Redistricting hearings at city, state level on May 10 and May 14

Four days before the legislative panel tasked with redrawing the state’s district boundaries drops by Boston for a hearing, the City Council will take its own crack at the issue.  Read more

Green home blooms on Brent St.; Civic leader hopes to set example for builders

Jackie Gentile, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 28, 2011

81 Brent Street81 Brent StreetThe new home at 81 Brent Street may look like any other house on its Codman Square block, but the three-family is different from the others. It’s completely green - not in color but in development and function. From the foundation to the solar panel-lined roof, the entire house is environmentally sustainable.

Codman Square Neighborhood Council President Cynthia Loesch had repeatedly proposed ideas of bringing sustainable building projects to the neighborhood, but says the council never got the response they wanted to hear from developers.

“I decided to do it myself,” Loesch says. “Let’s find out how much it really costs by square foot. Let’s find out all the proper rhetoric so we can argue with the developers better, and let’s really set a standard in Codman Square on the kind on housing and development we’d like to see.”  Read more

Unions enraged after House backs curbs on municipal bargaining

Kyle Cheney and Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Apr. 27, 2011

Labor unions were in open revolt Tuesday against the Democratic leaders of the House, promising political consequences for House Speaker Robert DeLeo and other state representatives who voted during a late night session to slash the collective bargaining power of municipal workers.

Calling the vote to an assault on workers’ rights and comparing it to anti-labor proposals in Wisconsin and other states primarily dominated by Republicans, top labor officials packed the House lobby to issue finger-waving condemnations of the 111 lawmakers – including 81 Democrats – that just minutes earlier had endorsed the plan to curb the negotiating power of city and town employees.

“It’s clearly union busting. It looks just like Wisconsin to me. It looks just like Ohio to me. It looks just like Indiana to me. I am profoundly disappointed in every Democrat who voted to do away with collective bargaining here in Massachusetts,” said Robert Haynes, president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.  Read more

Menino coffee hours starting in May

Mayor Thomas Menino is hosting coffee hours in May, making his way through the neighborhoods. He'll be in Dorchester on May 10 at the Byrne playground from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

According to a Parks Department release, Dunkin' Donuts will provide the coffee and food. Each family that attends will receive a plant grown in the city's greenhouses and will be eligible to win a raffle prize package including a "Dunkin’ Donuts gift basket, Macy’s gift certificates, Swan Boat rides, and free parking downtown for the day." (Boloco burritos not included.)

The full schedule is included below.  Read more

Hearings on BPS budget set for next week

Boston Public School officials will get the first at-bat next week as the City Council weighs Mayor Thomas Menino's $2.4 billion fiscal 2012 budget.

A Monday hearing on the BPS budget - which comes in at $829 million - starts at 9:30 a.m. in the Iannella Chamber, and is expected to stretch into the afternoon. Mark Ciommo, chair of the Ways and Means Committee, and John Connolly, chair of the Education Committee, will oversee the proceedings.

On Tuesday, at 10 a.m., city budget officials will be up, giving an overview of the budget.  Read more

Community gardeners ramping up for a new season

Jackie Gentile, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 21, 2011

April showers bring May flowers but come June, fresh vegetables, fruits and flowers will crop up in community gardens throughout Dorchester. The Boston Natural Areas Network is teaming up with local organizations including the Dorchester Environmental Health Coalition for the Boston Is Growing Gardens Project. In its second year, BIGG encourages residents, with and without experience, to cultivate a better community.

Project manager and BNAN staffer Grantley Payne emphasizes that BIGG will benefit the neighborhood in many different ways. “The message is great things are happening in community gardens. We want more of our residents taking advantage of them,” Payne said.  Read more

Dot Park will shine this season

Dorchester Park, the 30-acre, Olmsted-designed jewel that anchors our neighborhood to the south, has a magical quality this time of year. The buds are poking out from their winter slumber, the trees are springing back to life and kids are once again swarming the ballfields and playground.

Dot Park has benefited from a tremendous civic lifeline that has grown up around it over the last two decades. The Dorchester Park Association, Inc.— led by the indefatigable Jane Boyer— has helped to program and clean the park each year and is the driving force behind a fantastic line-up of events this season, including Saturday morning’s Easter Egg Hunt (10 a.m. sharp at the tennis courts). Boyer has able and energetic help from a team of park enthusiasts, including Richard O’Mara, the owner of Cedar Grove Gardens, who has been instrumental in organizing fundraisers and helping to coordinate clean-ups and tree plantings.  Read more

May 3 meeting to take up Neponset canoe launch plan

Rachel Zarrell, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 21, 2011

A discussion about the expansion of the canoe launch dock at Neponset Park for Milton High School’s crew team and the surrounding community will take place at a public meeting at St. Brendan’s Church Hall on Tues., May 3, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.  Read more

Food and Fitness Coalition plans events in Mattapan

Alex Owens, Special to the Reporter
Apr. 21, 2011

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition (MFFC) will be holding two events at the Mattapan Library in upcoming weeks. On Saturday, April 23, the group will unveil a project titled “Healthy on the Block,” a partnership with the Boston Public Health Commission. The project aims to increase access and visibility to healthy food options in Mattapan’s corner stores. Two stores, Mama’s Market and Lily’s Market, both located on Blue Hill Ave, have already started working with consultants from the BPHC under this program. MFFC hopes to expand the project into two more stores in the near future.  Read more

Democratic activist John Doogan dead at 64

John Doogan, a Savin Hill resident and a fixture in local Democratic politics since the 1960s, died on Friday. Doogan served as the parliamentarian for the Massachusetts Democratic Party and was a longtime member of the party’s state committee.  Read more