News

New system puts spotlight on city's dire dropout rate

There are the dropouts of Dickensian doom, the gathering threat of the unemployed and the dysfunctional. There are also ordinary teens or young adults thrown off track shortly before graduating from high school, sometimes even after passing the MCAS exam.  Read more

B-3 police highlight dramatic crime drop at monthly forum

Boston Police officials proudly unveiled new statistics that show a dramatic drop in crime so far this year on the B-3 district that covers parts of Dorchester and Mattapan. The numbers were presented at last Wednesday's monthly B-3 Dorchester/Mattapan Neighborhood Council meeting at the Mildred Avenue Community Center. Over 35 people attended, discussing some of the concerns that surfaced during last month's meeting and bringing new ideas to the forefront.  Read more

Codman Square hopes for strength through unity, connections

A collective concern for the well-being of Codman Square and curiosity among residents and neighborhood leaders eager to meet folks with similarly gregarious mindsets brought a crowd of about 70 people to the Dorchester YMCA last Saturday for a forum to discuss the quality of life in the Codman Square neighborhood.  Read more

Likely Caritas buyers tour Carney, huddle with staff

Executives from Ascension Health, the national health care company that has entered into an agreement with the Archdiocese of Boston to purchase the Caritas Christi Healthcare system that includes Dorchester's Carney Hospital, met with Carney administrators and board members at a meeting on Monday evening to explain their organization's mission and answer questions on Carney's role under new ownership.  Read more

Church to 'slow down' school plans

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By Patrick McGroarty and Bill Forry
Feb. 21, 2007

Archdiocese officials and Pastors of Dorchester's Catholic churches responded this week to a story in last week's Reporter that outlined a preliminary plan to reorganize the eight remaining Catholic grade schools in Dorchester and Mattapan. On Wednesday, Archdiocese spokesman Terrence Donilon confirmed that Dorchester's pastors had been presented with documents outlining a preliminary model to establish a regional system at the site of four existing schools.  Read more

Families link up to navigate life after murder

Years ago, Tina Chery had a dream, or rather a college project.

She wanted to design a support network for survivors of violent crime that could help guide them through the criminal justice system. Ten years later, thanks to a grant from the Boston Public Health Commission and the Lenny Zakim Fund, that dream has become a reality.  Read more

Council considering property tax amnesty for seniors

Columbia-Savin Hill activist Joe Chaisson remembers a time in the early 1980s when a string of hard knocks left him with crippling property tax debt and a burdensome water and sewer bill. Only with the help of a skilled lawyer was he able to pay off the debt on his property, while a special offer from the city's Water and Sewer Department helped him regain his footing without losing utilities service at his home.  Read more

Four Catholic schools eyed for closure

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By Patrick McGroarty and Bill Forry
Feb. 14, 2007

(Copyright 2007 Dorchester Reporter)- The Archdiocese of Boston is considering a plan to consolidate the eight remaining parochial schools in Dorchester and Mattapan into four regional K-8 schools that would be located at the sites of existing Catholic schools in the neighborhoods. The plan, outlined this week by two Dorchester pastors with direct knowledge of the details, will be discussed this Friday at a meeting of archdiocesan officials and the pastors and principals of the existing parochial schools. The plan calls for the creation of regional schools at St. Ann's in Neponset, St.  Read more

Wanted: Mayoral timber for Dot Day Parade contest

Ten years after it began with an old-school election throw-down, the annual contest to pick the honorary "mayor" of Dorchester hopes to rekindle some of that first-year magic in 2007. The Dorchester Day Parade Committee- which sponsors the contest- is putting out the call for civic groups, unions and private citizens to step into the ring to help make this year's parade a success.  Read more

Franklin Park Zoo makeover brings primates, people closer together

By 
Elizabeth Fabiani
Feb. 13, 2007

Following a wild escape in 2003, Franklin Park Zoo's infamous gorilla, Little Joe, is receiving a brand new playhouse filled with toys, trees, ropes - the works. But he won't be living in this jungle dream palace alone. Little Joe will have to share it with six primate cronies who range from two to 34 years old in age.  Read more

Davis plans to revamp command setup

By 
Bill Forry and Patrick McGroarty
Feb. 9, 2007

Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis unveiled a plan last week that will fundamentally recalibrate the BPD's command structure, creating three policing zones in the city and an expanded crime analysis system aimed at diversifying and improving the city's response to trends across the neighborhoods. The plan, largely obscured in the fog of last week's cartoon marketing ploy gone-bad, represents a bold move for a big city commissioner with two just months on the job and gives new insight into the leadership style of the man charged with confronting escalating gun violence.  Read more

Fraser puts focus on apparatus, training

Boston's new fire commissioner paid a visit to the Engine 20 Fire House on Neponset Avenue last Tuesday, the latest stop on a weekly tour designed to introduce him to fire fighters and station houses across the city. The visit was his first to the Dorchester station.

Rod Fraser was named commissioner of America's oldest fire department on September 5 after a 20-year career in the United States Navy.  Read more

Carney sale set; some are anxious

The Archdiocese of Boston is negotiating an agreement to sell the Caritas Christi Health Care system &endash; including Dorchester's Carney Hospital &endash; to Ascension Health, a national Catholic non-profit provider based in St. Louis, Mo.

