News

Eviction crisis will persist, say advocates

Last Friday, Soledad Lawrence was chained to the front of a condominium at 76 Perrin St in Roxbury, trying to keep Paula Taylor from being evicted. Lawrence, a tenant organizer for City Life, a Jamaica Plain non-profit that has been working to prevent evictions and foreclosures in Boston, intended to be arrested that morning.

"We always go in prepared to be arrested," she said in a phone interview this week.

Friday wasn't her day. She wasn't arrested, but four others were.  Read more

Banker helps collar robbery suspect

Outraged when he realized that someone was attempting to rob his bank for a second time in 10 days, a Lower Mills bank president reacted by dropping his phone and running out of his office to give chase last Friday afternoon. And with the help of a Boston cop in his cruiser in a nearby parking lot, the collar was made.

The incident took place mid-day last Friday. Meetinghouse Cooperative Bank President Tony Paciulli was in his office at the bank on Dorchester Avenue at the corner of Richmond Street, when he realized that a man was attempting to pass a note demanding cash.  Read more

Revamped Catholic schools get set for first day

On Tuesday morning at nine, teachers, administrators and clergy of the Pope John Paul II Academy gathered at St. Mark's Church on Dorchester Avenue to celebrate a new school year, and what they term a new beginning for Catholic education in urban centers across the United States.  Read more

Dot's Dems see history from the front row

State Reps. Marty Walsh, Linda Dorcena Forry, Gloria Fox and Willie Mae Allen were among the delegates who traveled to Denver for last week's Democratic National Convention. The four are shown above inside Invesco Field at Mile High during the final night of the convention.  Read more

Two Dot banks sign onto veterans housing program

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Sep. 3, 2008

Two Dorchester community banks have signed on to offer low or no-down payment mortgages for veterans through a program sponsored by Mass Housing, the state program that develops and promotes affordable housing. The residential loan program "Home for the Brave" was crafted to assist veterans serving in current conflicts.  Read more

After year, college prep bears fruit at Federated

Federated Dorchester Neighborhood Houses' new focus on shepherding Dot's youth onto the college track is bearing fruit, says director Mark Culliton. In what was once called FDNH's GED program - but now is referred to as college prep 0 14 former high school dropouts have entered college.

"I always wanted to go to college, but I didn't want to go to high school," said 19-year-old Jazmen Huggins, a Dorchester resident and former Charlestown High School student who took FDNH's program from July to August this year. "It was like an epidemic at school, everybody was dropping out."  Read more

Viet-AID goes back to drawing board on Geneva Ave. plans

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Sep. 3, 2008

The developer of a proposed 29-unit affordable housing building in Fields Corner was asked to make changes to the project and negotiate with abutters late last month, forcing at least a six-month delay. Some observers--pairing the opposition to this project with blockers of a smaller four-story building at the former site of the Lucky Strike Bowling Alley--note a developing trend in Fields Corner that is anti-density, hamstringing sizable investment in the area.  Read more

Neighbors peeved by style change at St. Margaret's

Father Paul Soper, who delivered a homily describing a new Catholic school system built on a leap, a prayer and millions of dollars Tuesday morning, sat Tuesday evening in a meeting of abutters to St. Margaret's School and his Blessed Mother Teresa Church. He was the only one who openly said he liked how the new gymnasium and cafeteria addition to the school - now half-built - looked from Roseclair Street.

"I like it," he said. "I like how it looks."  Read more

Local Poet starts small, wins big with 'chapbook'

Poet and Dorchester resident Anna Ross enjoys her backyard with her daughter Ita Berg. Photo by Kendra Stanton Lee.

When trying to establish oneself in the publishing industry, it may be best to start small. As small as, say, a chapbook. And what exactly is a chapbook?

Ask Dorchester poet Anna Ross who was awarded first prize in the 2008 New Women's Voices chapbook contest by Finishing Line Press.  Read more

Police districts B-3 and B-6 could grow, C-11 shrink

Pressures from various neighborhoods have kept a change in Boston's police districts slow cooking for years, but the final touches are being added to a new re-districting recipe that may be ready by November, as long as no neighborhoods get steamed.

District captains have been reaching out to their constituents, feeling out how each views the natural boundaries and allegiances in their neighborhoods.  Read more

A new day dawns at Jeremiah Burke

Bent over her desk in Room 342, Anizia Piris is preparing for the start of the 2008-2009 school year. Today, the 12-year teaching veteran will start a new job as a math instructor at the long troubled and now newly refurbished Jeremiah E. Burke High School in Grove Hall.

When the school bell rings this morning it will usher in the first students the Washington Street building has seen since a massive rehabilitation project began in December 2006.  Read more

Vietnamese tradition comes to Dot Park

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Sep. 3, 2008

The 14th of September, which happens to be the 15th day of the eighth lunar month in the calendar used in Vietnam, is the day of Têt Trung Thu, a traditional child-centric harvest festival. For the first time - on Sept. 1 - that holiday which involves colorful lanterns, singing and moon cakes, will be celebrated publicly in Dorchester Park.  Read more

Pit stop with a purpose

It is 10:30 on a humid Friday morning and the Fair Foods truck is on time. So are their customers.

