Politics

Dot 2 Dot Cafe gets liquor-license boost from Pressley, Mel King

The Boston Licensing Board could decide Thursday whether to grant a full liquor license to Dot 2 Dot Cafe, a Dorchester Avenue restaurant that doubles as a meeting space for local residents and organizations, and which is the place City Councilor Ayanna Pressley says she had in mind when she led a successful effort to gain more liquor licenses for the city's outer neighborhoods.  Read more

WIC benefits switch to debit card system this month

By 
Colleen Quinn, State House News Service
Oct. 14, 2014

Poor women in Massachusetts who rely on federal assistance to buy milk, cereal and other specified food items for themselves and their children will no longer have to worry that everyone around them in the grocery store checkout line knows they receive aid.

Massachusetts this month began to switch from paper checks to debit-like cards for the federal nutritional assistance program that helps more than 125,000 women, infants and children in the state.  Read more

Officials: Risk of Ebola spreading in Mass is low

By 
Andy Metzger, State House News Service
Oct. 14, 2014

Mayor Martin Walsh, flanked by Gov. Deval Patrick and Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, spoke at a Tuesday morning press conference at Logan Airport. Photo by Isabel Leon/Mayor's office

Gov. Deval Patrick emphasized the relative safety of getting close to Ebola-infected patients, while state and local officials maintained the state is well equipped to handle cases of the virus that has spread death and devastation through three countries in West Africa.

"If I had Ebola, the commissioner standing right here would be at minimum risk of catching it, if any, if any," Gov. Deval Patrick said, standing next to Department of Public Health Commissioner Cheryl Bartlett at a Logan International Airport press conference Tuesday morning. "This is hard to catch. She would have to touch my blood or other bodily fluids . . . and don't."  Read more

In book interview, Menino weighs in on Walsh's performance

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, State House News Service
Oct. 13, 2014

With his patience gone, Mayor Thomas Menino let Gov. William Weld have it.

It was the 1990s and Menino wanted a convention center in South Boston. Weld, along with New England Patriots owner Bob Kraft, wanted a stadium, and the governor had been publicly "needling" Menino that the Patriots would leave the state if the mayor didn't change his mind.  Read more

State transportation chief Richard Davey stepping down

By 
Matt Murphy, State House News Service
Oct. 10, 2014

Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, the longest serving of the governor's the four transportation chiefs, plans to resign at the end of October, leaving the administration two months before the end of Gov. Deval Patrick's tenure.

Davey informed the governor of his decision late last month, and plans to depart on Nov. 1, becoming the second Cabinet official to leave the administration since Patrick asked his top lieutenants to commit in early 2013 to another two years to see the administration through to the end.

"It's time," Davey told the News Service. "I'm going to take some time to travel a little bit with my wife and start to think about what's next for my career. But we have a window to travel now, and I know the governor understands."  Read more

Kennedy Institute set for March 2015 opening

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, State House News Service
Oct. 9, 2014

Full-scale representations of the U.S. Senate chamber and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy's Capitol Hill office will open to the public on March 31, 2015, the Edward Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate announced Wednesday. A gala celebration is set for March 29 and a formal dedication ceremony for the 68,000 square-foot building will take place on March 30.  Read more

Historic Boston Inc. ready to save landmark Mattapan farm

The Fowler-Clark farm has been boarded up in recent years to prevent further damage from squatters. The farmhouse dates to the 18th century. Reporter file photo

A historic but endangered Mattapan landmark could soon have a new owner that would ensure that it remains viable for decades to come. Historic Boston Inc. has entered into an agreement to purchase the Fowler-Clark farmhouse on Norfolk Street. The transaction will not be executed until next March, giving the non-profit preservation group time to raise funds and create a definitive plan for re-using the property’s old structures for housing.

The farmhouse, which was built at the turn of the 18th century, is one of the city’s last tangible links to a now-distant agrarian past. Designated as historic landmarks in 2006, the house and an adjacent barn have since been boarded up by city inspectors worried that squatters would destroy the buildings through vandalism or fire.  Read more

Neponset Greenway update: Phase 2 construction set to begin

A rendering shows what a connection of the Neponset Greenway near the gas tank on Dorchester Bay would look like.

Construction on the second of three phases of the Neponset River Greenway will soon get under way as the project to connect Readville’s Martini Shell to South Boston’s Castle Island continues on schedule and on budget, according to Jack Murray, the commissioner of the state’s Department of Conservation and Recreation.

“This has been a real priority of the governor’s,” Murray told the Reporter. “He’s directed us to get this project in the ground before the end of his term and we’re working hard to make it happen.”  Read more

Walsh administration sets stage for housing growth in new report

City Housing Report 2014-2030: A graphic from the city report characterizes "access to the Homeownership Market" by neighborhood. Image courtesy City of BostonCity Housing Report 2014-2030: A graphic from the city report characterizes "access to the Homeownership Market" by neighborhood. Image courtesy City of BostonThe Walsh administration released its first housing plan this week. The 140-page document is titled “Housing a Changing City: Boston 2030” and lays out the major challenges and goals for meeting the demand for new housing for a population that is on the rise. The plan anticipates that the city’s population will surge past the 709,000 mark by 2030 — a growth from today of some 91,000 people.

The report notes that the last time Boston was home to 700,000-plus people was in the 1950s. Back then, large families often lived in a single unit — like the classic Dorchester three-decker experience. In today’s Boston, this report notes, “fewer people inhabit each unit of housing, making our current housing stock insufficient to accommodate this growth.”

Insufficient is putting it mildly. Even in Dorchester, which is categorized in this report as one of the city neighborhoods with “good access” to middle income housing, it is becoming increasingly difficult for people to find affordable homes or rental units.

The report is candid in saying that “given the constraints of space, the high cost of land, declining federal funding, and a finite amount of City dollars available, we must acknowledge that the City cannot build its way out of this problem.” But, build we must. The Walsh plan pledges to produce 53,000 new units of housing between now and 2030 – a growth of 20 percent in terms of the number of households.  Read more

Employees protest as UMass-Boston celebrates 50 years

By 
Colleen Quinn, State House News Service
Oct. 7, 2014

STATE HOUSE, BOSTON, OCT. 7, 2014....As University of Massachusetts officials marched from the State House to Boston Common to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Boston campus, more than 100 university employees held their own procession, protesting sick time and vacation pay concessions the university is asking them to make.

Protestors quietly stood in the background as UMass officials and local dignitaries, including former Senate President Robert Travaglini - an alumnus - and current UMass President Robert Caret, described the transition of the campus, from its formation in 1964 on the site of a former landfill to its status as a modern, harbor-front urban campus where students can "realize the American dream."  Read more