News

Foreclosures slow, but reprieve may only be temporary

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

Civic leader pushes for St. Ann's traffic study

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

City to study vacant lots in mid-Dot business districts

By 
By
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

Drowning girl pulled from waters off Columbia Point

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

St. Kevin's grads and alums share farewell Mass

At St. Kevin's School, the final day was celebrated with a special mass for the school. Tears and laughter and plenty of song carried off the students inside the chapel on Columbia Road.

Fr. Tim Kearney, a former St. Kevin's seventh-grade teacher, celebrated the Friday morning service. Thirteen Sisters of Charity, the order that ran the school, were in attendance, most former faculty members. Alumni crowded the back pews behind the students, and afterward re-introduced themselves to their former teachers. There were fond memories and hopes for the future.  Read more

Grove Hall radio station plans rally at FCC offices

Supporters of TOUCH 106.1 FM, the low-powered radio outfit that is broadcasting from a Grove Hall studio in defiance of a federal order, will take their campaign to the Quincy offices of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) next week.

A 45-minute "peaceful rally" will be staged on Monday morning, according to MC Spice, the station's creative director and morning drive-time host. Spice called it a "move to call attention to the biased constriction of black news and black radio ownership by the FCC."  Read more

Forum targets gun source

At a community meeting held at the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School last Wednesday the question heard most was, "Where did the gun come from?"

It's a non-rhetorical question that Citizens for Safety are urging people to ask after every single shooting since the majority of shootings in Boston are with illegal guns.  Read more

New Fairmount Line station meetings announced

Now that designs for the Four Corners Station are near complete, the MBTA has scheduled meetings for the remaining three planned stations along the commuter rail's Fairmount Line. Thirty percent design meetings for the Talbot Station (July 10, 6:30 p.m., 193 Talbot Ave.), Blue Hill Avenue Station (Aug. 5, 6:30 p.m., 5 Mildred Ave.) and Newmarket Station (Aug. 7, 6:30 p.m., 550 Dudley St.) will collect community input on the designs, which can occasionally inform alterations to them.  Read more

Historic Boston digs into Fields Corner's past

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

No deal on Bowdoin Community Center

Well over five years of work, planning and hope found a dead end last month when a consultant advised that it would not be feasible for the Bird Community Center in Uphams Corner to operate a second center at 191-195 Bowdoin St. A meeting this Monday will begin a discussion about what else can be done there.  Read more

Class is out at St. Peter's School

St. Peter's School had their last day of school ever last Friday, ending 110 years of Catholic education on Bowdoin Street.

At the last graduation ceremony Thursday night, some parents said they hadn't found new schools for their children yet, others confirmed enrollment in the new Pope John Paul II Academy, but all lamented the decision to close the school, a bright spot in a poor neighborhood racked with gang violence and a high concentration of foreclosures.  Read more

New pastors take over at St. Greg's, St. Ann's

Two of Dorchester's most storied and vibrant Catholic parishes have new leadership this month. Rev. Sean Connor, a 42 year-old former police officer who became a priest at age 35, has taken charge at Neponset Avenue's St. Ann parish. And in Lower Mills, Fr. Vincent Daily, 47, who began his priestly career as a curate at St. Gregory's in 1990, has succeeded the man who was his first pastor, Monsignor Paul Ryan.  Read more

Makeover ahead for Donovan's in Lower Mills

The Lower Mills Civic Association unanimously signed off Tuesday night on a plan by new owners to renovate Donovan's Village Tavern on Dorchester Avenue. The approval came with a caveat: At the urging of the association's vice president, Richard O'Mara, members tacked on a limit to how late a planned outdoor patio can serve food and drink.

The restaurant will stop serving at 11 p.m., a request the owners, who attended the association meeting at St. Gregory's school auditorium, said was reasonable.  Read more

St. Angela's hits 100 in Mattapan Square

By 
Katelyn Harding
Jun. 11, 2008

Konpa music, a "dress to impress" contest, and a combination of Caribbean and Haitian foods are not typical components of a church get-together. Then again, St. Angela's Parish in Mattapan is no ordinary church, hosting three different masses on Sunday, with a choice of French, English and Kreyol.  Read more

Trial continues for alleged Bourneside St. killer

The three-week trial of the 21-year-old Dorchester man charged with the murders of three members of a rap group and their friend in their Bourneside St. basement studio could wrap up this week.

