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Yawu Miller

Stories by Yawu

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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.

Parents, city officials battle over numbers in budget

This year’s BPS budget pits the parent activists and students against the Walsh administration in what has become in many ways a war of numbers, with the sheer size of the city’s $1.027 billion school budget being deployed by officials and parent groups to reach radically different conclusions.

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The Boston construction industry

Minorities fight for inclusion in the building boom

The proliferation of sleek office buildings and condo towers rising in Boston’s downtown neighborhoods attests to the fact that Boston is in the midst of its largest building boom since the stately mansions of the Back Bay rose from the landfill in the late 1800s. For blacks in design, construction and related industries, Boston’s current building boom presents a unique set of opportunities and challenges.

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Planners study Hub resilience

Group focuses on Rox., East Boston

An international group of city planners and nonprofit officials convened in Dudley Square Monday to launch a week-long effort to develop strategies directed at some of Boston’s most pressing problems of inequality.

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BRA kicks off Dudley area planning process

Several dozen Roxbury residents and stakeholders gathered at the Bruce Bolling Municipal Building to discuss the future development of the Dudley Square area.

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Presidential campaigns battle for votes in Mass.

Sanders makes swing through Boston, Amherst

The push for votes in the Massachusetts primaries heated up, with Sanders’ visit to the Bay State and campaign events aimed at securing support from black and Latino voters here.

Democratic activists to battle on primary ballot, in caucuses

While the selection of a Democratic nominee may be the most important choice on the ballot, in most of the city’s wards there will be other choices with local consequences for the next four years: whom to elect to the local ward committee.

Civil rights coalition calls for greater inclusion

A coalition of civil rights groups and community activists is calling on state and local government to create more opportunities for Boston’s black and Latino residents to improve earnings and wealth in the wake of a Brookings Institution report that found the city leads the nation in income inequality.

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Making the case for school funding

Formerly homeless student goes to bat for Charlestown High

Luis Aponte may well have dropped out of high school had he not been enrolled in Charlestown High School’s Diploma Plus program. Now he’s asking the School Committee to keep the program afloat.

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Students decry cuts during School Committee meeting

The students, parents and teachers who packed last week’s Boston School Committee meeting gave impassioned testimony about the programs, teaching positions and extracurricular activities that stand to be dropped from their schools if Mayor Martin Walsh’s proposed $38 million in budget cuts are incorporated in fiscal year 2017’s final budget.

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MCAD marks 70th anniversary

Past commissioners reflect on progress, challenges

MCAD commissioners past and present gathered at the agency’s Boston headquarters to mark 70 years of fighting discrimination in Massachusetts.

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Dudley Street 2030: Group plans for future of neighborhood

Roxbury residents registered their concerns and hopes for the future of Boston during a Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative planning exercise last week. During the event, which was attended by Mayor Martin Walsh and other city officials, residents visited different areas of DSNI’s office which was organized to gather input on three topics: housing, employment and transportation. The data DSNI collects in its community visioning process will also help the city better understand the needs of the Dudley Street neighborhood, according to Sheila Dillon, director of the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development.

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Henriquez is in

Today Henriquez is jumping back into the political arena, mounting a challenge to Carvalho for the 5th Suffolk District seat with posts on Facebook and Twitter.

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Walsh cites progress on policing

Data suggest rights violations persist

Questioned last week about police reports alleging unconstitutional searches, Mayor Martin Walsh said the department is making progress in reducing crime and arrests, and pledged to work to improve relations between police and the communities they patrol.

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Local man takes helm of health care workers’ union

Tyrek Lee’s life in the union movement began as a member in 2002 with a job as a telephone operator at Boston Medical Center. Over the next 13 years, he worked his way up through the ranks to head one of the state’s fastest-growing locals, assuming the position of Executive Vice President of SEIU 1199 last week.

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Are Hub cops violating rights?

FIO data suggests pattern of unconstitutional stops, searches

According to electronic entries in the department’s Field Intelligence Observation Record database, illegal non-consensual searches are not uncommon. Boston Police officers tracking encounters with the public recorded 3,533 nonconsensual searches, which they justified by citing “reasonable suspicion,” between 2010 and July of 2015.

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Mayor outlines plans for Boston’s schools

Highlights unified enrollment, early education

Parents, educators, students and activists protested predicted budget cuts to BPS outside Symphony Hall as guests lined up for Mayor Martin Walsh’s State of the City address. In his speech, Walsh pledged to sufficiently fund BPS and set forth commitment to exploring unified enrollment and expanding early education.