(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
Governor Deval Patrick’s message was clear as he joined other elected officials and education advocates today to unveil the Boston Promise Corps program: a zip code should not determine a child’s future.
Launched at the Dudley Street Neighborhood Charter School, the approximately $5 million program, paid for in part through an AmeriCorps grant, aims to not only better educate the students who call Dudley Square and the surround area home, but also to train the next generation of teachers.
“That whole idea that we have a stake in our neighbor’s dreams and troubles as well of our own, that is the nub of the solution to the hardest issues facing us,” Patrick said.
Boston Mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh was also on hand.FULL ENTRY
The Second Church in Dorchester is gradually getting a facelift to bring it into the 21st century.
Like many older residences in Boston, the church, in historic Codman Square, can be a drafty place. But during the past few years, building manager Alphonse Knight has slowly been working to make the 200-year-old church more energy efficient, and he’s cut the bills sharply along the way.
What started with a plan to fix some old cracked walls soon developed into a much larger project connected with Co-Op Power, a consumer-owned renewable energy cooperative.
Knight first connected with Co-Op Power four years ago for an energy evaluation. It helped bring in a new high-efficiency furnace to take care of the church offices. Then, last year, the cooperative installed a second high-efficiency furnace to generate the heat in the main chapel.
Making the decision to convert from oil to natural gas did wonders for the church’s expenses, Knight said.
“We had a good heating system,” he said. “It just cost an arm and a leg. That’s why we had to stop.”FULL ENTRY
UMass Boston will update residents Wednesday on plans to ensure that students, faculty, and neighborhoods are safe before, during, and after any natural or man-made disasters.
The second and final public meeting on the topic is scheduled from 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. in the university's Healey Library.
“Basically, this is best practice for the school,” Anne Marie McLaughlin, the emergency manager for UMass Boston, told Boston.com in June. “You want to have the planning to help reduce risk and damage.
“A lot of risks and hazards are not surprising given our location on the coast,” McLaughlin added. “It’s all part of due diligence and a way for us to seek funding for hazard mitigation problems.”
University staff will be on hand to provide residents with an overview of the plan and to take questions.
A copy of the draft plan can be found here.
To RSPV or submit feedback, contact Anne-Marie McLaughlin at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-287-6821.
(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2012)
On Saturday a number of Dorchester communities will light up their Christmas trees.
The yearly tradition, sponsored by the The Dorchester Holiday Celebrations Committee, includes a visit from Santa’s Trolley as well as plenty of warm beverages and holiday snacks.
Below is a list of tree lighting locations and their times.
Lower Mills at Meetinghouse Bank - 3:10 p.m.
Port Norfolk at Redfield Street - 3:30 p.m.
Harbor Point - 4:00 p.m.
Meetinghouse Hill at Rev. Allen Park - 4:30 p.m.
Uphams Corner at The Strand Theatre - 5:00 p.m.
Blessed Mother Theresa Church - 5:30 p.m.
Savin Hill at Ryan Playground - 6:00 p.m.
Fields Corner at Park St. Clock - 6:30 p.m.
King Street Playground at Adams Street/King Street - 7:00 p.m.
Peabody Square at Ashmont Station - 7:30 p.m.
For more information, contact the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services at (617) 635-3485
(Image courtesy the Boston Landmarks Commission)
To the dismay of the Tomasini Family, the Boston Landmarks Commission voted unanimously Tuesday night to designate their Grampian Way property a landmark.
The designation, which must receive the sign-off of the mayor and can be overturned by the City Council, limits what the family can do with the Savin Hill property, which they took control of in 2005 after the death of their father Raymond Tomasini.
Mayor Thomas M. Menino is expected to sign off on the decision sometime in the next few days, according to Brian Swett, chief of Environment and Energy for the city of Boston, which oversees the Boston Landmarks Commission.FULL ENTRY
This ain't your average Frosty.
Freaky the Snowman, or a guy named Brian in a snowman costume, took to the streets of our fair metropolis to film the latest installment of "The Scary Snowman" Youtube video series and terrorize the city's pedestrians.
The clip captures a lot of flustered jumping, several gaping mouths, and a few double takes, as well as some very entertained police officers. All in a day's work.
Not surprisingly, the snowman targeted ice cream franchise JP Licks' Cambridge store as one of the locations of its chilling prank.
The concept behind the Internet sensation is simple: Freaky, né Brian, stands still next to a storefront, assuming the part of large holiday decoration. With the help of the Scary Snowman crew, he targets unsuspecting passersby and moves to startle them. They react. And repeat.
It's a formula for comedic gold but not a perfect science. Jay Lichtenberger, one of the Scary Snowman guys who's not in the suit, said in a Facebook post that oftentimes the crew misses out on a great reaction because they fail to get permission or attract too much attention.
"We average about 10 to 15 great reactions an hour with a lot of not so great reactions in between," Lichtenberger wrote.
Since it launched four days ago, the Boston-based video has received more than 1.5 million views and nods from media organizations like Yahoo! News.
Note: This video features language that may not be appropriate for all audiences.
