News

Reporter's Notebook: New outside PAC formed to focus on governor race

Outside spending slammed into last year’s mayoral race, the tally hitting $3.8 million when all was said and done. Union-backed organizations lined up behind Marty Walsh and an education reform group backed John Connolly.

A similar situation could play out in this year’s race for governor, but on a much larger scale as five Democrats scramble for the chance to face off against Charlie Baker, the presumptive Republican nominee, in November.  Read more

Codman Academy student finalist in Shakespeare contest

By 
Jordan Frias, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 27, 2014

Oliver Hernandez: Photo by Ed YooOliver Hernandez: Photo by Ed YooCodman Academy student Oliver Hernandez from Savin Hill recites Shakespeare’s Sonnet 110 and Act V, Scene ii from “King John” morning and night.

Hernandez is preparing to compete against nine state finalists this Saturday for a spot in the National Shakespeare Monologue Competition that will be held in New York City from May 4-6. He is the only public school student from Boston to make the state finals.

Arriving in the country at age nine, Hernandez was born in the capital of Dominican Republic and started his American education at the John Marshall School on Westville Street. Hernandez said he was pushed back a grade when he arrived and did not speak a word of English.

“I had a Spanish speaking teacher as part of the bilingual program, but my teacher just spoke Spanish,” he said.  Read more

Reporter's Notebook: New outside PAC formed to focus on governor race

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 26, 2014

Outside spending slammed into last year’s mayoral race, the tally hitting $3.8 million when all was said and done. Union-backed organizations lined up behind Marty Walsh and an education reform group backed John Connolly.

A similar situation could play out in this year’s race for governor, but on a much larger scale as five Democrats scramble for the chance to face off against Charlie Baker, the presumptive Republican nominee, in November.  Read more

Man shot to death in Mattapan

The Boston Police Department reports a man, apparently in his 20s, was found shot to death around 11:40 p.m. on Thursday at 196 Itasca St. in Mattapan.

Passing of the scoop: Next generation in charge at The Ice Creamsmith

Dave and Robyn Mabel, left, have sold their landmark ice cream parlor to their daughter Sarah and her husband, Chris Skillin. The Ice Creamsmith re-opens for the season on March 1. Photo courtesy Mabel familyDave and Robyn Mabel, left, have sold their landmark ice cream parlor to their daughter Sarah and her husband, Chris Skillin. The Ice Creamsmith re-opens for the season on March 1. Photo courtesy Mabel family

It’s become a sort of secular holiday in these parts. On March 1, The Ice Creamsmith re-opens for business. And that means it’s spring again in Dorchester— the snowbanks, the groundhog and the Farmer’s Almanac be damned.

For 37 years now, neighborhood folks and their neighbors across the Neponset have synchronized their hot fudge fantasies and chocolate chip cravings to the sounds of David and Robyn Mabel’s blenders on this southernmost corner of Dot Ave.  Read more

Plan laid out for Port Norfolk park

By 
Jordan Frias, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 20, 2014

The 14-acre waterfront parcel in Port Norfolk, once home to the Shaffer Paper company, will be transformed into a public park under a plan outlined at a Tuesday night meeting. 	Reporter file photoThe 14-acre waterfront parcel in Port Norfolk, once home to the Shaffer Paper company, will be transformed into a public park under a plan outlined at a Tuesday night meeting. Reporter file photoOfficials from the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) detailed the agency’s $4.25 million remediation and reuse plan for the Shaffer Paper site on Tuesday night during a Port Norfolk Civic Association meeting.

The waterfront site has been in state control for decades and neighbors have long pressed state officials to use it as a public park. But the 14 acre parcel is loaded with contaminants from its previous use as an industrial site— a problem that has driven up costs and delayed the project for years.

Last year, Governor Deval Patrick’s administration committed to move ahead on both the clean-up and the park’s construction.  Read more

Reporter's Notebook: Governor hopeful Kayyem focused on a single number

“Fifteen percent. Fifteen percent. Fifteen percent.”

Juliette Kayyem, one of five Democrats running for governor, is sitting in McKenna’s on Savin Hill waiting for the BLT she had ordered and talking strategy.

