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
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
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
Kevin Hearns has a successful career on Wall Street, a beautiful wife in New York City, and a haunting past back at home in Dorchester, where he ran the streets as a violent, racist neo-Nazi kid. When an ailing family member brings him back to Boston, he is forced to face his demons and accept responsibility for young lives lost to the senseless violence and unfounded hatred that characterized his younger days as a skinhead. Read more
Still mulling a bid for the mayor's office, Councillor at-Large Michael Flaherty has ratcheted up the rhetoric against incumbent Thomas Menino. Flaherty last week released a statement hitting the Menino administration on the city's fiscal policies, calling them "dysfunctional" and "short-sighted."
The statement came as some political observers privately wonder whether Flaherty has had second thoughts about jumping into a race against Menino next year. Menino is showing all the signs of a definite run for a fifth term in '09. Read more
Recreational tree climber Andrew Joslin high above the Gladeside Urban Wild in a red oak tree. Photo by Pete Stidman
It isn't always necessary to hop in a car and drive for hours to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. And with gas prices on the rise, many are looking to commune with nature close to home. One of the rare activities in this category, so far at least, is recreational tree climbing. Read more
Time is running out for a Boston City Council-endorsed proposal on bilingual ballots and the translation of candidates' names into Chinese characters, frustrated Asian-American activists say.
Mayor Thomas Menino signed the proposal after the city council unanimously approved the local legislation in mid-May, but the bill appears to be stalled on Beacon Hill. Read more
Jun. 4, 2008
Democratic state Sen. James Marzilli was arraigned Wednesday on charges including attempted sexual assault after a Tuesday afternoon incident in Lowell where he used a fellow lawmaker's name to identify himself to police, prosecutors said. Also Wednesday, a third woman leveled charges against Marzilli as details of his bizarre case emerged. Read more
art vows to scrutinize UMass on dormitories; Affordable housing 'left out' of Columbia Point planning
As presentations from developers and city planners wind down and the floor opens up for discussion, differing opinions continue to heat up the cauldron of the Columbia Point Master Plan Task Force. The task force will help the Boston Redevelopment Authority create comprehensive development guidelines for the point, where a handful of large projects are imminent. Read more
The USS Porter (DDG-78), a US Navy destroyer, is shown decked out in celebratory colors at the Black Falcon Terminal in South Boston on Monday, June 2. Photo by Bill Forry
It's 6 a.m. on a Friday morning and the opening chords of The Standells' Boston anthem - typically heard blaring from behind the Fenway scoreboards - sound a bit tinny. Not too surprising, given my location: a cozy bed perched deep in the bowels of a Navy destroyer, just a few feet from the water line. Read more
A pair of perennial candidates will challenge two of Dorchester's most powerful incumbent lawmakers this fall in a sleepy state election cycle that will likely benefit from a huge turnout for the presidential showdown in November.
Marie St. Fleur, a state representative since 1999 and vice-chair of the Committee on Ways and Means, was re-elected to the Fifth Suffolk seat with a roaring 84 percent in 2006. Now, she will gear up for another re-election campaign and for a familiar challenger, Roy Owens, in the Democratic primary in September. Read more
Bicyclists bump along on its worn asphalt footpaths, walkers climb the large granite blocks around its perimeter, and drivers speed through its center on Circuit Drive, sometimes scaring the bejesus out of those waiting for the bus near the Shattuck Hospital. And that's not the half of it. Read more
The Carruth houses a mix of retail and residential units. Photo by Chris Lovett Read more
On Dorchester Avenue, there are signs of change and of changes to come.
Near St. Mark's Church, at the Dot2Dot Café, a family sits down for an early breakfast with a laptop on the table, while the air ripens with the smell of a bacon and mushroom quiche in the oven.
