Alert to chili fans: Cookoff this Sunday (3-6) at IBEW hall

Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Mar. 24, 2010

For the fourth year, residents from around the neighborhood will be competing for a coveted title next weekend: winner of the Dorchester Chili Cookoff.

With dozens of combinations of spices, vegetables, meat or meatless, everyone seems to have his or her own version of this popular one-pot dish.

And Dorchester cooks – amateur and professional – will try to win the patrons over when they put their best dish forward on Sunday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the IBEW Local 103 hall on Freeport St.  Read more

Fields Corner Civic features new faces

The Fields Corner Civic Group welcomed a new team of officers earlier this month, with neighborhood resident and community activist Hiep Chu taking over as the group’s leader from longtime president and co-founder Tom Gannon.

“In the last 20 years Tom did a great job running the organization,” said Chu, the first Vietnamese-American officer in the group’s history. He will preside over his first meeting as president when the Civic Group meets with its new officers for the first time on March 30 at Dorchester House at 6:30 p.m.  Read more

New MFA curator cherishes Dot roots

Carol Beggy
Mar. 24, 2010

For Jen Mergel, becoming the new Beal Family Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston is a chance to plant her Boston roots even deeper. 

Born at Boston Lying In, the 34-year-old Jones Hill native said getting the job at the MFA is a bit of a dream come true and it’s not lost on her. “I truly love the MFA and grew up loving it,” said Mergel, who came to the MFA from the Institute of Contemporary Art where she was an associate curator. “The museum is a treasure and not just for the city.”  Read more

Chang-Diaz grades herself: A-minus

Chang-DiazChang-DiazAsked what grade she would give herself for her first term in the state Senate, Sonia Chang-Diaz smiled. “I’m a tough grader if you ask my old students,” the former Jamaica Plain teacher said. She paused. A-minus is her assessment. “We have worked hard in this office,” she said, adding that she was tempted to give herself a lesser grade. “Given the economic landscape I walked into, I think we made a lot of defensive wins,” she said, pointing to protection of local education aid, funds for emergency food assistance, and millions of dollars included in the state budget for youth violence prevention. In a recent sit-down in her State House office, Chang-Diaz also ticked off several wins in the “offense” department: a plan that the Senate passed to reform the state’s criminal offender record information (CORI) system that is still on the House side, and education reforms signed into law in January. The accomplishments, among others, have already been put to paper and distributed at caucus meetings within the Second Suffolk District, which includes Beacon Hill, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and a sliver of Dorchester.

Cost control called key in healthcare rollout

On the day President Barack Obama signed a bill that will ensure insurance coverage to tens of millions of Americans, the head of a key Dorchester health center warned that cost control efforts must be ramped up as the legislation takes effect.  Read more

Police catch alleged Fields Corner bank robber trying to make getaway on the Red Line

The Boston Police Department reports capturing a suspect in a holdup of the Citizens Bank at 217 Adams St. yesterday not long after the robbery - on the outbound platform of the Fields Corner Red Line station.

Police say the responded to the holdup by setting up a perimeter around the bank - and checking the nearby Red Line stop, where they say they found a man who was "breathing heavy and avoiding eye contact." When officers approached, he tried to flee, police say, adding it took several officers and "a violent struggle" to subdue Magdy Wasif, 41.  Read more

Please bring back Bill Bulger

James W. Dolan
Mar. 19, 2010

Let’s face it: The St. Patrick’s Day political breakfast doesn’t work anymore. It’s embarrassing, a pale imitation of a sparkling tradition that lived years ago when Billy Bulger presided.

It has become a colossal bore as politician after politician lamely tries to inject a little humor into an event that, if not dead, is at least on life support. One by one they rise uncomfortably to deliver their feeble attempts at humor.  Read more

Boston Ballet troupe wows ’em at the Strand; interaction between stage and audience ‘electric’

The deafening cheers and whistles, vigorous arm-pumps and frequent standing O’s that greeted last Friday’s debut of the Boston Ballet at the Strand Theater banished any lingering doubts that Dorchester-area schoolchildren could really respond to high art.

