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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Traffic committee reunites

March 16, 2012
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The Boston Police E-13 Traffic and Parking Committee is reconvening after a year absence. The committee, which is a collaboration among the local E-13 Police Station, residents, city agencies and elected officials geared to improving traffic safety, stopped meeting when its representative from the Boston Transportation Department retired and a replacement was not available....

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Crash victim cut out of car

March 16, 2012
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JAMAICA HILLS—A victim of a three-car accident on Parkman Drive had to be cut out of his vehicle by firefighters on March 2. The Boston Fire Department’s Egleston Square-based Rescue 2 company was called to the scene because it has heavy-duty rescue equipment, according to BFD spokesperson Steve MacDonald. “They used Jaws ...

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Occupy JP continues with fewer members

March 16, 2012
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Occupy JP, the local version of the Occupy protest movement, plans to join a St. Patrick’s Day Peace Parade this week, but is facing “dwindling” participation in its meetings, according to its website. “Do we want to continue Occupy JP?” was a question raised at a Feb. 5 meeting, according to minutes posted at...

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Rep. Sánchez looks at medicine shortage

March 16, 2012
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A State House committee co-chaired by local state Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez examined prescription drug shortages at a Feb. 13 hearing. “That came up from individual complaints—people saying there were on a cancer regimen and had to stop,” Sánchez told the Gazette. The Joint Committee on Public Health is investigating the impact of drug shortages...

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After the fire

March 16, 2012
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(Photo by Richard Heath) Only the doorway remains standing at 71 Westminster Ave. in Egleston Square, as the fire-damaged building is razed March 8 for forthcoming reconstruction. The Urban Edge-owned apartment building was severely damaged in an Oct. 17 explosion and fire apparently caused by an arsonist. Urban Edge says the reconstruction schedule will be set later.

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Urban farm aims to feed BPS

March 16, 2012
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A farm business is pushing Boston Public Schools (BPS) to include more locally-grown fruits and vegetables in school meals. City Growers, a for-profit organization that aims to transform vacant lots into intensive urban farms, is trying to join the fleet of food vendors who sell to BPS for student breakfasts and lunches. The problem...

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