was awarded three Bronze Stars before his discharge in 1953.

Neil again returned to his family home on Dorchester St. in So Boston. He worked for many years for the US Post Office as a clerk assigned to the office at North Station.

Being a Bruins fan and stationed next to the “old” Garden was one of the best jobs a hockey fan could hope for.

Neil married Helen E. (Benton) and settled in Chelsea residing there for nearly 60 years. Neil was widowed two and a half years ago after sharing 56 years of marriage.

Neil received supportive care for the last two years as a resident at the Marian Manor, close to his boyhood neighborhood in South Boston. A devout Catholic, Neil never missed daily Mass held at the manor chapel.

Neil is fondly remembered for his deep and abiding faith, his sense of humor and his infectious laughter.

In addition to his parents and his beloved wife, he was also predeceased by his brother, John W. Barnes. He is survived by his cherished nephew and nieces: John Barnes and his wife, Kerry of Roslindale, Elaine McCall of Whitman and Margaret Barnes of Carver. He is also survived by several other beloved nieces, nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews.

His Funeral will begin from the Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home, 718 Broadway, Chelsea on Friday, Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. followed by a Funeral Mass at St. Michael the Archangel Chapel (Chelsea Soldiers Home) 91 Crest Ave., Chelsea at 11 a.m. Services will conclude with Interment at Woodlawn Cemetery, Everett. Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held at the Welsh Funeral Home today, Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. The Funeral Home is fully handicap accessible, ample parking opposite Funeral Home.

Arrangements are by Anthony Memorial-Frank A. Welsh & Sons Funeral Home.

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Massachusetts Must Move Forward on Our Own

With the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, coming on the heels of the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch, it is clear that the America as we have known it for the past 70 years, a time in which the United States attained and maintained its supremacy in the world and achieved unprecedented prosperity for its people, could be coming to an end. That may sound dramatic, but we don’t think it is overstating the case.

In our view, the principal reason why America has prospered since the end of WWII, despite our many missteps (Vietnam, Watergate, and Iraq being the top three) is because we have expanded the rights of all of our citizens and we have welcomed people from all over the world to partake of, and contribute to, our wealth and our democratic ideals.

As regards the latter point, we would note that the majority of the Nobel prizes awarded to Americans in recent years have been won by persons who were immigrants. And let’s not forget that Steve Jobs’s father came from Syria and the parents of one of the founders of Google emigrated from Russia. They came to this country, as immigrants always have and still do, to create a better life for themselves and their families and to contribute to their new country.

However, there should be no doubt that the newly-constituted Supreme Court not merely will take us back to the pre-1930s, but rather will be in the vanguard of a new movement.

The court in recent years already has eviscerated the Voting Rights Act and (via the Citizens United case) has entrenched the ability of the ultra-rich to throw unlimited amounts of cash into our electoral system.

Now, with the ascension of two more conservatives, the Supreme Court may turn back the clock on much of what most Americans have taken for granted for the past three generations in the realms of the rights of women, persons of color, and persons of different sexual orientations.

Hopefully, the Democrats will gain control of the House of Representatives in the fall — and we say that not so much because we love Democrats, but because we need at least one house of Congress to act as a check on the White House — but that will not change the direction of the Supreme Court.

So what does that mean for us in Massachusetts and the other states on the coasts (with a few pockets in between)?

In concrete terms, let us be welcoming to all people; let us be the safe harbors for a woman’s right to choose (when the Supreme Court eviscerates Roe v. Wade, as it surely will); let us increase the minimum wage and be supportive of unions; let us prepare for the effects of climate change; let us enforce strict gun laws (to keep crime and mass shootings down); and let us make our states’ educational systems world-class.

We need to be everything they are not

Think of it this way: Let’s build our state’s economy to take advantage of what they are giving up.

This will require two things: Out-of-the-box thinking by our elected leaders and an unprecedented partnership between the state and the business community, which must be convinced to partake of a partnership with the state in order to pursue our common goals.

In short, we must take our future into our own hands as we never before have imagined.

It will require  lot of hard work and sacrifice — but given what is happening at the national level, we have no choice.

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A Special Day for Chelsea Veterans with a Boat Cruise Around Boston Harbor

A Special Day for Chelsea Veterans with a Boat Cruise Around Boston Harbor

Rotary members from Chelsea will join the Winter Hill Yacht Club on September 16 to cohost their 7th Annual Veteran’s Cruise.

