Headmaster aims high at English

By Elizabeth St. Victor; Special to the Reporter
Dec. 3, 2009

Boston English High School is experiencing wide, structural changes under the direction of its new headmaster Dr. Sito Narcisse, a 33-year-old Haitian-American educator who hopes to transform the struggling Jamaica Plain institution into one of the city’s best performing high schools.  Read more

Survey of Marshall School neighbors reveals many urgent safety concerns

Some asked for more street lights. Others asked for speed bumps along the roads to slow down cars. And many requested an increased police presence.

That’s what residents living in the area of the John Marshall Elementary School, which experienced two shootings within the span of a few weeks in November, asked for when quizzed last week by 70 volunteers from the Boston Public Health Commission and the Boston Centers for Youth & Families.  Read more

Point task force to meet Thursday night; some hope for closure on plan

The end could be in sight for a two-year effort to lay out a master redevelopment plan for Columbia Point. A mayorally-appointed task force that has been working for two years on a master plan with the city’s planning and development agency is scheduled to meet next Thursday (Dec. 10) at 6:30 p.m. in the Corcoran Mullins Jennison Community Building at 270 Mt. Vernon St.  Read more

Convicted bank robber charged with credit-union holdup

A man who only recently got out of jail for robbing banks was charged with holding up a Dorchester credit union last week after police matched fingerprints found on the demand note with his, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office says.  Read more

Heat-sensing technology helps convict Dorchester man on gun charge

Thermal image: Gun in the snow (via Suffolk County DA)Thermal image: Gun in the snow (via Suffolk County DA).

Jose Rodrigues, 25, last week became the first person in Massachusetts to be convicted by a jury on an illegal gun-possession charge based on technology that proved a gun he'd been holding on a cold January night still retained some of his body heat.  Read more

“To share” is the operative phrase in Dot this week

Think you’re cooking for a crowd this Thanksgiving?

Frank Kelley of South Boston, who is 75, roasted 50 turkeys last Tuesday as part of his annual labor of love  as head chef at St. Monica’s Parish near Andrew  Square. He has been running the holiday kitchen for the past 26 years, ever since the church started its famous everybody’s-welcome Thanksgiving spread.  Read more

November Beach Day

Carson Beach beckons on a cool, crisp fall afternoon.Carson Beach beckons on a cool, crisp fall afternoon.

Meade hopes to break ground for Kennedy Institute next year

Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 25, 2009

Officials at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate are expected to announce in a couple of weeks the selection of an architect for the program’s building on the campus of the University of Massachusetts at Boston.

“We hope to break ground next year,” said Peter Meade, president and chief executive of the institute, which will focus on education about the history and role of the U.S. Senate in American democracy.  Read more

What next for St. Fleur after decade in House?

State Rep. Marie St. Fleur is telling supporters that should Congressman Michael Capuano (D-Somerville) win his bid for the open U.S. Senate slot, she's "very interested" in mounting a campaign for his Eighth Congressional District seat, senior Democratic sources say.

St. Fleur, a self-described "kid from Uphams Corner," tells the Reporter she wants time to analyze whether a run would make sense and whether she has support for such a bid.  Read more

Bickford family quickly forges a new deal at Westminster Motors on the boulevard

Sue Asci, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 25, 2009

The biggest challenge facing Thrifty Car Sales at Westminster Motors on Morrissey Boulevard is letting people know they are still in business.

After operating on the site for 45 years, Westminster lost its Dodge
franchise when Chrysler was forced to downsize as a condition of receiving federal bailout money earlier this year. The decision resulted in the closure of 789 dealerships nationwide, and 12 in Massachusetts.  Read more

Tree lightings set for next Saturday

The city of Boston and the Dorchester Holiday Celebrations Committee has announced its schedule of holiday tree lightings for Nov. 28, the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  Read more

C.F. Donovan's closed; the future is unclear

Sue Asci
Nov. 19, 2009

C.F. Donovan'sC.F. Donovan'sC.F. Donovan's, the popular Dorchester neighborhood restaurant and bar on Savin Hill Ave. across from the T station, was shuttered this week and appears closed. The doors remain locked and the windows are covered with brown paper.  Read more

Four Dorchester schools targeted as underperformers

School Superintendent Carol Johnson said last night the Paul Dever, John P. Holland, William Monroe Trotter elementary schools and Harbor Middle School must either dramatically improve their scholastic results or face "serious consequences," possibly including shutting them down and sending students to other schools.  Read more

Lower Mills Stroll on tap this evening

Despite the drizzly weather, it was last year around this time that the first Lower Mills Holiday Stroll surprised organizers by attracting over 300 people, many of whom later returned to patronize shops they had peeked in on.

