JP Observer: JP has dozens of ‘arts centers’

March 30, 2012
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Fifteen years ago, Jamaica Plain’s Multicultural Arts Center had to vacate its large, prominent Centre Street space because it was having trouble paying the rent, causing much upset in the community. But no one is complaining about space for the arts in JP now. J.P. Licks later bought the former fire station and has...

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Birthday for a Leader

March 30, 2012
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(Courtesy Photo) Helene Connolly Leary (left) celebrates her 90th birthday at Doyle’s Café on Feb. 26 with sister Carol Connolly Anderson and other family and friends. Leary worked for ESAC’s Housing Program and was one of ESAC’s founding board members. She also worked at Urban Edge brokering house sales and served as chair of the Mass. Mental Health area board. She was awarded a proclamation from the Massachusetts legislature, presented by state Rep. Liz Malia; two resolutions, one from the president of the City Council, Stephen Murphy, presented by Tom O'Malley; and one from Mayor Thomas Menino, presented by Julianne Doherty.

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City Life expands to national activities

March 30, 2012
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(Photo Courtesy Brandon German) A March 22 City Life/Vida Urbana anti-foreclosure vigil in Hyde Park draws protesters.

From its Jamaica Plain seeds in 1973, City Life/Vida Urbana (CLVU) is making big change grow all over the country. As a result of its housing rights organizing, CLVU has been written about in newspapers all over the country, including The New York Times in 2010. CLVU has become a nation-wide model for foreclosure...

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Home, Sweet Hotel

March 30, 2012
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(Courtesy Photo) The kitchen in the Arthouse short-term rental property.

Short-term rentals for tourists a hot trend For the price of a downtown hotel room, travelers can rent entire gorgeous, furnished condos at nearly a dozen Jamaica Plain homes. Short-term house rentals might be the best open secret in local travel, and appears to be a growing real estate trend. They essentially offer a...

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Local real estate market heats up

March 30, 2012
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(Gazette Photo by Peter Shanley) The most expensive home sold in JP last week was this $1.7 million house at 32 Woodland Road.

Time to slap a fresh coat of paint on the walls and tidy up if you are thinking about selling your home. The Jamaica Plain real estate market is bumping up, according to local realtors. “The market is very active,” said Karen McCormack of McCormack and Scanlan Real Estate. “It’s felt on the edge...

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Marathon Drinking

March 30, 2012
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(Photo by Courtney Sacco) Jim Koch (center), founder of the JP-based Boston Brewing Company, maker of Samuel Adams beer, shares a laugh and a drink with four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers (right) as Boston Athletic Association Joann Flaminio (left) looks on during a Feb. 23 announcement of a new Marathon-themed beer at the company’s headquarters in The Brewery on Germania Street. The one-batch “Boston 26.2” brew, named for the miles in a marathon, will be available only in Boston, only in kegs and only around the time of the April 16 Boston Marathon.

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City offers help to buy, maintain triple-deckers

March 30, 2012
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The City of Boston’s new “3D Campaign” is offering help to preserve Boston’s iconic triple-decker apartment buildings. The $3 million program was announced March 24 by Mayor Thomas Menino. “I am proud that our $3 million investment will give triple-decker owners the support they need to renovate their homes,” said Menino in a press...

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Seaverns Ave. condos hit market

March 30, 2012
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SUMNER HILL—Two condos still under construction at a former Community Caring group home are already up for sale, according to real estate agent Stephen Lussier. “One is already under agreement,” he said. Owner Paul Donovan told the Gazette the house is being converted from a two-family group home to two condos. The Boston Redevelopment...

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Apartment project plan is filed

March 30, 2012
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(Image from Boston Residential Group filing) An illustration of the front of the apartment building proposed at 161 S. Huntington Ave.

S. HUNTINGTON AVE.—The high-end apartment building proposed for the Home for Little Wanderers site will have about 196 units and stand 65 feet tall, according to a plan filed this week with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA). The Home is moving out of its three-building complex at 161 S. Huntington Ave. this year. Boston...

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Foundation chief talks JP’s success and challenges

March 30, 2012
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(Courtesy Photo) Paul Grogan, president and CEO of The Boston Foundation.

As president and CEO of The Boston Foundation (TBF), Paul Grogan is one of Boston’s top policy-makers. He is also a Jamaica Plain resident who recently told the Gazette that JP embodies Boston’s urban revival, while now sharing its challenge of a shrinking middle class. “ a uniquely special place in Boston because...

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Condo building nears opening

March 30, 2012
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GREEN ST.—Residents will begin moving into the new Bartlett Square condominium building in about two weeks, while the ground-floor retail spaces still await tenants. “We will wait and be selective” on the commercial tenants, said Chris DeSisto, whose Maple Hurst Builders created the new building at 154-160 Green St. diagonally across from the Green...

