Newsmakers in Chelsea

November 20, 2009
By

Kathleen Bishop

Kathleen Cronin Bishop has taken a page from her father’s political scrapbook and can now begin one of her own by winning recently the District One Councillor seat.

Her victory shows that in some ways, old Chelsea still exists, at least enough to elect a young woman from a good family with a long history in this city.

Bishop will find her position a much easier one to hold than when her father served, which was the old days, when politics here was more like a wild west rodeo.

Her father served at a time when the political environment here was tumultuous. To his credit, Bob Bishop, Chelsea’s city clerk, was never touched by charges of corruption. He was always an honest guy from a good family who kept to himself and who ended up making this city his life.

They say the apples don’t fall too far from the trees.

This is the case with Bob and Ann’s daughter, Kathleen – the city councilor-elect.

Barry Berman

It is hard to imagine just how quickly our lives pass us by.

I can recall when Barry Berman, the Chief Operating Officer of the Chelsea Jewish Foundation – which owns the Leonard Florence Center for Living on Admiral’s Hill – was just starting out in his career.

It was a far different business atmosphere that he started out in during the late 1970’s than what exists today.

He is absolutely his own man today – but it wasn’t always that way when he was at the front end of what is turning out to be a long and distinguished career of running great institutions which aid the elderly.

He, too, grew up here and began his life here – but what a transition he has gone through.

In the old days up at the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home when he was at the beginning, Barry was told what to do, everyday, by the old time leaders of the institution who tended to treat its management like an ongoing political campaign.

Barry got through all that and in time, came to run the whole operation and then to run the expanded operation on Admiral’s Hill.

Along the way, he became a good friends and working partner with the legendary Lenny Florence.

That was all it took. Because when he finally had Lenny’s help, he knew he could do an awful lot of good.

Barry remains who he was as a young man – humble, quiet, unassuming but the man knows what he’s doing.

It was great to see him accept his award at the recent Chelsea Awards night at city hall.

He deserved it.

Richard Maronski

Some of us who have known all the Maronskis, and who have always liked them, were particularly pleased to see the election of Richie to the city council.

When he was growing up, you never would have thought of Richie as a politician.

You would have thought of him as a great athlete and a good kid, with brothers who were also good athletes – and who were also good kids.

I come out of the Stutch era, as one of his brothers is widely known.

Richie takes into city hall what I refer to as the Chelsea essence.

He remains all-Chelsea after all these years.

He is a good guy, a decent human being and we wish him nothing but the best.

Marilyn Vega-Torres

You are Marilyn Vega-Torres and you have again won the District 6 city councilor seat.

In the past two elections, she was challenged by a local young man Lorenzo Recupero.

In this year’s race, Recupero did better than two years ago, losing by 17 votes.

But what must be accounted for here is how hard one must work to identify the vote and then to bring it out and to score a victory over a competitive adversary such as Recupero.

Vega-Torres has shown that she knows how to do the work that leads to victory.

Although her margin was smaller this time around – she still brought home the bacon.

Seventeen votes isn’t a landslide but they meant everything in this contest.

Irene Grzybinska

In the formerly all male world of Chelsea banking in the 1960’s into the 1990’s, Irene Grzybinska made her mark as a younger woman, and then spent nearly the rest of her life as the president of the Chelsea Cooperative Bank on Broadway.

She was quiet. She was unassuming. She was smart at banking and she knew exactly how to run the bank profitably.

Her death two weeks ago brought memories of Ms. Grzybinska rubbing elbows with the late John Tierney, president and owner of the former Broadway National Bank and with the lawyers and friends who all sought her out for their banking needs.

She was a one of a kind as far as major banking goes in the history of this city.

She put in more than 30 years at the Chelsea Provident – and that is saying something in a world turned upside down by the recent recession.


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