The line queuing up to the back of the truck parked at the corner of Adams and Whitten Streets is 10 deep, each customer eager to know what today's surplus will afford. Today there are potatoes and onions, just like last week's shipment. But there is also corn, and bottles of soda, too.  Read more

An entrepreneur's lab rises in an old UMass dining hall

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Aug. 27, 2008

An old cafeteria on the fifth floor of UMass-Boston's science building is being transformed this summer into a research and development "innovation" center that will allow entrepreneurs to conduct experiments and prepare new products for the marketplace with the aide of UMass faculty and students. The Venture Development Center (VDC) will mark UMass-Boston's first foray into a rapidly expanding field of on-campus innovation incubators that could bolster the university's position in recruitment and retention of faculty and students.  Read more

Four Corners club draws flak

The 2004 sprinkler law that forced nightclubs across the state to install sprinkler systems and new fire alarms has sent pocketbook-draining shockwaves through that industry, forcing some to move and a few to appeal the law. But in the Four Corners area it has caused dancing in the streets - and not the kind appreciated by neighbors.  Read more

Policing parks a work in progress

When the city of Boston disbanded its Municipal Police Department - a small, but focused force that patrolled city parks, buildings and parking lots exclusively - some local residents worried that there would be a noticeable gap in police patrols and a potential explosion in vandalism, vagrancy and delinquency. A year-and-a-half later, there's been no measurable jump in park incidents, but there are lingering concerns about just how secure neighborhood parks can be post-Muni.  Read more

Shootings erupt on a bloody Monday evening

Parts of Dorchester erupted in gunfire on Monday night, part of spasm of violence across the city that included the shooting of a 4 year-old boy in Roxbury. In the span of a few short hours, there were shootings reported on Hamilton Street, Harvard Street, Shafter Street and Callender Street.  Read more

Country cooking in a blessed location

If you're not a member of the Morning Star Baptist or Metropolitan Baptist churches or a resident on Middleton Street, you likely haven't yet heard about Anns Heavenly Cuisine. But beyond an unassuming side door with one little sign hanging over it, down a flight of stairs and amidst a plain-Jane church basement with eight yellow-clad tables and 32 folding chairs, Annie Moore is serving up the real southern country cooking to the public every weekend. The real.  Read more

Missing in action: owners who live at home; Investors dominate multi-family market

On a single dead-end street on Meetinghouse Hill, two extremes of Dorchester's troubled multi-family housing market can be found side by side. The difference between these two three-deckers on Navillus Terrace - creatively named for a man named Sullivan - reflects market price, but also conjures up a fortune-telling vision for the neighborhood.  Read more

MyTown tours contemplates Fields Corner as next stop

A popular teen program that shepherds tourists down the side streets and lost histories of the South End is being courted for a possible expansion into Fields Corner.

Historic Boston Inc. helped bring a stable of Fields Corner figures together for a MyTown tour of the South End's Columbus Avenue last Wednesday and afterward feted tourists and tour guides alike at a Vietnamese noodle shop nearby, all to help put a new spotlight onto the corner's history.  Read more

Drop-out bill establishes commission

Gov. Deval Patrick last week signed a bill aimed at reducing the school drop-out rate by setting up a commission to look into the problem. The bill (S 2766) was shepherded through the Legislature by Dorchester's state Rep. Marie St. Fleur.

Boston has a 40 percent drop-out rate, according to Lew Finfer, executive director of the Massachusetts Communication Action Network. Dropouts also earn $465,000 less in their lifetime than high school graduates.  Read more

Loyalty card program gets renewed push

Just in time for Christmas shopping in 2006, the city of Boston announced a first-of-its-kind customer loyalty card that was to create a symbiotic relationship between local businesses, pennywise shoppers and community-based non-profits and schools. A year and a half and countless hours of work later, the system has earned precious few donations for its beneficiaries, just passing the $8,000 mark this week.

But it's still a good idea.  Read more

Chang-Diaz releases poll showing lead over Wilkerson

Seeking to build momentum heading into the Sept. 16 Democratic primary, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson's challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz this week released an internal poll showing the veteran lawmaker down by 17.5 percent.

In a poll taken last week of 417 likely Democratic primary voters, Chang-Diaz outpolled Wilkerson by 47.2 percent to 29.7 percent. Twenty-three percent were undecided. The margin of error is 4.8 percent.  Read more

Neighbors get sneak peek at new Mattapan library

No opening date has been set yet, but the new Mattapan Library is swiftly becoming a reality on Blue Hill Avenue. Members of the task force that advised the city on its construction got an advance tour on Monday, just to see if there were any lingering concerns from the group.  Read more

A day at Dot's beaches: Festival draws crowds to sands of Malibu, Savin Hill

The weather this summer has been spotty at best, with an unusual amount of cloudy days and copious amounts of rainfall, enough to dampen even the sunniest of dispositions.

But last Saturday, Aug. 16, dawned bright and sunny, the temps reached into the low 80s, and the long-planned revival of a return to Dot's bountiful beaches came off with nary a hitch.  Read more