The news was greeted with guarded optimism by Carney administrators and elected officials.  Read more

THE DREAM UNFOLDS: DIVERSITY IN DOT TODAY: In public schools, key is on closing 'achievement gap'

In a Faneuil Hall speech given on Martin Luther King Day last month, Governor Deval Patrick lamented a development that threatens to nullify Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 decision that spurred integration measures in America's school systems. Two lawsuits aimed at pulling the teeth out of the landmark precedent, one in Seattle and one in Lexington, KY, have reached the highest court.  Read more

They're lining up to test waters on run for Kelly seat

The field of candidates hoping to fill the city council's vacant second district seat widened considerably this week as the council was poised to finalize dates for a special election, with a preliminary to be held on April 17 and final election on May 15.  Read more

Special Commission urges maintenance, accountability at Boston Harbor beaches

A commission led by state Sen. Jack Hart has concluded that maintenance and accountability are major concerns at many Boston Harbor beaches, including the Malibu and Tenean beaches in Dorchester. The commission will recommend next month that funding be allocated to complete long-promised capital projects and to establish a more reliable system of caring for the beaches.

The recommendations will be part of a report issued by the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, a legislative initiative co-chaired by Hart and state Rep. Anthony Petrucelli of East Boston.  Read more

City eyes economic growth in Mattapan: Density at Cote site has some concerned

A long-term planning project aimed at spurring business and housing growth in Mattapan is set to begin a new round of activity this year, with a newly organized committee of residents and merchants now in place and charged with implementing an "action agenda" for the neighborhood. Led by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the Mattapan Economic Development Initiative (MEDI) comes as a robust new round of public investment is beginning to have an impact in this community of 35,000 Bostonians.  Read more

Cape Verdean experience enriched by embrace of larger community

By 
Maria Centeio
Jan. 23, 2007

Living in a neighborhood largely inhabited by first generation Cape Verdeans, life is full of the traditional essence of the country of Cape Verde. The old try desperately to keep custom alive, but the young persist in rebellion as they adapt to the American lifestyle. One among these rebels, I have fought to obtain the privilege that many Cape Verdean females so often dream of, a privilege few are awarded - to be free.  Read more

Dorms take backseat to other growth in UMass presentation

UMass-Boston is more than halfway through its 'strategic' planning process, but with a progress report due at the end of this month, officials had little concrete information to present at a community forum Tuesday evening.

Several university officials reviewed the structure of the strategic and master planning initiatives for an audience that included a high percentage of Dorchester's more well-known neighborhood activists and representatives for many local elected officials.  Read more

Mattapan day health center's goal: Give elders and disabled a 'purpose'

At an old brown piano, an old man sits. His fingers deliberately strike the keys to a song he learned long ago. To his right, another "client" sings with the voice of someone who doesn't just remember the words but knows them deep in her soul.

"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me…"

"People help each other here," says Maggie Shea, the program director at the Mattapan Adult Day Health Program. "It gives people purpose. The women call each other sisters."  Read more

THE DREAM UNFOLDS: DIVERSITY IN DOT TODAY New arrivals punch up ethnic mix Local identity no longer just black or white

First in a series of articles on the state of race relations in and around Dorchester.

If anything tries to be all things to all people in Dorchester, it's the mural on Bank of America in Fields Corner. The mural shows a row of faces - American faces with family origins in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Caribbean. Beneath the faces, there's a Red Line train, with a slogan: "We're strong because we communicate."  Read more

Dot lawmakers busy with their legislative initiatives

The new year brings with it a new legislative session at the State House, and already legislators who represent the neighborhood have filed bills in a fashion that is impressively diverse in quantity (State Rep. Martin Walsh filed over 100 bills, state Rep, Willie Mae Allen filed one) and topic. From toughening gun laws to protecting child witnesses, much of the proposed legislation could have an immediate impact on the neighborhood.  Read more

Sensors aimed at curbing gun crimes

The city is poised to purchase a $1.5 million audio monitoring system that would allow the police department to track gunshots in sections of Boston most affected by violent crime. The city council was expected to approve a budget supplement at a meeting mid-day Wednesday to buy the system from a California-based company called SharpShooter Inc. Installation of the technology, which will include about 100 audio sensors stationed atop buildings over a six-square mile section of the city, will likely occur during the next two to three months.  Read more

State Police target 'kid problem' in Neponset's parks

Well over 100 teens from Cedar Grove and Neponset have been summonsed into Dorchester district court in recent weeks and months in an aggressive attempt by State Police to curb loitering, vandalism and underage drinking in local parks. The increased law enforcement pressure comes as parents are meeting with mixed success in trying to lure teens off the streets and into programs at a city-run community center.  Read more

Frank Wood deal hailed

Lower Mills leaders who met with several of the 11 developers who had entered bids to buy the site of the former Frank Wood nursing home along Morton Street said this week that they are pleased with the winner, Harbor Health Services. Last week, Harbor Health signed a purchase and sale agreement with the Boston Center for Blind Children, which owns the 5.8-acre site along Morton Street, to purchase it for $4.25 million.  Read more