Tonight’s more elaborate second venture promises to attract even bigger crowds with its freebies, art displays, a book-signing for the new paperback about the Baker Chocolate Company, even free trolley service to shuttle shoppers too weary to “stroll” across the bridge between Dorchester and Milton.  Read more

Edward Everett Square fans can't wait for spring

Jill S. Gross, Special to the Reporter
Nov. 19, 2009

Come next spring, Edward Everett Square will blossom with new sculpture, vibrant flowers, and words that help tell the area’s story – a culmination of nearly 15 years of work to transform a drab and hectic intersection into a community asset.

Organizers hope the space, once completed, will not only lend beauty to the site but also become a destination for tours and schoolchildren. With the planning and work on the artwork and plantings for the square winding down, the community has formed a corporation to maintain the square’s improvements and promote its cultural uses.  Read more

Foreclosures spell opportunities; City, non-profits helping on deals

The corner of Colman and Henry Streets in September of 2007The corner of Colman and Henry Streets in September of 2007

Melanie Jansky wasn’t planning to buy a foreclosed property, but she wanted a condo that was affordable. “I was looking around the city,” she said. “Dorchester made sense for work, and also because I was living in Codman Square and I liked it there.”

A Randolph native who works in Jamaica Plain, Jansky ended up with a foreclosed condo in a three-decker on Lonsdale Street. The previous owner, who bought the unit in March 2006, had paid $285,000. Jansky got it for $169,000, with some cost-saving help made available by the City of Boston in areas with high rates of foreclosures.

“I know what the previous owner paid,” said Jansky. “It was totally redone. The whole building was gutted and redone. Everything was new. There was nothing I had to do before I moved in.”

Thanks to the city’s neighborhood stabilization program, Jansky said she was able to avoid the requirement for private mortgage insurance, without having to make a down payment of at least 20 percent. The city also offers additional money for owners who occupy the unit for the long term.

“It wasn’t that much more than my rent, when I was renting,” she said.

At a time when many foreclosed units in Dorchester’s three-deckers are being rebundled as multi-family homes, the unit on Lonsdale Street might be an exception. What they all have in common is that they’re coming on the market with sharply reduced prices, and they’re definitely in demand, if not always for owner-occupancy. In response, the city and non-profit developers are intervening in the market to protect tenants, avoid vacancies, and make sure the new owners are financially stable.  Read more

Two shot, one dies

Boston Police report that one of two men shot while sitting in a car at Bowdoin and Norton streets on Monday has died.  Read more

Police say Marshall School shooting was gang related; step up patrols in area

Boston Police say a 22-year-old man shot inside the John Marshall Elementary School gym last night "is well known to law enforcement" and that he attempted to flee the scene rather than wait for help.  Read more

Two sought for series of street robberies

Boston Police are looking for two men for a series of robberies in the area of Welles, Talbot and Dorchester avenues.  Read more

One-alarm fire in two-family house

A one-alarm fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m. today at 19 Bullard St., the Boston Fire Department says.  Read more

Firefighter rescues teen from two-alarm fire

A fire reported around 4:45 p.m. on Thursday 83 Evans St. quickly went to two alarms.  Read more

C.F. Donovan's apparently shuts down

C.F. Donovan's: Shuttered todayC.F. Donovan's: Shuttered today

C.F. Donovan's, the popular Dorchester neighborhood restaurant and bar on Savin Hill Ave. across from the T station, was shuttered this morning and appears closed.  Read more

‘Fiddler’ at the Opera House: A mixed reaction

Through this Sunday, Boston lovers of “Tradition”-al musicals are getting the chance to see the great elegiac “Fiddler on the Roof,” starring the man who has become synonymous with central role of the long-suffering milkman Teyve.

Many elements of the production remind one why this show, despite its painful subject matter, managed for ten years to hold the title of Broadway’s longest-running musical. Other aspects suggest that “Fiddler” and other shows of its ilk may have seen their day.  Read more

ABCD looking to winter’s cold, aiming to help with fuel costs

Sue Asci
Nov. 12, 2009

As winter approaches, applications are already on the rise for federal fuel assistance. The doors opened just last week for this year’s allotment.

Officials at Action for Boston Community Development, which distributes resources from the federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, said the state has already received $162 million in federal funding.  Read more

Boston Bowl: Model of endurance

Sue Asci
Nov. 12, 2009

Boston Bowl on Morrissey Blvd. marked its 50th anniversary of operation in Dorchester last week, its longevity a direct result of maintaining value and the ability to adapt to changes in the business model, its owners say.

“Bowling is still a good value,” said Phil Strazzula Jr., vice president of the company. “When times are tough, many people stop taking trips or family vacations. But they still want to do things with the kids.”  Read more