Monahan stepping down from Mass. Dem party post

State House News Service reports that Stacey Monahan, a Dorchester resident, is stepping down from her post as executive director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Clare Kelly, who worked on Gov. Deval Patrick's re-election efforts in the field, will take over the job.

Monahan is a former aide to U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch and she founded the Ashmont-Adams Civic Association in 1999. A former candidate for state representative, she is on the list of folks who have held the ceremonial post of Mayor of Dorchester.

Concerns flood Lower Mills over MWRA pipeline rehab

Lower Mills MWRA map. Click to enlarge.Lower Mills MWRA map. Click to enlarge.

Fasten your seatbelts, Lower Mills residents.

Starting next month and running into November, Washington Street, Adams Street, and River Street are scheduled to be periodically closed as part of a project of rehabbing and replacing a major pipeline that distributes water to the area.  Read more

Dot Day Essay Contest now open to students

Parade GuyParade GuyThe Dorchester Day Parade Committee is seeking students to compete in an annual essay contest that will earn two winners a $500 US Savings Bond. A completed registration form and essay must be postmarked by March 12, 2011 to be considered for a prize. Two prizes will be awarded to the winning essays — one from grades 9-10 and a second from grades 6-8. The winners will be announced at the Dot Day Kickoff dinner on March 24.

Forms can be downloaded here.

RFK grandson slated to speak at St. Patrick's brunch March 19 in Dorchester

The grandson of Robert F. Kennedy is slated to speak at Dorchester's fifth annual St. Patrick's Day brunch.

Joseph P. Kennedy III is an assistant district attorney on Cape Cod whose speech on the Massachusetts State House floor a week after the shootings in Arizona and 50 years after his great-uncle John F. Kennedy gave the "City on a Hill" speech raised eyebrows.  Read more

Imperiled block grants called key factor in local economy

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 17, 2011

Dave McDonald, a Mattapan-based contractor, gets 75 percent of his business from the city of Boston and has worked on more than 60 housing projects with the help of a block grant program.

But his business is now in danger, he says, with President Obama’s budget axe poised to come down on the federal Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), which also support programs for the homeless, economic development, and human services.  Read more

Malibu ‘splash’ planned as fundraiser for beaches

Rachel Zarrell, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 17, 2011

Instead of dressing up in black and white, fundraisers for the inaugural Cupid Splash benefit for Save the Harbor/Save the Bay will be wearing bows and wings – and maybe even a bathing suit.

Nine beaches across the state will host the costumed dip-and-dash on April 2 , which raises money for their free events and programs, like the near-annual Dorchester Beach Festival. (The event was originally set for Feb. 12, but was postponed this week.)  Read more

Boston's State House delegation votes in Rep. Michlewitz as chair

Boston's State House delegation on Wednesday voted in state Rep. Aaron Michlewitz as chair.

The North End Democrat, who was unopposed in his bid, also serves as vice chairman of the House side of the Joint Committee on Transportation. Michlewitz, former aide in City Hall and constituent services director for former Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, was elected as state representative in 2009.  Read more

The state of the District 7 race

The preliminary special election to replace former City Councillor Chuck Turner draws near, and that means things are heating up. (Though nobody’s falsely called anybody a crack addict yet.)

Cornell Mills, one of the seven candidates running for the District 7 seat, took a shot at the odds-on favorite, Tito Jackson, in this Twitter post on Wednesday, echoing a similar push from surrogates: “70% of my donations from [District 7] residents. Not 15%. My events all held in the District. That's real action, not just talk.”

In an email, a spokesman for Jackson’s campaign shot back: "We are not interested in what the Cornell Mills campaign has to say. We are focused on talking to as many voters about Tito and his vision for the community."

More ground is covered in this week’s piece on the contest, which looks at the state of the race. (Some of what was left on the cutting room floor is included in this blog post).  Read more

One-third of Dorchester households now use food stamps

Rachel Zarrell, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 10, 2011

Top Ten Food Stamp Stores in Dorchester-Mattapan 2010Top Ten Food Stamp Stores in Dorchester-Mattapan 2010

This article was reported by Rachel Zarrell, Gal Tziperman Lotan, and Stephen Kurkjian, and written by Zarrell.

The last year has been a difficult one for Matthew St. Andrews. In March, he was let go from his full-time job as a FedEx manager. Then in November, he went on unemployment after he lost his temporary construction job. With his income drastically reduced and heightened concern about how he could take care of the needs of his daughter, who stays with him three days a week, St. Andrews successfully applied for the federal food stamps program.

 “If I didn’t have a three-year-old, I’d probably be more likely to sleep on friends’ couches,” he said, “and just survive on my own, however I could.”

Anh Vo: Assists customers at Maria's Market on Dorchester Ave., one of many convenience stores with a high volume of SNAP purchases. Photo by Steve KurkjianAnh Vo: Assists customers at Maria's Market on Dorchester Ave., one of many convenience stores with a high volume of SNAP purchases. Photo by Steve Kurkjian With a new food stamp card tucked in his wallet, St. Andrews is like so many other people in Dorchester who are having their own bad times. In the past four years, almost 17,000 Dorchester residents have joined the program, making nearly a third of those living in the neighborhood dependent on stamps to buy food for their families. At the end of last year, residents of two of the four Dorchester zip codes placed third and eighth, respectively, in the state for the greatest use of the program.

This increase in the numbers of recently unemployed and the concerted drive by the Patrick Administration to get the poor and elderly who qualify to participate in the program have elevated the numbers of those on food stamps in Massachusetts to the highest levels in history.  Read more

Another former City Council At-Large candidate enters race for District 3 seat

This week’s Reporter’s Notebook takes a brief look at the first candidate to jump into the City Council District 3 race, former City Council At-Large candidate Doug Bennett, who is now living in Adams Village.  Read more