News

Harbor School to bring new philosophy to Cleveland

The student population at Grover Cleveland Middle School on Charles Street in Fields Corner has been whittled down to its eighth graders, and when they graduate this spring, the school will cease to be. But the end of the Cleveland will be a beginning for Harbor Middle School, a pilot school based on Bowdoin Street that has been slowly claiming space in the Cleveland building since September. When the full plan is realized, it could mean a new, integrated K-12 educational choice for Dorchester parents.  Read more

Cops put squeeze on Dot Ave. 'streetwalkers'

Responding to heavy community complaints, Boston police officers from District C-11 are putting the "squeeze" on prostitutes who walk Dorchester Avenue.

"We were getting so many of them, we had to address it," said Capt. John Greland. "We depend on the community to tell us where they've seen them."

The campaign started back in October, with the district putting out extra cars. Officers have so far stopped about 82 prostitutes, working with the Suffolk County District Attorney's office to impose "stay away" orders for the areas the prostitutes have been picked up in.  Read more

Fire kills two children on Bellevue St.

By 
Martine Louis
Jan. 2, 2008

The joy of a holiday and birthday celebration turned to tragedy last week as a fast-moving house fire inside a Bellevue Street three-decker stole the lives of two children, one of whom had just celebrated her ninth birthday just hours before. Flames ripped through the blue-colored home just after midnight on Dec. 29. Twelve residents escaped, but two young children in the Zizi family-Rooben, 11, and Rebecca, 9- did not.  Read more

Reeling from car breaks in '07, cops take warnings door-to-door

When parking your car in the neighborhood, make sure you take out that GPS you got for Christmas, or that shiny iPod you bought yourself, even that spare change you keep for emergencies and tolls.

All of it's got to go. At least that's the message District B-3 police are sending after they saw a 60 percent jump in car break-ins last year.

"This is a crime of opportunity, so we are out there trying to re-educate the people," said Sergeant Timothy Torigian. "They've forgotten step one, which is get the stuff out of the car."  Read more

Carney Hospital seeks outside help from consultant

A high-end hospital turnaround expert has been brought in to diagnose the Caritas Carney Hospital on Dorchester Avenue. Dawn Gideon of Wellspring Partners, a hospital consulting firm recently acquired by Huron Consulting Group, is the chosen one, known for her role in trying to prop up the ailing and eventually failing Waltham Hospital earlier this decade, and more recently for making tough decisions for the St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in New York, which spun off three of its five hospitals on her recommendations.  Read more

Another Dot hockey prospect headed for the Heights

Every day, Jimmy Hayes puts on his hockey pads, laces up his skates, and dons his country's hockey jersey. As a member of the under-18 team at the National Team Development Program, Hayes is one of a select few that get to play day in and day out for the good old U.S. of A. But the forward still hasn't forgotten about Dorchester, the place he grew up playing on ice.  Read more

Hockey hero O'Sullivan trades blades for patrolman's badge

The latest crop of cadets from the police academy gave a welcome boost to the Boston Police Department, and for NHL buffs, a nifty piece of local trivia. More accustomed to wearing uniforms bearing flames, ducks and Canucks, Dot Native and former NHL Defenseman Chris O'Sullivan is now officially a boy-in-blue.  Read more

Dot woman vows to fight city on residency reform

The fight to keep Boston employees within city limits may resurface this year and could become a campaign issue if a Dorchester activist has her way.

Eileen Boyle, an activist with "Save Our City," a pro-residency group, and a member of a residency compliance commission, is seeking signatures for a petition that charges both the mayor and the city council do not have the authority to change the rules requiring municipal employees to live within the city.  Read more

State violence prevention grants help local efforts

By 
David Benoit
Dec. 23, 2007

In October, Governor Deval Patrick pledged to the family of 13-year-old murder victim Steven Odom that he would try his best to bring about change and stop the violence that has been snatching young lives in city neighborhoods.  Read more

Crime rates dropped, but youth killings tore at security

The drumbeat of gun violence on the streets of Dorchester and Mattapan continued this year. It was particularly pronounced on the Area B-3 police district, which has recorded 22 homicides so far this year, the most of any district in the city. Area C-11 -which covers the eastern side of the neighborhood - saw a drop in murders from last year - from 16 in '06 to 10 so far in '07.  Read more

Mike Leahy loved to laugh, cheer his sons, and care for 'the Port'

Mike Leahy, right, passed away last Friday after suffering a heart attack on Dec. 14. He is shown above with his wife, Pat. Photo courtesy Leahy family.

Mike Leahy was born and raised in Port Norfolk, Neponset. He was the youngest of Jim and Bridie Leahy's five sons. He was the little brother and dear friend of James of Neponset, Brian of Neponset, Gerard of South Boston and the late Dennis Leahy.

He attended Saint Ann School and Cathedral High School.  Read more

Man shot during robbery at courthouse corner store

An early morning break-in at the Washington Street convenience store across from Dorchester District Court turned chaotic after a store employee shot himself in the foot during a struggle with the intruder.

Between 3 and 4 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, Courthouse Convenience owner Marc Stallworth and co-worker Gary Smalls entered the store to find an intruder coming up the stairs in back of the store.  Read more

UMass trustees debate campus re-design, dorms

Two new academic buildings, including a gleaming, state-of-the-art science facility (minus dangerous infectious diseases). Two new parking garages to replace the crumbling substructure holding up the plaza and campus. A glass façade and new entrance to the Healey Library.