Calvin Carnes is accused of shooting Jason Bachiller, 21; Jihad Chankour, 22; Edwin Duncan, 21; and Christopher Vieira, 19, in December 2005. Prosecutors charge that Carnes was attempting to steal Vieira's Glock 9mm, along with an AK-47 rifle and a 12-guage shotgun, and point to his fingerprints on Vieira's car.  Read more

Street lit' finds niche locally

By 
Martine Lewis
Jun. 11, 2008

When her younger brother was murdered in the very Dorchester neighborhood they were raised in, Lashonda DeVaughn, 26, says she drowned her grief in a pen and paper.

Her book, A Hood Chick's Story, was released in 2007 and depicts the lives of youths caught up in a whirlwind of peer pressure, drugs and violence.

"I had had enough of what I was seeing around me and I wanted to speak to my peers in our voice and in our language," said DeVaughn.  Read more

BPS hints at busing changes, school closures

Strapped for cash in a tight budget year for the city, Boston's public schools has no choice but to change, BPS Superintendent Carol Johnson told a fired-up Boston City Council last Friday afternoon.

The council's hearing on the BPS transportation budget is always an interesting show, for the history it dredges up, and for the complex system of transporting students to and fro that it exposes. For the first time in years, the stars seem to be aligning for massive reform of that system, also known as busing.  Read more

Wilkerson, Chang-Diaz share stage at South End forum

It wasn't exactly a debate. But sitting side-by-side at a "candidates' forum" on Tuesday evening, state Sen. Dianne Wilkerson and challenger Sonia Chang-Diaz fielded questions from Boston's Ward 4 Democratic Committee on the state's health care law, Gov. Deval Patrick's long-dead casino plan and their legislative priorities.  Read more

Q. Can Bay State Democrats 'drain' their hearts of bitterness?

For some Democrats, after a long and bruising primary, uniting behind Sen. Barack Obama as the presumptive party nominee won't be easy. As Clinton's concession speech played on televisions sets last Saturday afternoon, thousands of Democrats gathered for an off-year Democratic State Convention in Lowell.

A top supporter of Sen. Hillary Clinton, City Council President Maureen Feeney, said the party has its work cut out when it comes to the healing process.  Read more

Some see new 'value' to billboards

Over a dozen years ago, Dorchester's self-appointed billboard king, Joe Chaisson, and a handful of other diehards were fighting hard to stanch a flow of the giant roadside signs into the neighborhood. They managed to create some tough obstacles for advertisers, such as forcing property owners to get a city zoning variance if they want to add a new billboard next to federaly-assisted highways in the city, or modify an existing one.

Before that, neighborhoods had little say in it.  Read more

Liquor stings keep stores on their toes

Inside Lisa's Liquors in Adams Village one night a few weeks ago, the manager was anxious, rejecting the license of a 40-year-old man because it had expired.

That wasn't the only reason: It could have had something to do with the team from the Alcohol and Beverage Control Commission milling around the area, waiting for teens to illegally pick up alcohol or have an adult procure it for them.  Read more

Bullets buzz through Uphams Corner

A broad-daylight shooting in the middle of one of the neighborhood's busiest intersections shattered the window of a motorist stopped at the traffic light on Monday afternoon. A pair of bullets punctured the car and narrowly missed three family members - including a five-year old grandchild who was strapped in the backseat.

Four shots rang out in Uphams Corner just after 5:15 p.m., in what police believe was an armed confrontation between two groups of young people at the corner of Dudley Street and Columbia Road.  Read more

Ten indicted in Franklin Field crack cocaine case

An eight-month undercover investigation by District B-3's Drug Control Unit and the FBI has yielded 10 federal indictments and three Suffolk County arrests, all related to the distribution of crack cocaine within the Franklin Field housing development. Many of those arrested were also involved in a street gang based at Franklin Field that has a long-standing and violent beef with youth from the Franklin Hill area, prompting the investigation.  Read more

Police work to head off violence at Caribbean festival

Boston Police have mounted an aggressive operation aimed at preventing a feared outbreak of gang violence at this weekend's Caribbean Festival in Roxbury and Dorchester. The department has already rounded up dozens of so-called "impact" gang members known to have violated conditions of their probation and have issued multiple "stay-away"orders to other young men they say are affiliated with warring gangs.  Read more

A planned marriage: Two rare cranes make a go of it in Franklin Park

It isn't glamorous, nothing more than a chain-link fence, a few trees, a puddle and a pile of hay bales, but to Pepe and Kotze it's a new beginning, a chance to get to know each other and maybe lay an egg or two.

"He does want to get close to her, but as you notice, she keeps moving away from him," observes Fred Beall, Franklin Park Zoo's general curator, from just outside the African wattled crane exhibit there. "We'll know when they're bonded because they'll be standing next to each other."  Read more