News

Flaherty shows strength in '08 fundraising

In his biggest haul yet, Councillor at-Large Michael Flaherty has pulled in over $224,800 in campaign contributions in the last six months, state campaign finance records show.

Flaherty, widely expected to run against Mayor Thomas Menino as he makes a bid for an unprecedented fifth term next year, pulled in a little under $100,000 more than in previous first halves of the year. In the most recent deposit, filed this week, Flaherty banked $74,000, made up of donors from both the Boston area, along with Hingham, Wellesley and as far away as Texas.  Read more

City's job program fights to keep pace

National teen employment has fallen to pre-World War II levels, according to a study of census data released from Northeastern University this month, and although the overall picture in Massachusetts may be rosier, Mayor Thomas Menino's summer job program has become more important than ever for the city's young people.  Read more

New songs from old church on Dot Ave.

It was a Saturday, not a Sunday, when the former St. William's church had people back in its pews and songs that could be heard out on Dorchester Avenue.

Over 300 people, worshippers from Dorchester, Roxbury, Rhode Island, New York and Cape Verde, came for the first service in the ex-Catholic church, now in the care of Seventh-Day Adventists from Roxbury.

"We are here because God is good," said Pastor Samuel Bulgin, welcoming his congregation to the first service at the church. A chorus of "Amen" followed.  Read more

Evangelism runs amok in latest novel from OFD author

With his tirades against political correctness and liberal bias, author and political commentator Douglas MacKinnon might be more likely to incense his fellow OFD'ers than evoke a sense of camaraderie, but no one can say he's forgotten where he came from.

In his second novel due to be released later this month it is again a Dot-native working on the side of good against Christian fundamentalists bent on world domination.

Only this time, religious zealots are out to nuke all the Muslims in the world.  Read more

The upside of green

By 
By
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

State budget bump targets violence

Lawmakers last week rushed a $28.2 billion budget to Gov. Deval Patrick's desk, with millions in funds for local projects, from $250,000 for an 18-bed women's sober-living facility to $350,000 for a "Safe Neighborhood" crime prevention program in Grove Hall and housing for veterans.

The fiscal 2009 budget also included increased funds for anti-domestic violence and youth violence programs, with five youth violence prevention programs receiving $8.7 million more than the previous year and anti-domestic violence programs receiving a $3.7 million boost.  Read more

Echoes of folk's heyday on Franklin Park stage

Folk singer Odetta, who showed Harry Belafonte a thing or two about song and inspired the likes of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez back in the 60s, opened up the Playhouse in the Park series Tuesday. A few present were taken back to 40-year-old memories of the Elma Lewis Playhouse of the 1960s. Odetta first played there in 1968.  Read more

Ronan dog park effort close to the bone

p>When most people get a dog, they weigh the benefit of a "best friend" against a dog food bill, plastic baggy duty and the likelihood of a few chewed up shoes and pillows. What some don't expect - outside of a few calculating bachelors - is automatic membership in a neighborhood subculture of fellow dog-owners.  Read more

Gospel group sings praises of Dot roots

The singers of Ashmont Hill include, l-r, Phil Thompson, April Joy Thompson, Deborah Bullock and Wil Bullock. Photo courtesy Big Machine Media

Over the years, the Ashmont Hill section of Dorchester has shared its name with tire stores, trendy eateries, an MBTA stop and even an alt-rock record label.

Now, a newly formed gospel quartet with deep roots in the neighborhood have adopted the moniker.  Read more

Dance crew adjusts to life after MTV fame

When Ernest "E-Knock" Phillips, leader of the local dance crew Status Quo, returned to Boston after competing on MTV's "America's Best Dance Crew," he was confident that a second-place finish would bring him and his boys the fame that they always dreamed of. But three months later, a second season of the dance competition has hit the television waves, the winning Jabbawockeez dance crew is on tour with MTV, and Phillips is back in Dorchester, wondering when his dancing will start to pay off in dollars.  Read more

Taps at blue-collar Dot Ave. tavern

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

Restaurant brings Haitian flavor to Fields Corner

By 
Martine Louis
Jul. 9, 2008

In the Fields Corner section of Dorchester you'll find pizza shops, Chinese restaurants and a McDonalds fast food spot. But what some residents have been starving for is a taste of their Caribbean roots. And the newly opened Belle Cuisine on Adams Street is offering just that.

The Haitian-American restaurant opened its doors about a month ago and is already a hot spot for local residents and especially the Haitian community. The restaurant's owner, Antoine Dorcena, says residents no longer have to go far outside of their neighborhood to find a place that will cater to their needs.  Read more

Grand jury underway in Tuttle St. murder

Six months after a young man was found fatally stabbed in a Tuttle St. apartment, no arrests have been made, but a Suffolk County grand jury investigation is underway into the case.

Daniel Yakovleff, 20, of Roxbury, was found stabbed to death on Jan. 17 in the third floor apartment at 56 Tuttle St. Since then, little information has been released about the murder.  Read more

Fifty years later, Mattapan woman completes her high school journey

By 
Martine Louis
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

MBTA warms to plan for Fields Corner mural

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

Sculpture additions to Everett Square due in October

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

Rep. Allen: One term not enough to finish job

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."

Elected to the House of Representatives in 2006, Allen is facing a challenger, Faustina "Kathy" Gabriel, in September's Democratic primary.  Read more

National tennis hopefuls join battle on Blue Hill

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

At St. Peter's, high anxiety about future

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

City workshops bring art to the tot lots, playgrounds

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

Cabbies seek pay hike, citing gas expenses

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

After over 100 years, a trolley clatters down retirement road

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

John Byrne, fixture on Dot scene, dead at 96

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

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

Task Force hears 'visions' for Columbia Point improvements

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