Mass. House, by 126-19, approves the process for latest redistricting

Gintautas Dumcius, State House News Service
Mar. 12, 2009

House lawmakers voted 126-19 Thursday to create a committee of House and Senate members to handle the decennial task of re-drawing the lines of Congressional and legislative districts.

The House voted 132-23 to reject an alternative plan that called for an independent, eight-member commission to take on redistricting and deliver its recommendations to the Legislature, which would have the option of rejecting them.  Read more

$1.6 million tax scofflaw finds shelter from foreclosure, again

Although times are tough and budgets tight, the Land Court can't seem to make a call in the city's largest property tax scofflaw case, which has now dragged on for almost five years.

Maxwell Products Corporation and owner Hal Cohen owe well over $1.6 million in property taxes and interest on a large industrial property at 65 E. Cottage St. and over $750,000 to a profit sharing and pension fund he said he would repay in an agreement with the Department of Labor.  Read more

Hart anticipates 'great material' for breakfast

A burgeoning mayoral race. A governor who has just returned from Jamaica with his taxpayer-paid troopers in tow. And an ex-governor from several states away who is prone to swearing and allegedly calling a U.S. Senate seat a "[expletive] valuable thing."

Those are just some of the topics expected to come up with a side of corned beef during the St. Patrick's Day breakfast this Sunday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The event is an annual political tradition held every year since about the 1940s in the city, still a stronghold for Irish-American elected officials.  Read more

Facing debts, T eyes off-peak service cuts, fare hike

Kyle Cheney, State House News Service
Mar. 12, 2009

Unless the state comes to the rescue of the MBTA, riders may be hit with a 30 percent fare hike and half the level of service on weekends and during off-peak hours, top state transportation officials warned Monday.

A hike of that size would push a $1.70 subway ride to $2.21, higher than New York's current $2.  Read more

New FCC nominee brings ray of hope for low-power radio

It's apparently not his forte, but low-power FM advocates take his rise to heart anyway. Julius Genachowski, who once helped edit the Harvard Law Review under a rising star named Barack Obama, was officially announced as the President's nominee to the Federal Communications Commission March 3.

"I'm ecstatic about it," said Charles Clemons, owner of the unlicensed radio station TOUCH 106.1 FM. "It's another step in the right direction."  Read more

Ruff styles: Eclectic furnishings

Churning out everything from huggable seahorses to 6 by 7 foot acrylic chandeliers, Dorchester's Shane Ruff epitomizes the new breed of artists who have both the creativity to produce a wide variety of public-pleasing works and the skills to get their goods seen and sold.  Read more

Hanlon tapped for appeals court

Gov. Deval Patrick has nominated Dorchester District Court's top judge for a slot on the state Appeals Court.

Sydney Hanlon, who lives in Dorchester and is the first justice of the Washington Street courthouse, would replace retiring Judge Andre Gelinas.

Hanlon must first be confirmed by a judicial vetting panel, which is made up of eight independently elected members known as Governor's Councilors. She was easily confirmed when she went before the council in 1990, after then-Gov. Michael Dukakis nominated her to the bench.  Read more

Will recession drive Irish back to Dot?

Getting ready: Molly Dalton, Dermot Quinn and Roseleen Weir prepare Greenhills Bakery for St. Patrick's Day and discuss the potential influx of new immigrants.Getting ready: Molly Dalton, Dermot Quinn and Roseleen Weir prepare Greenhills Bakery for St. Patrick's Day and discuss the potential influx of new immigrants.The "Celtic Tiger" era of Ireland is long gone. On the isle, hundreds of thousands are protesting in the streets, there's a 10.4 percent unemployment rate and a near universal government disapproval. But the economic reversal has yet to result in a significant increase of Irish immigration to Dorchester.

Lack of employment opportunity in the States and the difficulty of obtaining visas may be making the move less appealing, according to some, though others speculate it may only be a matter of time before Dot's Irish pubs are packed once again.