And, of course, dorms.

UMass-Boston's final conceptual plan, presented to UMass trustees on the last day of fall semester classes earlier this month, calls for 1,000 beds in the first phase, while reaching at least 2,000 beds by the end of the 25-year plan.  Read more

Locals help give First Night its groove

One way or another, each of the over one million people participating in the upcoming 32nd First Night Boston, the oldest, largest and most-often-copied New Year's Eve arts celebration in North America, will sample the work of Dorchester and Mattapan artists who teamed with other talented, hard-working peers from across the region to bring off the day-long extravaganza.  Read more

Bubbles' Birthdays And Special Occasions

The first popular children's TV show, "Howdy Doody," debuted on Dec. 27, 60 years ago. Radio City Music Hall will celebrate the 75th anniversary of its opening on Dec. 27. The first issue of Poor Richard's Almanack, by Richard Saunders (Ben Franklin), was published on Dec. 28, 275 years ago. December 29 is the feast day of St. Thomas, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The massacre at Wounded Knee happened on Dec. 29, 1890. The YMCA was organized on Dec. 29, 1851. The USS Monitor sank during a storm on Dec. 30, 1862.  Read more

Hanlon still learning from the job as first justice at Dorchester court

In 1990, Sydney Hanlon was ready to move up.

After 15 years as a prosecutor, handling hundreds of cases of rape and child molestation and tracking the use of money laundering and hundreds of pounds of cocaine, and persuading judges to see her side, Hanlon wanted to be a judge herself.

"I wanted to be the person who made the decisions," she says now with a smile.  Read more

In Codman Sq., agency helps homeowners on the brink

A Brockton woman was only a month behind on her mortgage payments in November when her son, who was the only one home at the time, received the vacate order.

A day and a half later, the impending foreclosure was reversed, thanks to officials at the Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), which works to develop affordable housing and owns about 700 units.  Read more

Devoted dad, firefighter Kevin O'Toole 'got things done'

He was a man of few words, Captain Kevin O'Toole. Like so many men and women of his generation, he spoke best with his actions and that was more than enough.

Last month, several hundred of his admirers followed suit and spoke with their feet, flying from as far as Ireland to pay final tribute to a stalwart Dorchester man and proud firefighter who relished his roots and made sure his children did, too.  Read more

Joanne Sullivan: Dot Ave's Ms. Clean

By 
Catherine O'Neill
Dec. 18, 2007

Joanne Sullivan keeps Dorchester Ave.- from Freeport Street to Columbia Road- tidy. Photo by Bill Forry

It's hard not to notice her, or her work, if you have eyes.

I don't know what's more amazing, the obvious pride and enthusiasm she has for a job most others would scoff at, or how clean Dorchester Avenue is from Burger King to the intersection of Columbia Road.

I'm talking Disneyland clean.  Read more

Auto body man works to mold youth

By 
Melissa Jeltsen
Dec. 18, 2007

For 23 years, Larry Dossantos quietly harbored a dream.

It was never quite the right time for the entrepreneur who ran an auto body and repair center in Mattapan. Life got in the way - he was busy at his shop, he married and had three children - but he never forgot the plan he had conceived of when he first opened his business.

Now, at 41 years old, Dossantos is through with waiting.

"I said to myself, watching these kids getting shot on the street, 'you gotta do something,'" he recalled, "Why not do it now?"  Read more

Dot Park to get national historic recognition

By 
David Benoit
Dec. 18, 2007

Move over Central Park, Dorchester Park is about to be on equal footing.

In a move that the Dorchester Park Association (DPA) has been trying to make for years, Dorchester Park has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places. In the next 45 days a bit of Washington bureaucracy will take place before the park is placed under federal protection, much like Central Park or Mount Rushmore, or any number of famous historic places throughout the country.  Read more

Holiday treats close to home

Each year, the Reporter scours the neighborhood for a sleigh full of local gift ideas that help support your local small merchants and artisans, while also satisfying the tastes and budgets of the discerning shopper. Here's the Reporter's checklist of great gifts with a neighborhood twist:

Project DEEP Calendars  Read more

Infusion of new detectives to aid districts

Flush with a newly pinned batch of detectives, the Boston Police Department is hoping the reinforcements will help local police districts to further improve crime clearance rates and relieve overburdened investigators in the new year. The increased investigative help could also lead to the revival of a presently-defunct Cold Case Unit that takes aim at closing older, unsolved murder cases that continue to haunt the neighborhoods.  Read more

Fields Corner area chosen for widespread restoration

Historic Boston Inc., the non-profit that restored the Globe bookstore to its current glory downtown, has set its sights on more than a local landmark. It will focus its considerable resources on bringing several key buildings in Fields Corner up to snuff for the history buff.  Read more

Drop-out problem discussed at Frederick School forum

By 
Martine Louis
Dec. 18, 2007

Over 300 residents packed the auditorium of the Lilla G. Frederick Pilot Middle School on Dec. 6 as Superintendent Dr. Carol Johnson, along with various school officials, led a dialogue on how to prevent youth from giving up on their education. The forum, part of the Boston Public Schools' "Graduation for All" campaign, was one of a series of community meetings designed to give parents and youth the opportunity to exchange ideas on what does or does not work in Boston's school system.  Read more