News

Contractors given green light to resume roadwork

Utilities companies and their private contractors will be allowed to resume construction on city streets Tuesday morning after a meeting with officials from the city's departments of Public Works and Basic Services.

The Monday afternoon meeting came six days after Mayor Thomas Menino issued a stop-work order on all construction involving city streets following an especially bumpy ride down Dorchester Avenue.  Read more

Tenant dispute imperils Fields Corner mall plan renovations

Plans to bring A.J. Wright to the Fields Corner Mall are imperiled this week because a clause in their lease for space at the mall would allow them to walk away if renovations do not begin on the site by June 30. Work was scheduled to begin on the mall earlier this month, but the refusal of existing tenant, Bd's, a discount store, to leave the site has delayed the start of renovations.  Read more

Thousands expected to bade farewell to fallen State Trooper Paul Barry

On Thursday June 15, 2006, Massachusetts State Police Trooper Paul Barry died as a result of an accident while on duty. The funeral services for Trooper Barry will be held at Saint Mark Church, 1725 Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester. The wake will be held on Monday from 2:00pm to 8:00pm and the Funeral Services on Tuesday at 11:00am.

Out of respect for Trooper Barry and the logistical concerns surrounding his services, a groundbreaking for the Ashmont TOD project scheduled for 2 p.m. on Tuesday has been postponed. It has not yet been rescheduled.  Read more

In Lower Mills, dam's future a hot topic

Water, water, everywhere, but no way to swim upstream.

That, says a forthcoming study by the environmental engineering firm Milone & Macbroom, is the problem facing American Shad who have returned to the Neponset River in encouraging numbers in recent years. Shad and other fish are hampered in their attempts to navigate the river by unhealthy levels of PCB contaminants and several obstacles too large to swim or jump across, including the Baker Dam in Lower Mills.  Read more

Carney delivers first baby in six years

The best laid plans of expecting mothers and fathers often go awry.

Joe and Kathleen Baker planned to have their fourth child by C-section, scheduled for Monday, May 22, at South Shore Hospital. But the baby must not have gotten that memo, because early Sunday morning, Kathleen went into labor. Complicating matters further, the baby insisted on entering the world immediately, so soon that his parents had to make an emergency stop at Carney hospital, where Emmett Joseph Baker became the first baby born there since 2000.  Read more

Far from home: Iraqi scholar plans future in homeland

For a brief moment last week, Abdu Ahmad felt like he was being followed.

Walking home last Tuesday from the Shawmut T stop, he turned around to see two men who looked about his age - twenty-six - behind him, and behind them a third one sat on a bicycle. One was dressed all in blue - blue jacket and blue shorts, while another was dressed in black.

Ahmad turned off his MP3 player to hear what they were asking: Where was he from?  Read more

Drive for dresses makes prom night dreams possible

What is the value of a prom dress for a high school girl? The expensive dress might only get worn once, but the memories of that celebrated evening will last a lifetime. But for some high school girls, spending hundreds of dollars on a new dress is not an option and not worth sacrificing other necessities. Fortunately, there is a resource for girls who want to attend the prom without being left barefoot and broke the next day  Read more

Civic discord lingers over Columbia-Savin Hill committees

In what has become a monthly occurrence, Monday night's general meeting of the Columbia-Savin Hill Civic Association was marred by infighting and shouting matches, as a lingering dispute over the association's bylaws and voting rules continues to swirl.

At last month's meeting, the membership voted to suspend all voting by the association's various committees. Under the motion, the association's various committees would still meet, but any matters requiring a vote would be put before the full association at the monthly meeting.  Read more

Teen crisscrosses country to be by 'Idol's' side

After weeks of seeing his sweetheart only on TV, 17-year old Dorchester resident Chris Kowalski greeted his girlfriend, American Idol contestant Ayla Brown, in Hollywood last week.

According to Jack Kowalski, Chris's father who accompanied his son to Los Angeles, the trip was a reunion of two close friends.

"They were thrilled to see each other," says Jack Kowalski. "They are terrific friends who share a very warm connection with common interests."  Read more

Two Main Streets programs celebrate new partnerships

Fields Corner Main Street received a $10,000 check from Neighborhood Health Plan, their new corporate buddy, at an annual winter meeting on Monday night.

FCMS's previous corporate buddy, Keyspan, had provided a four-year sponsorship that expired at the end of 2004. But by that time FCMS was largely inactive, and only in the past year did the program again pick up steam.

The new partnership is another step forward for the Main Street program, which was reinvigorated last year by a new board of directors and executive director in Evelyn Darling.  Read more

Celester brings checkered past, expertise in crime and punishment before Sixth Suffolk voters

At right: Bill Celester at a key crossroads of the Sixth Suffolk: Blue Hill Ave. and Morton Street. Photo for the Reporter by Don West

It would seem, at first glance, that there are two Bill Celesters. On the one side is the tough-talking cop who won praise as a district commander in Roxbury and as Police Superintendent in Newark, NJ. On the other is an ex-con, who pleaded guilty to three counts of wire, tax, and mail fraud and who did two years in federal prison on those charges.  Read more

Banton St. development fills in one of Ashmont's 'missing teeth'

As work gets under way later this month on those other two big projects in Peabody Square, businesses are preparing to move into a new development at the corner of Banton Street and Dorchester Ave.

