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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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A Cape Verdean-English dictionary

Dorchester man captures evolving language

Dorchester resident Manuel Da Luz Goncalves has compiled a 40,000-word Cape Verdean Creole-to-English dictionary, working over the last 10 years with the literature, folklore and music of the West African archipelago to determine standard spelling and meaning for the words.

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Restaurateur commits to $15 wage

Says move will help attract, retain workers

If all goes according to plan, by 2018 all of the workers in Bon Me’s six trucks, five restaurant locations and central kitchen facility will earn $15 an hour, according to co-founder Ali Fong.

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Controversial project raises abutters’ ire

Neighbors question developer’s ties to Inspectional Services Dept.

Last week, City Realty Group proposed a total of 39 units at 50 and 56 Cedar Street — zoned for nine and three units of housing, respectively — sparking concern among neighborhood residents. Adding fuel to the neighbors’ worries is the architectural firm the developers brought into the deal: Roache Christopher Architects LLC, a firm co-founded by Inspectional Services Division Commissioner William “Buddy” Christopher and now managed by his son James Christopher.

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Councilor explores housing, small business issues in Rox.

Meets with homeless students, Madison Park staff

Anissa Essaibi-George toured Roxbury two weeks ago, looking into issue of homelessness and small business development. Although the Dorchester native hasn’t spent much of her career working in Roxbury, she became familiar with the issue of homeless students during her 12 years at East Boston High.

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Somerville mayor confronts racism

‘Black Lives Matter’ banner is part of year-long conversation on bias

A “Black Lives Matter” banner has hung from Somerville’s City Hall building throughout the last 12 months, a provocative statement at a time when people around the country are debating the role of race in law enforcement and the criminal justice system. The controversy heated up two weeks ago when police officers from across the state gathered in front of the building to protest the sign, with a contingent displaying a blue and white “cops’ lives matter” banner. Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, who had the banner installed, said he was heartened by the counter-demonstration of Somerville residents who outnumbered the officers.

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Closing the food loop: A compost firm grows

CERO helps local farms produce healthy vegetables

Every day as tons of Boston’s food waste gets hauled off to landfills, two garbage haulers with the acronym CERO divert a small portion to a farm in South Hamilton. There, microbes do the hard work of breaking down orange peels, onion skins and wilted lettuce into compost. After a year of microbial digestion, the CERO trucks return, load up and bring that compost to Boston farms, which in turn supply local consumers with fresh vegetables.

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Effort underway to rein in sober homes

Legislation paves way for certification

State officials hope a voluntary certification system governing the operation of sober homes in Massachusetts will help increase safety and curtail abuse in the unregulated market for the group homes. But a group of Roxbury neighbors who turned out for an information session on the new standards for the homes were less optimistic.

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Dorchester man puts neighbors to work

Sheet metal worker teaches locals how to perform restoration work

Like many blacks in the building trades, T. Michael Thomas struggled to balance his love for his work and his antipathy for his union. As one of a handful of non-white members of the Sheet Metal Workers Local 17, Thomas found that he was often passed over for jobs in favor of less-qualified whites.

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Freedom House marks progress on new bldg.

Renovations to be completed by early next year

Long housed in a building directly across Crawford Street from the old Grove Hall Library building, Freedom House moved in three years ago. It now is operating out of a set of trailers while the 8,400 square foot library building undergoes a $1.5 million renovation.

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Thousands march in Roxbury against police brutality

Protesters numbering in the thousands took over the streets of Roxbury yesterday demonstrating against police violence against blacks in the United States.

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Program offers small businesses legal help

The Lawyer’s Committee For Civil Rights and Economic Justice’s Belin Economic Justice Project, can help businesses through legal dilemmas including protecting intellectual property, determining which legal entity a business should select and drawing up catering contracts.

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Black and Latino officials call for criminal justice reforms

Members of the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus drafted a letter outlining the urgency of passing criminal justice reforms at the state and local level, many of which were prompted by the nationwide movement to counter police abuse of blacks.

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A week of violence and renewed calls for reform

Boston activists hold rally, march in Roxbury

As demonstrators in Boston and other U.S. cities rallied for peace, legislation aimed at increasing protections against police abuse is stalled in the Massachusetts legislature.

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Growing a home business

Roxbury woman launches custom embroidery venture

Lisa Martin had been operating an embroidery business as a sideline for six years, working out of the kitchen of her Roxbury condo to produce customized baseball caps, jackets and other items. Then, last year when she was laid off from her job as an administrative assistant at a local nonprofit, Martin went all in. She purchased an engraving machine and began marketing her skills to wedding planners, funeral homes, sports teams — anyone who needs a custom touch.

