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

State violence prevention grants help local efforts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ark-inspired building on Blue Hill to anchor near zoo

A building proposed for Blue Hill Ave. near Franklin Park will resemble an ark and hopes to jive with the nearby zoo. Image courtesy John Spears/GBDA

Just across Blue Hill Avenue from the entrance of the Franklin Park Zoo and down the street a bit, a strange triangular vacant lot is about to become a giant glass boat-shaped building with oversized animals perched on top.

"I am thinking of hanging a gorilla at the edge of the building," said private developer Natasha Kapij.  Read more

Drop-out problem discussed at Frederick School forum

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

Dot Park to get national historic recognition

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

Fields Corner Post Office to get facelift next year

Mailing a letter will be just a smidge more pleasant at the Fields Corner Post Office starting next summer, when construction crews finish upgrading the storefront to go with an interior revamped in 2005.  Read more

Key Catholic schools advisor sees "renaissance" ahead through 2010 plan

One of the chief architects of an ambitious plan to consolidate and revitalize Dorchester and Mattapan's parochial schools promised this week that the project would exceed even its own expectations, prompting a "renaissance" of the neighborhoods' Catholic education system.

John Fish, CEO of Suffolk Construction, leads a team of engineers and executives from his company who have been instrumental thus far in the 2010 Initiative, a committee that is chaired by Boston businessman and philanthropist Jack Connors.  Read more

Dot student excels in class, community service

Martine Louis
Dec. 12, 2007

In the four years Dorchester resident Abdoul Diallo has lived in the U.S. he has touched and inspired lives worldwide. From participating in constructing a playground for an orphanage in St. Croix to helping build housing for the homeless in Honduras, this 18-year-old has been deemed a leader.

Foreclosure rescue and the contractor special

If there's anything too hopeless for President George W. Bush's foreclosure prevention plan, it's the "contractor special" near Codman Square in Dorchester. Located in a three-decker on Whitfield Street, it helps explain why, as Mayor Thomas Menino pointed out, the resetting of adjustable mortgages to higher interest rates is only one link in the sub-prime chain-reaction.  Read more

Feeney 'unconvinced' on moving Carney away from acute care, critical of shift to 'beahvioral health' facility

Boston City Council President Maureen E. Feeney issued the following statement today on the Attorney General's report on Caritas Christi Health Care System and Caritas Carney Hospital.

"This report clearly echoes what we know about the Caritas Christi Health Care System: that it faces significant fiscal and operational challenges and in order to remain viable it must reform its governance to operate independent from the Archdiocese of Boston.  Read more

Milestones in Catholic Dorchester

By Edward F. Saunders, Jr.
Dec. 5, 2007

The Honorable Maureen E. Feeney President, Boston City Council Boston City Hall, 5th Floor Boston, MA 02201  Read more

MBTA slow to think rapid on Fairmount Line

As the design for a new Four Corners station on the MBTA's Fairmount Line nears completion, and funding trickles in from the state, a gap between the community and the MBTA's intentions for the project is becoming more apparent.

The T presented the 60 percent stage of the Four Corners design last Wednesday, only to hear a short list of demands from the Greater Four Corners Action Coalition. Many of the same demands were made at previous meetings, but some have not yet had an affect on architectural drawings for the project.  Read more

OFF THE BENCH: Goodbye, Sister Chips

James W. Dolan
Dec. 4, 2007

As a product of St. Mark's, St. Matthew's, and, finally, St. Gregory's grammar schools, I regret the necessary and inevitable consolidation of our once thriving parochial school system.

I remember with affection and respect the good nuns who dedicated their lives to teaching. Sure, there were occasional excesses; corporal punishment was a regular part of controlling classes of 50 or more rambunctious boys, and sometimes fear was used to maintain discipline.  Read more