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Boston Public Health Commission to host celebration of international Women’s Day in Mattapan

March 7, 2014 11:20 AM

The following was submitted by the Boston Public Health Commission

In observance of International Women’s Day, the Boston Public Health Commission, the Resilient Sisterhood Project, the Association of Haitian Women in Boston, and their partners will host a screening of the short film 'When the Bough Breaks,' from the acclaimed series Unnatural Causes. When the Bough Breaks takes a critical look at how racism intersects with health, wealth, and education and challenges us to work towards more equitable health outcomes for women of color and their babies.

Following the screening, Dr. Yvonne Gomez-Carrion will lead a panel discussion with health experts and community leaders to reflect on ways of solving the health inequities facing women in Boston and around the country. Participating organizations will have informational tables with resources at the event.

WHEN: Saturday, March 8

12:30-3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Boston Public Library – Mattapan Branch

1350 Blue Hill Avenue, Mattapan

WHO: Dr. Yvonne Gomez-Carrion, OB/GYN at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center,

Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School

Boston Public Health Commission

Resilient Sisterhood Project

Brookview House, Inc.

Mattapan United

Association of Haitian Women in Boston

Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition

Boston Mothers Care


Whittier Street Health Center to host free flu vaccinations

March 6, 2014 12:56 PM

The following was submitted by the Whittier Street Health Center

Whittier Street Health Center’s FREE Community Flu Vaccination Clinics

Saturday, March 8, 2014

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

1290 Tremont St. Boston.

30 Seconds

Get your free flu vaccination this Saturday! Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury is offering free flu vaccinations Saturday, March 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the 2nd floor in the Community Education Room, 1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury. The free clinics are sponsored by the Boston Public Health Commission and Whittier Street Health Center. For questions, call (617) 427-1000 or visit

15 Seconds

Get your free flu vaccination at Whittier Street Health Center this Saturday, March 8th from 10 to 2 p.m., at 1290 Tremont Street, Roxbury. For more information, visit


Senator Linda Dorcena Forry honored by Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs

March 5, 2014 11:21 AM

Senator Linda Dorcena Forry was recently honored by the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs at the organization’s 12th annual Legislative Luncheon.

Dorcena Forry was presented with the 2014 Champion of Youth award for her commitment to issues important to the Boys and Girls Clubs.

"The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys & Girls Clubs is pleased to name Senator Forry and Representative Keenan as our 2014 Champions of Youth," Ron Hadorn, president of the Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs, said in a statement. "In their tenures in the House and Senate, both of our Champions have demonstrated a deep understanding of the problems facing Boys & Girls Club kids and a commitment to tackling these issues head on. We are proud to consider them reliable partners in this effort."

Dorcena Forry’s district, which covers South Boston, Dorchester, Mattapan, and a portion of Hyde Park, has one of the highest concentrations of Boys and Girls Clubs in the Commonwealth. The organization is also preparing to open a new club in Mattapan.

“I am so honored and grateful to be receiving this award,” Dorcena Forry said in a statement. ”The Boys and Girls Club has been a big part of my life and continues to be, now, through my children. The low-cost programming and after school activities promotes positive youth development helping our youth reach their full potential.”

The Massachusetts Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs is made up of 41 member clubs from across Massachusettes, which serve close to 180,000 youth yearly.


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William J. Devine Golf Course seeks Audubon certification

March 3, 2014 02:54 PM

The William J. Devine Golf Course at Franklin Park could soon be fully certified by the Audubon International’s Cooperative Sanctuary Program for Golf Courses, recognizing the recreational area’s commitment to the environment.

The program, which helps golf courses protect the environment while promoting the history of the game, evaluates five different environmental areas: chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, water quality management, wildlife and habitat management, and outreach and education.

The Franklin Park course has been certified in the categories of chemical use reduction and safety, water conservation, and water quality management since 2011 and hopes to receive certification in the final two categories by 2015, according to Russ Heller, the course superintendent.