Charter advertising war ramps up

Ballot question proponents, foes to spend millions

Come November 1, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to lift the state’s current cap on the number of charter schools operating here by voting up or down on a ballot question backed by a record-breaking $18 million in contributions. With Massachusetts teachers unions pledging another $12 million to defeat the question, the race will draw significantly more resources than any race in Massachusetts history.

BPS budget vote comes after months of protests, activism

The city council’s vote on the school budget — scheduled for Wednesday this week — will be the latest development in what has been one of the most contentious budgeting processes in recent history. The year began with a picket line outside the mayor’s January State of the City address and included two student walk-outs, demonstrations and packed budget hearings.

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Boosting Mass. businesses

Business Development sec. seeks to broaden opportunity

While the Greater Boston area has long been a hotbed of business innovation — from the biotech boom in Kendall Square to the tech start-ups growing on the Boston waterfront — it’s Nam Pham’s job to make sure the job creation is shared throughout the state.

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Caribbean extravaganza at the Bolling Building

Roxbury fête is highlight of Boston’s Caribbean Heritage Month observance

Caribbean Americans gathered in Dudley Square to celebrate Caribbean Heritage Month with music, poetry and other cultural expressions.

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Education chief says no secrets in BPS planning

Says emails were not indicative of planning on future needs for Boston school buildings

In the wake of the release of Walsh administration emails in which BPS officials discuss school closures, city officials say that there are no concrete plans to close schools.

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Gentrification concerns dominate Dudley plan

Officials seek to balance development, displacement

The several dozen community activists gathered Monday at the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building to discuss the future of Dudley Square confronted a conundrum that has been vexing city planners across the United States: How to facilitate development in a neighborhood without displacing those already living there.

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Growing a yarn business

Jamaica Plain woman finds niche with younger knitters

Diane Ivy’s is banking on her vibrant, street art-inspired yarn colors’ appeal to the looming legions of younger, more diverse knitters and crocheters.

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Baking business success

Family-owned Haitian bakery a pillar in Mattapan community

Edna Etienne's bakery, now in a building she owns at the corner of Blue Hill Avenue and Babcock streets, is a gathering spot for the Haitian and Mattapan community. Many are drawn by the bakery’s specialty — traditional Haitian flakey puff pastries filled with beef, chicken or salted fish.

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Jamaica Plain activists press Walsh on affordability

Mayor Martin Walsh’s Jamaica Plain coffee hour, held on the lawn of the Hunnewell Visitor Center at the Arnold Aboretum, began like any other of the regularly-scheduled meet-and-greets held throughout the city. But after Walsh’s opening remarks, the two dozen or so affordable housing activists who surrounded the mayor gave the event a distinctly Jamaica Plain flavor.

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Boston shows support for Orlando shooting victims

Hundreds fill City Hall Plaza, pray for peace

City and state officials gathered with Bostonians on City Hall Plaza in solidarity with victims and survivors of the worst mass-shooting in recent U.S. history.

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City’s demographics dashboard tracks diversity of its workforce

The City of Boston has launched a demographics dashboard, an online tool that allows users to track information about the race, gender and pay of city employees.

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Facilities plan seen as part of charter strategy

Hub enrolled in plan for ‘school autonomy’

Boston’s involvement in a nation-wide campaign for charter school expansion has parent activists worried.

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Black radio veterans back on air

WILD alums broadcasting out of Warren Street studio

With a mix of classic and contemporary soul music, WZBR 1410 AM is re-establishing black radio in Boston.

City program provides rent relief

The city has committed $7.5 million to its new Acquisition Opportunity Program, through which real estate investors will qualify for funding to acquire rental properties if they agree to maintain at least 40 percent of the units as affordable to those making no more than 60 percent of the Area Median Income.

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Valedictorian credits school’s support network

Natalia Phillips’ winning attitude earned her the valedictorian spot at New Mission High School.

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Pike tenants seek ownership

Want Chinatown development to be transferred to land trust

A group of Chinatown public housing tenants are locked in a battle over the ownership of the neighborhood’s largest public housing development.

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Students at center of school funding battle

Protest aimed at plugging gaps in 2017 budget

At issue is a school budget that city officials acknowledge is not keeping pace with the rising costs at BPS. While Walsh has touted his $13.5 million increase in school funding, that increase is substantially smaller than the $30 million increases the schools received in the last three budgets. The city’s budget has increased by 4 percent, but the BPS budget proposed for fiscal year 2017 has increased by just 1.35 percent.

