News

Eyewitness Christmas: Tellin' it how it was

Editor's note: Tony, an angel, visits earth fairly often now because there is a lot for him to do here. He dictated this article to an old friend of ours, Ed Madden, about 13 years ago, while he was still with us. He says they are still engaging in a bit of deviltry, and enjoying every heavenly minute of it. By Tony, an Angel

I don't really know how I got picked for the job of going down to Bethlehem that night. It certainly wasn't my great singing voice. You folks think all angels are born singers, but we're not.

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Outrage over T's trolley tree cuts

The remains of two mature trees and a stand of bushes along the Neponset Greenway. Photo by Pete Stidman.

Many users and neighbors of the Mattapan High Speed Line were horrified last week at what they called a total clear-cutting of all vegetation anywhere near the line's tracks.  Read more

Nuestra CDC begins its fight against blight

On the Roxbury-Dorchester border around Quincy and Dacia streets, the battle to stem blight caused by foreclosed and empty properties has begun. Nuestra Community Development Corporation acquired its first foreclosed three-decker at 21 Dacia, just inside the Dorchester border and right in the middle of one of three "Foreclosure Intervention Team" priority areas chosen by the city.

"We need to buy one building every month or two," said Nuestra director David Price this week.  Read more

Feeney appoints 'fact-finder' on Turner council role

Council President Maureen Feeney appointed former Chief Magistrate Judge Charles B. Swartwood III this week as an independent fact finder to advise the council on whether District 7 Councillor Chuck Turner is fit to serve on the council.

"He began his work yesterday," said Feeney's chief of staff Justin Holmes. "It isn't to find guilt or innocence, it is a question of qualification."  Read more

Health commission votes to ban cigar, hookah bars

The Boston Public Health Commission voted last Thursday to extinguish cigar bars and hookah bars and end the sales of tobacco in pharmacies and on college campuses, giving Boston some of the toughest anti-tobacco rules in the nation.

The panel, however, decided to give the bars 10 years before they would have to close, doubling the original proposed grace period for the establishments.

Boston is the largest city, by far, to move to outlaw smoking bars, which have been exempt from the city's four-year-old workplace smoking ban.  Read more

Foreclosure activity nationally drops to June levels

The number of American homeowners dragged into the housing crisis fell last month to the lowest level since June as new state laws lengthened the foreclosure process, RealtyTrac reported last Thursday.

"We're going to have a pretty significant spike in January,'' said Rick Sharga, RealtyTrac's vice president for marketing. Plus, as job losses mount, "increases in foreclosure activity follow that pretty directly,'' he added.  Read more

Face slasher gets decade behind bars

Dorchester's Steven Banks, 48, was sentenced last Friday to nine to 10 years in prison for slashing the face of his former girlfriend's former boyfriend. According to evidence and testimony introduced at the trial, the love triangle met on Hopkins Street, Nov. 13, 2007. When the woman introduced her former boyfriend to Banks as "one of my oldest and dearest friends," Banks said, " I don't shake hands." After a "discussion" Banks slashed the victim's face from ear to chin and took off in a motor vehicle. The knife was later found by police in Banks' possession.  Read more

DCR floats 'disc golf' idea for Pope John Paul II Park

A rough sketch that was passed around this month's Neponset Greenway Council meeting has some devotees of the flying disc flying high.

Drawn up by an intern at the Department of Conservation and Recreation, according to sources who were there, the sketch envisioned a nine-hole disc golf course in a lesser-used section of the Pope John Paul II Park.

"It's just an idea at this point," said Wendy Fox, spokesperson for the DCR. "We're just looking at it."  Read more

Family apologizes for phony cancer fundraiser

A 24 year-old local man who claimed he was dying of cancer last summer faked it, according to an account reported by Boston Globe columnist Adrian Walker last week. In his Friday column, headlined "Lying for love," Walker told readers that he too was duped when he wrote a sympathetic piece about Jake Severino last summer, just before a fundraiser was held to benefit him at Florian Hall. The Reporter also published a brief news item before the Sept. 11 "time" in our Sept. 4 edition.  Read more

Council hopeful cited for stickers

Complaints from civic leaders about candidate Doug Bennett's bumper stickers - plastered on public equipment all over Dorchester in recent weeks - have resulted in a fine from the city's inspectional services department. This sticker was one of two improperly displayed at the intersection of Columbia Road and Dorchester Ave. this week.  Read more

Newly-minted captain takes command at C-11: Richard Sexton, 42, replaces John Greland

Superintendent Daniel Linskey, who commands the BPD's Bureau of Fields Services, is shown with Captain Richard Sexton, who was appointed to take command of Dorchester's Area C-11 last Friday. Photo by Bill Forry  Read more

Second miracle the goal

Since last spring, leaders in the world of violence-intervention from across the city have been conjuring up ideas and tactics to bring back the best aspects of the Boston Miracle, the citywide collaboration that brought the city's homicide rate crashing down from the triple digits in 1990 to 31 by 1999.  Read more

MWRA 'still open' to talks on odor facility

The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority this week said it is still open to negotiations on a tense standoff over the design of an "odor control" facility on Columbia Point, but Joseph J. Corcoran - whose company plans a billion-dollar development next door - is sticking to his guns, saying Corcoran Jennison Cos. should not have to pay an extra dime to make sure the neighborhood isn't impacted by fumes.  Read more

Menino: City could lose $60 million in local aid

By 
State House News Service
Dec. 10, 2008

Boston Mayor Thomas Menino said Tuesday that the capital's loss in a local aid rollback could be as much as $60 million, warning that economic realities could force the city to face the same service cutbacks that have prompted other mayors to stop plowing residential streets.

