City officials, business boosters gather at Strand Theatre
More than 400 came to the Strand Theatre last week to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Boston Main Streets program, which has helped revitalize 20 neighborhood business districts in the city.
President Obama’s call to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state capital in South Carolina in the wake of the Charleston church shooting bolstered the growing backlash against the divisive symbol.
Cambridge attorney Dennis Benzan was elected to the city council in 2013 on a pledge to help residents find jobs in the city’s booming tech sector. In two short years, Benzan has zeroed in on a set of programs and initiatives aimed at preparing Cambridge students for the innovation economy.
The black-led development team seeking to build an office and residential complex in Dudley Square has pulled the wraps off their design, and it’s big. Rising from the limestone façade of the Institution for Savings in Roxbury and its Vicinity, the steel and glass tower in the rendering from Stull and Lee architects would stand 25 stories above Washington Street and include 392,355 square feet of commercial, office and residential space. If completed according to plan, the building will be the tallest ever built in Roxbury.
Nearly two years after the high court in the Dominican Republic stripped citizenship from people descended from Haitian migrants, the Dominican government reportedly is preparing to send tens of thousands of its former citizens to Haiti.
Numbers of blacks, Latinos drop in years after desegregation order overturned
With more than 1,600 employees, the Fire Department is the city’s third largest agency. At a time when Boston has become more diverse, the Fire Department has become more white.
A coalition of planning groups is calling on state and local officials to play a lead role in planning improvements to housing, transportation and infrastructure in Massachusetts during planning for Boston’s bid to bring the 2024 Olympic games here.
New York-based education group ups the stakes
Families for Excellent Schools opened its Massachusetts office last year in the wake of a failed bid by charter school supporters to lift the Massachusetts cap on new charters. Their ongoing petition, which calls on legislators to “Give every child access to an excellent public school in his or her neighborhood — whether it’s a district or a charter school,” is widely seen as the opening salvo in a coming fight to lift the charter school cap.
Attorneys held a training last week for activists seeking to curb police abuse by observing stops and arrests.
A pewter teapot, said to have belonged to Revolutionary War-era hero Crispus Attucks, is on display at the Boston Public Library. Like Attucks himself, the history of the teapot generates more questions than answers.
Vote on MBTA budget seen as compromise with Baker administration
The Massachusetts Senate voted against allowing fare increases for the MBTA, and approved an oversight panel, to be appointed by the governor.
While prices of single- and multi-family homes are quickly becoming unaffordable for Roxbury residents, condominiums provide an affordable alternative. But stiff competition and unstable condo associations present hurdles and risks for prospective buyers.
As drugs hit ’burbs, emphasis shifts to treatment programs
As heroin and other opioids have proliferated in predominantly white communities in Massachusetts, state and local officials have shifted their emphasis from drug law enforcement to treatment. Blacks, who have long argued drug addiction is a sickness, not a crime, see a double standard in the shift from punishment to treatment.
Sunday, Carolyn Golden Hebsgaard and many of her classmates are going to give back to Delaware State University in a demonstrative way. As the class of 2015 prepares to walk for graduation, members of the class of 1965 will present the largest single donation in the school’s history — a check for $100,000.
Massachusetts Treasurer Deborah Goldberg has launched the Office of Economic Empowerment, an effort aimed at teaching financial literacy in Massachusetts schools, as part of an ambitious reform agenda.
City to pool resources with businesses and nonprofits
City officials are ready to marshal public, corporate and nonprofit resources in an unprecedented effort to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color in education, in the workforce and in criminal justice, as part of Boston’s version of the national My Brother’s Keeper effort.
Not long after we posted Eliza Dewy’s article on this year’s City Council races on the web Wednesday, we got a phone call from the campaign of Tito Jackson noting that the fundraising totals cited for the councilor did not reflect his latest filing. Our press deadline is Monday, and the campaigns weren’t required to report on the last 15-day period until Tues., May 5.
Former MBTA manager Beverly Scott sees last winter’s T failure as an opportunity to plan for the future of the transit agency and foster a broader conversation about how public transit and other modes of transit can work together to better move people and goods in the Greater Boston area.
Allege ISD chief’s former firm gives developer inside track
Roxbury residents are complaining developers may be using political connections to obtain variances from the city’s Inspectional Services Department.
Members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Caucus took turns reading King’s 1965 address to the Massachusetts Legislature in a commemorative ceremony that was attended by legislative leadership, Gov. Charlie Baker and past lawmakers.
The city relies on a patchwork of neighborhood associations to solicit community input on development decisions in Roxbury. Community residents are calling for the revival of the Roxbury Neighborhood Council as an organization that represents the community’s interests in local development issues.
In her first year and a half Roxbury Community College President Valerie Roberson closed the school’s longstanding budget deficit, brought the college into compliance with federal financial aid regulations and began a $19 million overhaul of the school’s buildings. This year, Roberson plans to chart a course for the future with the release of a visioning plan she led with faculty, staff, students and residents and stakeholders in the Roxbury community.
The Walsh administration’s first Workforce Profile Report contained few surprises. Released last week, the report underscored the challenges the city faces in maintaining a workforce that mirrors the city’s majority-minority population. While whites make up 46 percent of Boston’s population, they hold 58 percent of city jobs. Blacks, Latinos and Asians are underrepresented in the higher-paying jobs in city government.
As two firms vie for the right to redevelop a long-vacant property, one developer’s refusal to commit to minority hiring and subcontracting goals provoked angry responses from Roxbury residents.
The History Makers, a Chicago-based nonprofit, has amassed recordings of more than 7,000 oral histories from African Americans in cities around the country. It is the largest African American story collection effort since the Works Progress Administration collected interviews with ex-slaves in the 1930s.
