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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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Guscott’s towering aspiration: 25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, business opportunities

25-story Dudley Square tower to bring nightlife, biz opportunities

The 25-story tower in Dudley Square is expected to enliven the area with nightlife, new shops and commercial space. Its creation also expands the capacity of black businesses and opens doors to other such sizeable projects. The development team sat down the Banner last week.

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Janey launches campaign for Roxbury's City Council seat, signatures submitted in District 7

Fifteen candidates vying for signatures, contributions in race for open seat

Long-time Roxbury activist Kim Janey kicked off her campaign for the District 7 City Council seat last week in a Dudley Square event. She and ten others have been certified to appear on the Sept. 26 preliminary ballot in the race to replace Tito Jackson, who is running for mayor.

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Thousands rally in Boston Common for Boston's public schools

Education activists call for more funding

Last November public education activists fended off Ballot Question 2, which would have lifted the state-wide cap on charter school expansion and diverted funds from local school districts. Saturday, many of the same activists who fought for a “no” vote were among the estimated 4,000 people who turned out to the Boston Common for the Rally for Public Education event, sponsored by the Massachusetts Education Justice Alliance.

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Boston University professor Travis Bristol studies hiring, retention of teachers of color

Travis Bristol is an assistant professor in English education at the Boston University School of Education who researches district- and school-based practices that support teachers of color; national, state, and local education policies that enable and constrain the workplace experiences and retention for teachers of color; the intersection of race and gender in schools.

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Divisions in political base present challenge for Walsh in Boston mayor’s race

Interests of police unions, Trump supporters, black voters at odds

In his 2013 upset win over at-large City Councilor John Connolly, Mayor Martin Walsh, then a Dorchester state representative, prevailed by a thin three-percentage-points. He drew heavily on support from predominantly black and Latino precincts in Hyde Park, Mattapan, Dorchester and Roxbury. But now the disparate groups Walsh depended on for electoral victory find themselves at odds over critical issues.

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New Codman Square units put small dent in Boston’s affordable housing crisis

Rents stabilizing in older housing stock

Mayor Martin Walsh joined neighborhood activists to cut the ribbon on 44 new units of affordable housing in the Codman Square area Monday. In a city where 21,865 residential units were permitted at the beginning of the year, the ones in Dorchester stood out.

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Commuters ride for free on Fairmount Line for two weeks

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano pays riders’ fares with campaign funds

U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano joined local activists and state officials to kick off two weeks of free rides on the Fairmount Line, for which he will pay using his campaign account.

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Boston mayoral candidates compete for signatures

Candidates descend on Dudley seeking supporters

Nomination papers were issued last week for the 2017 mayoral and city council races, and candidates wasted little time hitting the streets, some as solo acts, others with armies of volunteers to collect the signatures they will need to secure a spot on the Sept. 26 ballot.

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LISC connects businesses to opportunities

Impact Lending program helps minority- and women-owned businesses scale up with loans, access to contracts at NU

For many small businesses, access to capital is a critical need. But obtaining a loan can be a challenge, particularly for small start-up businesses, creating a chicken-and-egg feedback loop that prevents them from bidding on large contracts. Through a partnership between the Local Initiatives Support Corporation and Northeastern University, local Boston-area businesses have a new opportunity to scale up their business and obtain the funding to do so.

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School department seeks input on BuildBPS

Parents’ questions focused more on issues facing current students

A year ago city officials seemed poised to close schools following the release of a hastily-prepared audit that found an excess of seats in the city’s stock of 125 buildings. Last week, as city officials made a public presentation of BuildBPS, a planning process for facilities improvements to the city’s school buildings, they cited a shortage of space in the city’s schools for the kinds of classrooms students will need for 21st century learning.

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Dorchester entrepreneur provides employment for locals with Boston Cleaning Company

Abeeku Barrow founded Boston Cleaning Company in 2012, hiring local young adults to to clean commercial buildings.

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Do your homework before buying a condo

Expert urges buyers to assess health of condo association

Condominiums present an often easy path to home ownership for many, yet a little research can save buyers years of headaches.

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Dudley branch library slated for $14.7 million renovation

Architects propose new entrance, glass walls facing redesigned sidewalk areas

When the planned $14 million renovation Mayor Martin Walsh announced in his capital plan last week is completed, library officials hope that the Dudley Branch library will have spaces better suited for the evolving needs of the Roxbury community the building serves.