At the Twelve Ben's pub on Adams Street, John Connely, a carpenter, said he often hears from contacts back home about the recent trend of immigration to Australia.  Read more

Police to cut jobs, move Youth Force out of building on Hancock Street

After two years in a small building at 170 Hancock St., the Boston Police Department's Youth Violence Strike Force and bicycle unit are moving out, part of several other cutbacks - including 60 layoffs - designed to trim the department's budget in a low-revenue year for the city.  Read more

Locals seek say in St. Kevin's fate

The former St. Kevin's School on Columbia Road, now listed for sale by the Archdiocese: Photo by Pete Stidman.The former St. Kevin's School on Columbia Road, now listed for sale by the Archdiocese: Photo by Pete Stidman.The former site of St. Kevin's Parish on Columbia Road is officially on the real estate market, and local civic and business groups are taking steps to make sure their voices are heard before any transaction happens.

The future of the 2.23-acre Uphams Corner property - which was closed last summer to create the Pope John Paul II academy at five other campuses - will be the subject of three community meetings this spring. The first is set for tonight at 6:30 p.m. in the Cape Verdean Adult Day Care Center on Hancock Street. Although the upcoming meetings are not sanctioned by the Archdiocese, one of the chief organizers said that church officials have been receptive.  Read more

Lawmakers weigh gas tax proposal

Amid all the hubbub in the Commonwealth over Gov. Deval Patrick's proposed 19-cent hike in the gas tax - with some business organizations calling for a 25-cent raise, state senators calling for reforms first, revenue later, and other legislators calling for less, less, less - local transit advocates are calling for more, more, more for the state's public transportation. Meanwhile, most local lawmakers are leaning toward a smaller tax increase.  Read more

Shooter gets lengthy term for Levin crossfire death

A Dorchester man will serve 27 1/2 to 30 years in prison for the crossfire killing of a visiting Kentucky woman in March 2007. A judge last Friday sentenced Casimiro Barros to the maximum after he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in the death of 22-year-old Chiara Levin.

Prosecutors say Barros, 22, and Manuel Andrade, 35, were shooting at each other on Geneva Ave. when a stray bullet hit Levin in the head. She and friends had gone to a party with Andrade after meeting him in a nightclub.  Read more

Dot's Holmes moves to Convention Center job

Dorchester native Justin Holmes, who has had a high profile in City Councillor Maureen Feeney's office during her recent two-year stint as Council President, has taken a new job as director of government relations for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority under director James Rooney.

"He certainly made my presidency a much more positive experience because of his extensive capabilities," said Feeney this week. "I'm just so happy for him. The fact that there were people vying for him in this economy really speaks volumes."  Read more

So far, UMass build-out not impacted by money crunch

Facing a deficit totaling millions of dollars, UMass-Boston is forging ahead with plans to expand its Columbia Point campus, including a science complex, dorms and garages.

UMass officials say that despite the weak economy and state budget cuts, they remain on track to break ground on their own science building in autumn 2010. The 250,000-square foot "integrated science complex" is expected to open at the end of 2013.  Read more

Dot bicyclist to join Mass. Ave. reconstruction lawsuit; case may set precedent for bicyclists' rights in the state

At least one member of DotBike has stood up to be counted among the plaintiffs suing the City of Boston and the state for allegedly not doing everything possible to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists in a reconstruction of a stretch of Massachusetts Avenue from Albany Street to Westland Avenue, and more DotBikers may follow.  Read more

Eagles still working to appeal sanctions after Disney fight

It has become a waiting game for the Dorchester Eagles. The football and cheerleading program is waiting for the national Pop Warner board to come back with a decision that could decide the fate of the neighborhood's pigskin future.

The Eagles are also waiting for the Osecola County Sheriff's Department in Florida to process charges being pressed against a Cranston, R.I. coach who allegedly took part in a brawl with an Eagles player at Disneyworld last year.  Read more

Yoon launches bid, calls Menino's style 'outmoded'

As about 200 supporters chowed down on Singapore rice noodles and boneless spare ribs, City Councillor At-Large Sam Yoon formally kicked off his mayoral run Tuesday night.

