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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

Merchants hope for holiday sales boost

David Benoit
Dec. 4, 2007

'Tis the season to do some shopping, that much is known. But will the season's holiday bonuses and free spending translate into business for Dorchester and Mattapan merchants? Or will the one-stop malls and Internet sites rake it all in?

Stuart Rosenberg, the president of the Mattapan Board of Trade, does not hold out too much hope for a sales bonanza.

"We are always optimistic now and the retail has changed so much over the years, and now with the Internet even more," Rosenberg said. "The mom and pops, the real micromanagement kind of people, are having a struggle."  Read more

Columbia-Savin Hill tables vote on UMass dorms

Taking a measured tone, the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association, which voted to oppose dorms at UMass-Boston over four years ago, is planning to meet with UMass officials as the university community considers reconfiguring its campus.

Members of the neighborhood association this week took a pass on taking a vote reaffirming the association's opposition to the prospect of dorms, which are included in each of the three conceptual plans  Read more

Public meetings set to discuss Neponset pollution, dams

A public meeting at Carney Hospital next week will detail the findings of a much-anticipated report on water quality in the Neponset River - and on whether two industrial dams, including the Baker Dam in Lower Mills, should be removed or altered.  Read more

The man behind the First Night button

Martine Louis
Dec. 4, 2007

Boston's 32-year old New Years Eve tradition is fast approaching and residents are eager to celebrate. First Night Boston- North America's largest art exposition- features the works of local, national and international artists and attracts over a million excited spectators. On Nov. 16 dozens gathered at Park Plaza Hotel and Towers to witness the unveiling of the First Night Boston button of 2008. Freelance photographer Mike Ritter, 27, says no one is more thrilled about this year's event than he is.  Read more

Health centers appeal to uninsured

Seven of Dorchester's health centers are banding together this week in a bid to get residents signed up for health insurance before the Dec. 31 deadline. From Codman Square to Upham's Corner, Dorchester residents will be able to enroll in state health plans on-site Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Residents who don't have health insurance after the end of the month will get hit with a $219 fine when they file their tax return in the spring. That fine will go up substantially in ensuing months.  Read more

New drug treatment program plans to move into Uphams Corner

An empty building at 35 Bird St. in Uphams Corner may have a new tenant soon, one that aims to promote sobriety in the neighborhood.

Human Resources Development Institute, a large company that specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment, is applying for a zoning variance to turn the property into an outpatient drug treatment center and a residential treatment center for women. The hearing is scheduled for Dec. 4.  Read more

Eighth-grader one of nation's best wrestlers

David Benoit
Nov. 28, 2007

Eighth grader Kayla Cox has gotten used to people telling her she is good at things, particularly when she's on a wrestling mat. In a ranking full of older high school girls, Cox, a student at the Lilla G. Frederick Middle School on Columbia Road, is ranked number seven in the country.

At least one father asked her to take it easy on his son. She didn't listen. The kid went down.

It was her grandmother that got her interested in it, says her mother Dorothy Cox.  Read more

Plans for Orlando St. land take neighbors by surprise

Most homeowners take interest when vacant lots in the neighborhood grow fences and start attracting construction crews, but when the lot in question adjoins park land, that curiosity can easily change to ire.

That's what occurred on a sleepy side street next to Almont Park in Mattapan recently, when neighbors discovered four lots they mistakenly thought were city-owned had been sold to a developer that builds housing for the developmentally disabled, Bay Cove Human Services.  Read more

Fields Corner mall upgrade nearing completion

Upgrades to the façade and parking lot of the Fields Corner mall at Dorchester Avenue and Park Street may be completed early, according to managers, wrapping up next month, instead of the spring as originally planned. The Fields Corner Civic Association is now pressing the owners to sign a memorandum of understanding that would outline ongoing maintenance of the property.  Read more