News

City lots may fuel expansion by church near Codman Square

Pastor Antoine Montgomery said he's been calling the Department of Neighborhood Development (DND) every week for over a year. Last week, the calls may have paid off. DND is asking residents for input on the possible development of seven vacant lots situated around Montgomery's Prayer Tower Apostolic Church at 141 Norfolk St. in the Codman Square area.

The Codman Square Neighborhood Council met Sept. 5, but came to no conclusions as to how the lots should be used. The church has a master plan that could include all seven.  Read more

City to initiate master plan for Columbia Point

A passel of large development projects on and around Columbia Point has the Boston Redevelopment Authority and Mayor Thomas Menino itching to create a "comprehensive vision" for the Dorchester peninsula.

"There are so many exciting developments in this vibrant neighborhood and a comprehensive master plan will help the city ensure these changes are balanced with community input an eye for long term sustainability and matched with appropriate infrastructure," said City Councillor Maureen Feeney in a prepared statement.  Read more

Four Corners eyes plans for rail station

The Greater Four Corners Action Coalition met to inspect the MBTA's 30 percent completed plans for the Four Corners commuter rail station on the Fairmount Line last Wednesday, Sept. 5. Neighbors who showed up approved the station's location, with platforms on either side of Geneva Avenue, but demanded more disabled access features, more walkways, local labor on construction crews, and more.

"We really don't put elevators at unmanned stations," replied MBTA planning director Joe Cosgrove to one demand. "The question is, who maintains it?"

"The T," someone yelled out.  Read more

District 7 Council race pits new blood vs. veteran activist

Voters counting the days until the preliminary election Sept. 25 - there must be a few - are witnessing a race for City Council's District 7 seat that pits one of a growing cadre of 30-something political hopefuls of color in the city against a civil rights-era office holder that is not about to retire.

Henriquez, 30, is challenging Chuck Turner, 66, for the seat. Althea Garrison, a perennial candidate for District 7, state Rep. and other offices is also in the race.  Read more

Hearing probes policies towards church sitings

A City Council hearing on how churches go about converting houses zoned for residential use into houses of prayer was held on Aug. 30, and illustrated what some residents say is a growing problem in Dorchester.

"This country was founded on the freedom to practice [any] faith without any encumbrance from anyone, especially the government," said Councillor Maureen Feeney, who called the hearing. "But it does come down to the rights of the people who are living in the area, at least in District 3."  Read more

New superintendent visits neighborhood elementary schools

New superintendent of Boston Public Schools Dr. Carol Johnson started work on Aug. 27, and showed up in Dorchester the following two days to visit the John Marshall and William Monroe Trotter elementary schools. Both schools are "Superintendent Schools" - part of a top ten list of schools that are at risk of state intervention due to low student performance in MCAS testing. Four of these schools are in Dorchester, one is in Mattapan.  Read more

Motley holds cards on UMass campus plans

He is "still in a discovery mode" when it comes to the campus strategic plan for the future, UMass-Boston's Keith Motley said, and that includes dorms.

Appointed as UMass-Boston's chancellor in June, Motley takes over the campus as Boston's only public university seeks to compete with its private counterparts, raising enrollment to 15,000 from 12,000 over the next few years.

The campus is also struggling with an estimated $600 million in deferred maintenance costs, along with a two-level substructure that had previously served as a parking garage.  Read more

A matter of turf: Gardeners await fate of plots

A now-dormant gardening group that once helped pioneer the city's urban farming movement may spin off six neglected Dorchester garden plots to a new steward.

The group, called Boston Urban Gardeners or BUG, hit hard times in the late 1990s, ceased doing business, and then earned nearly $450,000 from the sale of their headquarters building in Jamaica Plain in 2000. They have debated what to do with the money ever since, frustrating gardeners who want funds for improvements.  Read more

Murphy insists: I'm still a candidate for at-large seat

Speculation that at large City Councillor Stephen Murphy might take a job with the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency should be put to rest, said Murphy himself this week.

"I'm not taking the job," he said. "I'm running for City Council. The Connolly campaign put it out there and I denied it at the time. The denial stands. It's none of anybody's business if I decide to take a job. If I get one, I'll announce it."

At-large candidate John Connolly said his campaign doesn't single out any one of the four incumbent at large councillors seats as an opponent.  Read more

Eagles look to season of growth, victories

By 
David Benoit
Aug. 29, 2007

The New England Patriots may claim to have a dynasty, but they certainly haven't achieved the same numbers as the Dorchester Eagles.

The Eagles have sent teams to the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida six years in a row. Makes the Patriots' paltry three appearances in four seem a little weak, doesn't it?

But the Dorchester Eagles don't go around showboating or holding out for some cash. This Pop Warner program is about an awful lot more than the gridiron, says team president Leslie Goodwin.  Read more

Feeney orders 'churches in homes' council hearing

A gutted home sits idly on Ashmont Street, potential crowds and parking problems worry neighbors on Hamilton Street, and tenants on Sanford Street were "terrorizing the neighborhood." All of these problems, according to City Council President Maureen Feeney's office, are related to churches based in homes or residential areas. Two of the churches in question were created in houses zoned residential.  Read more

Justice speaks in many tongues: Dorchester Court hustles to meet language demands

Early last year, HaUyen Pham, who was nine-months pregnant with her daughter at the time, was put in an odd situation.

A courtroom audience roared as a litany of vulgarities poured from her mouth.

The judge turned red and asked Pham to temper her words.

"I just said, 'Judge, I was just doing my job,'" she recalls.

Her job? Court interpreter, and in this case, she was translating for a homeless man - a regular at the Dorchester District Court - who had been brought in over a charge of indecent exposure and wasn't taking well to it.  Read more

Decision time on BPS school closings nearing

Parents and parent organizing groups are beginning to stir as the countdown begins to October's School Committee meeting, where decisions will have to be made as to which schools will continue as is for the 2009-2010 school year and which will be "reconfigured" or transferred to other uses. So far, advocates say, the community has not been involved in the decision-making process.

"We're really talking about ten weeks," said Holly Lockwood, director of the Boston Parents Organizing Network.  Read more

Preliminary election for at-large council seats cancelled: Voting to proceed in two districts on Sept. 25