In his speech to supporters, Yoon made little mention of the 15-year incumbent, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, instead charging that the power in city politics has been concentrated in the hands of the "chosen few." He pledged to "change Boston politics forever."  Read more

She says 'soul' helps leaders in crisis

Margaret BenefielMargaret BenefielThe lessons of the still-unraveling economic crash will likely take economists and social scientists years to deconstruct. Dorchester's Margaret Benefiel, however, thinks the root cause can be summed up rather simply: Short-sighted, selfish greed. In a word, soullessness.  Read more

Condominium sales way up as prices plummet

For most of Boston, the chill in the housing market has meant a more glacial turnover, especially for condominiums. But in Dorchester's condo market, figures from the Warren Group show a blizzard of sales accompanied by a steep plunge in the median price.

By comparison with the same month for the previous year, the Warren Group reports condo sales in Dorchester this January were up by 45.8 percent, while the median price was down by 69.3 percent. That was the largest drop in median price for any part of Boston with more than a half dozen transactions.  Read more

Help find Belle the lost dog!

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge

UPDATE: Belle has been found and returned safely! Thank you Dorchester!

20 lbs, mini beagle, collar with tags, last wearing brown/grey dog coat.

Lost 03/02/09 10a.m. Whitmore Ter/Glendale St./Hancock St. Do not chase - please call about any sightings with time and location! Call Brian at the Animal Rescue League Boston at 617-594-2519.

New busing proposal leaves Dorchester short

After a School Committee review of a controversial proposal to create a five-zone busing plan for Boston Public Schools rather than the current three-zone one, the only certainty is the need for further changes.

Preliminary analysis based on each school's No Child Left Behind status showed a higher percentage of schools in need of academic improvement in zones that would have included Dorchester and Roxbury, thus limiting strong schools to choose from.  Read more

'Unsung hereos' share spotlight

Two honored as Dorchester Neighborhood Fellows: Desire runs Dorchester's Association of Haitian Women in Boston, while Grey is a Dorchester resident who directs the city's trauma response unit. Photo courtesy TPITwo honored as Dorchester Neighborhood Fellows: Photo courtesy TPI

Two neighborhood people were hailed as "social entrepreneurs" in an awards banquet held on Monday evening in the South End. Courtney Grey, a Dorchester resident who directs the city's trauma response efforts, and Haitian-American activist Carline Desire each received $30,000 prizes as part of the recognition from The Philanthropic Initiative (TPI), which hosted the 19th annual Neighborhood Fellows event.  Read more

Some new relief is in the offing as Americans file 2008 taxes

Carole Feldman, Associated Press
Mar. 5, 2009

If you're a first-time home buyer, victim of a natural disaster, or if you installed a small wind turbine in your backyard to generate electricity, you could find some tax relief when you file your 2008 return.

There also are new incentives to save for retirement, and some popular tax breaks have been renewed.

Start filling out your taxes, in fact, and you might find, "The IRS really gives me an opportunity to save some money this year,'' said Jeff Schnepper, MSN tax expert and author of books on taxes and finance.  Read more

Shopping promotion gets Uphams Corner man moving

Troy Crawford, above, who lives and works in the area, won a new iPod Touch through the Uphams Corner Main Streets promotion. Photo courtesy UCMS.  Read more

Brothers drop new anchor in Uphams Corner

Butcher Ramón Perez shows off some choice cuts at Brother's Supermarket in Uphams Corner.: Photo by Pete Stidman. Click to enlargeButcher Ramón Perez shows off some choice cuts at Brother's Supermarket in Uphams Corner.: Photo by Pete Stidman. Click to enlargeThere are benefits to having a large family. One of them, it seems, is a set of natural partners in the business world.

That is definitely the case for the Fernandez brothers, who just opened their second Brother's Supermarket on Dudley Street in Uphams Corner last month. The six brothers each have a role in managing or working at one or more of their three liquor stores and two groceries in Roxbury and Dorchester.  Read more