News

Mixed-Use Ashmont Development Left 'on Life Support'

A key link in the effort to remake the area around Ashmont Station suffered a significant setback last week, as state officials announced they would not deliver an integral piece of financing.

While the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said the indefinite delay of the adjacent project won't impact their station renovations, neighbors and officials are worried that the state's decision not to furnish low-income housing tax credits for the mixed-use development could have deleterious effects on the Peabody Square area.  Read more

Council Candidates Submit Signatures, Load up for Summer Campaign

With Boston voters still months away from turning their attention to it, the roster of candidates for the municipal elections this fall is sorting itself out, with mayoral and city council candidates turning in signatures in time for the May 24 deadline.  Read more

Another One Bites the Dust: <I>In Neponset, Quick Wake for Funeral Home

After the Saturday morning shift at the post office in Fields Corner, Jim Trabucco was heading back to the home on Neponset Avenue where he's lived since October of 1983, expecting not much in the way of change.

Wrong.

Flat wrong, actually, as flat as what had once been the Frost Mansion, the venerable building across the street from Trabucco's house that until last year had housed Mulry's Funeral Home. The structure was razed on Saturday morning, making way for three two-family units.  Read more

Beresford Recalled as Devoted Friend to Park, Neighbors

John Beresford was drawn to his home near Ronan Park by the neighborhood's potential. It was a neighborhood poised to round the corner - ready to shake off history and a bad reputation.

All it needed was a little help.

And so not long after Beresford and his partner Adam Greenfield moved into their three decker on Mount Ida Road, they set about giving their neighborhood that help.

It was the breathtaking views of Dorchester Bay from their third floor apartment that first sold Greenfield and Beresford on the home, according to friend, Dan Dowling.  Read more

Developer: Historic Baker Square Build-Out to Renew in Fall

The next phase in the redevelopment of the Baker Chocolate plant on the Neponset River will finally begin this fall, according to the Boston development firm that has controlled the property for much of the last decade. The long-delayed project promises to salvage several historic brick structures on the scenic Lower Mills riverbank, add several new buildings and add close to 80 new units to the neighborhood's real estate portfolio.  Read more

Collins in, Motley out for UMass-Boston Chancellorship

University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson on Wednesday recommended to the school's trustees that Michael F. Collins, former CEO of the Caritas Christi Health Care System, become chancellor of UMass-Boston, opting to shut out J. Keith Motley, who had served as interim chancellor.

Collins, a clinical professor of internal medicine at Tufts University, said he plans to use the experience he gained leading the hospital system and in various university faculty position.  Read more

Proposed Facility Meets with Opposition

Livid with a former neighbor they said sold them out, angry with a process they said shut them out, and concerned over a facility whose inhabitants' identities will be guarded, Cedar Grove residents loudly voiced their opposition Tuesday to a planned home for mentally challenged adults.

The plan of Bay Cove Services to locate a six-person residential facility at 53-55 Chelmsford met with stiff resistance in a crowded Cedar Grove Civic Association meeting in the basement of St. Brendan's Church, prompting Bay Cove officials to acknowledge they might reconsider.  Read more

Rising Employee Expenses Challenge Menino Budget

Mayor Thomas M. Menino announced his budget for the next fiscal year Wednesday, aiming to balance spiking costs with continued services in the city's first ever $2 billion spending plan.  Read more

Critical Mass; UMass Infrastructure Needs Repairs, Officials Say

Crumbling concrete, crater-like potholes, and falling debris have officials at the University of Massachusetts at Boston searching for $50 million to overhaul the Columbia Point campus's parking garage. The two-story structure serves as the foundation for five of the seven buildings on the UMass-Boston campus and must be refurbished in the next 10 years to avoid the risk of structural failure, according to university officials. Citing the continual deterioration of the structure, officials are renewing efforts to win funding for the project.  Read more

For Countryman Abroad, Pope Gave Divine Inspiration

There on the wall in his temporary home hangs a tapestry depicting the likeness of the Holy Father, John Paul II. Father Zbigniew Derylo looked occasionally to the face of his countryman, his voice full of emotion as he discussed the life of John Paul II and his relationship with the man who had a profound impact on his own.

A Franciscan priest and missionary from Poland, Derylo is staying at Our Lady of Czestechowa Church on Dorchester Ave. during an Easter season tour of the United States.  Read more

Concerns Arise over Uphams Corner Station Shutdown Details

The MBTA, which plans to close Uphams Corner Station for a year during renovation, met Tuesday with resistance from residents confused about the transit agency's plans for replacement service.

The Dudley Street station, slated to close May 1 for extensive upgrades to its accessibility and passenger platforms, is part of a broader T strategy to modernize the Fairmount - or "Indigo" - Line, with $35 million budgeted for Uphams Corner and Morton Street stations, and a new station at Four Corners pending.  Read more

A Different Drummer: Kenny Kids Prep for Dot Day Debut

As Jerry Chu's fifth-grade music class pounded and blew out the last notes of the jaunty Jamaican folk song "Mary Ann" on Tuesday morning, the veteran teacher suddenly looked askance. Something was missing.

"That sounds good, but you know what, let's get some maracas in there," Chu decided. "Chris, get the maracas out and let's do that again."

Chris, one of two dozen fifth graders crammed into the Kenny Elementary School's basement music room, quickly complied and the fledgling musicians headed towards equatorial waters once again.  Read more

On East Cottage, a Soldier's Tribute; April 1 Ceremony Will Mark Londono's Legacy

Diana Londono is going to college.

The Fontbonne Academy senior is heading to Bay State College next year to study physical therapy and, at an accepted students' workshop recently was filling out a sample class schedule when she spotted her mother, Iwona, crying a few feet away.

