News

Eighth-grader one of nation's best wrestlers

By 
David Benoit
Nov. 28, 2007

Eighth grader Kayla Cox has gotten used to people telling her she is good at things, particularly when she's on a wrestling mat. In a ranking full of older high school girls, Cox, a student at the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School on Columbia Road, is ranked number seven in the country.

At least one father asked her to take it easy on his son. She didn't listen. The kid went down.

It was her grandmother that got her interested in it, says her mother Dorothy Cox.  Read more

Fields Corner mall upgrade nearing completion

Upgrades to the façade and parking lot of the Fields Corner mall at Dorchester Avenue and Park Street may be completed early, according to managers, wrapping up next month, instead of the spring as originally planned. The Fields Corner Civic Association is now pressing the owners to sign a memorandum of understanding that would outline ongoing maintenance of the property.  Read more

New drug treatment program plans to move into Uphams Corner

An empty building at 35 Bird St. in Uphams Corner may have a new tenant soon, one that aims to promote sobriety in the neighborhood.

Human Resources Development Institute, a large company that specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment, is applying for a zoning variance to turn the property into an outpatient drug treatment center and a residential treatment center for women. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.  Read more

Neighbor plans dinner for Blue Hill fire victims, firefighters

By 
Martine Louis
Nov. 19, 2007

Last Monday, flames ripped through a three-decker home on Blue Hill Ave, injuring 14 residents - eight adults and six children. As firefighters hurried to put out the inferno, 54 year-old Mary Williams was one of the Mattapan residents who rushed to assist in the rescue efforts.

"Those are my neighbors," said Williams who lives directly across from the horrific scene. "What happened to these people is devastating and this is the time for our community to show them we care."  Read more

Holiday puts focus on year-round problem

By 
David Benoit
Nov. 19, 2007

As the neighborhood celebrates Thanksgiving, hundreds may be wondering if they will get one helping of turkey, forget about seconds. Every year, Turkey Day presents the people of Boston with the truth of hunger in our midst.

This year will be no different for those faced with skyrocketing fuel cost, health care bills, and costs of living. Dot is full of food pantries and shelters that provide food and services in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, but even they need help.  Read more

Dot Ave. reconstruction plans in final phase

A tiny crowd showed up at a meeting in the parish hall of St. Gregory School last week to see the 25 percent completion stage of the Dot Avenue Project draft, a plan for the reconstruction of the avenue and its streetscape at several key intersections. Concerns from a few neighbors of Fields Corner seem to have died down, and only a need for a parking solution there remains.

"We're done," said Jeremy Rosenberger, the project manager for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). "Time to move on to the next phase."  Read more

Condo market reflects changing landscape

The mortgage crisis and other factors are slowing sales on Dorchester's condominium market. Dorchester's digs are getting cheaper and taking longer to sell on average. Local realtors say Dorchester's public image might also be to blame, while some areas with good locations are still selling well.  Read more

In Mattapan, prescription for health center is new building

By 
Martine Louis
Nov. 14, 2007

The Mattapan Community Health Center hopes to construct a new, three-story facility in place of its present building at 1425 Blue Hill Avenue. The organization met with neighborhood merchants last month about its plans and has embarked on an ambitious capital campaign to raise the $18-20 million needed to fund the project.

The center, founded in 1972 by local resident and nurse Edna Smith, was first located further up Blue Hill Ave. It moved into its present location in in 1980. Today, MCHC serves 7,000 patients annually, but boasts a limited 13,000 square foot space.  Read more

Treasure trove on Savin Hill Avenue; A boy, his puppy, an orange, and a chair

The portrait hung in a Savin Hill Avenue parlor for at least a century. Its subject, a young boy in a green waist-coat, well coiffed, sits in an ornamental chair holding an orange and petting his devoted puppy.

The six-year-old child's soft blue eyes peer back at us through the ages, daring us to read his thoughts.

One idea that was not likely on his mind: "Someday, this painting is going to fetch my kin a whole treasure trove of greenbacks."  Read more

New condos in pipeline for St. Mark's area

In what was described as an "honest communication problem," the Boston Redevelopment Authority failed to notify the St. Mark's Civic Association of a new condo development proposed for 9 Banton St. Only a handful of residents showed up for at Nov. 7 community meeting showing the plans.

"I was disappointed there wasn't more of a turnout," said Barbara Bean, ex-president of the St. Mark's Civic Association (SMCA). "I felt like the word hadn't really gotten out."  Read more

Bell's furniture sells, day center for seniors to move in

After years of trying to broker a deal to bring in a new owner, some in the Uphams Corner neighborhood are getting their wish: Bell's Furniture store at 28 Hancock St., has been sold.

"I think we've been focused on the Bell's [site] for three years," said Matthew Strauss, treasurer of the Jones Hill Civic Association. "Any time we've tried to do some sort of deal, they would back out of it."

Contact information for the Bell family could not be found for this article, and the Bell's furniture phone number did not answer on multiple attempts.  Read more

Studies document PCB contamination problem in Neponset River; New reports could prove decisive in resolving dams' fate

The Baker Dam in Lower Mills is one of two dams on the Neponset River in Boston. Environmental advocates want the dam removed to facilitate fish migration. New studies due out this month will also point to the dam's role in trapping sediments that contain PCBs, remnants of industrial waste dumped into the river decades ago. Reporter file photo

Catholic schools offer stability, choice to neighborhood parents

Editor's note: The Archdiocese of Boston is finalizing plans this month to restructure our neighborhood's remaining Catholic grammar schools, a process known as the 2010 Initiative. Cardinal Sean O'Malley is expected to announce details of the plan, which is likely to include school closings, by the end of this month. In this context, this article looks back at the roots of Catholic education in Dorchester.  Read more

15 year-old is charged in Lower Mills murder

A 15 year-old Mattapan teen was arrested Tuesday and charged with manslaughter in the June murder of a 41 year-old man that stunned the Lower Mills neighborhood.