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Lower Mills shop owner enjoys freedom of self-employment with Archangel Boutique

After earning a degree in Entrepreneurial Studies from Babson College in 2000, Lashonda Jefferson went to work in the corporate sector, earning a salary that enabled her to pay off student loans. But after several years, Jefferson couldn’t give up the entrepreneurial itch. Since her days as a high school student at West Roxbury High School, she had an interest in fashion. Opening a clothing store seemed like the right mix of passion and practicality. Over the last ten years, she has built her store, Archangel Boutique, into a profitable business that provides her full-time employment.

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UMass students, staff voice concerns at trustee meeting

Many blast Motley’s perceived ouster, speak out against cuts, dropped courses

Students, faculty and staff from UMass Boston interrupted a meeting of the UMass Board of Trustees chanting “No cuts, no hikes! Education is a right!” last Thursday, underscoring anger that surfaced after revelations the school’s annual deficit may be as high as $30 million, along with what many perceive as the forced resignation of Chancellor Keith Motley.

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Parents call for release of data on equity in BPS assignment policy

When the current home-based student assignment policy was instituted in 2013, BPS officials promised to make public an annual assessment of how the policy would affect equity in the system. While officials in the administration of then-mayor Thomas Menino assured parent activists the new system would ensure that every student has access to high-performing schools, many feared the change from the previous zoned assignment system would limit choices parents of the black and Latino students who make up the majority of those in BPS schools.

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From Hollywood to the business world

Former casting associate helps people follow their passion

When Jones entered coaching, the field was in its infancy. She began by obtaining a masters in social work from the University of Southern California, hung out her shingle and began working with businesses and nonprofits. Initially, she offered program design — the art of fleshing out ideas for new programs to serve emerging needs. The field of coaching, although now well established, was yet to be recognized.

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Congressman talks straight with constituents on challenging times ahead

Capuano discusses GOP, Trump agenda

Congressman Michael Capuano spoke to a crowd at the Mildred Avenue school in Mattapan about challenges Democrats face in working with the Trump administration and a Republican majority.

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Deeqo Jibril’s campaign launch kicks off race for District 7 seat

Packs Hibernian Hall with supporters, would be first Somali-American elected in Massachusetts

With a crowd of about 200 in the audience, District 7 candidate Deeqo Jibril formally kicked off her campaign for the City Council seat being vacated by Tito Jackson, who announced his bid for mayor in January.

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Felix Arroyo, backers vow to fight suspension

Register cites ‘internal sabotage’ in office

Surrounded by supporters and accompanied by his attorney on the steps of the Edward W. Brooke Courthouse, Suffolk County Register of Probate Felix D. Arroyo defended his record and vowed to fight his suspension from office.

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Felix Arroyo alleges bias in Probate Court's performance review

Questions impartiality of investigation into administration of Probate Court

Felix Arroyo, who has repeatedly called for an open investigation, published dozens of pages of material on his website in support of his claims that the suspension he was handed on February 3 is unjust and unwarranted. These documents include the suspension letter from Spence and Arroyo’s response to it. The Trial Court made public an assessment that alleges poor performance by the Registry on Arroyo’s watch. The assessment was written by Terri Klug Cafazzo, who received a promotion to Acting Register of Probate as a result of Arroyo’s suspension.

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Trump administration draft budget calls for $6 billion Housing and Urban Development cut

Cuts are seen as part of long-term plan to de-fund public housing, benefits programs

The selection of Ben Carson, who has spoken out against public benefits programs, was seen by many as a lack of commitment to HUD. Last week, the Trump administration’s draft HUD budget leaked to the press showed a $6 billion cut to its $48 billion budget. That cut would force the agency to stop funding maintenance and repairs. It would also curtail the agency from maintaining its voucher program in the face of rising housing costs.

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Activists press Santander bank to deal locally

Santander cutting deal with D.C. group

Under the Community Reinvestment Act of 1977, banks are required to extend credit to businesses and residents of low-income communities where bank services historically have been lacking. While those agreements have traditionally been negotiated with community-based organizations and nonprofits, Santander Bank is looking elsewhere to negotiate benefits for communities in Boston, Worcester and Springfield: Washington, D.C. A coalition of Boston activists is questioning why the bank decided to negotiate a CRA agreement for Massachusetts cities with the Washington-based National Community Reinvestment Coalition.