"Don't cry," Diana told her. "I'm going to be living at home, how bad could it be?"

For the Londonos, it's been no easy road. Their son and brother, Daniel, was killed outside Baghdad last March 13 when an explosive hit his Humvee. He was a 23-year-old sergeant in the U.S. Army.  Read more

At an Impasse: Codman Students Want Transit Deal Finished

Students and faculty at the Codman Academy hope that this weekend will mark the end of their struggles with the MBTA.

After three years of lobbying for six-day student T passes by the Codman Academy, the MBTA created the pass last December and Codman students began using it for the first time this month. But during their first week using the passes in the first week of March, a number of students reported that MBTA bus drivers refused to accept their new passes, with one driver confiscating a student's pass.  Read more

Candidate Crowley Ready to March

David Crowley won't mind if it rains. No matter the weather on June 5, David will step out on the Avenue, smiling from ear to ear. The next Mayor of Dorchester is simply excited to march, and wave, and, for that day, have all eyes on him.

Last week, David emerged as this year's only candidate for Mayor of Dorchester, the honorary title that nets the winner a place at the front of the parade, and the chance to appear as Mayor of Dorchester at a number of events throughout the year.  Read more

BC High to Hold Conference for Catholic Men

He was twice struck by lightning during the filming of "The Passion of the Christ" and survived. Now, unless a bolt from the blue gets him on a third try, actor Jim Caviezel will be in Dorchester telling an expected audience of well over 1,000 guys about his experiences making the controversial picture.

Caviezel, who played Jesus Christ in Mel Gibson's blockbuster last year, is one of the confirmed speakers at the first annual Boston Catholic Men's Conference (BCMC) scheduled for Saturday, March 19, at BC High's McNeice Pavilion.  Read more

Trafficking in Renewal, Residents Focus on Ave. Plan

Rolling along seemingly faster than traffic on the avenue itself, a City Hall plan to rehaul Dorchester's main artery met the public for the first time Saturday. The charrette, aimed at airing preliminary details and collecting residents' ideas, attracted more than 100 people, according to city officials.

City Hall development officials say "The Avenue Project," a pet initiative of Mayor Thomas Menino, will rejuvenate Dorchester Ave. aesthetically and smooth some of the traffic snarls that continue to hinder motorists.  Read more

Billboard Plan Not Winning Any Awards from Neighbors

A top city official said the mayor's office will oppose a plan to erect an 80-foot billboard in Port Norfolk, after residents complained. "We're going to ask the board to deny that without prejudice," City Hall policy chief Michael Kineavy said at Monday's Columbia-Savin Hill civic meeting.

The proposal, for a double-sided billboard in a Redfield Street parking lot, met with criticism from neighbors who pointed to city zoning regulations that call new billboards in Dorchester "forbidden."  Read more

Ashmont Station Rehaul to Go Forward on Time, with Tweaks

Two of the state's top transit officials said Tuesday that the MBTA will revise its Ashmont Station design plans rather than lobby the Legislature for new funds.

Despite a community decision last month to try closing the station renovation's $10 million budget gap with political pressure, MBTA General Manager Michael Mulhern and state Transportation Secretary Daniel Grabauskas said they instead would split the project into two phases and look to pare back aesthetics that did not add to the facility's functionality.  Read more

What Does the Avenue Want?

"It's construction project after construction project," said Ellen Swanberg, sounding a frequent complaint of motorists trying to navigate Dorchester's primary commercial thoroughfare. She added, "You can't get there from here."

Swanberg should know. A delivery driver for Coleen's Flower Shop in Savin Hill, Swanberg said Tuesday that she spends "too much time" brokering her way between construction sites, up and down side streets.  Read more

Immigration, Education Shaped Bellegarde's Views

Don't let his age fool you; Emmanuel Bellegarde has done a lot of living in his 28 years.

He's worked in both chambers of the state legislature. He's a Haitian immigrant who started a number of groups to empower minorities in Boston politics. He's lived in subsidized housing and owns his own real estate business. And he's a candidate for state representative in the 12th Suffolk district.  Read more

Advocates Set to Push Again for More Ashmont Funding

Discouraged transit advocates vowed to lobby anew for state funds, after politicians and MBTA officials told them Tuesday that unexpectedly high cost estimates have forced the T to consider delaying or scaling back the Ashmont Station renovation unless other fiscal resources are found quickly.  Read more

Challengers Prepare to Test Yancey and Feeney

Both of Dorchester's long-serving city councillors are facing prospective opponents in the fall, as Charles Yancey has drawn a challenger and Maureen Feeney may be in the crosshairs.

Jaha "Jay" Hughes, a landscaper from York Street in the Franklin Field area, said he is an Independent who will attempt to unseat Yancey, the 11-term councillor who survived a strong 2003 challenge.  Read more

Voters Will Hear Out House Candidates in Series of Group Appearances

A string of recently-scheduled debates will give voters in Dorchester, Mattapan, Milton, and Hyde Park a chance to hear from the candidates to replace former House Speaker Thomas Finneran. Three events, set for Feb.16, Feb. 22, and March 10, are thus far the only scheduled forums for residents across the district.  Read more

Ashmont Station Project Running into Trouble

Spiraling cost estimates for the Ashmont Station renovation could force MBTA designers to scale back the list of amenities and further delay the start of construction.

Construction bids outpaced T construction cost estimates by a minimum of more than $10 million, with one bid exceeding forecasts by more than $21 million. The frail economy makes procurement of additional public funds difficult, several city and state government officials said.

Sticker shock has forced T officials to regroup and evaluate the feasibility of the project.  Read more