Civics

Mattapan’s maestro: Fred Williams pays it forward

By 
Tayla Holman, Reporter Correspondant
Dec. 20, 2012

Great Hall recital: David Brown performed at the Great Hall last month during a recital organized by Fred Williams, right, who accompanied Brown on piano. Photo by Tayla HolmanGreat Hall recital: David Brown performed at the Great Hall last month during a recital organized by Fred Williams, right, who accompanied Brown on piano. Photo by Tayla Holman

At 84 years old, Fred Williams has spent much of his life studying and playing music. Today, the Mattapan resident is best known as a mentor and instructor to budding musicians from Boston’s neighborhoods.  Read more

Meetinghouse Bank is branching out: Plans to open Roslindale Square office by mid-2013

One of Dorchester’s most deeply-rooted financial institutions is set to expand its footprint in the city of Boston. Meetinghouse Bank, fueled by a first-ever public stock offering that generated millions in new capital, will begin its growth program by opening a new branch location in Roslindale Square by the end of next year’s second quarter.  Read more

Editorial: A boy reminds us why we give

Marc Murphy,9, and Michael Murphy, 4: Fourth grader Marc launched a toy drive three years ago that continues to grow. Photo courtesy Murphy familyMarc Murphy,9, and Michael Murphy, 4: Fourth grader Marc launched a toy drive three years ago that continues to grow. Photo courtesy Murphy familyWhen the Murphy family of Neponset hit the mall last week for their annual Christmas shopping excursion, they no doubt raised eyebrows at the checkout counters. The haul of plastic bags they carried out of the Target store and into their trunk could have tested the mettle of even Santa’s sleigh. And some may have wondered why the Murphy boys— Marc, 9, and Michael, 4— were along for the ride.

The gifts never made it back to the Murphy clan’s home in Neponset, of course. Instead, they were taken straight to the ABCD Family Service Center on Claybourne Street from which they’ll be given out to less fortunate families this season.

This is the third consecutive Christmas that the Murphys have made this toy-drive run. And it all started because Marc, then aged 7, saw an item on the news that a Toys for Tots trailer had been burglarized north of Boston.  Read more

Diversity is issue as city’s lawyer clashes with Yancey at council hearing

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 19, 2012

City Hall’s top lawyer clashed with District 4 Councillor Charles Yancey on Tuesday afternoon, accusing him of “grandstanding” and calling the councillor’s hearing on the racial make-up of city departments a “farce.” The intense back-and-forth drew several members of the municipal police force that patrols City Hall to the doors of the Council’s Iannella Chamber.  Read more

Gov. Patrick taps Sheriff Cabral as public safety chief

Gov. Deval Patrick on Thursday introduced the new members of his cabinet, including Suffolk County Sheriff Andrea Cabral as his public safety chief.

“I think this is an unbelievable opportunity to really move public safety forward in the next two years,” Cabral told reporters after a press conference at the State House. “I think there are going to be very solid, very bold initiatives by the governor and things that I personally support.”  Read more

Amateur mapmaker gets Dot just right

McCarthy's Dorchester mapMcCarthy's Dorchester mapIf you’re a Dorchester-phile (and if you’re reading this, you probably are), then you have to get a look at the map that a man named Ed McCarthy has created depicting our neighborhood. The map — which McCarthy has sold one-by-one to friends and colleagues since 2008— is beautifully illustrated and pops with interesting flashbacks about Dorchester’s past. An image of the map is shown here at right. You can get a closer look by looking at the attachment below.

Much to the relief of this space, the map is also a well-drawn and accurate laying out of historic Dorchester. McCarthy is a veteran city ambulance driver who knows the streets of Boston as well as anyone could. Fascinated with Boston history and geography, he grew increasingly dissatisfied with the neighborhood maps that he saw in circulation in books and at City Hall. So he decided to work up one himself.

“I said, ‘I can do this,’ so I hit the library and did the research. I got registered at the state archives and spent a lot of time at the BPL. I tried to get every reference I could find and I packed it into the map.”  Read more

Residents weigh in on residential plans for vacant Morrissey Blvd. lot

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 11, 2012

Dorchester residents and elected officials sounded notes of support on Monday night for a residential project next to the JFK/UMass MBTA station. But the chair of a task force that set up guidelines for development on Columbia Point expressed dissatisfaction with the density of the five-story project.  Read more

Chambers presents Columbia Point dealership plans, draws concern over master plan impact

By 
Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 7, 2012

Herb Chambers: Auto magnate looks to enter hometown market. Herb Chambers: Auto magnate looks to enter hometown market. Savin Hill residents heard from one of the region’s leading auto dealers Thursday about his plan to bring a pre-owned BMW dealership to Columbia Point, an area expected to see high growth in residences and businesses. Herb Chambers Companies of Somerville plan to convert the former WLVI-TV station near the northern end of Morrissey Boulevard into a sales and service center for the high-end German automaker.

The Boston Redevelopment Authority, the city’s planning agency, hosted the meeting at the Cristo Rey Boston High School on Savin Hill Avenue.

Chambers himself attended the meeting and answered residents concerns about the project. “I think this is great for Dorchester because there’s a lot of positive energy going into the area,” Chambers said to the crowd of about 35 people gathered in the Cristo Rey library.  Read more

Walczak wing adds capacity, promise at Codman Center

Codman's latest addition: Sandra Cotterell, CEO of the Codman Square Health Center, left and Meg Campbell, executive director of the Codman Academy Charter Public School, outside the newly-opened William J. Walczak Education and Health Center on Epping Street. Codman's latest addition: Sandra Cotterell, CEO of the Codman Square Health Center, left and Meg Campbell, executive director of the Codman Academy Charter Public School, outside the newly-opened William J. Walczak Education and Health Center on Epping Street.

It’s a brand new four-story building with a strikingly familiar name.

The William J. Walczak Education and Health Center — named for the founder of the Codman Square Health Center— is open for business – and classes. An official grand opening is on hold pending the return to action of the only other living Bostonian who gets his name on big new buildings these days – Mayor Thomas Menino – but the building itself has been in partial use since September and is due to be fully up and running by year’s end.  Read more

Patrick cuts spending by $225 million, will seek power to cut local aid

By 
Michael Norton and Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Dec. 4, 2012

As part of a plan to address an estimated $540 million mid-year budget gap, Gov. Deval Patrick on Tuesday slashed spending by $225 million and asked the Legislature to allow him to unilaterally reduce unrestricted local aid to cities and towns by 1 percent.

Unrestricted local aid pays for local services, such as public safety budgets, and is delivered separately from state aid to fund local education spending, which is not targeted for cuts under Patrick’s plan.

“I don’t think this is draconian. Obviously every city and town worries about an impact on their local aid, but as I say this is relatively modest. We are spreading the pain as broadly as possible and sensible and we have a solution for closing that gap in unrestricted local aid if the Lottery continues to help,” Patrick said.

The spending cuts ordered by the governor will hit nursing homes, special education funding, school transportation for the homeless and reimbursement rates for hospitals that treat low-income patients.  Read more