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Martin Desmarais

Stories by Martin

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Lawyer Rachael Rollins forges successful career in Massachusetts transportation

Rachael Rollins, the new chief legal counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority, is used to being among the "firsts." She has blazed a successful career in the higher levels of state government, an area that has not exactly been known for supporting much diversity in the past.

Boston Public Schools hits record level for student MCAS improvement

The most recent numbers for the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System test show record levels for African American and Latino Boston Public Schools students — and improvement all throughout the school system.

Troubled HUB schools ‘turnaround’ in latest statewide test scores

In 2009, Boston Public Schools singled out 12 Boston schools as some of the worst in the state. Through state funding and grants the schools were able to pay for new staff and extra teaching time, helping them improve. Five schools have made some of the highest academic gains in the state.

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Roxbury Community College, UMass Boston receive $300K grant to help close achievement gap

Roxbury Community College (RCC) has been given $294,859 by the state to work with the University of Massachusetts Boston to improve student performance, increase graduation rates and continue its overall work to close the achievement gap in higher education.

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Groups seek signatures for earned sick time and higher minimum wage

More than 50 Massachusetts organizations launched a signature-raising drive last week to push the state legislature to raise the minimum wage and ensure that all workers earn sick time if they or family members are ill.

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Swinging for the fences: ‘The Base’ uses sports to push student athletes to excellence on the field and in the classroom

Robert Lewis Jr., founder of the Boston Astros baseball program, believes in the power of sports to help boys succeed not just on the field, but in life. He has recently launched The Base, a nonprofit organization that pairs baseball training with educational support.

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Boston Public Schools launch bullying prevention text hotline

BPS has had a bullying hotline for several years, but this school year it has launched a new text hotline, TipTxt, that school officials are hoping will get more kids reporting problems.

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Boston Public Schools: New technology to improve busing

On Sept. 4, Boston Public Schools (BPS) started off the school year in the passing lane with its new bus contract and an increased emphasis on technology to make its bus service better.

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Workers march on Harvard, Cambridge College for better jobs, benefits

Several hundred 32BJ Service Employees International Union (SEIU) New England District 615 workers and supporters marched from the steps of Cambridge City Hall to Cambridge College and then on to Harvard University on Labor Day. Organizers said the event was meant to honor workers but also to remind employers that quality jobs and benefits have a direct effect on quality of life in the Boston community.

Boston Public Schools studying black and Latino male students’ success rates

In June, BPS received a $250,000 grant from the Barr Foundation and made a commitment of $260,000 to collect data on black and Latino male students and start an advisory committee. The ultimate goal is to make black and Latino male students more successful and ensure that a BPS education has a more positive impact for these students.

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Roxbury residents: Nuestra Development’s Bartlett Yard plans still lacking

Developers of the Bartlett Yard in Roxbury are set to begin demolition as early as November on the new Bartlett Place and have a proposed plan that they feel is satisfactory to all. While some neighboring residents welcome the project, many are discouraged that the plans do not meet a number of the original stipulations outlined by the city years ago

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One Hen hatches in Boston with program at Kroc Center

A dozen eight- and nine-year olds spent most of the summer learning what it means to get into business at Dorchester’s Salvation Army Kroc Center. Last week, the budding entrepreneurs took their self-made key chains and bracelets to market as an end to their One Hen Academy summer experience. They sold over $100 worth of products and plan to donate some of the money.

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Demolition set to begin on Bartlett Yard

A former MBTA bus yard, Bartlett Yard is now owned by Nuestra Comunidad Development Corp. and that company is working with Windale Developers on a project called Bartlett Place with the ultimate aim of developing 323 units of housing and 54,000 square feet of commercial property on 8.5 acres of land. Demolition begins on the site this fall.

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New Dimock CEO Myechia Minter-Jordan driven by passion for patients

Dr. Myechia Minter-Jordan, the new president and CEO of The Dimock Center, is an accomplished doctor and hospital executive. To say she is passionate about providing health care to everyone is an understatement.

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Harvard Law’s Legal Service Center to help stop foreclosure crisis in Mattapan

The Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School is joining the fight against the foreclosure crisis and last week launched a new anti-foreclosure and eviction-defense program called the Mattapan Initiative. Through this initiative, the Center will provide free legal services to homeowners in Mattapan.

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New liquor store approved near Dorchester schools

Though a number of people spoke out against a new proposed liquor store on Dorchester Avenue in Dorchester — including Boston City Councillor At-Large John Connolly — the plan was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals last week. The new liquor store will be at 1445 Dorchester Ave. not far the Harbor Middle School, the Community Academy of Science and Health High School and a community center.

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FUEL Education helps low-income families save for college

Families United in Educational Leadership (FUEL) is batting 100 percent for its graduating class of 2013. All 56 recently graduated high school seniors involved in the nonprofit program, which helps low-income families establish a savings plan for college and also navigate the financial aid process, are registered to attend college this fall

JRI Health Youth Housing Initiative hailed as success so far

Halfway through the three-year, $1.3 million JRI Health Youth Housing Initiative those involved are calling the program a success so far. In addition, they believe that the program can be a model for providing youth housing services into the future.

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Massachusetts Health centers receive much-needed funding to educate uninsured

The Affordable Care Act was created to open the doors to health coverage for those who do not have it and now the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has doled out $150 million to help health centers around the country enroll the uninsured in the new programs. Massachusetts centers have grabbed $3.4 million in grant money, with many of Boston’s prominent health centers benefiting greatly.

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Boston to celebrate legacy, life of Nelson Mandela on July 18

Boston will gather to celebrate the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela on his birthday, July 18, at 5:30 p.m. at the Old South Church in Boston. The event, which is being organized by South Africa Partners, will feature guest speakers Gov. Deval Patrick, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and a representative from the South African Embassy, as well as a video tribute to Mandela, reading of his inspirational words by local youth and several musical tributes

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MIT STEM Summer Institute gives glimpse of math/science future to city students

Every summer the Massachusetts Institute of Technology brings close to 100 middle school students, most from Boston city schools, to campus as part of a five-week Science Technology and Math Program (STEM) Summer Institute that provides classes and activities to help get ahead in math and science

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Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins tackles recidivism with intensive work program, The Common Ground Institute

Suffolk County Sheriff Steven W. Tompkins is taking a proactive approach to reducing recidivism with The Common Ground Institute program and he is asking employers in the community to help. John B. Cruz, the owner of John B. Cruz Construction company, recently answered the call.

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Rep.Mike Capuano increases fight for privacy rights with “We are Watching You Act” and “Black Box Privacy Protection Act.”

Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) cares about his constituents’ privacy rights and, in the wake of the shocking revelations about the NSA’s PRISM program, he knows that now more than ever is the time to be vigilant about anything that invades privacy. In the last month, he has filed two bills that protect privacy – the "Black Box Privacy Protection Act" and the "We Are Watching You Act."

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Brewing up business: Percival Beer Company makes craft beer bid

The idea to start Percival Beer Company came to Felipe Oliveira several summers ago. The aspiring entrepreneur was at a barbeque at his sister’s home in Dedham when he noticed that most beers didn’t really mix well with Cape Verdean food.

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Proposal to renovate Franklin Park’s White Stadium draws favorable reaction

While most consider the proposed multi-million dollar project to revitalize the White Stadium in Franklin Park a good thing, others say they are concerned about changes the project could bring, including losing valuable green park land.

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