The teen, whose identity was not divulged because of his age, was 14 at the time of the attack. According to a statement released this week by police and prosecutors, the teen was "identified during the course of an extensive and ongoing Grand Jury investigation."  Read more

AG Coakley to review finances of Caritas group

Now that three different Catholic hospital chains have declined to take over Caritas Christi Health Care from the Archdiocese of Boston, Attorney General Martha Coakley has deemed it a good time to perform a review of the chain's ability to "stand alone."

"It is our hope and expectation that this review will help develop a road map with which our office, the Archdiocese, Caritas management, the health care community and the communities that Caritas serves may ensure that the health care mission is preserved and strengthened," said Coakley in a statement.  Read more

Arroyo out, Connolly in for at-large council; Anemic turnout across city

In a rare rebuke by a city electorate fond of its incumbent pols, voters on Tuesday replaced at-large city councillor Felix Arroyo of Jamaica Plain with West Roxbury's John Connolly, an attorney and former teacher who finished fourth overall. Incumbents Michael Flaherty, Steve Murphy and Sam Yoon - in that order - took the top three spots in citywide balloting. Yoon, who lives near Field's Corner, won the majority of Dorchester's precincts and made strong inroads citywide, replacing Arroyo as the leading minority vote-getter in Boston.  Read more

Bar owner may leave Bowdoin-Geneva

Violent crime is down citywide, but Andy Barros would say the numbers are up in Bowdoin-Geneva, where he co-owns a bar on Bowdoin Street called Gigi's Palace. Recent events have made Barros, a father of five, fearful for his life. The bar may be sold or relocated.  Read more

MBTA update: Archway will rise at Mattapan Station

An MBTA rendering shows the planned archway at the new Mattapan Square station.

Two MBTA station renovations that lost certain design features due to budget cuts are being reunited with their finishing touches. At Mattapan Station, an archway that was never built is back on the drawing board and at Shawmut, a new ceiling and column caps will complete the feel of a new space.  Read more

Carney's woes overstated in report, MDs say

Patients feared the worst after a front page headline in the Boston Globe last Wednesday announced that the Caritas Carney Hospital might be "sold or shuttered." The hospital phone lines lit up with hundreds of worried calls. The influx forced the hospital to distribute a "Talking Points" handout to staff, instructing them to tell everyone: "There are NO plans to close Carney Hospital."

But, perhaps surprisingly, staff morale seems to be a notch higher this week.  Read more

Saturday event aimed at lead poisoning problem

By 
Martine Louis
Oct. 31, 2007

While the number of childhood lead poisoning cases has greatly reduced in Massachusetts - from 772 in 2003 to 460 last year - hundreds of Boston youths remain at risk. Neighborhoods such as Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury and Hyde Park carry the highest percentages of illnesses. The housing stock, older homes with heavy concentrations of lead paint particles, is the chief culprit.  Read more

Special court tackles rise in gun arrests

In August 2006, Jeffrey Grand-Pierre gave Boston Police officers a workout. The 22 year-old suspect led police on a foot-chase down Washington and Dade Streets, tossing his Ruger .22 revolver before they caught up with him at Shawmut Avenue and Williams Street. Last month, the 22-year-old's case went to trial. Grand-Pierre was convicted and sentenced to two-and-a-half years for carrying a firearm.  Read more

Cedar Grove civic gives nod to village billboards

For years, two Clear Channel-owned billboards have occupied prime real estate atop a prominent Adams Corner building, stirring the ire of some neighbors who deem it an eyesore. But in September, after a persistent Clear Channel and a generous landlord offered to donate $150,000 to the St. Brendan School if the signs are allowed to stay influential local civic association agreed that the boards should stay put. If the legal details work out, they will.  Read more

Long-shot candidate challenges Feeney for second time

Michael Coté's website touts a lone endorsement: The Massachusetts ACORN Political Action Committee.

"I think it is a long shot," Coté admits of his second run at the District 3 seat held by Boston City Council President Maureen Feeney. "Whether I win or lose depends on whether people are upset" about the issues in play, including property taxes and the number of cops on the street.  Read more

Kennedy, congressmen push for energy reforms at Dot House

By 
David Benoit
Oct. 24, 2007

Kayla Leonard, only one day after her second birthday, reached her hand across to touch little John Jordan, three months old. Completely unaware of the situation that surrounded them, the two smiled at each other as they sat on their mothers' laps at the Dorchester House on Monday.

Ten feet away sat an influential panel of men in shirts and ties, two congressmen and two former congressmen. They were there to talk about the fate of children like Kayla and John, who may not have the heat needed to keep them healthy this upcoming winter.  Read more

Firefighter endures game show hot seat, dignity intact

By 
Pat Irish
Oct. 24, 2007

If there is anyone most qualified to endure the famed "hot seat" from television's hit show "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," it's local firefighter Kevin Meehan. For the past four years, Meehan, 42, has worked with Engine #7, the oldest fire company in the United States. He is used to pressure. Whether working the pump or driving the fire engine, Meehan is well acquainted with the perspiration that accompanies tight situations.  Read more