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Demonstrators disrupt BRA JP planning meeting

Call for greater affordability, delay in planning

Last week, as community members gathered at English High School viewed BRA poster board displays showing ideas for improvements to transportation, proposals for housing, jobs, economic development and open space, a contingent of more than 100 affordable housing activists marched into the room and read in unison a statement calling on the agency to suspend its planning process and increase the percentage of affordable units proposed for the area from 30 percent to 70 percent.

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Students, teachers make case for BPS social studies, history classes

Budgetary constraints and the pressure schools face to raise students’ scores on math and English language arts MCAS tests have whittled down history and social studies instruction at Boston middle and high schools. Students and teachers testified on the importance of history during a hearing last week.

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Justice Sotomayor visits Boston

Tours Villa Victoria, speaks and Wheelock

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor spoke about the importance of community during an appearance at Wheelock College.

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BHA, HUD providing second chance for local youths

Officials launch new program, youths cite police harassment

Last week officials from HUD and the Boston Housing Authority joined Mayor Martin Walsh at the Lenox/Camden public housing development to announce a $100,000 grant to assist ex-offenders. Youths who attended the press conference complained of what they said is ongoing police harassment.

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Author: Candidates can no longer ignore voters of color

In his book “Brown is the New White,” Phillips argues that candidates ignore at their peril the growing base of voters of color that he calls the “new American majority.”

Groups form land trust network

Many see trusts as way to preserve affordable housing

A coalition of Boston community-based organizations is banding together to advocate for expanding community land trusts — communally-owned plots of land on which housing units are deeded permanently affordable.

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First Church of Roxbury to undergo $2.2m restoration

The First Church of Roxbury, built in 1804, will undergo a $2.2 million renovation beginning this year. The Unitarian Universalist Urban Ministry, the nonprofit which owns the building, is currently raising the funds.

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A Nubian Notion to close doors

Dudley flagship going out of business

After nearly 50 years in Dudley Square, the A Nubian Notion convenience store and gift shop will close next year.

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Immigrants lobby for reforms at State House

Several hundred immigrant activists from across the state filled Gardner Auditorium Monday in an annual appeal to the Massachusetts Legislature in support of immigrant-friendly laws.

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Harvard leadership acknowledge university’s slave history

Harvard officials unveiled a plaque commemorating the lives of four slaves who worked for university presidents in the 18th century. The plaque is the university’s first official acknowledgement of its complicity in the institution of slavery.

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A politicized battle over charter cap

Court case highlights Baker administration ties to charters

Students seek to intervene and bring a new perspective into a seeming one-sided lawsuit over the charter cap. Plaintiffs and Baker administration defendants both support lifting the cap.

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New organization aims to fight Mass. income inequality

A $15 minimum wage, paid family and medical leave and a public higher education system that enables students to graduate debt-free are among the goals of Fair Shot, a new organization that launched Monday in Massachusetts.

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Senate bill irks charter school supporters, foes

Coalition will move forward with ballot initiative

A group of state senators last week rolled out compromise legislation that would over the next ten years raise the cap on the percentage of district funding for charter schools from the current 18 percent to 23 percent.

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Rox. real estate market heats up

Values, location draw buyers from other neighborhoods

Roxbury’s real estate market may be off to a strong start. While Roxbury sales prices are substantially lower than in many neighboring communities of Jamaica Plain, South Boston and the South End, pressure from those markets may continue to push prices up.

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Council extends urban renewal

BRA agrees to give Council advance notice of land takings

The Boston City Council voted 10-3 to extend for six years the controversial program, which the BRA says it needs to facilitate large, complex development projects.

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Jackson calls for hearing on school discipline disparities

Cites high suspension rate at Up Academy Holland

In the wake of revelations of high suspension rates at certain Boston schools, City Councilor Tito Jackson last week filed a hearing order to examine disparities in the administration of school discipline in the Boston Public Schools.

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Parents say English speakers are being wrongly assigned

Some Boston Public School parents say their children are being wrongly designated as English language learners during the registration process.

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City officials probe ideas for affordable housing production

Easing height restrictions in exchange for the creation of affordable housing units, micro units in Roxbury and community land trusts are among the ideas being considered by the Mayor’s Housing Innovation Lab to lower the cost of home construction for middle income Boston residents.

Roxbury voters backed Clinton

Dearth of black voter support for Sanders mirrors nation-wide trend

In a pattern that has been repeated at the national level, voters in Boston’s predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods voted overwhelmingly for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week’s Democratic primary, giving her margins as high as 80 percent in some precincts while white voters backed Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in larger numbers.

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