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Boston Planning and Development Authority Board gives green light to Tremont Crossing project

Supporters, opponents call for more affordability in 728-unit, mixed-use Lower Rox development

The dust had hardly settled on demonstrations against the Boston Planning and Development Authority’s Plan JP/Rox initiative when supporters and opponents of the Tremont Crossing project crowded into the board room on the 9th floor of City Hall for a vote of approval on the 728-unit, mixed-use development.

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Boston Public School officials, Committee debate school funding, cuts

Cuts spur conversation on weighted school funding

While Boston Public School officials touted a $40 million increase in school funding for 2018, School Committee members last week had pointed questions about how 49 schools are receiving cuts of up to $1 million while other schools are slated to receive increases in funding.

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Kenneth Guscott, 91, left legacy in Hub

Made his mark in real estate development, civil rights issues

One of Boston’s most prominent black developers, Kenneth Guscott, died last night in a fire in his Milton Home. He was 91.

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Doctors protest Trump’s planned ACA repeal in front of Boston State House

Cite harm to indigent patients if Medicaid is cut

More than 200 medical professionals pledged to work together to fight against efforts by the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and reduce Medicaid funding during a demonstration Saturday in front of the State House.

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Governor Baker appoints members of Black Advisory Commission

Members represent diverse nationalities, different regions of Massachusetts

Governor Charlie Baker last week announced appointments to a new Black Advisory Commission, a group of people of African descent charged with weighing in on matters of concern to black communities across Massachusetts.

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Body camera advocate pushing for immediate implementation in Boston

With the city’s six-month pilot project with body-worn police cameras just weeks away from completion, there are differing opinions on whether the Boston Police Department should move forward with full implementation or, as Police Commissioner Bill Evans suggests, extend the pilot project for another six months.

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Massachusetts senators push to end mandatory sentence minimums

With momentum building for criminal justice reform, state Senators are preparing to push for a legislative package they say will reduce the number of people incarcerated in Massachusetts and save the state money.

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Felix Arroyo fights removal from Massachusetts Probate Court

Court administrator gave no specific charges of wrongdoing

The Massachusetts Trial Court placed Suffolk Register or Probate Felix D. Arroyo on paid administrative lead and ordered an independent investigation of the registry, without making any allegations of wrongdoing. Arroyo’s lawyer says he faced sabotage.

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Renovations underway on historic Fowler Clark Epstein farmhouse

Since September, work crews have been busy tackling decades of paint that adorns the 18th century face of Mattapan’s Fowler Clark Epstein Farm. They have embarked upon a historical restoration of the building that is expected to be completed later this year. The Fowler Clark Epstein Farm, built between 1786 and 1806, once occupied part of a 330-acre Dorchester estate; over the years, it was subdivided into smaller lots at a time when the Mattapan section of Dorchester was dominated by farms.

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Tito Jackson proposes defense fund for immigrants facing deportation

City Councilor Tito Jackson announced last week that he had introduced legislation to create an Immigrant Legal Defense Fund for the city.

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Neighborhoods battle BPDA on affordability

Housing issues remain a challenge for city agency

Demonstrations and vociferous opposition to planned and approved real estate development projects underscore both the challenges the city faces in promoting construction to meet the growing need for housing in Boston and neighborhood activists’ strained relationships with the city departments that, to varying degrees, keep developers in check.

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Black Masons owe lineage to 18th century Boston pioneer Prince Hall

Throughout North America, the Caribbean and Europe there are freemason’s whose lineage began here in Boston in 1775, when Prince Hall and 14 other freed black men applied secured a charter to join the international association.

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City, neighborhood group at odds over Roxbury housing competition

The housing competition was never given a green light, according to Elisa and other GTNA members. The dispute has pitted the neighborhood group against members of its own housing committee and city officials.

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Senate president supports criminal justice reforms

Interfaith group GBIO seeks support for housing, Affordable Care Act

Last week legislative action seemed imminent when state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg committed to work for legislative fixes supported by the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, including pretrial bail reform, the elimination of mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, the elimination of excessive fees and fines and the elimination of excessive use of solitary confinement.