In less than four months, Democratic delegates will gather in Worcester, and if she clears a 15 percent threshold, Kayyem will make it onto the Sept. 9 primary ballot. “That is all that we’ve been focused on,” she says. “It is not about name recognition. It is about getting out to communities, to the Democratic town councils, to the activists.”  Read more

Councillors have questions on marijuana dispensaries

City Councillors are expected to turn up the heat on proposals for medical marijuana dispensaries in Boston next month. A hearing is scheduled for March 4 at City Hall.

State public health officials have given the initial sign-off to dispensaries at 70 Southampton St., operated by Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and at 364 Boylston St., operated by Good Chemistry of Massachusetts.  Read more

‘We’re moving slow and steady,’ says the mayor

By 
Gin Dumcius and Bill Forry, Reporter Staff
Feb. 19, 2014

MEMENTOS MARK MAYOR MARTY WALSH’S OFFICE: The former House lawmaker is still settling in, but here is a look at some of the items surrounding him. (1) Sculpture of union workers, based on the 1932 photo “Lunch atop a skyscraper.” (2) Flag from Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan (it was here when he arrived). (3) Photo of a hand gripping rebar, a reminder of his union background. (4) Photo of him with President Obama. (5) Antique box from the old Baker Chocolate Factory in Lower Mills. (6) A brick from the old Ashmont MBTA Station. Photo by Bill Forry

At the end of his sixth week as mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh bent down and tinkered with the tall clock that had come with his new office in City Hall. It didn’t appear to be working. Someone had come in, looked at it, and said he would be back in five minutes to fix it.

“That was five weeks ago,” Walsh joked.

The office, with its high ceiling and clear view of historic Faneuil Hall, contains a mix of new and old – items that Walsh has brought from his State House workspace and things that Mayor Thomas Menino had left behind, like an Abraham Lincoln bust in the bookcase. Where once hung a portrait of Harry Truman, one of Menino’s political idols, now hangs a framed photograph of a workman’s hand gripping a piece of rebar, which Walsh had in his office when he was head of the building trades.  Read more

In Back Bay meeting, Democrats reprimand Wu for Linehan vote

By 
Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 19, 2014

City Councillor-at-Large Michelle Wu listened as a Ward 5 committee member spoke during a meeting in the Back Bay on Tues., Feb, 19. Photo by Mike Deehan

The Ward 5 Democratic Committee voted on Tuesday to formally reprimand At-Large City Councillor Michelle Wu for her controversial vote for South Boston Councillor Bill Linehan as Council president. After a heated debate and a defense from Wu, the left-leaning Democratic Committee’s members voted 18 to 11 to send Wu a letter voicing their disappointment and disapproval.  Read more

Walsh talks priorities with Ward 5 Democrats

By 
Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 19, 2014

Mayor Marty Walsh stopped by a meeting of the Ward 5 Democratic Committee on Tuesday night to update the active and outspoken group on his priorities and the first few weeks of his administration.  Read more

SJ Court decision impacts '04 Savin Hill murder trial

By 
Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Feb. 19, 2014

Court: Police must get warrant for detailed phone location data

A divided Supreme Judicial Court ruled Tuesday that warrants are required in cases where law enforcement seek two weeks or more of cell site location information, or CSLI, from a suspect’s phone.

The ruling stems from a Dorchester murder case in which State Police troopers investigating the death of 26 year-old Julaine Jules, whose body was recovered from the Charles River in September 2004, obtained the cell phone records for Shabazz Augustine, who had been her boyfriend.

The murder is alleged to have happened at Augustine’s former apartment on Sydney Street. Augustine, now 36, was arrested and charged in the crime in June 2011.

