Marathon bombing unanimous choice as State House story of the year

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Dec. 27, 2013

There were tales of human tragedy and political triumph, long-sought justice and a ferocious debate over taxes. But at the end of 2013, no story captured the public interest and left a more indelible mark on the city of Boston and the state of Massachusetts than the bombing of the Boston Marathon finish line.

The marathon bombing and its aftermath, which claimed the lives of four and severely injured scores more, topped every ballot cast for top story of the year by the scribes who spend their days on Beacon Hill chronicling the ups and downs of Massachusetts politics and government.  Read more

THE YEAR IN POLITICS: Dot takes center stage

Jack Hart’s decision in January to call it quits and leave his state Senate seat was just the beginning of an eventful year. After that, the political realm had little time to catch its breath, with campaigns and special elections following, one after the other, at a dizzying pace.  Read more

Liquor license control proposal ready for mayor

Ayanna Pressley’s proposal to revamp the doling out of liquor licenses cleared the City Council last week with a 12-1 vote. City Councillor Bill Linehan of South Boston was the lone ‘no’ vote.  Read more

From O’Brien to Walsh: ‘A Long Green Line’

Peter Stevens, Reporter Staff
Dec. 26, 2013

A heart-breaking loss triggers a spirited response

Garvey Park Vigil on April 16Garvey Park Vigil on April 16  Read more

Marr-lin Swim Team

Marr-lin Swim Team - The Marr-lin Swim Team continued their league schedule this month including a recent meet in Chelsea. Our teen swimmers enjoyed a strong meet with the following members posting new best times: Emily Mischler (50 yd. Freestyle 29.50), Olivia McGrath (50 yd. Freestyle 28.50), Samantha Sullivan (50 yd. Freestyle 35.00), Sarah O’Donovan (50 yd. Freestyle 34.28), Grace Scuzzarella (50 yd. Freestyle 29.00), Danielle O’Driscoll (50 yd. Freestyle 31.22), Chris Cadogan (50 yd. Freestyle 36.84), Elizabeth Seero (100 yd. Freestyle 1:17.85), Lauren Hernandez (100 yd.  Read more

Enrollment numbers are at the crux of a dispute over Lilla Frederick Pilot School’s budget outlay

Boston school officials are projecting a lower enrollment for the Lilla Frederick Pilot Middle School next year, but civic activists and parents are disputing the figure, saying they have worked every year to increase the number of students.  Read more

Early-bird runners help homeless find their footing

Will Taylor, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 23, 2013

Back on My Feet Boston: Running club promotes self-sufficiency for homeless people through early morning runs through the city. Above, a group of runners representing Team Rosie’s Place is shown in the South End on a recent morning. 	Photo courtesy Back on My Feet BostonBack on My Feet Boston: Running club promotes self-sufficiency for homeless people through early morning runs through the city. Above, a group of runners representing Team Rosie’s Place is shown in the South End on a recent morning. Photo courtesy Back on My Feet Boston

If you strolled through Boston’s South End before dawn on Friday morning, you might have seen a group of spirited runners cutting through the cold winter air. They set off at 6 a.m., breaking the morning’s quiet with sharp breaths and the punctuating crunch of gritty sidewalk snow with each footfall.

To look at the determined band of nylon- and polyester-clad men and women, you might never have guessed that they set off that morning, as they do three mornings each week, from Hope House, an addiction recovery house in the South End.

They are members of Back on My Feet, a non-profit serving recovery and homeless populations that encourages self-help through running. The program has five locations in the Boston area where groups comprised of homeless or recovering individuals (“residents”) join with volunteers for some early morning exercise.  Read more

US postal worker robbed and shot on Ashmont street

A United States postal worker was ambushed, robbed, and shot in his mail truck on Friday evening in a rare and brazen assault that has prompted the US Postal Service to place a $50,000 reward for the suspects, who remain at large.  Read more

Patrick mulls broad commutations of prisoners for first time in his tenure

Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Dec. 23, 2013

Expressing continued concern with mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders, Gov. Deval Patrick said he would be “very interested” in commuting the sentences of a segment of the inmate population if it would relieve overcrowding in prisons.  Read more

Postal worker shot in Ashmont

A postal worker was shot shortly after 6 p.m. Friday on Bailey Street.

The MBTA shut Ashmont station for both subway and bus service as police mounted a manhunt in the area that included searching backyards around the shooting scene.

Walsh discusses development, refutes reports of tension with Menino

Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Dec. 20, 2013

Boston Mayor-elect Marty Walsh on Friday pushed back against reports that there is a simmering tension between his transition team and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, fueled by what has been described as a late push from Menino to win final approvals for several major developments before the mayor leaves office in January.  Read more

Burke student charged with bringing a gun to school, biting police officer

School police arrested a student at Burke High School on Washington Street Thursday on charges of illegal possession of a firearm, resisting arrest and assault and battery on a police officer resulting in injuries.

The Boston Police Department says the 17-year-old, whom they did not identify, packed a gun in his bookbag and then "discussed having the firearm to groups of students throughout the day," word of which got to school officials, who notified school police.

