News

Defense says Port Norfolk arson killing not gang-related

An attorney defending a Dorchester man charged with murder and setting fire to a Port Norfolk Street home in 2001 lit into a top witness for the prosecution this week, accusing her of setting up the fire and lying to a grand jury investigating the case.

In a heated exchange on Tuesday, Robert Galibois, a Barnstable lawyer defending Eric King, on trial for the arson and murder, attempted to rip apart the testimony of Tamia Brown, who has pleaded guilty as an accessory before the fact to the murder of 53-year-old Shelby Caddell by directing King and others to the home.  Read more

Bringing City Hall to you: City pols seek new ways to reach voters, activists

City Council President Maureen Feeney is moving ahead with plans for a city-wide civic engagement summit set for May, aides to Mayor Thomas Menino have started holding office hours from Allston to West Roxbury and Councillor-at-Large Michael Flaherty is making his own forays into the neighborhood kitchens. All three initiatives, while unique in their own way, reflect a renewed effort by longtime politicians to shift their resources and re-engage a city electorate that has been dramatically altered by technology and shifting demographics.  Read more

Police plan to search homes for guns gets cold reception from community

By 
Martine Louis
Feb. 27, 2008

A Boston Police initiative aimed at conducting consensual home inspections in search for illegal firearms got a decidedly negative reception at a packed community meeting near Franklin Park last Thursday evening. The Safe Home program, which police officials introduced in concept last fall, has not yet been launched. Police have planned to pilot the initiative in high-risk neighborhoods such as Geneva Bowdoin, Grove Hall, Egleston Square and parts of Mattapan in the coming weeks.  Read more

Seats at Pope John Paul II Academy are filling up

Enrollment for the first-year of Pope John Paul II Academy is going well, according to the Archdiocese of Boston. The Catholic school, which will open in September with five campuses across Dorchester, will replace the current eight-school, parish-based system.

Enrollment has climbed to over 70 percent, said Archdiocese spokesperson Terrence Donilon on Tuesday.

"Which is phenomenal when you think most Catholic schools wouldn't even be approaching that number until the spring," he said. "We saw this in Brockton, but somehow I have a feeling it's happening a bit more here."  Read more

A pedestrian hit stirs fear of speeding at Gallivan Housing development

Members of the Gallivan Boulevard Tenants Task Force in are up in arms after a motorist hit a pedestrian at Morton and Woodmere streets on Saturday, Feb. 16. The incident, though unique in nature, reminds residents of a number of other pedestrian strikes and accidents and their long-ignored campaign to get speed bumps on the development's roads.  Read more

Nurses rallying neighbors to advocate for Carney

A group of nurses made the case for the Caritas Carney Hospital at the Lower Mills Civic Association last Tuesday night (Feb. 19), part of an ongoing effort by the Massachusetts Nurses Association to rally support for the hospital. Currently under review by consultants hired by parent Caritas Christi Healthcare and the Attorney General's Office, the nurses were concerned about the possibility Carney would close.  Read more

Officials alarmed by rise in black infant deaths

Public health officials at both the local and state level are fretting over new statistics that show wide discrepancies in infant mortality rates between white and black Bostonians.

"It's been a concern of ours for a long time," said Maia BrodyField, chief of staff to the Boston Public Health Commission. "Specifically for infant deaths, it's that it really does serve as an indicator of a population as a whole."  Read more

Chang-Diaz to renew challenge to Wilkerson in Second Suffolk

The main players in the wildest election of 2006, both running sticker campaigns and coming within 692 votes of each other, are back. Sonia Chang-Diaz announced last week she would again take on incumbent Senator Dianne Wilkerson for the second Suffolk seat. Local filmmaker Robert Patton-Spruill, who directed "Squeeze," a 1997 movie about youth gangs in Fields Corner, may also be in the mix.  Read more

High season for Dot fitness spots

Whether it's a New Year's resolution to get fit in 2008, or the thought of donning a bathing suit in the next few months, fitness club owners in Dorchester say 'tis the season to start working out and getting healthy. Gym membership peaks in January, February and March, said Mark Jarvis, owner of Planet Fitness on Neponset Avenue and though she doesn't encourage "seasonal fitness," Christine Holmes, owner of Fitness Vibe on Blue Hill Ave., said if that's what brings people into her gym she will help them make a long-term lifestyle change.  Read more

Odor control facility raises new questions on Columbia Point

A 2.1-mile sewer overflow tunnel being built under William J. Day Boulevard may be hitting a speed bump, as a key Columbia Point landowner is raising a stink over a planned odor control facility nearby.

The Corcoran Jennison Companies, owner of the Bayside Exposition Center, is planning on hitting local neighborhood civic associations with its concerns on the single-story brick structure, known as an odor control facility, set to be built behind the State Police barracks.  Read more

OFD actress makes triumphant return in musical

By 
Martine Louis
Feb. 20, 2008

Carolynne Warren plays a menopausal housewife in the hit production, "Menopause the Musical," but this award-winning actress is at the prime of her career and happy to be back to her Dorchester roots.