As Chelsea Rotary Past President and Winter Hill Yacht Club member, Ken Webber says, “It is important to recognize and pay tribute to the men and women in our community who have served our country and this is our way of doing just that”

Since they began working with the Winter Hill Yacht Club, Rotary members have helped organize the day’s events beginning with transportation for local veterans and residents of the Chelsea Soldiers Home, which is generously provided by Paul Revere Bus, to breakfast at the yacht club before boarding member’s boats and heading out through the locks, past the USS Constitution and into Boston Harbor. Upon return to the yacht club, everyone gets to mingle with old and new friends and enjoy an old fashion BBQ prepared and served by yacht club members.

Rotary members from Chelsea have long supported the community through a range of service projects. Members of Chelsea Rotary raise money for student scholarships, provision a “Pantry of Necessities” for homeless students, raise awareness and funds to prevent domestic violence and support its victims, and participates in a water project for the indigenous people of Colombia.

Rotary members throughout the world take action to make communities better. They contribute their time, energy, and passion to carry out meaningful and sustainable projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, help mothers and children, support education, and grow local economies.

Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio. Rotary launched its polio immunization program, PolioPlus, in 1985 and in 1988 became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

About Rotary

Rotary brings together a global network of community leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

Visit Rotary.org and endpolio.org for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

About the Rotary Club of Chelsea

Through our service projects, peace fellowships, and scholarships, our members are taking action to address the underlying causes of conflict, including poverty,

inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, and unequal distribution of resources

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Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea Partnering with OpenGov to Further Increase Accountability

Chelsea announced this week that it’s partnering with  OpenGov – a leader in government performance management – to further increase its effectiveness and accountability.

“Our new open data portal is a valuable resource for residents and businesses interested in understanding how their taxpayer dollars are being spent and learning more about the various projects that the City is engaged in,” said City Manager Tom Ambrosino. “We hope it will also help City officials to make data-driven decisions by giving them access to information that was previously in silos.”

The portal, which can be accessed at chelseama.ogopendata.com/ already features showcases on property values, demographics, crime and Narcan information, and expenditures.

The OpenGov Cloud™ is an easy-to-use, cloud-based solution for budgeting, operational performance, and citizen engagement. OpenGov’s open data portal aggregates, organizes, and visualizes various data sets (like budgets, permits, and citizen requests). It’s powered by CKAN – the open-source standard that the U.S. federal government, the European Union, and hundreds of other agencies around the world use for open data. It also includes tools like APIs that developers can use to build applications.

“Our open data portal is a win-win for Chelsea and the community,” said OpenGov CEO Zac Bookman. “On average, governments receive 20 percent less requests for information after they launch their OpenGov open data portals. That means citizens are getting the information they need, and it saves governments time and energy that can be spent elsewhere.”

Chelsea joins over 1,900 city, county, and state governments, special districts and schools that rely on OpenGov to be more effective and accountable, including the City of Boston.

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2018 World Cup is Unusual Both On and Off the Field

2018 World Cup is Unusual Both On and Off the Field

The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been rather strange.

Historically and currently elite teams struggled in the group stages—Portugal and Argentina barely squeezed through, while Germany was ousted after a major upset against South Korea.

In the Round of 16, which began Saturday, June 30, host-country Russia eliminated powerhouse Spain. After barely squeezing through the group stages, both Argentina and Portugal, starring Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo, respectively, were eliminated.

However, this year’s World Cup has been unusual off the field as well.

“It’s a strange World Cup because the games are in the morning,” said Roy Avellaneda, Chelsea City Councilor and avid fan of Argentina. “Having it in the morning, in these time zones, that negated the previous benefits of this and the gathering.”

The time difference is particularly impactful after the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil, which has very similar time zones compared the U.S. With games being played at times like 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., there’s simply no time for people to gather for games during work hours, Avellaneda said.

There’s no denying that the World Cup remains a popular event, however.

“It’s something that’s on 24 hours at this point,” Avellaneda said. “It’s very pervasive that the World Cup is going on. Whether you go to a restaurant, whether you go to a bar, there’s a promotion going on.”

“Particularly in the Latino community, there’s a lot of attention,” said Avellaneda, who has Argentinian roots and runs Pan Y Café, a Latin American style cafe.

While his store doesn’t see as significant of a benefit as a sports bar would during a major sporting event, Avellaneda said he certainly doesn’t mind the additional customers who watch the games at his café in the mornings.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup continues this wee.

The quarterfinals begin this Friday, and the semifinals begin Tuesday, July 10. The event will conclude on Sunday, July 15.

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