News

Mayor gets sneak peek at new library

Books and computer access are still the ultimate lures, but the soon-to-open Mattapan branch library rewards visitors with a public space that would be well-suited to a prestigious college campus. The Blue Hill Avenue building, which will open to the public during an official celebration on Saturday morning, got a final thumbs-up from Mayor Tom Menino, who toured it on Monday morning along with the architect, library staff and other elected officials.  Read more

State girds for infusion of billions from fed stimulus

By 
Michael Norton and Jim O'Sullivan, State House News Service
Feb. 20, 2009

While a portion of the expected federal funds infusion should be used to shore up education and health care accounts, Massachusetts, estimated to receive over $11 billion, should focus the spending on job-creating public works projects and heed lessons learned from the Big Dig, according to the House chair of a new committee formed to oversee stimulus spending.  Read more

Gonzalez does about face, will run for at-Large seat

City Councillor Sam Yoon's bid for mayor is already creating change. Tomas Gonzalez, former chief of staff for Mayor Thomas Menino, was helping create candidate Andrew Kenneally's campaign strategy to capture an at-Large seat on the City Council until this week.

"Not any more," said a glib Gonzalez Monday. "With Sam Yoon out and all these other factors I can't miss my opportunity."  Read more

OFD: Everett remains one of nation's greatest statesmen and orators

Richard A. Katula, whose book The Eloquence of Edward Everett, America's Greatest Orator will be published this spring, is participating in a program at the Dorchester Historical Society on February 22, at 2 pm. The following is adapted from his book.  Read more

Odor still in the air for Bayside site

nother salvo in the battle over an odor control facility on Columbia Point took place earlier this month, in the form of a tersely worded letter from developer Corcoran Jennison Companies. The director of the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority said it's nothing new.

The fight centers on a proposed facility that would filter the air from an underground water storage tunnel that would store rainwater and raw sewage. In essence, Corcoran Jennison claims the current MWRA plan would stink, and the MWRA says it won't.  Read more

Forry snares committee chair in State House shuffle under DeLeo

A Dorchester lawmaker is back atop a Beacon Hill committee for the first time in four years, as newly-crowned House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced the re-shuffling of committee assignments.  Read more

Columbia Point plans, nearly complete, hit roadblock

Plans to create a neighborhood feel amid developments being planned for Columbia Point hit a potential roadblock last week when both the MBTA and the state's Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) voiced opposition to a new side street envisioned by the Boston Redevelopment Authority's urban planners.  Read more

Port Norfolk says nay to billboard, cash payment

A billboard at Dorchester Avenue and Hoyt Street: Photo by Pete Stidman.A billboard at Dorchester Avenue and Hoyt Street: Photo by Pete Stidman. Click to expand.It just got a little tougher to put up new billboards in Dorchester.

John McLaughlin, a principal of Sullivan McLaughlin Companies, offered the Port Norfolk Civic Association $50,000 up front and 8.3 percent of net revenue for 20 years in exchange for permission to erect a billboard on his property next to the Southeast Expressway on Tuesday night. A relatively generous offer from a man well respected and trusted in the Port. But neighbors turned it down flat.

"I've been fighting for 30 years against billboards," said Ben Tankle, who helped start a civic group in the waterfront village in 1958. "The money is just them dangling the carrot, saying 'Come on… I'll give you 50 grand.' Well I'm not going to sell my vote."  Read more

Center that helps kids in need facing rocky future

The SPARK Center doesn't feel like a medical facility. The smell of sloppy joes permeates the air; the scent of the day's lunch fills the Mattapan house every day, creating a homey feeling for the children.

The classrooms, like those in many schools, are walled by corkboards covered with colorful images. The halls are lined with pictures from the center's sister program in Uganda, the Namugongo Fund for Special Children. For the families involved, the SPARK Center is a saving grace.  Read more

Fed report questions ownership assumptions

The mortgage troubles plaguing multi-family housing in parts of Boston are putting new strain on belief in the benefits of greater access to home ownership.  Read more

Activists 'break up' with bank

Tenant activists took to the streets Saturday in front of the Bank of America's Fields Corner branch: The group was protesting the bank's evictions of tenants in foreclosed properties. Photo by Chris Lovett.Tenant activists took to the streets Saturday in front of the Bank of America's Fields Corner branch: The group was protesting the bank's evictions of tenants in foreclosed properties. Photo by Chris Lovett.

Federally-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently ended evictions of rent-paying tenants in foreclosed properties in response to the current economic crisis. Corporate lenders like Bank of America have held out, however, prompting a coalition of activists to take the battle to the streets.  Read more

Work again underway at NE Brake building

Developer Steven Turner has not returned phone calls from the Reporter and at least one local civic association this week, but he has begun minimal work on a local landmark, the NE Brake building at Mass Ave. and East Cottage Street in Edward Everett Square.

Just what his plans for the structure are is a well-guarded mystery that some wish the community was privy to. It has lain vacant for years after a furniture shop owner stopped construction mid-stride, leaving steel girders exposed above the original structure.  Read more

Osherow on road to recovery

Dorchester real estate agent Kenneth Osherow is already back at work in a limited capacity and recovering well after his partner of five years, Ceslo Cruz, inexplicably attacked him at his second home in Bartlett, N.H. Jan. 17.