The decision was hailed as a victory by Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley, who said the earlier order would have kept a jury from hearing key evidence in Augustine's trial.  Read more

Police: Raid on Savin Hill house yields drugs, weapons

The Boston Police Department report drug officers raided a house at 11 Treadway Rd. on Friday and recovered a large assortment of illegal items:

"Upon executing the search warrant at 11 Treadway Road, detectives encountered two more suspects and recovered a loaded .22 caliber rifle, 5 pounds of marijuana, 627 Grams of MDMA (Molly) 2 bottles of Testosterone (steroid) 3 machetes, 2 bullet proof vests, white zip ties, blue latex gloves and 2 blue wool hats transformed into masks with an area cut out for the eyes."  Read more

Truck fire shuts southbound Expressway

Truck fire on the Expressway

A tractor trailer burst into flames shortly before 6 a.m. on Thursday on the southbound Expressway by the gas tank, completely shutting the southbound side of the road and causing significant delays on the northbound side.  Read more

Ledge gives way to ester: An eatery move in Lower Mills

New owners, including Eleanor Arpino, left, will spend the next six weeks making modest renovations to the Dot Ave. eatery before it re-opens as ester on April 1. Above, Arpino and new manager Luther Pickney show a rendering of the planned exterior of the re-designed restaurant.

Ledge, the Lower Mills restaurant that was sold last year, shut its doors for the final time on Sunday afternoon. The eatery will undergo modest renovations over the next month as the new owners – led by veteran restaurant manager Eleanor Arpino – take charge and train new staff.

In an interview this week, Arpino told the Reporter that the new business – called ester, a play on the neighborhood’s name – should be open by April 1. On Tuesday, staff were already at work cleaning out the Ledge’s bar and kitchen areas under the supervision of Arpino and ester’s future manager, Luther Pickney. Their team plans to re-paint the interior and replace the kitchen floor. There are no other major structural changes planned, but there minor adjustments will be made to improve the flow of kitchen operations, Arpino said.  Read more

Dates set on vote for Henriquez seat in House: April 1 primary; candidate from Fields Corner steps up

Just days after ejecting former state Rep. Carlos Henriquez, House lawmakers quickly set dates for the elections process to replace the Dorchester Democrat. The special election will take place on April 29, although the Democratic make-up of the district will put the spotlight on the determinative April 1 primary.  Read more

She’s punching for a Golden Gloves title: Dot’s Egan excelling in the ring

By 
Jordan Frias, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 13, 2014

Michelle Egan, center, is pictured with her training partner Shelly Walsh and trainer Ed LaVache. Photo courtesy Michelle EganMichelle Egan, center, is pictured with her training partner Shelly Walsh and trainer Ed LaVache. Photo courtesy Michelle Egan

While she waits hopefully for an appointment to the Boston Police Academy, Dorchester’s Michelle Egan is keeping busy sparring and competing in the boxing ring. Last Tuesday, the 28-year-old Granville Street resident won her bout in the 125-pound weight class in the Central New England finals of the annual Golden Gloves amateur competition. She will follow that up with a match next Tuesday night in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium against the top competitor in the 119-pound ranks.

A lifelong resident of Dorchester resident, Egan is a graduate of the St. Brendan School, where she played on the CYO softball team, Archbishop Williams High in Braintree, and Curry College in Milton. She works as the population manager for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.  Read more

Reporter's Notebook: Candidates sell wares, Cedar Grove folks listen

The five Democrats on the ballot for the 13th Suffolk House seat pitched their candidacies on Tuesday night at a mini-forum held during a Cedar Grove Civic Association meeting in the basement of St. Brendan’s Church. The contenders also fielded questions on upping the minimum wage from the current state minimum of $8 an hour and on whether or not they plan to consider the job of Dorchester state representative a full-time position.  Read more

Activist reaches out to male relatives of homicide victims

By 
India Smith, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 13, 2014

Milton Jones lost his stepson to a violent crime in 1993. He is leading outreach efforts to men on behalf of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Fields Corner. 	Photo by India SmithMilton Jones lost his stepson to a violent crime in 1993. He is leading outreach efforts to men on behalf of the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute in Fields Corner. Photo by India Smith

Milton Jones is looking for a few good men.

As he has done many times since first volunteering at the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute six years ago, Jones is reaching out to other men who are survivors of homicide, inviting them to get together in a casual setting.

