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

Arroyo pushes for neighborhood advocate on Licensing Board

City Councillor At-Large Felix Arroyo is pushing for Gov. Deval Patrick to appoint a neighborhood advocate to the city’s powerful Licensing Board.

The three-member board, which largely grants and regulates alcohol and food licenses for restaurants and nightclubs, among other businesses, has had a vacancy since last July when chairman Daniel Pokaski retired. Patrick appoints the board members.  Read more

First Lady Patrick introducing Jackson at campaign kick-off Monday night

Gov. Deval Patrick may tend to stay out of contested primaries, but his wife, not so much. First Lady Diane Patrick is headlining District 7 candidate Tito Jackson's campaign kick-off Monday night.

The kick-off starts at 7 p.m. at Hibernian Hall in Roxbury.

Jackson, a former aide to Gov. Patrick, is among seven candidates running for the open seat, left vacant after the City Council voted out Councillor Chuck Turner because of his bribery conviction.  Read more

Walsh promoted to ethics chair as House freshmen get committee assignments

House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Friday named state Rep. Marty Walsh (D-Dorchester) to the top of the House Ethics Committee.

Walsh, a local union leader who once strongly backed DeLeo's rival for the speakership, served as vice chair of the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business.

Chairs receive an extra stipend as part of job.

And  Read more

New group formed to push business in ‘Savin Hill Village’

Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Jan. 27, 2011

The effort to improve the quality of life in Savin Hill is taking a formalized step with the creation of a new committee focused on development along the neighborhood’s business district.

The Savin Hill Village Business Development Committee, formed as a sub-committee of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association planning board, is dedicated to making improvements along what they are calling “Savin Hill Village,” the stretch of Savin Hill Ave. from the MBTA station to the corner of Saxton St. After a brief organizational meeting late last year, the new group held its first formal meeting Monday evening at the offices of At Home Reality.

“What we’re saying is that we have a nice thing that could be better,” Don Walsh, a local resident and organizer of the group said in an interview with the Reporter.  Read more

Old homes get energy efficient upgrades

Jan. 25, 2011

Our friends at BNN-TV's Neighborhood Network News filed this report yesterday on a new effort to help residents in some of the city's oldest housing stock save money of energy costs.
 Read more

Lynch appointed to oversight subcommittee

U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-South Boston) has been tapped as the ranking Democrat on an oversight committee.

Lynch's office on Friday announced that U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, appointed Lynch as the top Democrat on the Subcommittee on Federal Workforce, U.S. Postal Service and Labor Policy. The subcommittee is chaired by U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross, a Florida Republican.  Read more

Patrick outlines latest plans for local aid, municipal health reforms

Michael Norton, State House News Service
Jan. 21, 2011

JAN. 21, 2011……The annual budget proposal Gov. Deval Patrick will unveil next week will boost state aid for schools by $140 million, cut another pool of local aid by $65 million, and include a pair of health insurance reforms that the governor believes could offset any related negative impacts on local government services and jobs.

Patrick, who next week plans to fully outline ways to erase a gap between projected state revenues and expenses of up to $2 billion, told local officials meeting in Boston Friday morning that his budget will increase Chapter 70 education aid to cities and towns by $140 million, or 4 percent, to a total of $4 billion next fiscal year.  Read more