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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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City poised to sell off Roxbury land

BPDA begins land disposition process

Local residents had a chance recently to browse maps showing eight vacant Roxbury land parcels owned by the Boston Planning and Development Authority and give feedback on possible development of the sites. The displays were set up in the community room on the top floor of the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building July 17, and Roxbury community members took a look and voiced some thoughts at a BPDA-hosted public meeting.

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Good fences, good business

Dorchester company finds success with commercial clients

Ralph McCoy founded McCoy Fence Co. in 1988, after working for another fence company. With seven employees, he tackles projects for the city, state, commercial and private clients.

ACLU criminal justice reform campaign takes aim at district attorneys

Set to launch voter education campaign

The ACLU is looking to increase voter awareness about district attorneys with a voter education project called “What a Difference a DA Makes.”

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Activists denounce ICE deportations

High-profile cases stoke immigrants’ fears

Last week, immigrant activists gathered at the Boston Irish Famine memorial on Washington Street for a rally with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey protesting anti-immigration legislation in Congress and what they described as the Trump administration’s “mass deportation strategy.”

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Mayor convenes Boston summit on surge in violent crime

Participants call for long-term violence prevention

Last week, Mayor Martin Walsh held a summit at City Hall with police and anti-violence activists to discuss strategies for combating the rise in shootings in Boston. In a press conference with reporters afterward, Walsh and others said they are looking at long-term strategies to help so-called at-risk youth.

Problems persist in Suffolk Probate Court

Employees cite ongoing discrimination, mismanagement under interim director

In the four months since Felix D. Arroyo was removed from his post as the Suffolk County Register of Probate, lines remain long, case files still go missing and staff treat people of color — including filers, attorneys and staff — with blatant disrespect, according to staff and attorneys interviewed by the Banner.

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Boston District 7 candidates face off in debate over city issues

Eleven of 13 display varying knowledge of policy

Eleven of the thirteen candidates for the District 7 City Council seat soon to be vacated by Tito Jackson turned out for a debate in Grove Hall last week.

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‘America; I too’ brings immigration issues to Roxbury Film Festival

The 20-minute short, shot over the course of three days in March, tells the story of three fictional undocumented immigrants caught up in ICE raids: a Mexican teenager, a Somali pizza deliveryman and a Chinese seamstress who is the sole caregiver for her autistic granddaughter. The film depicts their struggles as they confront scenarios drawn from real stories of former detainees who have worked with CHIRLA.

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With influx of addicts, needles proliferate in Boston parks

Statewide heroin problem has local impact

Roxbury and Dorchester residents are keeping their children out of local parks to avoid accidental contact with the hypodermic needles that are the byproduct of the state’s opiod epidemic.

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Boston school students advocate for free bus passes

Boston public school students say the two-mile walk zone within which students are not eligible for free bus passes forces many to endure 40-minute walks to school.

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Report: Boston Latinos get slim share of city jobs

The Greater Boston Latino Network released its Silent Crisis II report, detailing the lack of Latinos in high-ranking city jobs and on boards and commissions with decision-making power in the city.

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Eastern Bank growth fund targets minority-owned firms

Through Business Equity Initiative, Eastern Bank is stepping up with a $10 million growth fund aimed at providing loans to build the capacity of businesses owned by people of color.

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Boston developers build affordable homes

City gives construction firms land, subsidies

The city’s Neighborhood Homes Initiative has identified 250 parcels of city-owned land for housing construction. So far, 69 units have been built through the program.

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Historic Roxbury clock tolls again as First Church undergoes renovations

The clock atop the First Church of Roxbury, which began ticking in 1863, is now working again as part of a $3 million renovation of the 1801 Unitarian Church.

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Campaigns in full swing at Dorchester Day parade

Candidates’ nomination papers are in and the Dorchester Day parade represents the first major event where campaigns can show off their strength.

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Capuano: Trump budget poses challenges for local government

The Trump administration released a budget last week that proposes deep cuts to federal programs and taxes on the rich while increasing spending on the nation’s military – a controversial move that earned him praise from his base of conservative supporters and condemnation from Democrats and progressives.

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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.