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JP’s CDCs are nationally renowned

March 30, 2012
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Urban Edge in Jackson Square and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) on Amory Street are national standouts and are held in high-esteem in the non-profit development community, according to Frank Woodruff, director at National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA) in Washington, D.C. NACEDA represents more than 3,000 community development corporations throughout...

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Foreclosed property garners fines

March 30, 2012
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EGLESTON SQ.—A house at 25 Chilcott Place continues to accrue fines due to its lack of maintenance, stemming from unclear ownership. On the Problem Properties list since last year, the property’s issues stem from its disputed ownership. The list is maintained by the Jamaica Plain Problem Properties Committee—an advisory group that identifies private properties...

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Banking on Affordable Housing

March 30, 2012
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(Photo by Katherine Muhlfelder/Boston Private Bank & Trust Co.) (from left) Leroy Stoddard of Urban Edge, Sarah Lamitie of Boston Private Bank & Trust Company, Noah Maslan of Urban Edge, and Peter Hollands of Boston Private Bank stand before the soon-to-be-renovated building at Columbus Avenue and Dixwell Street March 23.

How one bank’s mission helps JP The Urban Edge-owned apartment buildings around Egleston Square are easy-to-see neighborhood assets, preserving affordable housing and, in many cases, attractive historical facades. Look a little harder, and you can spot some of the renovation work that is improving them and making them greener, such as the heat-reflecting white...

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BPS grad rates don’t tell the whole story

March 30, 2012
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Boston Public Schools (BPS) recently touted its “all-time high” four-year graduation rate of 64.4 percent. But the Gazette has found both the measure and the context are coming into question. The BPS’s graduation rate report included a 100 percent rate for the Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. But the Gazette has learned that at...

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Bike racks to be redesigned

March 30, 2012
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Jamaica Plain residents will have to wait a little longer to secure their bikes to racks in the shape of a lock after concerns about their design. Three such bike racks have already been installed in Mission Hill. Similar racks were next slated to come to Hyde/Jackson Squares and Central JP. But when Randace...

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Workshops teaches kids photography

March 30, 2012
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(Photo by Nell Fredericks) A portrait photo of Paloma Ortiz taken by Nell Fredericks, a student of Jenny Connelly.

Jenny Connelly felt there were not a lot of after-school activities for middle school children. That’s why she started running workshops to teach them photography last year. “It’s just great to have kids work in small groups and think about art,” she said. “They can develop their eye for communicating in pictures.” The workshops,...

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Festive Welcome

March 30, 2012
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(Courtesy Photo) JP Music Festival staffers Randance Rauscher Moore (left) and Daisy Kincaid greet attendees at the Art 4 Music festival fund-raiser at Doyle’s Café on March 25. The event raised $2,500 for the annual music fest, which be held for the second time this summer.

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Editorial: The Casey criticism

March 30, 2012
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Bridging Forest Hills, the group opposing the Casey Parkway plan in favor of a new bridge, is engaged in the sort of dubious public process it aims to criticize. Slanted meetings misleadingly advertised as objective ones. Flyers with a casual treatment of known facts and rhetoric that stirs emotion rather than marshaling evidence. It’s...

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Editorial: What’s in a street name

March 30, 2012
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The roadway that will replace the Casey Overpass has been hastily—too hastily—renamed the “Casey Arborway.” The overpass is a gap in a roadway that already has a name: simply, the Arborway. Indeed, one of the arguments in favor of the surface-street option for the overpass replacement was that it restores and reconnects the Arborway,...

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Op-Ed: On Easter, remembering that light overcomes darkness

March 30, 2012
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By Rev. Ashlee Wiest-Laird, Special to the Gazette Easter always begins in darkness. The women who were with Jesus had seen their friend and teacher tortured and killed. They watched as his lifeless body was placed in the cold tomb; then they went home and waited in despair for the Sabbath to end.  Having...

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Letter: Arizona ethnic studies ban is racist

March 30, 2012
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Regarding the Arizona law banning ethnic studies classes in public schools: Listen, this racism really needs to end. Why do Caucasians get to learn about their history, but people in Arizona don’t get to learn about their histories? OK, that’s fair, really fair. If you’re against ethnic studies, you need to rethink. It doesn’t...

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Letter: Capuano vote could stifle protest

March 30, 2012
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I was very disappointed to see that U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano voted for H.R.347 and continues the ongoing suppression of public protest. In the past decade, I have been appalled to see the suppression of protest by corralling protesting citizens into “free speech” zones, well away from any elected officials and out of the cameras’ view. Armed...

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Letter: Thanks for a good deed

March 30, 2012
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I was doing the third of my usual three rounds around the pond on Sat., March 10 when my granddaughter phoned. She lives on the West Coast, so the sound of her 6-year-old voice is a precious gift. She had 20 minutes she could talk to me and we were engrossed in the kind...

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