Vines choking Dorchester Park woodlands

The Dorchester Park Association is strategizing for a battle against a vine and a handful of invasive plants that threaten the future of the park's tree canopy.

"If you look at the park in the wintertime you can see that the trees are being smothered," said Bill O'Connell, a DPA board member. "Unless something is done, we will not have the same park in 2091 as we have today."

The 2091 date will mark 200th anniversary of the park, said O'Connell.  Read more

Summertime favorites - music and baseball - harmonize at Dorchester Park

"Take Me Out To The…Concert!"

That's what hundreds of Dorchester sports fans and music lovers were humming last Sunday afternoon as they left "A Salute to the Red Sox," the third annual Boston Landmarks Orchestra concert in Dorchester Park.

(The 2005 concert was held in the rain location of the Carney Hospital auditorium. The 2006 and 2007 ball-field presentations, along with the ones at the Jamaica Pond, remain the only outdoor neighborhood Landmarks locations in Boston .)  Read more

Aspiring musicians get boost with full Berklee scholarships

Eighteen-year-old Nia Ferguson of Dorchester has been singing with her church choir since the age of five. Even at that young age, Ferguson says, she decided that music would always be a part of her life.

Earlier this month, Ferguson's dream of pursuing music as her life's work got a huge boost when she along with eight other neighborhood people were awarded full, four-year scholarships for the prestigious Berklee College of Music.

The awards came on August 9, after the nine completed Berklee City Music - an intensive five-week mentoring program.  Read more

Local AAU club gains attention with national title

David Benoit
Aug. 7, 2007

In the world of AAU basketball, teams from across the country compete on an enormous scale, players dreaming of the chance to raise a trophy and maybe one day stand on an NBA court. It's a league the fuels competition in every season, games on any days. The Merritting Attention Basketball Club puts out teams of boys and girls to play in almost every level the AAU has leagues. That's a lot of games to attend and a lot of players.  Read more

Beaches get $2 million; now looking for 'friends'

Against a backdrop of eroding sandcastles on Revere Beach Aug. 1, Governor Deval Patrick announced $2 million in new funding for 19 metropolitan beaches from Nahant to Hull, including three in Dorchester. More beach benefits are in the works on Beacon Hill, but advocates say reviving Dorchester's beaches will also require friends.

Currently, Savin Hill Beach has the Friends of Savin Hill Shores to mind its sands and organize a clean-up once a year. But Malibu and Tenean Beaches are left to fend for themselves.  Read more

Finneran continues to live life his way

Greg O'Brien
Aug. 7, 2007

Tom Finneran, once the most powerful and, by his own measure, the most unpopular man in Massachusetts politics, sits on a curb outside the Stockyard restaurant in Brighton on a steamy July day with much of the sizzle in his life gone, but with the spirit of a lead buffalo on a drive. Mr. Speaker, the former leader of the Massachusetts House who always insisted that his Mattapan, Dorchester, and Milton constituents in the 12th Suffolk District call him "Tommy," is dressed in an open-collar white shirt with the sleeves rolled to the forearms. He looks ready for the stump.  Read more

Finneran: Map-drawing charge 'was false, right from the start'

Tom Mulvoy
Aug. 1, 2007

For Tom Finneran, self-styled "most unpopular man" in state politics from 1999 to 2004, his days in federal court earlier this year, where he pleaded guilty to one count of obstruction of justice for making misleading and false statements under oath in a federal case involving his role in the drawing of electoral maps for the city of Boston, still rankle to his very core.  Read more

Motley picks second in command

In the first big hire of his new administration, UMass-Boston Chancellor Keith Motley tapped a twelve-year campus veteran this week for his chief of staff.

Christopher Hogan, who lives in Lynn with his wife and three children, has served as the university's associate vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and special projects and programs since 2005.

He also served as the chancellor's special assistant when Motley had the job on the interim and as assistant vice chancellor of student affairs when Motley headed the division under then-Chancellor Jo Ann Gora.  Read more

Iraq vet ascends new ladder; First Haitian-American woman joins fire ranks

David Benoit
Aug. 1, 2007

The Boston Fire Department likes to think of themselves as one large family, and even if their family outings might not be a trip to Castle Island, they live and work together with an intense closeness.

Last week they welcomed into their ranks 46 new brothers and one new history-making sister. Dorchester native Nathalie Delsoin became the sixteenth woman in the Boston Fire Department, and the very first Haitian-American woman on the force.  Read more

Hart's potential departure fuels special election speculation

Patrick McGroarty and Brian Denitzio
Aug. 1, 2007

News that state Sen. Jack Hart is a top contender to lead the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council touched off a wave of speculation in the neighborhood this week, as local elected officials and other politically connected residents considered the possibility of an open seat in the senate's First Suffolk district.  Read more

Council weighs closing loophole in Mass. gun laws

The Boston City Council is considering a home rule petition that would impose a mandatory minimum penalty for those found in possession of an unregistered gun in their home or work. Under current Massachusetts law, possession of an unregistered gun at home or work is an arrestable offense, however there is no minimum sentence imposed. The petition, proposed by At-large City Councillor Michael Flaherty, would impose a mandatory penalty of 18 months imprisonment for such an offense.  Read more