Cruz allegedly broke both of Osherow's wrists and stabbed him several times in the back and abdomen. Police interrupted the altercation early that Saturday morning in the basement of Osherow's house. Cruz was charged with attempted murder.  Read more

Chairman: Kroc Center close to fund goal

The money gap that has held up the construction of a new community center on Dudley Street is gradually closing - and could soon be filled entirely. That's the word from Soveriegn Bank chairman John Hamill, who is heading up the capital drive for the Salvation Army's Kroc Center.  Read more

Man charged in stabbing death of girlfriend

A 29-year-old Dorchester man is being held without bail this week after he allegedly stabbed his girlfriend to death in a Ridgewood Street apartment on Sunday morning. Luz Forty, 38, was found by police when they were called to the scene. Police say the suspect, Mario Gonzalez, called 911 and told them that an intruder had broken into the apartment they shared and stabbed Luz to death. He later admitted that he was the attacker, according to prosecutors. Gonzalez is due back in court on May 5.

Hancock Manor nursing home to close come April

By April some 70 residents and 82 employees of the Hancock Manor Nursing Home will need to find new situations for themselves as it was announced this week the 16-year-old facility would close.

The Vinfen Corporation, which owns and operates the 72-bed home, submitted a proposal to close it to the Department of Public Health on Feb. 9. It was quickly approved on Feb. 12. The company hopes to vacate the building by mid-April and put it on the open market.  Read more

Parents, kids speak out loudly against school cuts; School panel hears cries at Court St.

Students protest school cuts: By Nate LescovicStudents protest school cuts: By Nate LescovicPassing through a tunnel of chanting students and parents at BPS's Court Street headquarters, the School Committee met last Wednesday to receive the preliminary budget. While demonstrators stayed positive with their message of "Invest in our Future" and "Save our Schools," the mood in the meeting could not hide the dismal reality of a head-on fiscal crisis.  Read more

Sen. Chang-Diaz faces early tests on Beacon Hill

Weeks into the job, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz is already playing defense.

The freshman lawmaker, like others who are facing their first year on Beacon Hill, is up against a billion-dollar budget crisis that is causing prized programs to get pared down or eliminated entirely.

The issues facing legislators are steadily mounting, including a reorganization of the state's transportation bureaucracy, ethics reform and with the departure of House Speaker Salvatore DiMasi, casinos are back on the front burner.  Read more

Young Achievers School readies for move to Mattapan

The Young Achiever's K-8 Pilot School is on a quest to make a summer time move from its current location in Jamaica Plain into the Solomon Lewenberg Middle School in Mattapan a smooth transition.

"We had a big kickoff breakfast for community partners last week [Friday]," said Principal Jinny Chalmers. "We're also reaching out to all of the families of the kids in the sixth and seventh grade at the Lewenberg."  Read more

Crime is focus of new Mattapan civic group

An effort to start up a new civic association along the border of Mattapan and Hyde Park got off to a slow start Tuesday night when only around 15 interested residents showed for a meeting representing a neighborhood of over 1,200 homes.

Inspired by a high crime rate - including a triple non-fatal shooting at Taunton Avenue and Oak Crest Road in January - teacher Ginny Allen and others, with help from Boston Police Department's District E-18, are pulling together neighbors to address crime and other problems. The new group is called the Matta Park Civic Association.  Read more

C-11 police see rise in daytime home burglaries

An uptick in daytime burglaries has Boston Police stepping up patrols and calling this week for increased vigilance from residents.

Captain Richard Sexton, who commands the Area C-11 district, told the Reporter that breaking-and-entering reports have been on the increase for three consecutive months.  Read more

In 'worst of times,' Menino ponders policy

During an hour-long interview in his Parkman House retreat on Beacon Street last week, Mayor Thomas Menino challenged state government to conceive of an "outside-the-box" solution to the state's fiscal problems, committed to spend political capital in pursuit of a long-delayed reform to the city's school transportation program, and doggedly refused to say whether he would run for reelection, even as he assembles a campaign team with the September preliminary seven months away.  Read more

Yoon's entry widens race for mayor

The cards are on the table. The challengers to Mayor Thomas Menino, namely Councillors Sam Yoon, Michael Flaherty, and activist Kevin McCrea, have played their first hands.

And almost overnight, the talk around the proverbial City Hall water cooler has turned from tones of 'They don't have a chance against an incumbent,' to a subtler 'This is going to be interesting.'  Read more

News in brief

A committee of the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization is mulling over how the state will spend part of the expected stimulus funding, and the immediate future of the construction of Four Corners Station on the Fairmount Line and phase two of the Ashmont Station on the Red Line hang in the balance.

The transportation programming and planning committee of the MPO met early this month and members received lists of projects under consideration. The chosen public works will be put in an amendment to the body's Transportation Improvement Plan for fiscal year 2009.  Read more

DeLeo pushing set of ethics changes

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is proposing a new set of ethics changes, including allowing the removal of any member of the House leadership team who is indicted.

The package of reforms also includes mandatory ethics training for lawmakers, a stronger ethics committee with the power to introduce legislation, and a clamp down on so-called "phantom voting'' by members of the House who are absent during debate.  Read more