The lot that lay empty on the corner of Banton Street and Dorchester Avenue for more than twenty years is now the home of a three-floor development that includes twelve rental luxury apartments and four commercial spaces on the ground floor that have already been leased. As soon as the building passes final inspection, businesses plan to open.  Read more

Former Boston cop plans run to replace Owens-Hicks

A week after State Representative Shirley Owens Hicks announced plans to retire after 20 years of service in the State Legislature, only one Sixth Suffolk constituent has definitively entered the November contest to replace her.

By late Friday evening only William Celester, a retired Boston Police officer and former Area B-2 commander, had drawn papers from the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office. And though Celester drew his papers before Owens-Hicks' announcement, he said his decision to run followed rumors that the incumbent would retire.  Read more

Opponents keep fight against BU's Biolab alive

The fight against the controversial Biosafety Level 4 Lab, which is slated to be built in the South End starting later this month, is not yet over, according to activists opposed to the lab. Despite the recent announcement that the project had received final approval from the federal government, local opponents hope that last-ditch legislative attempts can still block the lab's operations, even if the building itself is constructed.  Read more

Bowdoin-Geneva gets point person for Main Street effort

There's restaurants and hardware stores, historic churches and schools, and a top-notch health center. The Bowdoin-Geneva business district has an impressive portfolio, but has long needed someone to manage those assets. Someone to encourage a diversity of businesses, to turn losers into winners, and perhaps most importantly, to provide a vision and direction for the future of the district.

Enter Sandra Kennedy, who's experienced in such things.  Read more

In Uphams Corner, existing youth center ponders future role

Last month, at a hastily called press conference at the Alexander-Magnolia community room, elected officials and representatives from the Salvation Army proudly announced that Boston had been selected to receive $80 million in funding from the Salvation Army to construct a new community center on Dudley Street. Getting little mention that day was the fact that almost a decade earlier, another organization had eyed Dudley Street for a new community center.  Read more

Crime tops concerns at Capuano's town meeting

Desperate from having lived through Boston's bloodiest year in a decade, residents of Bowdoin-Geneva repeatedly asked Eighth District Congressman Michael Capuano for his input on how the fight against gun violence on their streets could be won. The conversation took place at a community forum held by Capuano at the Bowdoin Street Health Center on Saturday afternoon. The discussion touched on a wide range of national and international issues, but violent crime on Boston's streets was a frequent topic for the 20 or so attendees.  Read more

BC High officials outline middle school expansion

Earlier this month BC High announced that it would add a seventh and eighth grade division to its existing high school on Morrissey Boulevard. The school will open its doors to those students in September of 2007, with each grade expected to enroll 100 students each. The move responds to a demand for Jesuit education in the middle school grades, the school says.  Read more

Quiz bowl, open houses mark week-long focus on Catholic schools

Catholic Schools Week, the annual observance that will be launched this weekend at parishes around the neighborhood, promotes more than just open enrollment for prospective students. This year's agenda includes furthering the parents' involvement in their childrens' educational needs.  Read more

Cedar Grove airs frustration with Minot St. proposal

An as-of-right proposal to construct a two-family duplex on Minot Street stirred long-standing passions about overcrowding in Dorchester at the Cedar Grove Civic Association's monthly meeting on Tuesday night. Stuart Schrier presented plans on behalf of his client, the property owner who goes by the name Han, to convert an existing one-family at 103 Minot Street into a side-by-side duplex. The lot is approximately 6500-square feet, and as such, is already zoned for a two-family dwelling.  Read more

Young Cape Verdeans look to accentuate the positive

Distraught at seeing their countrymen fall prey to drugs and violence, a group of young Cape Verdeans in Uphams Corner decided that they wanted to celebrate the positive aspects of their culture.

"The violence that goes on has nothing to do with who we are," says Augusto Gomes.

Gomes, who moved to America 17 years ago, and about a dozen other young Cape Verdeans, many of them students at Jeremiah E. Burke High School, formed Criolus Unidus, a group dedicated to celebrating Cape Verdean culture as a way of deterring young people from getting involved in drugs and violence.  Read more

Blue Christmas on C-11

It was three nights before Christmas, but already on Bowdoin Street, the clip-clop of hooves could be heard above the din of the evening traffic.

Come again?

That's right: Hooves.

But, instead of Dasher and Dancer, this Christmas brought Mumbo and Shorty, two of the Boston Police Department's finest. With their partners, Officers Jenny Boyce and Denise Schrener mounted up top, they trotted up Bowdoin Street before stopping at the corner of Olney Street for a spell.  Read more

Plan calls for phasing out of Cleveland School

In a November 16 report to the Boston School Committee, Superintendent Thomas Payzant announced that the Grover Cleveland Middle School would be closed by 2008. The Cleveland is one of six local schools affected by the superintendent's "reuse and reprogramming" plan. The same report also recommended that the Harbor Middle School as well as fourth and fifth graders from the Patrick O'Hearn Elementary School move to the building currently occupied by the Cleveland at 11 Charles St.  Read more

City continues to manage, improve Strand Theatre

The Strand Theatre in Uphams Corner has undergone a number of renovations and updates since the city of Boston took over management of the 87-year old property last July. This week representatives from the city's Department of Neighborhood Development led the Reporter on a tour of the theatre, to discuss where it's been and plans for the future.

"The city took over interim management to keep it up," said Barbara Salfity, deputy director of real estate for DND. "We want to be the steward of the Strand until we can put it into the right hands."  Read more

Dot Ave. apartment plan gets conditional green light at Columbia-Savin Hill

The Columba/Savin Hill Civic Association on Monday evening voted to grant preliminary conditional approval to the latest proposal for the Crescent Court Project, a conversion of the R & R Sales building on Dorchester Ave. into residential properties.  Read more