Around 2:10 p.m., police say:  Read more

Reporter’s Notebook: Essaibi George says no to a run for Walsh seat

Annissa Essaibi George, who ran unsuccessfully for one of the four City Council At-Large slots this year, said on Friday that she will not be a candidate for Mayor-elect Marty Walsh’s seat in the Massachusetts House. “I feel I’m more suited for City Hall,” she said. George, who lives in the Columbia/Savin Hill area and chaired Walsh’s 1997 campaign for the House seat, said she plans to spend the next two years focused on running for at-large in 2015, the next municipal election cycle.  Read more

City to consider adding historical marker at Savin Hill tennis court

Paige Pihl Buckley, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 19, 2013

On Dec. 30, the Boston Parks and Recreation Commission will consider a motion to install a new historical marker at the Sean P. Sullivan Tennis Court in Savin Hill. The marker, which would be placed next to the tennis backstop at the park, would note “the contributions made by Betty Johnson, Hazel Wightman, Arthur Ashe and Helen Firsberg Federowski to the youth tennis programs in Savin Hill during the 1940s- 1970s.”  Read more

Neighbors press city to deal with traffic concerns in Fields Corner

Residents say large trucks like this one are a source of frequent problems on Faulkner Street.

Trucks backing up onto a small residential street in Fields Corner have drawn the ire of local residents, who have taken their complaints of traffic congestion to City Hall.

Fred Zayas, who lives on Faulkner Street, has been leading the charge, pushing city officials to ban the trucks from the beleaguered street, which has a loading dock along with a number of homes dominated by apartments. The dock is in back of a mini-mall that houses a supermarket, a liquor store, and a McDonald’s and other retailers is located between Geneva and Dorchester avenues.

Faulkner Street doesn’t just get hit with truck traffic, residents say; the street is frequently used as a cut-through, and by people who are dropping off passengers at the Fields Corner MBTA station, which is nearby. The Harbor Middle School, located on Charles Street, is also a source of traffic.  Read more

Dot’s Warren back home in ‘I Love Lucy’

R. J. Donovan, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 19, 2013

Carolynne Warren

Christmas is coming a little early for Dorchester native Carolynne Warren, who has built a successful career as an actress and entrepreneur in Los Angeles. The actress will find herself onstage at Boston’s Colonial Theatre from Dec. 3 to Dec. 22 as a member of the national tour of “I Love Lucy: Live On Stage.”  Read more

For Walsh, Boston College makes perfect sense as inaugural venue

Marty Party: Mayoral inauguration will happen at BC's Conte Forum, celebration to follow at Hynes Convention Center. Photo by Mike DeehanMarty Party: Mayoral inauguration will happen at BC's Conte Forum, celebration to follow at Hynes Convention Center. Photo by Mike DeehanOn Jan. 6, Marty Walsh will be sworn in as Boston’s 54th mayor — and the first from Dorchester in more than a half-century. He’ll take the oath and give his first mayoral address in front of a few thousand of his closest friends and admirers — including Irish tenor Ronan Tynan, who’ll perform at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Walsh’s choice of venue for the historic occasion is Conte Forum, the Boston College sports arena that can accommodate up to 8,000 spectators. When the news broke last Saturday morning, there was some push-back from members of the Twittering class that the university is too remote from downtown, with some erroneously claiming that the Forum is located in Newton. In fact, the arena is laid out entirely on the Boston side of BC’s sprawling campus.  Read more

Council overrides Savin Hill landmark designation

Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Dec. 18, 2013

In a rare rebuke of the Boston Landmarks Commission, the City Council on Wednesday voted 12-to-0 to overturn the designation of Savin Hill’s 24 Grampian Way as a landmark. District 3 Councillor Frank Baker recused himself and voted “present,” because he lives diagonally across from the home.

City Councillor Bill Linehan of South Boston said the family of the late Ray Tomasini has lived there for 63 years -- longer than historical figures associated with the home -- and the designation is “not warranted.”  Read more

New CEO Murphy brings Beacon Hill experience to Harvard Street

Mike Deehan, Reporter Correspondent
Dec. 18, 2013

Charley Murphy

There’s a fresh face on Blue Hill Ave. at one of the community’s key health centers. Charley Murphy, a former top state lawmaker, has taken over as the new President and CEO of the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center in Dorchester.

Murphy wants to bring more efficiency, as well as more money, to the center. As a “lookalike” health center, Harvard Street is not eligible for federal grants that federally certified centers can apply for. This leaves the center reliant on private donations and the state budgeting process, something Murphy has unique expertise with.

Murphy said his primary qualification for the job is the time he spent helping manage the state’s budget on Beacon Hill. From 2009 to 2011, Murphy served as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, the chief budget writer under House Speaker Robert DeLeo. Healthcare made up an $11 billion line item in the budget, Murphy said. The budget posting was the culmination of Murphy’s 16 year career in the House.  Read more

MBTA official outlines fare policy options

Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Dec. 17, 2013

Transit officials plan to consider changes to the price differential between a bus ride and a subway ride, limit cash transactions and potentially offer certain fares that correspond to a traveler’s ability to pay, according to MBTA Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Davis.

Over the next six months, MBTA officials will analyze a potential 5 percent fare increase for next July, and after that the agency will look at a “broader change in fare policy,” Davis told the Massachusetts Transportation Board last week.  Read more

Menino, Galvin advise early departures as snow flies

Michael Norton, State House News Service
Dec. 17, 2013

Acting Gov. William Galvin announced at 12:45 p.m. that non-essential state employees may leave work at 1:30 p.m., citing the snowstorm that began moving into the Boston area around noon. Galvin also encouraged private sector employers to consider releasing their employees in an attempt to give them enough time to reach home by 4 p.m., when he predicted the storm’s intensity will make travel more difficult.  Read more