The Roxbury Strategic Master Plan Oversight Committee voted Monday to adopt a plan that would require developers building on publicly-owned land in Roxbury to commit to so-called living-wage standards for construction workers and for permanent jobs created by new construction projects. The body rejected by a narrow vote a proposal to require new businesses on publicly-owned parcels to commit to card-check neutrality — a provision requiring employers to commit to not blocking employees’ right to unionize.
A group of real estate specialists from the Urban Land Institute spend four days drilling down on major thoroughfare.
Last week, a team of city planners from the Urban Land Institute walked the mile from Egleston to Forest Hills as part of a planning exercise aimed at generating ideas for development along the corridor. The group presented their findings during a presentation in the Boston Redevelopment Authority Board Room to a group of city officials and neighborhood activists about the area’s potential, calling for large, transit-oriented development projects near Forest Hills and smaller in-fill projects between Williams Street and Egleston Square.
Shaun Blugh, who heads the Walsh administration’s newly established Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is working to recruit more blacks, Latinos and Asians into city government and increase the city’s contracting with firms owned by people of color.
DCF social workers say the agency needs to help reduce their burgeoning caseloads. While national standards for social workers recommend that they maintain no more than 15 cases a month, those assigned to the Dorchester office say they average 25 cases.
West Roxbury Academy, Community Academy in Jamaica Plain, and Middle School Academy in South Boston will remain open. The Elihu Greenwood School and the William B. Rogers Middle School, both in Hyde Park, will close.
Suffolk County District Attorney voiced his opposition to a growing movement to end mandatory minimum sentences in Massachusetts. Legislators, many judges and sheriffs are in support of repealing at least some of the mandatory sentencing guidelines.
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast is more diverse now than ever before.
New building to include offices, retail space and residential units
The opening of the new Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building has significantly changed the face of Dudley Square. There’s a new Tropical Foods supermarket and other commercial projects are in the development pipeline, but none are as ambitious as the retail, office and residential development project being planned by a team of African American developers led by Ken Guscott.
While $2,000 a month may be too high for many long-time Boston residents, it’s now the norm for a three-bedroom apartment in Roxbury. With real estate values and rents rising rapidly in the Greater Boston area, Roxbury renters now must compete with those priced out of other neighborhoods. But next to the rental markets in Jamaica Plain, South Boston and the South End, Roxbury’s rents are still a bargain.
For the nearly two years that John McDonough has served as Interim Superintendent for the Boston Public Schools, the rising costs that have consistently outpaced revenues have kept him focused on two questions: How big will the budget gap become, and what has to get cut?
City councilors and community members gathered at City Hall last week to honor African American business and civic leaders as part of Black History Month.
U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is teaming up with U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) to launch the Middle Class Prosperity Project, an initiative aimed at developing legislative strategies to improve the economic prospects of American workers.
Drivers vow to hold parking spaces
Roxbury residents interviewed by the Banner showed little support for Mayor Martin Walsh’s directive for city workers to remove space savers from shoveled-out parking spaces that began Monday this week.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced last week that the Office of Access and Opportunity, which helps businesses owned by minorities, women, people with disabilities and veterans to secure contracts with state government, will now report directly to the Governor’s Office, a move widely seen as boosting the profile of the office.
City Councilor Charles Yancey’s move for a civilian review board to investigate police misconduct comes in the midst of a growing national awareness of police misconduct.
More than 700 activists march on State House, ask for funding increase
Youth advocates say without an increase in funding, more than a thousand youth jobs will be cut.
A pair of city councilors sparked controversy last week, advancing a measure that would allow patrons to bring their own liquor to restaurants in Boston
Winter storm Neptune, the third of an unprecedented series of storms, dropped more than a foot of snow on the Bay State last week, bringing MBTA service to a halt and sparking a spirited debate over investment in the state’s public transit system. After a pair of dueling press conferences exposed what appeared to be icy relations between MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott and Gov. Charlie Baker, Scott announced she will resign in April.
A new view of Roxbury
The Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building Open for Tours for Media.
Soledad O’Brien brought her documentary to UMass Boston, where she led panel discussions with economist and columnist Julianne Malveaux, former NAACP President Benjamin Jealous and UMass Boston Associate Professor of Africana Studies Aminah Pilgrim.
Members coordinate legislative initiatives
The Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus has undergone a renaissance of sorts, with more members than at any point in its 42-year history and a level of coordination not seen in recent years.
Dan Cruz suffered through a two-year process that sided in favor of the officer.
After a police officer at a construction site screamed at Daniel Cruz in December, 2012, Cruz filed a complaint at Boston’s Area B-2 police station. Two years later, after multiple phone calls and letters to unresponsive police personnel and a drawn-out process that found in favor of the officer, Cruz wonders how the department’s complaint process could work for any civilians.
Uses multi-pronged approach to reach lagging students
Students visiting the Grove Hall nonprofit will be able to tap into a new BPS online learning system that will allow them to complete their coursework outside of school hours. The workstations are part of a multi-pronged effort Freedom House has undertaken to help students at risk of dropping out of high school.
Storms bring out best and worst in residents
Barely a week after Boston residents dug their way out of two feet of snow delivered by a punishing nor’easter, a second storm delivered another ten inches, a one-two punch that yielded the highest snowfall in a one-week span in the city’s recorded history.
State Sen. Sonia Chang Diaz (D, Jamaica Plain) and Rep. Mary Keefe (D, Worcester) are co-sponsoring legislation that would repeal mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes, reduce certain low-level felonies to misdemeanors and reinvest the savings from those reforms into job training, youth jobs and other programs aimed at workforce development.