Jul. 9, 2008
Christopher Coombs, executive chef of Dorchester's dbar, is going green from the top down. His rooftop garden, overlooking Dorchester Avenue on one end and the restaurant's patio on the other, is home to 23 different types of tomatoes growing on more than 65 plants. And Coombs swears that from Paris to Virginia, his homegrown tomatoes are the best he's had in his life.
"Flavor is what I grow up on that roof," Coombs said. Read more
To be sure, the old-school pubs and taverns still holding on around Dorchester are not universally loved. But each of them, no matter how much the Larry Bird and Bobby Orr posters have faded on the walls, is intensely loved by a crowd of regulars of variable size, and that is definitely the case of the Peabody Tavern on Dorchester Ave. Read more
A recent photo of the ancient Trolley 5164 as it sat in a yard near Mattapan Station. It has served various Boston transit companies and agencies since 1907. Photo courtesy The Lone Rider
Identified only as car 5164, it was never well known. It was only one among an order of 100 identical Type 3 passenger cars when it first arrived, shiny and new, from the St. Louis Car Company in 1907. Read more
The MBTA - facing an ongoing battle with graffiti near its Fields Corner station -all but jumped on a request for space to paint a mural there from the domestic violence prevention organization Close to Home recently.
"When the general manager got this in, this is something he wanted to do anyway, coming from a good community organization" said GM Daniel Grabauskas's chief of staff Kris Erickson. "But when we found out later that it would also be a benefit to us, it sounded like a slam dunk." Read more
Jul. 2, 2008
Sixty-eight-year-old Lula Mae Johnson is living proof that education has no statute of limitations.
In May, Johnson was one of 37 adults to cross the stage during a GED ceremony at Faneuil Hall. Now the Mattapan resident says her next step is a college degree.
Back in her native South Carolina, Johnson was a student at Roberts High School. The summer before her senior year Lula, then 19, says she and her boyfriend decided to get married, which led to her decision not to return to school. Read more
Thanks to a $150,000 grant, the Friends of Edward Everett Square plan to finish "beautifying" their adopted intersection by the end of October.
In conjunction with landscape architects and an artist, the group will use the Grassroots Open Square Grant to add 10 bronze sculptures that will surround the already well-known Clapp pear statue on Columbia Road near East Cottage Street, plant various flowers, and install signs that will provide information about the artwork, the history of Dorchester, and give credit to the project's contributors. Read more
The pop-thwack, pop-thwack of racquets striking tennis balls is not unusual at the Sportsmen's Tennis Club. But 32 tennis champs who are thwacking balls across the courts there this week have earned some distinction.
A slew of nationally-ranked players are helping to raise the Blue Hill Avenue venue's profile in the second annual US Tennis Association's Women's $50,000 Pro Challenger tournament. Now through next Wednesday, players are competing to win the big bucks and a slot in the venerable US Open. Read more
Sunshine, fresh air, socialization and Cheerio-bracelet-making? Sounds like the answer to the prayer of parents or caretakers with little ones on their hands this summer, but with no money for camp and too-crazy a schedule for regular commitments.
Now celebrating its 11th year of bringing a wide range of cultural offerings to city greenspaces, the Boston Parks and Recreation Department's ParkARTS program with help from Comcast will once again sponsor a series of free drop-in children's craft workshops. Three of the 12 sites this summer are in Dorchester or Mattapan. Read more
As rumor mills go, St. Peter's Parish is no different than any other in this age of church closings and parochial school consolidations. So when the 7:30 mass was taken off the weekly schedule, and the church bulletin called the faithful together for a meeting this Monday - mere weeks after the final graduating class left St. Peter's clutching diplomas and shedding tears -the wildfire rumor that the 164-year-old church's days were also numbered was inevitable. Read more
Chando Souffant spends $930 a month in tolls ferrying passengers to Logan Airport and back. Fellow cab driver Valville August's wife does all the work at home on her own, with August working 16 to 17 hours a day. And Pierre Duchemin is thinking about getting out of the business altogether.
"This is the life style," Souffant says. "You're working for nothing. They call us ambassadors of the city, but they treat us like a slave."
Most taxi cab drivers in the city work 7 days a week, at 16 to 17 hours a day, the drivers say.
"Those who want to make money," Duchemin says. Read more
Longtime Dorchester business and civic leader John B. Byrne, a Braintree man who was born in Dorchester and spent all of his working years in this community, has died at the age of 96.
Byrne, once dubbed the "lord mayor of Fields Corner," died peacefully on June 26 at a Cohasset nursing home, his family said. Read more
Willie Mae Allen's mother had a saying: If you know that you're being chased, you don't look back.
"I'm not looking back at my opponent," said the Democratic state representative in seeking her second term. "I'm concentrating on my race."
Under new leadership, Boston's Puerto Rican festival has apparently shaken off the financial troubles that caused its cancellation in 2007, and will once again roll to the Salsa beat this weekend in Franklin Park.
The turn-around began even before the July fest was cancelled in June of 2007, when the old leadership of the festival stepped down and Reyito Santiago, now president of the board, and a number of other sponsors and volunteers agreed to engineer a comeback. Read more
A new "Right to Cure" law has slowed the rate of new foreclosure filings to a relative crawl, according to state Land Court officials, but the drop may be only temporary, say some.