“It’s [the program] is a way to highlight the things we already do and helps build upon those things while showing the general public what we have accomplished,” said Heller. “We have 100 acres of green space, and when you have that much green space, wildlife lives there.”

The course has seen success in the reduction of chemical contamination as well as its work to protect nearby water supplies. It, however, must still be certified in wildlife and habitat management and outreach and education, something Heller said he will be pushing for this year.

To tackle the wildlife and habitat management category, Heller suggested a number of initiatives including the installation of more bird nesting sites, the construction of a hummingbird and butterfly garden, the restoration of native landscaping, and some restoration work at Scarborough Pond.

To fulfill the outreach and education component, Heller said he hopes to lean on the course’s many partners to boost event participation and help support the installation of displays and informational boards.

“This is a way to show that our golf course is a beneficial space for wildlife and we can use the program to take that a little further,” Heller added.

Once fully certified, the William J. Devine Golf Course will be the first municipal golf course and fourth public golf course to receive the certification.


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Boston Main Streets Foundation names recipients of Innovation and Impact Grants

February 28, 2014 11:21 AM

The Boston Main Streets Foundation recently named the recipients of its Innovation and Impact Grants.

The grants, which will support initiatives in seven Main Streets Districts, reflect the Boston Main Streets Foundation’s push for more direct funding of proposals that seek to stimulate growth and participation in Boston’s commercial districts, according to a statement from the organization.

“We’re funding a range of innovative projects through this initiative with the Boston Main Streets Foundation,” Mayor Martin J. Walsh said in a statement. “This is a public-private partnership that really works; our Main Streets districts can enhance what makes them unique and support their business owners.”

Partially funded through federal dollars administered by the city of Boston, Main Street groups work to revitalize commercial districts in Boston’s neighborhoods. Founded in 1995, there are currently 20 Main Street Districts city-wide.

Ranging from $3,000 to $5,000, the grants support a variety of new programs and initiatives including cellphone apps, street pole banners, and farmers’ markets.

“These grants can have a profound impact,” Sheila Dillon, director of the Department of Neighborhood Development, said in a statement. “Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a graduation of an ESL Business English Class that was funded in the first round. Business owners from Hyde Jackson and Egleston Square Main Streets collaborated to make their idea a reality, partnering with their local YMCA. It was a wonderful proposal, and one I’m sure will have far-reaching effects.”

The Mattapan Square Main Streets, the city’s newest Main Street organization, received $3,000 to support a series of local business fairs dubbed “Think Big!” The program aims to provide business owners with the tools and know-how to expand their reach.

The Roslindale Village Main Streets, the city’s oldest Main Street District, received $5,000 to develop an app that encourages and rewards customers for shopping local.

The Allston Village Main Streets received $5,000 to support the completion of a mural.

The Greater Grove Hall Main Streets, which recently named a new executive director, received $5,000 to develop a logo and banners to help brand the shopping district that straddles the Roxbury/Dorchester border.

The Uphams Corner Main Street received $5,000 for planters that will be painted by local artists and adopted by local businesses, to help support the neighborhood’s push for more green space and public art.

The Hyde Park Main Streets received $5,000 for banners and branding and the West Roxbury Main Streets received $4,600 to expand its farmers’ market.

“We sincerely congratulate these winners for their thoughtful proposals, and the hard work that they’re doing every day to improve their local Boston Main Streets District,” Joel Sklar, president of the Boston Main Streets Foundation, said in a statement. “I know that I speak for the rest of the Board when I say that I’m looking forward to seeing these innovative and impactful proposals become reality to the benefit of Boston's small businesses and neighborhoods.”


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Three charged with cocaine possession in Braintree

February 27, 2014 12:31 PM

Three people from Boston were arrested on Tuesday afternoon after police allegedly found cocaine during a traffic stop.

Police said when Drug Unit detectives stopped the car, officers found a quantity of cocaine hidden on one of the suspects.

Stephanie J. Suazo, 18, of Mattapan; Eddie Lara, 19, of Roslindale; and Giovanni Bautista, 20, of Dorchester were arrested and charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute and conspiracy to violate the Controlled Substances Act.