Organizers were very gratified by the kids’ genuinely enthusiastic reaction to the carefully crafted hour-long show, staged at 10 a.m and 4:30 p.m.  Read more

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: Henriquez officially in for Fifth Suffolk seat

Carlos Henriquez, a community activist who has twice run unsuccessfully run against District 7 Councillor Chuck Turner, is jumping into the race to replace state Rep. Marie St. Fleur (D-Uphams Corner).

Henriquez said he is making his move after consulting with several local activists long affiliated with the Fifth Suffolk district. He said a move to state representative would be a change from "pot hole politics," which he would have handled had he won a city council seat, to dealing with pot holes and legislation on a state level to support local work.  Read more

They are running the Marathon for Sean Murphy – and along the way to beat back head/neck cancer

Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Mar. 19, 2010

Every April tens of thousands of runners converge on the city for the Boston Marathon. And all have their own stories of how they came to face this famed 26-plus mile challenge.

For Paula Murphy, who grew up in Dorchester, running in the Boston Marathon this year has a significant meaning as well as a mission. She will run in honor of her late husband, Sean, and to raise awareness and funds for research on head and neck cancer.  Read more

Cell phone store for Bickford's site

Rumors abound about what the future holds for retail development at the eastern end of Gallivan Blvd, at the site of a now-closed Bickford’s restaurant near Neponset Ave.

One project that is confirmed to begin soon is the construction of a new Verizon Wireless store where the family restaurant now sits. Neighbors expect the restaurant to be demolished or heavily remodeled, to make way for what Cedar Grove Civic Association president Sean Weir called a “state of the art” Verizon Wireless retail store.  Read more

Elder care health facility to open soon on Frank Wood site

A Morton Street property that formerly served as a retirement and convalescent home for retired workers in the printing industry will soon become a full service elder care health facility.

The facility, a familiar landmark at 1135 Morton Street at the foot of Codman Hill, was once the home of the Frank Wood Home, a 62-bed facility that operated for four decades until closing in the mid-1990s. The property was purchased in 2007 by the Dorchester-based Harbor Health Services Inc. at a cost of $4.25 million.  Read more

Library watch: Much going on inside

Chris Lovett
Mar. 19, 2010

When the Fields Corner Branch library closed at 6 p.m. last Thursday night, Celeste Figueroa came out with four DVDs, a book, and her two daughters. “A library’s like a museum,” she said. “It’s a way to get out of the house, because being in the house is like being in jail.”

Figueroa described the library as a “fun place,” but her nine-year-old daughter Selena made it clear that she had chosen Sara Pennypacker’s Clementine for her fourth-grade English assignment on summary and prediction.  Read more

Uphams Corner mulls deal on St. Kevins; talks planned

Neighbors and former parishioners of St. Kevin’s – some still sorting out their views on the potential fate of the Uphams Corner property – plan to meet soon with the partnership attempting to acquire the site of the former parish.

The Archdiocese of Boston is conveying St. Kevin’s church and school to a combination of three organizations that includes St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center, Holy Family Parish, and a nonprofit real estate developer tied to the archdiocese, the Planning Office of Urban Affairs, that wants to use the property primarily for affordable housing.  Read more

Man found shot to death on Norwell Street

The Boston Police Department reports finding a man in his early 20s with gunshot wounds inside 71 Norwell St. shortly after 11 p.m. yesterday.  Read more

Neponset rages in unrelenting rain as residents lose power and underpasses flood

Neponset River in Lower Mills around 5 p.m., SundayNeponset River in Lower Mills around 5 p.m., Sunday

With the nor'easter dumping several inches of rain on the region, the level of the normally placid Neponset rose dramatically along its course on Sunday.  Read more

New deal for St. Kevin’s and St. Peter’s properties

Gintautas Dumcius, Contributing Reporter
Mar. 11, 2010

The former St. Kevin parish campus on Columbia Rd.The former St. Kevin parish campus on Columbia Rd.The former St. Kevin’s Parish property in Uphams Corner and two parcels of the St. Peter’s Parish campus on Meetinghouse Hill are going to be converted into affordable housing for Boston families, with some of the new residents emerging from homelessness.