Beginning May 1, when the law first took effect, the rate of affidavits filed with the Land Court slowed to an average of less than 20 a day, said recorder of the court Debbie Patterson. The month before, the number of the same affidavits, which are an early required step in the foreclosure process, averaged around 150 a day.
"Big effect," she said. Read more
New games are in town this summer as the St. Brendan's Gaelic Athletic Club kicks off its opening season, bringing Gaelic football and hurling to Dorchester's fields.
"All are welcome," said Larry McGann, hurling coach and secretary of the St. Brendan's club. "These are two of the most popular sports around the world that American kids have yet to play."
With their deep Irish roots, Gaelic football and hurling in the United States have been played mostly within Irish communities, but McGann and Frank Hogan, the chairman of the club, hope to change all that. Read more
Employing Dorchester as a backdrop, Gov. Deval Patrick this week officially unveiled his highly-anticipated education reform effort, dubbed the Readiness Project.
The raft of proposals - full-day kindergarten and universal pre-kindergarten, a "portfolio" on each individual child, a statewide teacher contract, merged school districts, and free community college, among others - are aimed at taking Massachusetts out of what Patrick aides say is a 20th-century education system for low-skill, low-knowledge workers. Read more
Call it a rematch of sorts. Spurred in part by Sen. Barack Obama's run for the White House, a Dorchester woman who helped manage William Celester's unsuccessful campaign for the Sixth Suffolk seat in 2006, is mounting a run to challenge incumbent state Rep. Willie Mae Allen.
Faustina "Kathy" Gabriel said she was frustrated with the lackluster turnout in the district for the Super Tuesday primary and sees a need for new leadership. Read more
The president of the Pope's Hill Neighborhood Association this week hit planners of the new Pope John Paul II Academy for lack of a traffic study for its Neponset campus.
"I think the community is getting the short shrift," said Phil Carver, speaking at a community meeting at the Murphy School on Monday evening.
Neponset Ave. is "already a nightmare," Carver said, with parents picking up and dropping off students at the Murphy School and a nearby charter school. Read more
As the school year draws to a close, the three schools that make up the Dorchester Education Complex are all on the brink of leadership changes.
The complex on Dunbar Avenue, which houses the Edward G. Noonan Business Academy, the Academy of Public Service, and TechBoston Academy, will have two new headmasters come September and a third the following year. Robert Belle, the complex's chief administrative officer, said that the future holds a lot of potential for these young schools, created in 2002 and 2003. Read more
As it nears its 60th year, leadership of the Freedom House in Grove Hall is back in the family again. Director Ricardo Neal will take a break to find a new direction and Gail Snowden, whose parents founded the neighborhood institution, will temporarily take the reins.
"I've really arrived at being a leader in public education policy," said Neal, who has pushed hard for education reforms addressing the achievement gap and high school dropouts during his tenure. "I have not yet decided on a particular role at a non-profit or agency I would want to work with." Read more
Harbor Point should be integrated with the rest of the Columbia Point community and local transportation around remains a keen problem, residents told a city task force on June 14. The comments came at a Saturday "visioning" session held at Boston College High School. The event was convened by a BRA-led committee with an eye towards creating a master plan for the 412 acres between I-93 and Dorchester Bay. Read more
Jun. 25, 2008
At the behest of Mayor Thomas Menino, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Department of Neighborhood Development and other city agencies are gearing up to study the future use of dozens of vacant lots to revitalize the business districts of Bowdoin-Geneva, Four Corners and Codman Square.
"Part of what we've heard from the neighborhood is there are a number of privately and publicly-owned parcels that they'd like to see something happen on," said Susan Elsbree, spokeswoman for the BRA. Read more
The sound of ambulances and police cars roaring are not uncommon in the Melville-Park neighborhood. But, neighbors say, the emergency vehicles are usually racing to someplace else in Dorchester.
But on Dec. 13, 2005, they all converged on Bourneside Street - a short side-street opposite Town Field - and launched an investigation into the murders of four young men, three of them members of a nascent local rap group, Graveside. Read more
A 13-year-old girl was pulled out of Boston Harbor off Columbia Point on Tuesday after a frantic search in the water by her friends, lifeguards, a pair of tourists from Holland and the Boston Fire Department. The girl was holding on to a piling under the pier near Carson Beach, right on the border between Dorchester and South Boston, when she disappeared and her friends began screaming for help. Lifeguards ran over from a nearby beach house and the two tourists dove in to aid in the search.
"I heard screaming of a girl, me and my friend ran over," said Job Van Ryn of Holland. Read more
Ever since brothers Enos and Isaac Field opened up a little store there almost 200 years ago, the corner of Adams Street and Dorchester Avenue has been known as Fields Corner. Today it is a bustling 'urban cluster' of shops, restaurants and other businesses, many of them owned and run by Vietnamese-Americans.
Historic Boston Incorporated began looking at ways to illuminate that arc of history last December, when it chose the corner as one of two pilots for historic renovation of neighborhood centers in the city, and some of the early results of their research are in. Read more