Unofficial dog parks meet off-leash demand

March 16, 2012
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(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) Cindi and Carl Johnson and their dog Calvin take a break from chasing Pepper (right) at the Beecher St. dog park last Saturday.

Dog owners in Jamaica Plain know where to go to let their dogs off-leash—even if it’s not legal. Peter’s Hill in the Arboretum, the Peter Parkman playground on Wachusett Street and the Beecher Street Park are not City-sanctioned off-leash dog parks. But daily, dozens of dogs have off-leash adventures there. “Problems with unleashed dogs...

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Local man scores big on ‘Jeopardy!’

March 16, 2012
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(Photo Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.) JP resident David Gard (right) with “Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek.

While growing up in Bristol, Conn., Jamaica Plain resident David Gard was always fascinated by the television quiz show “Jeopardy!” “I thought, ‘How cool is it to win money? One day someone is going to give me money for being smart,’” said Gard. Gard had the pleasure of just that, winning $84,700 on “Jeopardy!”...

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Suspect arrested in 7-Eleven homicide

March 16, 2012
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HYDE SQ.—A suspect in last year’s stabbing death of a Jamaica Plain man in the 7-Eleven parking lot was arrested yesterday by Boston Police officers and charged with murder. Kenneth Soto, 19, was killed during an early-morning fight at the 451 Centre St. convenience store on Oct. 16. The man charged in the killing...

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Senate candidate meets with City Life

March 16, 2012
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BROOKSIDE—Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren stopped by Ula Café on Amory Street March 13 for a roundtable discussion about the mortgage crisis. City Life/Vida Urbana, a JP-based housing advocacy group, had members there sharing their stories about troubled mortgages and foreclosures. “We are here in Jamaica Plain because families across the Commonwealth have...

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Irish Star

March 16, 2012
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(Photo by Barry Fisher) JP resident Joey Arbata, an internationally known talent on the uilleann pipes, a traditional Irish instrument, will perform in WGBH’s “St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn” on March 17 in New Bedford and March 24 in Cambridge. Arbata placed second at the World Championships of Irish Music in 2009. For more info, see wgbh.org/celtic.

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Hennigan School gets $5K fund from family

March 16, 2012
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HYDE SQ.—The Hennigan Elementary School has received $5,000—intended as the seed of a new foundation—from James Hennigan Jr., son of the longtime Jamaica Plain leader for whom the school is named. Hennigan held his 85th birthday party on March 10 in West Roxbury and gave a big gift rather than receiving one: a surprise...

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BPS grad rate up, but JP schools decline

March 16, 2012
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The Boston Public Schools (BPS) graduation rate hit an “all-time high” last year, according to a BPS report. But Jamaica Plain’s high schools showed declines. English High School on McBride Street graduated half of its four-year seniors in 2011, a 9.5 percent drop from the previous year. Greater Egleston Community High School in Egleston...

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Librarians return amid scent dispute

March 16, 2012
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HYDE SQ.—Two librarians are returning to the Connolly Branch Library after a fragrance worn by patrons reportedly caused health issues for them, forcing their temporary transfers. It is unclear how the issue was resolved. And there is still a disagreement between the Connolly’s Friends group and the Boston Public Library (BPL) about establishing a...

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Boston Teachers Union brings contract dispute to JP

March 16, 2012
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SUMNER HILL—Representatives from the Boston Teachers Union (BTU) held a meeting at the Jamaica Plain Branch Library to discuss the 20-month-long ongoing contract negotiation process between themselves and the Boston Public Schools (BPS) on Feb. 16. The meeting was part of a series of meetings held all over the city to explain the BTU’s...

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Parent talks school cuts at council meeting

March 16, 2012
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Jamaica Plain resident Kieran Fitzgibbon, who has a son at the Curley K-8 School, spoke at the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council meeting last month about cuts in funding at that school. Fitzgibbon, who is part of a group of concerned Curley School parents, noted that funding is projected to be $6.2 million for 2013,...

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T parcel gets bids; deadline extended again

March 16, 2012
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FOREST HILLS—The MBTA has received bids on a surplus parcel south of the Forest Hills T Station on Hyde Park Avenue, but has extended its bidding deadline to April. MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told the Gazette that bids have been received for Parcel U, but would not disclose who the bidders are until after...

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Activist author talks gay rights and ‘religious left’

March 16, 2012
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(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) Rev. Osagyefo Sekou signs books after his March 7 reading at First Baptist Church.