GoKids facility at UMass blends research and fun

Brian Denitzio
Jul. 25, 2007

At first glance, the new GoKids Boston space at UMass-Boston looks like any other fitness facility. It's equipped with all the things one would expect to find in a gym; there's stationary bikes and Nautilus equipment. But set beyond the weights and cardio machines is the Sportwall, a floor-to-ceiling display of flashing yellow lights that allows children to compete in a wide variety of team and one-on-one games involving running and throwing.  Read more

Fairmount riders weigh line's pros, cons

Brian Denitzio
Jul. 25, 2007

It's just before eight o'clock on a cool summer morning at the Morton Street stop along the Fairmount Commuter Rail Line. Just last week, in this very spot, elected and transit officials from the city and state smiled broadly and cut a ribbon to mark the official re-opening of the Morton Street stop.

But this morning there are no ceremonial scissors. No cameras. No excitement. Just commuters readying themselves to face another day at work.  Read more

Safe haven on Longfellow: Dot woman named state's best foster parent

David Benoit
Jul. 24, 2007

Since 1990, Juana Rodriguez has taken into her own home- and been a foster mom to- 75 children. She has cared for some of the most troubled children and young adults in the Department of Social Services's (DSS) Boston region, and turned many of them around into better students and successful adults. She has even had one young woman give birth to a child right on the couch in her Longfellow Street living room.  Read more

Farmers Market adds options to Mattapan Square

Martine Louis
Jul. 24, 2007

Mattapan is one of Boston's most culturally diverse communities. It is also known to be one of the least healthy.  Read more

Codman activists want police lines redrawn

Neighborhood concerns and confusion over which Boston Police District has jurisdiction in Codman Square have led activists to ask Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis to look at relocating the district boundary between B-3 and C-11. The request, brought before the Commissioner at a community meeting in late May, received an enthusiastic response from the Commissioner at the time, and now appears to be under consideration within the department.  Read more

Car-insurance changes hurt city drivers, critics say

An announcement by the state's Commissioner of Insurance this week that she intends to change the way that auto insurance rates are set in Massachusetts has sparked concern among lawmakers and some in the industry who believe that urban drivers will be adversely affected by the change.  Read more

Douglass to open second Peabody Sq. restaurant

Tavolo. It means "table" in Italian, and early next year it will also be the name of a new eatery in Peabody Square. The restaurant, tentatively scheduled for opening in Jan. 2008, will occupy a portion of the first floor of The Carruth Building, a mixed-use development now under construction next to the Ashmont MBTA Station.

True to its name, the cuisine at Tavolo will have an Italian flair with a focus on pizza and pasta dishes.  Read more

Carney mourns loss of beloved Doctor Carlos Carpena

Dr. Carlos Carpena, who died April 21 at the age of 67, will be remembered by his family, friends, patients, colleagues, and students, as a man of great compassion, expertise, and humility.

He was "caring, truly interested in his patients and their families," said Cornelius P. Bulman, Chief Operating Officer of Caritas Carney Hospital. Bulman had known him since Carpena was a resident at Carney in 1973.  Read more

Council considers eliminating preliminary at-large election

The City Council was scheduled to consider a home rule petition on Wednesday that would eliminate a preliminary at-large City Council election scheduled for this September and allow all nine candidates who have filed the requisite signatures to compete for four seats in the final election in November.  Read more

Money push on for Dudley center

The Salvation Army met last week with some of the city's leading business executives in an attempt to gather the necessary money they need before they break the ground on a $105 million community center project on Dudley Street. The proposed Ray and Joan Kroc center to be built on land that has been cleared at the corner of Clifton Street will be the largest facility of its kind in the neighborhood and would transform a currently forlorn stretch of the Dudley corridor.  Read more

Connolly launches new bid for council

Saying he would be a city councillor committed to "big ideas," John Connolly officially announced his candidacy for council at-large in Dorchester on Tuesday night at Florian Hall. It was the fifth such neighborhood-specific campaign kick-off that he has hosted across Boston to date.  Read more

Bayside outlines plans at meeting

Corcoran Jennison Companies hosted the first public meeting for residents last week to discuss plans to redevelop nearly 30 acres of land on Columbia Point into a mixed-use retail and residential project that could represent a $1 billion investment.

The site is currently home to the Bayside Expo Center, a conference facility whose business has been impacted drastically since last summer, when a change in state law allowed the new Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in South Boston to host the regional trade shows that provided Bayside with its most lucrative clients.  Read more

Dot roots resonate in OFDer's music

In conversation, Bryan McPherson is soft-spoken and understated, even a bit reserved.

Give him a guitar, a mic and a stage - or a few tiles of MBTA platform - and he's a house afire.

The 30 year-old singer-songwriter &endash; whose latest CD project was launched at a release party earlier this month &endash; spends much of his time lighting up the clubs and coffee houses on the other end of the Red Line. McPherson's lyrics, however, capture the street-corner sensibilities of his native neighborhood, which he spotlights in a new song, "O.F.D."  Read more

Lower Mills residents demand action after assault of longtime resident results in his death

The death earlier this month of a lifelong Lower Mills resident has incensed neighbors there who see a clear connection between the incident and what they say is an increase in intimidating juvenile delinquency.  Read more