Bautista was also charged with operating after his license was revoked and multiple warrants for larceny and traffic offenses.

Shuttle service between Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center and Carney Hospital unveiled

February 26, 2014 02:29 PM


(Image courtesy Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center)

Charley Murphy, president and CEO of the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center, and Andy Davis, president and CEO of carney hospital, next to the new shuttle.

Patients of the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center will now be able to move more easily between the Blue Hill Avenue-based center and Carney Hospital thanks to a new shuttle service.

"This shuttle service could be the difference between a patient learning about a developing condition now or later," said Charley Murphy, president and CEO of the health center, in a statement. "Having the shuttle bus available to our patients will allow for immediate follow-up care as well as additional tests and screening if needed."

The free shuttle, which was unveiled this week, transports patients that require referrals outside of the center to its partner Carney Hospital on Dorchester Avenue.

Additionally, the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center recently expanded its mental health services.

Founded in 1969 as an offshoot of the Boston Department of Health and Hospitals, the Harvard Street Neighborhood Health Center became its own independent nonprofit in 1976.


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Applications received to develop urban farms in Roxbury and Dorchester

February 26, 2014 11:56 AM


(Image courtesy Google Maps)

The location of the properties.

Vacant lots in Roxbury and Dorchester could be reborn as urban farms this summer.

Applications have been received to develop three vacant parcels that the city has been pushing for commercial urban agriculture use, according to officials from the Department of Neighborhood Development, which managed the process.

Since late 2013, the department has been working with community members to turn vacant lots on Ballou Avenue, Harold and Akron streets into sources of food and jobs. The initiative paralleled the recently approved Article 89 zoning, which streamlined the process of developing farms in Boston’s neighborhoods.

If farms are developed on the lots, they would be the first to utilize the new zoning and, the department hopes, would act as templates for future urban agriculture endeavors across the city.

“The Walsh Administration is very interested in getting our real estate back to productive use,” explained Sheila Dillon, director of the Department of Neighborhood Development. “It’s been a good process and one that will hopefully get the land farmed this summer.”

Development guidelines, known as Request for Proposals, were created for each of the locations after city officials met with neighbors and stakeholders.

The Request for Proposals is the neighborhood development department’s standard process for selling or changing the ownership of publicly owned property.

Although each individual request was tweaked to fit the specific concerns of each community, they had similar guidelines about the potential uses of the sites, the cleanliness of the sites, and how the parcels would be managed.

The request is public and anyone can apply, but developer criteria favored nonprofits and smaller, community-based organizations. The Request for Proposals was released in December with a deadline of Jan. 22. That deadline was extended to Feb. 3.

The cost for the parcels is not likely to exceed $100, according to the Request for Proposals.

The Ballou Avenue parcel includes four connected lots at 98-100, 102-103, 106-108, and 110-112 Ballou Ave. The combined lots total about 19,970 square feet and are valued at $140,800, according to the city’s Assessing Department. One application was received for Ballou Avenue.

The Harold Street parcel included two vacant lots located at 225 and 227 Harold St. The total area is about 12,699 square feet and is valued at $79,500, according to the city’s Assessing Department. Two applications were received for Harold Street.

The last parcel, located at 3 Akron St., is approximately 8,762 square feet and is valued at $65,700, according to the city’s Assessing Department. Two applications were received for Akron Street.

The applicants will not be released until the proposals have been reviewed and scored by the Department of Neighborhood Development.

Once the applications have been reviewed, the proponents will be brought before the community to be vetted by residents, which is expected to take place by mid- to late-March.

“We really want to demonstrate on a large scale that an urban agriculture program in Boston is viable and that it creates jobs, local food sources, and a welcome open space,” said Dillon.

To read about the community meeting for Ballou Avenue, click here.

To read about the community meeting for Harold Street, click here.

To read about the community meeting for Akron Street, click here.

For a copy of the Ballou Avenue RFP, click here.

