Meetinghouse Hill

Silver cache may hold key to landmark’s salvation

The First Parish Church steeple came down in 2006. Bill Forry photoThe First Parish Church steeple came down in 2006. Bill Forry photo

First Parish Church, which dates back to Dorchester’s original settlement in 1630, plans to auction off most of its historic silver collection to help pay for a $5 million restoration project that is desperately needed to save the historic church atop Meetinghouse Hill.

The parish congregation hopes that the sale of the silver, which has been on loan to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston for the last century, will fetch a large sum — perhaps in the millions—when it goes to auction in New York City in January 2012.

The funds cannot come fast enough. The existing church building, which was built to replace an earlier structure that burned in 1896, is in dire need of repairs that have reached a critical stage. The church’s steeple— which had begun to tilt ominously in recent years— was removed in 2006 amid fears that it would topple at any time. The wedding-cake-like steeple structure still sits on the same spot where a crane lowered it four years ago – right across the street from the church. Peeling paint, crumbling chimneys, loose shingles and old, sieve-like windows are ganging up on the once-grand symbol of olde Dorchester. And windstorms last spring sent water flowing into the sanctuary, damaging the church’s historic organ.  Read more

Spike in shootings prompts renewed quest for solutions

By 
Stephen Kurkjian and Pat Tarantino, Special To The Reporter
Dec. 16, 2010

Tina Chery: A pioneer in citywide efforts to curb violence, Chery's son Louis was killed in a December 1993 shooting, not far from her current office in Fields Corner..Tina Chery: A pioneer in citywide efforts to curb violence, Chery's son Louis was killed in a December 1993 shooting, not far from her current office in Fields Corner..

The numbers are deeply disturbing: Nearly eighty percent of the shootings in Boston in 2010 have taken place in the three police districts that cover Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan.

Last year, 223 people were killed or wounded by gunfire in Boston, and 174, or 78 percent, of the shootings took place in districts B-2, B-3 and C-11. This year, with several weeks to go, the number of shootings in the city has increased to 258, and, again, 78 percent of them were in these three districts.

The Search for Solutions

BPD Commissioner Ed Davis: Extra pressure on gang members

Rev. Eugene Rivers: Pastor convenes stakeholders, stresses "realism"

George Chip GreenidgeGeorge Chip GreenidgeGeorge "Chip" Greenidge: Violent year spurs new calls for answers

Celeste Allan: Murder victim's mom finds community's embrace

Marivelle Crespo and Gina Patterson: BPD team aids families, heads off trouble

Tina Chery: Peace Pioneer seeks to improve coordination of services

Emmet Folgert: On alert for alternativesEmmet Folgert: On alert for alternativesEmmett Folgert: Veteran youth worker connects teens with jobs

These stark numbers only convey part of the story. The real story, those on the front lines of the battle tell the Dorchester Reporter, is the impact this violence is having on those who live and work in these neighborhoods – and whether they will assert strongly to families, friends, and acquaintances that they will not tolerate the continued presence of guns or further criminal activity in the homes and on the streets of their neighborhoods. And, too, there is the overarching question of the role of the rest of Boston in this enterprise: Will they join Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan – or abandon them – in taking on the challenge of saving the streets.  Read more

Charter school proponents look to expand in Dorchester, Mattapan

By 
Mike Deehan, Special to the Reporter
Dec. 8, 2010

Fourteen would-be charter schools have applied to the State Department of Education to be granted charters to start up new schools in Boston out of 23 across the state. Representatives from several of the applicant schools appeared before a panel of state education officials in Boston City Hall on Tuesday to press their case.

Though plans for the schools are still in the preliminary stages and locations for school facilities are not definite, some of the proponents for the proposals heard Tuesday vowed to serve underprivileged students from Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.  Read more

Vote on closing schools delayed; parents still on high alert

By 
Gintautas Dumcius, News Editor
Nov. 4, 2010

Superintendent Carol Johnson is delaying a vote on plans to close schools, giving parents opposed to the closures a month to regroup. Dorchester schools on the chopping block include Roger Clap Elementary and the East Zone Early Learning Center. School officials had also been pushing to merge the Lee Academy Pilot School and the Lee Elementary School.

“Overall, I’m optimistic that we have the extra month or so to get them to change their minds, and hopefully this opens up more of a debate,” said Kenny Jervis, one of the parents leading the charge to keep Clap Elementary open. “We’re happy we got the extra time but it’s nowhere near a victory yet.”  Read more

Conference to help city churches make sorely needed renovations

By 
Alex Owens Special to the Reporter
Nov. 4, 2010

Dorchester’s spiritual community has borne firsthand witness to the community’s history, which stretches back nearly four centuries. It was members of a church community, the First Parish Church, that founded this city within a city. After decades of service to their neighborhoods, many of Dorchester’s church buildings are daue for a much needed facelift, and their congregations are turning to the city’s historical organizations for aid.  Read more

(UPDATED) Watchdog group: Boston ended FY 2010 with $9.1m surplus, but...

Boston's coffers ended fiscal year 2010 with a $9.1 million surplus, a fiscal watchdog group reports.

The Boston Municipal Research Bureau said Monday that the $9.1 million represents represents 0.4 percent of that fiscal year's $2.3 billion in spending.

But let's not start jumping around and compiling a list of programs to restore to full funding just yet.

Sam Tyler, head of the BMRB, notes, "This is money that has to be reserved for fiscal 2012."  Read more

Dorchester YMCA Fall Programs

It's time to get healthy. Visit the Dorchester YMCA for special membership offers as well as programs for families and youth. Visit us on the web at www.ymcaboston.org/dorchester. Call 617.436.7750, or just come visit the branch at 776 Washington Street, Dorchester, MA 02124. Free parking, directly on bus Rt #26 and a short walk from the Ashmont T.

617.436.7750
Dorchester YMCA

Former Rep. Golar Richie takes job at YouthBuild USA

Former state Rep. Charlotte Golar Richie is taking a top job at an organization that sponsors programs providing job skills to underemployed youth.

YouthBuild USA on Tuesday announced that Richie, a veteran of both the State House and City Hall, is joining the Somerville-based organization as its senior vice president for public policy, advocacy and government relations.

A Dorchester Democrat, she served in the Massachusetts House from 1995 to 2000, representing the Fifth Suffolk District.  Read more

Become a Basic Literacy or ESOL Tutor

Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts invites prospective volunteers to one of our informational orientations held August 16 and September 9 from 6-8 in downtown Boston. Volunteer tutors work one-to-one with students from communities throughout the Greater Boston area, including Dorchester and Mattapan, for 2-hours per week for a minimum of 9 to 12 months at mutually convenient times in public places. LVM trains volunteers to tutor adult learners in either Basic Literacy or English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL).  Read more

kgriffiths@lvm.org
Kirstin Griffiths

City Council passes Menino budget by 11-2 vote

The City Council on Wednesday voted 11-2 to pass Mayor Thomas Menino’s $2.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2011. Councillors also voted unanimously to pass a home rule petition – which requires approval from the mayor, the governor and the state Legislature – to hand library trustees the power to fundraise for the cash-strapped library system.  Read more