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
Nov. 19, 2009
C.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
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
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.
Tonightâ€™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 â€œstrollâ€ across the bridge between Dorchester and Milton. Read more
Nov. 19, 2009
Come next spring, Edward Everett Square will blossom with new sculpture, vibrant flowers, and words that help tell the areaâ€™s story â€“ 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 squareâ€™s improvements and promote its cultural uses. Read more
Melanie Jansky wasnâ€™t planning to buy a foreclosed property, but she wanted a condo that was affordable. â€œI was looking around the city,â€ she said. â€œDorchester made sense for work, and also because I was living in Codman Square and I liked it there.â€
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.
â€œI know what the previous owner paid,â€ said Jansky. â€œIt was totally redone. The whole building was gutted and redone. Everything was new. There was nothing I had to do before I moved in.â€
Thanks to the cityâ€™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.
â€œIt wasnâ€™t that much more than my rent, when I was renting,â€ she said.
At a time when many foreclosed units in Dorchesterâ€™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 theyâ€™re coming on the market with sharply reduced prices, and theyâ€™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
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
Through this Sunday, Boston lovers of â€œTraditionâ€-al musicals are getting the chance to see the great elegiac â€œFiddler on the Roof,â€ 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 Broadwayâ€™s longest-running musical. Other aspects suggest that â€œFiddlerâ€ and other shows of its ilk may have seen their day. Read more
Nov. 12, 2009
As winter approaches, applications are already on the rise for federal fuel assistance. The doors opened just last week for this yearâ€™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
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.
â€œBowling is still a good value,â€ said Phil Strazzula Jr., vice president of the company. â€œWhen times are tough, many people stop taking trips or family vacations. But they still want to do things with the kids.â€ Read more
The parish that owns the site of the former St. Williamâ€™s School is looking for realtors to lease or sell the property even as the Boston archdiocese insists that the door remains open to moving a private Roman Catholic high school into the vacant property.
The parish pastor, Father Jack Ahern, and the archdiocese had been locked in negotiations over bringing North Cambridge Catholic High School, part of a national network of 22 schools across the country called Cristo Rey, to the former St. Williamâ€™s School site. The Savin Hill property is currently being used as a storage site. Read more
Nov. 12, 2009
Claude Leonidas continues to make his weekday trek from Mattapan to South Station on the MBTA, undeterred by a critical report last week highlighting a huge backlog -- $500 million worth -- of maintenance projects needed to keep the system safe.
Other than the annoyance of delays and a lack of communication about what caused them, Leonidas said he hasnâ€™t experienced anything where he felt his safety was threatened. â€œI still feel safe riding the T,â€ said Leonidas, who takes the Mattapan trolley and the Red Line to work. Read more
Local lawmakers are calling on state transportation officials to pull back on the proposal for an express busway along Blue Hill Ave. for which the state is seeking a $140 million federal stimulus grant.
The request from lawmakers comes after months of community meetings at which many residents and businesses of Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury greeted with skepticism a proposed transit line called "Route 28X" that would run along dedicated bus lanes on portions of the corridor between Mattapan Square and Ruggles Station. Read more
An aging infrastructure. A massive debt load. And 51 unfunded projects classified as a â€œdanger to life and limb of passengers and/or employees.â€ Those are just a few of the problems facing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, the agency that oversees the Red Line and other transit lines that together provide for 1.2 million rider trips on an average weekday. Read more
Nov. 12, 2009
Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses (FDNH) received the Coming Up Taller Award for its Art a la Carte program at a ceremony hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House last week. FDNH CEO Mark Culliton and Art a la Carte student Liana Rae Farmer, above, were greeted by the first Lady at the ceremony in Washington. Photo courtesy FDNH. Read more
A two-alarm fire that broke out shortly before 7 p.m. did an estimated $400,000 damage to a single-family home at 83 Blake St., the Boston Fire Department reports. Read more