It’s unusual to start a book reading with a song (“This Little Light of Mine”) and a prayer—but Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou is not a usual author. Reading from his book, “Gods, Gays and Guns: Essays on Race, Religion, and the Future of Democracy” at First Baptist Church on Centre Street on March 7,...

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Sami’s Wrap and Roll renovates

March 16, 2012
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Sami’s Wrap and Roll, a Middle Eastern eatery at 654 Centre St., has been closed for a period of time in March for renovations and has a new storefront sign saying Café Beirut. It is unclear whether the restaurant will reopen under the new name or new management. A message on its answering machine...

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JP resident named to gaming board

March 16, 2012
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(Gazette File Photo) Enrique Zuniga.

Jamaica Plain resident Enrique Zuniga has been appointed to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which will oversee the newly legalized casino gambling in the state. “Public service is all about generating the best and most innovative outcomes for the taxpayers, and I ook forward to serving on the Gaming Commission in that spirit,” said Zuniga,...

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Man wounded in shooting

March 16, 2012
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A man was shot and wounded near Franklin Park last week, and police are seeking more information about a woman who was seen fleeing the area. The unidentified victim in the March 5 afternoon shooting transported himself to a hospital. At the time of the shooting, a witness reported seeing a woman running in...

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Wine on Tap

March 16, 2012
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(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) Blanchard’s Wine & Spirits Manager Mike Denson demonstrates the new wine sample dispensers at the 741 Centre St. location. The two dispensers can safely house eight bottles of wine for up to 60 days and have been in place since mid-December. Samples are free but must be dispensed by an employee.

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Local leaders named to bank positions

March 16, 2012
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Eastern Bank has named two local leaders to its governing boards as part of its outreach to the Latino and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. Rebecca Haag, president and CEO of the Jamaica Plain-based AIDS Action Committee, and JP resident Gunner Scott, executive director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), are among...

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Police Spotlight: Fraud and ID theft on the rise

March 16, 2012
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Fraud and identity theft complaints in Jamaica Plain have been on the rise over the past three months. Seniors are especially being targeted. The frauds involve credit cards, debit cards, prepaid cards, bank checks and unfulfilled promises to provide services, among other scams. In one case, on March 11, a scammer pretending to be...

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Romney gets primary win

March 16, 2012
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Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won the state’s Republican Party presidential primary vote on March 6. Incumbent President Barack Obama was the only Democrat on his party’s ballot. The Green-Rainbow Party ballot-winner was still unclear as the Gazette went to press, though it appeared likely that Jill Stein would top the ballot, according to...

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Student dropout prevention bill moves ahead

March 16, 2012
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A bill that proposes new ways to prevent students from dropping out of school, sponsored by Jamaica Plain’s state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, is gaining momentum in the State House. The bill (S. 185) would: raise the mandatory school attendance age from 16 to 18; expand a program to identify at-risk students; create a “graduation...

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Small Dig

March 16, 2012
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(Photo by John Seamans/Boston Parks Department) Workers from Boston Parks and Recreation Department contractor Fleming Bros. dig into the sidewalk along Circuit Drive by Shattuck Hospital at Franklin Park on March 12. The work was done to alleviate flooding in the roadway by replacing a broken clay pipe.

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Tension continues between T police and youths, survey says

March 16, 2012
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The Hyde Square Task Force (HSTF) has completed a follow-up survey that, while showing some improvement, tension continues between MBTA Transit Police and urban youths. “What the findings show is that while there has been some improvements in the last 18 months, we still have major problems in how Transit Police interact with urban...

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Legislation aims to plug natural gas leaks

March 16, 2012
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There is legislation moving through the State house that aims to put a clamp on natural gas leaks, a problem one local resident says probably killed several trees on the Arborway. “Personally, I get upset,” said Sarah Freeman, a member of the Arborway Coalition, who acknowledges some trees on the Arborway have died due...

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AIDS Action

March 16, 2012
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(Photo by Adam C. Webster/City Councilor John Connolly’s Office) Cutting the ribbon on the new MOMS Pharmacy at the AIDS Action Committee headquarters at 75 Amory St. on Feb. 28 are (from left) City Councilor John Connolly; AIDS Action President and CEO Rebecca Haag; David Richart of MOMS Pharmacy; and City Councilor and JP resident Felix Arroyo. The pharmacy specializes in HIV/AIDS medicine and joins a new drop-in social service center. For info, see aac.org.

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