(Patrick D. Rosso/Boston.com/2013)
Business is picking up in Mattapan’s Morton Street Village after a number of new shops opened up on the corner of Morton and Corbet streets.
The corner building, which was recently purchased by Christ Stamatos, the owner of Pondside Realty, sat vacant for a number months after the purchase and the departure of Apolos Furniture, the long-time occupant of the space.
Now businesses are now moving in. Aguasivias Super Market and JL Wireless have already occupied two of the storefronts in the corner building and Just Not Subs, a new eatery, and Kathy’s Beauty Salon are expected to open in the near future.
“There were no other businesses around like ours so we saw a need,” explained Jose Anziani, the owner of JL Wireless, which opened in August. “We’re a new business, so it’s been a little slow, but people are coming in and they are telling their neighbors and friends, which is good.”
All the business is welcome news to Christian Williams, the president of the Morton Street Village Business Association.
“It’s great that they [the storefronts] are getting filled up,” said Williams, who also sits on the advisory committee for the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative. “Now we want to keep the momentum going.”
With no vacancies along the commercial strip that runs from the Morton Street/Gallivan Boulevard split to Leston Street, Williams said now the association needs to make sure the businesses are getting what they need.
“There are a lot of city and state resources that they [the business owners] don’t know about,” said Williams. “We want to connect them to those resources; the association wants to be that hub of communication for them.”
New construction and future developments in the neighborhood are also on Williams’ radar.
“There’s a lot of planning happening in the area from the Fairmount Indigo Planning Initiative to the Morton Street Bridge, but there is no voice for the local businesses,” said Williams. “Often times I’m the only one in the room, so we want to bring people out and make sure that the planners know what they want.”
MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott is “not opposed” to new fines for fare evasion that would double the increases enacted into law in 2012.
“I’m not opposed to it,” Scott told the News Service Tuesday morning. “I think the people need to be very clear about consequences relative to fare-evasion.”
In 2012, fines for fare evasion had been $15 for a first offense; $100 for a second offense; and $250 for a third or subsequent offense. An MBTA bailout bill bumped those fines up to $50 for a first offense; $100 for a second offense; and $300 for a third or subsequent offense.
As part of a transportation bond bill (H 3763), the Transportation Committee included language that would raise the fines still further to $100 for a first offense; $200 for a second offense; and $600 for a third or subsequent offense.
Scott said MBTA officials have also discussed undertaking a “fare evasion review.” She said, “Personally, I’m supportive of making sure that there are consequences.”
- A. Metzger/SHNS
Just over a year after raising them, the MBTA is now seeking to drop fares for the RIDE paratransit service from $4 to $3, an agency financial officer told a state transportation department committee Tuesday.
MBTA Strategic Initiatives Senior Director Charles Planck told MassDOT’s Board’s Audit and Finance Committee that the T will put the fare reduction before the full MassDOT Board of Directors at its Dec. 11 meeting. The RIDE is a door-to-door service available for people with disabilities.
The announcement was greeted by scattered cheers from transit access advocates in the audience. Lower fares have been a goal of transit activists since the T raised the price of the RIDE from $2 to $4 in 2012.
About 60 percent of respondents to a state survey measuring the impact on the 2012 hikes on elders reported this year that they make fewer transit trips, while a majority of RIDE users whose income is less than $2,000 per month said they cut back on food, personal grooming and transit trips.
Earlier this month, transit advocates and seniors called on lawmakers to provide relief from paratransit fare hikes, saying the increases had left people choosing between travel and other necessities. Arlington Sen. Ken Donnelly ripped the RIDE fare increases as a “targeted fare hike at a vulnerable population.”
On Tuesday, Planck said the move will have an impact on the agency’s budget as revenue will drop and demand is expected to rise as the RIDE becomes more affordable. Planck was unsure of the move’s exact impact on the T’s budget due to new service contracts with providers.
“We expect to get the best price the market can bear,” Planck said.
When asked by board chairman John Jenkins about the annualized impact of altering RIDE fares, Planck estimated $1.5 million in reduced revenue per year and a $3 million to $4 million annual revenue loss overall when including operations costs.
“We believe right now that we’ll be able to accommodate this change in the budget approved by the board,” MBTA CFO Jonathan Davis told the panel.
At the meeting, Massachusetts Senior Action Council Executive Director Carolyn Villers called the fare reduction “a big step towards more affordable and equitable” service and said her group is looking forward to working with the MBTA and on other long-term solutions.
After the meeting, MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott told reporters the fare agreement was the result of the work of a task force made up of MassDOT officials, transit advocates and the business community.
Scott said she thinks there would be benefits to introducing means testing for riders to help determine discounts, but that the MBTA is not in a position to evaluate incomes. Asked if other state agencies would be in better positions to aid the MBTA at means testing, Scott said she had discussed the issue with the health and human services officials and any possible means testing scenario would have to wait.
Under a new law, the MBTA may raise its overall fares by up to 5 percent next year.
Wellesley is the first liberal arts college to offer Spanish-language estimates of expected costs, taking into account financial aid WELLESLEY, Mass., Nov. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Wellesley College has released a new, Spanish-language version…