Jones does not envision a formal support group where men sit and discuss their feelings. Instead, he hopes to share a meal with one or two men, talk sports, and be open to anything else that comes up.
“Grief exposes men to a lot of risks,” said Jones, who lost his stepson to gun violence in 1993. That was more than 20 years ago, but time has only deepened his concern for men dealing with that kind of loss.  Read more

Neighbors will celebrate Bowdoin Geneva on Feb. 16

Activists and teens in the Bowdoin Geneva section of Dorchester are planning a Feb. 16 party to celebrate life in their neighborhood. The Sunday evening gathering at First Parish Church will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Bowdoin Geneva Residents Association, a new group, is behind the party, along with teen activists from the CVC Unido Teen Leadership program. Party coordinators include civic activists Ed Cook, Jen Johnson, and Judy Meredith.  Read more

Mixed reaction to Walsh’s call for a gun buyback; Mayor’s move follows shooting death of nine-year-old boy

By 
Dave Eisenstadter, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 13, 2014

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh has called for the return of a city-organized gun buyback program following last Friday’s shooting death of a nine-year-old boy. The victim’s 14-year-old brother, who is alleged to have shot him in their Morton Street apartment while “handling the firearm recklessly,” has been charged with involuntary manslaughter and illegal gun possession. The names of both the boy and his teenage brother have been withheld by authorities.

Walsh, who held a press conference outside the murder scene last Friday, said the buyback idea was being discussed by police officials and clergy prior to the boy’s violent death, which marked the tenth homicide so far this year in the city. Boston last conducted a buyback program in 2006.  Read more

Auto parts dealer eyes empty space on Granite Ave.

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Feb. 12, 2014

The long-vacant Hollywood Video store at the corner of Gllivan Blvd. and Granite Ave. is shown in a file photo from 1999.

A proposal to put an auto parts store in a chronically vacant space on the corner of Granite Avenue and Gallivan Boulevard received a lukewarm response Tuesday night at a meeting of the Cedar Grove Civic Association. Representatives from O’Reilly Auto Parts laid out plans to take over the space that once housed a Hollywood Video store.  Read more

Reporter wins awards for spot news, election coverage

By 
Reporter Staff
Feb. 12, 2014

NENPANENPAThe Dorchester Reporter has won the first place award in the category of “spot news” reporting for the calendar year 2013 in a competition sponsored by the New England Newspaper and Press Association (NENPA). The citation was announced on Saturday night at NENPA’s annual Better Newspaper Competition gala at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. The newspaper was also recognized for its coverage of last year’s state Senate special election.  Read more

Neighbors will celebrate Bowdoin Geneva on Feb. 16

By 
Staff
Feb. 12, 2014

Activists and teens in the Bowdoin Geneva section of Dorchester are planning a Feb. 16 party to celebrate life in their neighborhood. The Sunday evening gathering at First Parish Church will run from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.  Read more

High school students curate Black History artists’ exhibit

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Feb. 11, 2014

Black History Art Installation: Rocky Cotard, a Boston Arts Academy senior from Mattapan, curates the art exhibit, “A Story We Share: Massachusetts Artists Celebrating Black History and Culture, at the Commonwealth Museum and Massachusetts Archives on Columbia Point. The public is invited to the opening celebration on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m.  For further information call 617-727-9268.Black History Art Installation: Rocky Cotard, a Boston Arts Academy senior from Mattapan, curates the art exhibit, “A Story We Share: Massachusetts Artists Celebrating Black History and Culture, at the Commonwealth Museum and Massachusetts Archives on Columbia Point. The public is invited to the opening celebration on Wednesday evening at 6 p.m. For further information call 617-727-9268.
“So, I can be a curator even though I’m only 14?” exclaimed the high school student.

Yesterday evening, more than 100 guests flocked to the second floor gallery of the Massachusetts Archives on Columbia Point for the opening reception of “A Story We Share: Massachusetts Artists Celebrating Black History and Culture.” While an exhibit by black artists during February is rarely front page news, what is remarkable is that this show has been curated by three Boston Arts Academy (BAA) high school students, all of whom happen to be Dorchester or Mattapan residents.  Read more