Warren, 46, who grew up in the Geneva Avenue neighborhood but now lives in Los Angeles, has returned with her off-Broadway cast to perform at the Stuart Street Playhouse.  Read more

Guerilla art outfit gets fast notice after e-mail blast

A new guerilla-style art project called "Dot Aht" has hit the Internet, and presumably the streets of Dorchester. A website at dotaht.com is encouraging artists to install a temporary objet d'art or two on the streets of the city, "to create dialog and to reinvigorate the creative spirit in all the neighborhoods of Dorchester."  Read more

St. Ann's School to be rehabbed, not torn down

The Neponset Avenue campus that houses St. Ann's Catholic grammar school will be renovated over a two year period beginning this June, officials involved in the construction plans told the Reporter this week. The decision means that students will not be displaced during the reconstruction project, which had initially called for the demolition of the original 1909 schoolhouse and the construction of a brand new academic facility.  Read more

Dot dance crew takes MTV to 'the gutter'

The members of Boston dance crew Status Quo Joshua Green, Darius Rutledge, Jamal Weaver, Dwayne Hines and Ernest Phillips compete tonight in MTV's series "Randy Jackson Presents: America's Best Dance Crew." Courtesy of MTV/Chris Polk.

Six members of Boston's 15-person all male dance crew, Status Quo, are competing on MTV's new show, America's Best Dance Crew, and showing the world what true street dancing looks like.  Read more

Hendry gets mayor's attention

When it comes to property owners around Hendry Street in Dorchester, Leonard Habiyakare, Jr. is an exception. While some have sold out over the past few years and others succumbed to foreclosure, Habiyakare has been struggling to keep his three-family house, which is at the end of the street. With help from ACORN, he managed to get his mortgage modified, but he still has trouble finding tenants.  Read more

Greeting cards feature neighborhood scenes, help local pooches

During the week, Diane Staib can be found at Upham's Elder Service Plan in Dorchester, where she works as a geriatric social worker. On the weekends, she is usually roaming around the neighborhood, camera in hand, looking for the perfect shot that will become the latest addition to Under Dog Cards, a collection of greeting cards featuring local photography.

Diane donates about 10 percent of the proceeds from Under Dog Cards to the Boston Animal Rescue League, which she says is integral in creating responsible pet owners and preventing animal cruelty.  Read more

Keeping up with the pols and their spending habits

One local lawmaker returned money to an Indian tribe after their leader disgraced himself. A senator spent $85 on make-up for the St. Patrick's Day breakfast in South Boston. And the rest of Dorchester's State House delegation showered their campaign funds on local charities and flower shops.

Campaign finance reports, available at the Office of Campaign and Political Finance's website, are a goldmine for political junkies and politicians eager to see where their colleagues and potential opponents stand. They can also be a source of some headaches.  Read more

CVS probes Codman area for new location

Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury are hot properties in the eyes of CVS, Walgreens and other general retailers, and some community activists are starting to question whether it's a good thing.

"I just want to raise the concern that could come from a lot of the small businesses on the street who do convenience-type business and the impact it would have on their business," said local resident Adam Gibbons at the Feb. 6 Codman Square Neighborhood Council meeting.  Read more

At UMass, standout ballplayer found lane to better life

By 
Martine Louis
Feb. 13, 2008

Today he is hailed as one of the best players in the history of UMass Boston's men's basketball program. But, just a few years ago, Alberto "Amigo" Paniagua was heading down the wrong path.

"I never saw myself being in college," said Paniagua, 26, a Mattapan native who dropped out of school during his senior year at Dorchester High. "I took the path many misguided youth take and decided it was cooler to be doing my own thing."

Paniagua took a job at the Boston University food court. After three years, he decided to go back to school.  Read more

City moves to foreclose on Upham's Maxwell building

Plans to turn a large Uphams Corner industrial complex into a mixed-use building with 90 new affordable housing units seem to be derailed this week, and the city is moving to foreclose on the property instead.

Over $1.6 million in back property taxes, penalties and interest, is owed on 65 E. Cottage St., commonly known as the Maxwell building. But that isn't all.  Read more

Some see flu outbreak in city neighborhoods

By 
Martine Louis
Feb. 13, 2008

Boston residents have flocked to some local health facilities at an alarming rate in recent weeks, with symptoms of fevers, body aches and fatigue. Dr. Joe Bresee and Center for Disease Control spokesperson Curtis Allen confirmed there was a recent influenza epidemic in the U.S. during a Feb. 8 CDC conference, and that the situation in Massachusetts called for concern.  Read more

New housing chief Friedman first ever from a CDC

In a move that may mark one of the final milestones in the shift away from the days of Urban Renewal and government-controlled housing development, Mayor Thomas Menino tapped Evelyn Friedman, director of Nuestra Comunidad Development Corporation to be his Chief of Housing and director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. She will be the first from a community development corporation to lead the department.  Read more

Davis questions impact of city's streetworkers

Boston's top cop has raised questions on the effectiveness of the city's streetworkers, pointing to the need nowadays for background checks and different hours as potentially detrimental.

At a meeting last month in the Area C-11 police station, City Councillor Charles Yancey pressed Police Commissioner Ed Davis on the matter, arguing that the city needs to be deploying more streetworkers and engaging at-risk youth, a cause that the Dorchester pol held a recent hearing on at City Hall.  Read more

Fields Corner development denied at Board of Appeal

Mark Raimondi, owner of Ellsworth Supply on Dorchester Avenue, has so far lost a bid to create seven new housing units in a vacant lot behind his place of business between Ellsworth and Kimball streets.

The city's Zoning Board of Appeal listened Tuesday as a long line of representatives from elected official's offices and Council President Maureen Feeney expressed their opposition to the development, citing the density concerns of abutters and neighborhood associations. Only the Carpenter's Union stood in support.  Read more

Dot health leaders press case for Carney's survival

Local health center leaders are taking preemptive moves to stoke up public awareness of the Caritas Carney Hospital's importance after what many of them call concerning visits by one of Caritas Christi Health Care's hired consultants.  Read more