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Fairmount Innovation Lab expands with new lab space

Entrepreneurs cut the ribbon on expanded Columbia Road office

A year-and-a-half into its operation, the Fairmount Innovation Lab seems to be thriving, with nine businesses and artists employing 15 people in its third startup cohort.

Massachusetts State Representative Carvalho files bill to improve Fairmount Line service

State Rep. Evandro Carvalho last week filed legislation that would reduce the wait times on the Fairmount commuter rail line from 40 to 15 minutes during peak hours and allow riders to use Charlie Cards to pay for their fares. Keywords: Fairmount Line, Evandro Carvalho, MBTA, Mela Miles, Fairmount Corridor

Unified enrollment proposal on the horizon for Boston

City official says plan will soon be unveiled

With those battles of 2016 still smoldering, members of a group called The Boston Compact say they will release a unified enrollment proposal this year, after they work through some of the issues raised last year by parents.

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Jackson announces run for mayor

Stresses income inequality, educational investment

Pledging to fight against income inequality and increase support for public education, District 7 City Councilor launched his mayoral campaign today from the parking lot of the Haley House Café in Dudley Square as a crowd of about 200 looked on.

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Entrepreneur takes high-fashion clothing line to next level

In her early 20s, while Joelle Jean-Fontaine toiled at a telemarketing firm, her heart was in fashion. She spent most weekends in New York City collaborating on fashion shoots with a photographer friend. By 2010 her clothing design pursuits led her to launch her clothing line, Kréyol. Over the last six years, Jean-Fontaine has developed products and created collections for boutique stores.

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City to file anti-displacement bills

Bills aimed at stemming tide of evictions

Tax credits for landlords who maintain below-market rents, free legal representation for indigent tenants facing eviction and the right of first refusal for tenants living in properties subject to foreclosure or short sale are among the legislative bills Mayor Martin Walsh’s administration is backing to combat displacement of moderate- and low-income Boston residents.

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District 7 hopefuls line up as Jackson ponders mayoral run

A quiet storm is brewing while City Councilor Tito Jackson mulls a challenge to incumbent Mayor Martin Walsh. If Jackson runs for mayor he says he will not run for re-election to the District 7 seat he represents.

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Group advocates greater inclusion for Hub Latinos

Activists see disparities in nonprofit, gov’t sectors

The Greater Boston Latino Network, a group of executive directors of leading local organizations, last week launched a new campaign to increase the presence of Latinos in decision-making positions in nonprofits and government. GBLN also is planning a January 15 “counter-inaugural event” at the Boston Public Library and will release a report on the status of Latino-led organizations as part of its efforts to support them.

‘Birth of a Movement’ sheds light on historic Boston protest

A new documentary, “Birth of a Movement: The Battle Against America’s First Blockbuster,” recounts the story of how the film galvanized the modern Civil Rights Movement with its dual strategies of protest and legislative change.

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Developers looking to build 1,100 units in Roxbury

Residents question affordability of new housing

In downtown Boston, cranes and rapidly rising elevator towers herald the arrival of new luxury apartment buildings with rents and condo prices that seem to match the soaring heights of the new structures. In Roxbury, there are no cranes and no tall buildings — yet — but several projects recently approved by the Boston Planning and Development Agency promise big changes.

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Dynamic changes shaped Boston in 2016: A year in review

Rising rents, police violence, school funding battles sparked protests

Boston underwent dynamic changes in 2016 that filtered into every neighborhood. The furious pace of new construction, battles over school budgets that included hundreds taking to the streets, Black Lives Matter protests and low-wage workers demonstrating for a $15 minimum wage — these issues dominated the Banner’s headlines over the last year.

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First Church of Roxbury wears new 19th century paint

For decades the First Church of Roxbury has worn coats of snow-white paint, matching other federal style historic meeting houses in Dorchester and cities and towns throughout New England. All that changed this year, though, when a preservationist applied an historically correct shade of white that more accurately approximates what was available when the church was constructed in 1804: a cream-colored hue with a slightly yellow tint.

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Gloria Fox ends 30-year legislative career

Gloria Fox, who first took office in 1987, gave a farewell speech from the House Floor last week.