The Archdiocese of Boston will be conveying the St. Kevin’s site to a partnership of three organizations that includes St. Mary’s Women and Children’s Center, Holy Family Parish, and a nonprofit real estate developer tied to the archdiocese. Separately, the sale of St. Peter’s convent and rectory buildings appears to be imminent.  Read more

Boston Ballet bolsters dance card at Strand

Long something of a wallflower, the Strand Theatre is finding its dance card filling up quickly in 2010 with a couple of noteworthy debuts.

 On Valentine’s Day weekend, the former movie palace hosted the world premiere of a Tyler-Perry-like musical by a Dorchester minister. And next week Boston Ballet makes its first-ever visit to Uphams Corner with a presentation specifically designed for the city-owned arts venue.  Read more

Poetry, arts enhance outreach worker’s life, and his connection to city’s youth

Jill S. Gross Special to the Reporter
Mar. 10, 2010

Matthew ParkerMatthew ParkerMatthew Parker began turning his feelings and thoughts into poetry when he was a young teen growing up in the South End, with the rhythms and stories he created providing an outlet and an escape from the violent street life he saw around him.

At the same time, he was a budding leader in his community, organizing neighborhood activities and taking his first job as a camp counselor. Now, more than a decade later, his talents for poetry and leadership have made him a quiet force to help Boston youth find their own passion to steer them away from the streets -- be it poetry, music, sports, or dance.

“I try to give them something else to enjoy outside of their daily routine that is filled with so much trauma,” said Parker, who now lives in Dorchester.  Read more

Pols to tune each other up at St. Patrick’s Day breakfast

For some politicians, it can be more petrifying than Election Day: Getting up on a stage and trying to be funny.

But that’s exactly what the Bay State’s top elected officials – and perhaps some of the folks running against them – will be attempting at the annual St. Patrick’s Day breakfast in South Boston on Sunday morning.  Read more

Staffers at four Dot schools face re-applying for jobs

With state education officials pressing for dramatic improvement at twelve schools citywide that have been deemed underperforming, staff members at four Dorchester area schools will be asked to reapply for their jobs, local school officials said this week.
The schools taking action are Jeremiah E. Burke High, William Trotter Elementary, Paul Dever Elementary, and Harbor Middle School.  Read more

Neighbors stir in support of library branches

Residents are rallying in support of their branch libraries as city officials consider consolidations and the closing of an expected $3.6 million budget gap in the fiscal 2011 budget.

In Lower Mills, the head of the local merchants’ association is organizing a letter-writing campaign in a bid to save the local branch. Tony Paciulli, the president and CEO of Meetinghouse Bank, said it is the “most vulnerable one” out of the 26 neighborhood libraries.  Read more

Color the Village green: Adams Corner, St. Patrick’s Day: Made for each other

Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Mar. 10, 2010

With Boston boasting one of the highest concentrations of residents with Irish heritage in the country, it’s not surprising that every March the city is a center for celebrations around St. Patrick’s Day. Locally, a growing number of people have been flocking to Adams Village on the 17th to celebrate the holiday with old and new friends.

That is why a group of Village merchants recently joined forces to publicize all of the dining, shopping, and entertainment specials being offered on the holiday.  Read more

Local man sentenced to nearly 28 years for role in family drug ring

Quoc Trinh, 30, was sentenced today to 27 1/2 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to charges he help run the family marijuana and Ecstasy business out of its Bloomfield Street home.  Read more

Two-alarm fire forces 13 into the cold

The Boston Fire Department reports a fire that broke out around 11:30 at 12 Stanton St. early Saturday morning went to two alarms.

The fire, which spread from the second to the third floor, did an estimated $200,000 damage. Nobody was injured, but the Red Cross was called in to help nine adults and four children find places to sleep.