In Fields Corner, at Dippin' Donuts, a racially mixed clientele coils around the counter, while a new mixed-use development takes shape across the street. Read more
May. 29, 2008
Settled by passengers from the Mary and John about June 1, 1630, Dorchester originally was one of the largest towns in the Massachusetts Bay Colony and included South Boston, Hyde Park, Milton, Wrentham, Stoughton, Dedham, Sharon, Foxboro, and Canton. The town remained a rural farming community until its annexation to Boston on January 4, 1870. Read more
On Friday, May 16, 50 deserving Jeremiah Burke High School students each received a key that they hoped would start the 1999 Saab 9.3 that Village Automotive Group had donated as part of their Keys to Success program. One by one, each student tried to start the grand prize in a school year-long program that rewarded students for their positive efforts in attendance, community service and academic improvement. Read more
It won't hit stores until after Labor Day. Yet, reviewers have already received their advance copies of The Given Day, the new novel by Dorchester's dean of letters Dennis Lehane.
That kind of lead time says something about the book's heft. It clocks in at just over 700 pages, for one thing. But it also dramatizes an increasingly distant, yet momentous slice of Boston history: the 1919 Boston police strike. It's a moment in the city's history that Lehane says should be given the same historical heft as the trauma of the busing crisis in the mid 1970s. Read more
May. 28, 2008
Two antique shops in Lower Mills offer customers distinct shopping destinations: Streamline Antiques sells jewelry, vintage clothing, and household items from the 1930s on; and Dark Horse Antiques is a traditional, decorative antique furniture shop with items dating as far back as 1800s through 1950s.
Robert Ferrini, the owner of Dark Horse Antiques, opened his shop 15 years ago out of his interest in collecting old things.
"Everything that was old always interested me," Ferrini says. Read more
May. 28, 2008
As our Dorchester Day Parade Marshal assembles the official cars "across the bridge," they will be in Milton, which was part of the Town of Dorchester, until it became a separate town in 1662. Proceeding to the official starting point, the cars will cross the Neponset River at the spot where the Federal Triumphal Arch was erected in 1798, to commemorate the ratification of Jay's Treaty. Read more
It's easy forget how tied this place once was to the sea. Since the 1950s - and the construction of the Southeast Expressway - large chunks of our neighborhood have been virtually walled off from the water. But the names of our seaside villages and roadways tell the story of a time before the asphalt and steel slabs got in the way: Clam Point. Freeport Street. Port Norfolk.
Another large reminder of Dorchester's nautical roots steams into Boston Harbor on Friday, just in time to help celebrate the anniversary of the neighborhood's settlement back in 1630. Read more
Caritas Christi Health Care CEO Ralph de la Torre surprised a Coalition to Strengthen the Carney meeting last week when he strode in and told the audience that Carney would not close or change its service mix in any major way. Instead, he said, it will embark on a major fundraising, recruitment and reinvestment effort to reestablish its image as a competitive healthcare provider. Read more
The Friends of the Lower Mills Branch Library hope to change things up at this year's annual fundraiser on Saturday, June 7 by allowing neighbors to get their antiques appraised and giving local merchants and organizations a chance to introduce themselves to the community.
This year's Library Extravaganza has expanded to include a silent auction, face painting and crafts for the kids, as well as blood pressure and sugar screenings by Carney Hospital nurses. Read more
May. 28, 2008
Benjamin A. Smith II was mayor of Gloucester in 1955, the year that a right end wearing number 88 snagged the Harvard Crimson's only touchdown in a 21-7 whipping at the hands of the Elis in The Game. Read more
Joe Chaisson, neighborhood activist and lifelong Dorchester resident, is the 2008 Dorchester Day Parade's Chief Marshal. At 76, he turns to the proverbial rocking chair and says "I'm not getting into you," choosing instead civic duties to stay young. Chaisson has been a fixture at Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association meetings for decades and has run the Dorchester Day Salute to Seniors since 1993. Read more
Will he run or won't he?
That is one of the questions floating in the backrooms of City Hall, even as the presidential race drags on and the mayoral election - in November 2009 - stands months away. Political horse race fans say the clock is ticking for Councillor at-Large Michael Flaherty as summer draws near, as does a major milestone for Mayor Thomas Menino, his potential rival.
July 12 will mark 15 years at the top slot in City Hall for Menino, who likes to play it coy when asked if he's running for an unprecedented fifth term. Read more