For a copy of the Harold Street RFP, click here.

For a copy of the Akron Street RFP, click here.


Email Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

Boston’s Black Journalists Host Roxbury Stories Forum

February 25, 2014 01:54 PM

Collage artist Ekua Holmes took more than fifty people back to her old neighborhood.

Her audience was transported – not by car or bus – but signature images created by Holmes from found objects, torn colored paper and memories of all-things-Roxbury.

“I must confess I didn’t learn how to double-dutch (jump-rope) until I was 20,” said the award-winning artist, narrating over an image of her work she calls “Golden-lores”, depicting a young black girl jumping rope.

“I was totally uncoordinated,” she said, spurring a round of laughter from those seated in the auditorium.

Holmes was one of four storytellers, with strong ties to Roxbury, invited to speak at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library as part of a community forum Saturday entitled “Tell Our Story”, co-sponsored by Fellowes Athenaeum Fund of the Boston Public Library.

The event was also co-sponsored by the Boston chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, which holds its national convention in Boston this summer.

“Part of our job is making sure that the stories of Roxbury, like the ones that are going to be told here today, are told when the (3,000) journalists are here,” said Zuri Berry of BABJ.

“Our illustrious speakers have very strong connections to Roxbury and beyond, and will be telling us the stories through the filters of their own particular disciplines, skills and artistry,” said Kelley Chunn, a Boston-based public relations and marketing consultant who MC’d the event.

Joining Holmes on the panel was veteran photojournalist Don West, Bay State Banner senior editor Yawu Miller and Sarah-Ann Shaw, Boston’s first African American television reporter.

Miller gave an historic overview of Roxbury, where iconic figures, like Malcolm X and Minister Louis Farrakhan, spent time.

“For a community that’s been small, relatively small, we’ve produced incredible thinkers, musicians, political activists, abolitionists,” he said.

West showcased six large black-and-white photos of his for the program, including ones of Nelson Mandela, filmmaker Judy Richardson and a family portrait of Felix D. and Felix G. Arroyo.

“People felt connected,” West said of the images, part of an exhibit he calls “Portraits of Purpose” that will soon be on his website at

One of the portraits that was featured Saturday was former state representative Mel King, whose daughter, Pamela, was in attendance.

“I just wanted to hear somebody else talk about Roxbury,” she said. “I knew it was going to be a positive event.”

For a community seldom described as ‘positive’ in the media, some found Saturday’s forum uplifting.

“I was really inspired by Akua’s presentation by sharing her childhood and her presence in Roxbury through art,” said Roxbury resident Kim Janey of Holmes’ work featured at .

For Noah Teweldebrahan, of Eritrean descent, who was born and raised in Roxbury, Saturday’s program inspired him to want to make a difference.

“I guess moving forward, it’s to realize the beauty of Roxbury and how much there is to work on,” he said. “There’s a tremendous amount of work to be done.”

For Shaw, a longtime Boston TV news fixture, the city of Boston should do a better job of recognizing those who really made a difference in Roxbury.

“I think that black people did a lot of significant things,” she said. “And I don’t think we’re given credit for all we did to develop Roxbury."

Sarah Ann Shaw Roxbury Story .jpg

Clennon L. King for

Sarah-Ann Shaw (far left) listens as an audience member asks a question about Roxbury’s black historic past. Also pictured (l-r) is newspaper editor Yawu Miller, artist Ekua Holmes and veteran photographer Don West.

The Professional Women of Color Network to hold networking event Friday

February 25, 2014 12:36 PM

The Professional Women of Color Network will host its Career and Business Speed Networking event in Dorchester Friday.

The free event provides women from the Boston area an opportunity to meet other professionals, network, and build lasting professional contacts.

In addition to the networking session, Friday’s event includes a career and business brainstorming, which will offer participants the opportunity to gain feedback on their professional goals.

The program will run from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Blarney Stoney at 1505 Dorchester Ave.

For more information about the event, contact the Professional Women of Color Network via email or via phone (857) 220-7577.


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