Accepting instead of bucking House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi's pronouncement Monday that state assistance to cities and towns could drop 10 percent next fiscal year, Menino said, "We as a city have been realizing that might happen."  Read more

Wilkerson enters 'not guilty' plea in federal court

"Not guilty, your honor."

Those words, said firmly and confidently, made up former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson's first public comments since she was ushered out of her Senate office by her sons and family friends, after formally resigning on Nov. 19.

Before an audience in the jury box comprised of visiting prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys from Macedonia, Wilkerson pleaded not guilty during her arraignment on Monday in U.S. District Court in Boston, kicking off what could be a long legal fight for the Roxbury Democrat. Her next court date is Jan. 22.  Read more

Will Staff Sgt. Lynch be coming home soon?

William Lynch, pictured in 1937 after joining the Marines.

The somber bugle's "Taps" echoed through the streets as the Lynch family and the Dorchester neighborhood memorialized their fallen son.

Despite being less than five, Judy Armour vividly remembers the 1950s ceremony honoring her uncle William Joseph Lynch for his service as a Marine in World War II. Armour and her family sat on a stage erected for the event. Mayor John Hynes attended and had a few words to say.  Read more

Precarious photos put viewers in their place

Fran Osborn-Blaschke's "Sunset" taken in Provincetown from Noonan's Landing at 42 degrees 02' 57.81" north latitude, 70 degrees 07' 05.55" west longitude.

"Some people consciously try to use art to understand things, but I just appreciate them," photographer Fran Osborn-Blaschke says of his work. His recent series, titled "curve of the Earth" is a testament to this statement.  Read more

Marrow donor sought for 4-year-old boy

A bone marrow donor drive is planned for next Saturday (Dec. 20) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at St. Mark's Church to help find a match for a four-year old boy who is suffering from a rare disease. Alexander Phan has been diagnosed with hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a life-threatening condition for which he is now being treated with chemotherapy. Phan's family has strong Dorchester roots and his father, Steve, works at the Murphy School in Neponset.  Read more

Now indicted, Turner keeps railing at media, prosecutor

Hours after he was indicted by federal prosecutors as a co-conspirator in the same bribery case that has ensnared former Sen. Dianne Wilkerson, City Councillor Chuck Turner again denounced U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan and the media.

Turner, accused of attempted extortion and lying about it, maintained his innocence and said Sullivan, a Republican, was playing a "little game." A member of the Green-Rainbow Party, Turner said, "He didn't know he was going to kick off a movement. We are going to cleanse the soul of America."  Read more

Pastor at Blessed Mother Teresa is moving to Weymouth parish

Advent is traditionally a time of anticipation and joy, but for members of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta Parish recent news has tinged the season with feelings of loss and anxiety. Last Friday word quickly spread through the Columbia-Savin Hill community that Cardinal Sean O'Malley had reassigned BMT's well-liked pastor, Fr. Paul Soper, to Saint Albert the Great Parish of Weymouth, effective in early January.  Read more

Dot's Pop Warner Eagles fall to N.C. team in Disney Bowl

Karma and determination. Those are the two words that best describe the Dorchester Eagles organization. Through the years they have not only nurtured the youth of Boston to make them better football players, but also to become better students and better members of society.  Read more

Police saluted at Medal of Honor ceremony

Six officers from District B-3 were awarded the Boston Police Department's Medal of Honor on Sunday for their actions in responding to a stand-off with a distraught man last November. Above, Captain James Claiborne congratulates Officer Claire K. Duffy on her award. Pictured, l-r, are officers Daniel P. Donahue, Garvin F. McHale, Martin D. Harrison, Duffy, Jeffrey J. Mclean and Henry J. Doherty.  Read more

New look for gift shop at Carney

Carney Hospital volunteer Mary Keeley of Dorchester and longtime staffer Ann Hart of Walpole are pictured at the recently renovated Carney Gift Shop. Photo by Ed Forry.

Neighborhood shoppers looking for a special holiday gift have a new option in Lower Mills. Caritas Carney Hospital has renovated and enlarged its main lobby Gift Shop, and a new manager has brought an expanded variety of items to the mix.  Read more

Retiring SJC Justice Greaney unfazed by critics of gay marriage ruling

Justice John Greaney didn't write the Supreme Judicial Court's landmark ruling making Massachusetts the first state in the nation to legalize same-sex marriage, but five years later, a passage from his concurring opinion is sometimes used by gay couples in their wedding ceremonies.

"We share a common humanity and participate together in the social contract that is the foundation of our Commonwealth,'' Greaney wrote. "Simple principles of decency dictate that we extend ... full acceptance, tolerance and respect. We should do so because it is the right thing to do.''  Read more

Small biz owners dig in as hard times take a toll

The recession is beginning to hit local shops according to neighborhood Main Street organizations, though most businesses seem to be holding on as the holiday season begins.

Anecdotal evidence points to a general slowdown in foot traffic, though there has yet to be any rash of store closings.

"I know that the economy is taking its toll," said Evelyn Darling, Fields Corner Main Street program director.  Read more