2009 President's Messages

February 2009
Dear Neighbors,

Since we last met, the executive board had a productive meeting with the representatives from the Boston Collegiate Charter School, which has purchased the building at 215 Sydney Street. I am very happy to see that a resident owner with a positive mission is moving into this long-neglected building. After speaking with them, I am confident that the school's administration is committed to addressing any negative impacts that may arise from their location there (traffic, parking, and buses), and am certain that they will be a positive addition to the neighborhood.

We are expecting a number of dignified guests that the February meeting. In addition to our regularly attending elected officials, Mayor Thomas M. Menino will be joining us, and as I announced at the January meeting, City Councilor John Connolly has also requested to be on our agenda.

People who do not live in cities often ask me why I live in Dorchester (of all places!). I know that I am preaching to the choir here, but I am extremely proud of the community in which I live. Neighbors in Savin Hill and across the city look out for each other. That is what makes our communities so strong. We watch each other's kids, walk each other's dogs, help shovel snow, take in each other's mail, alert others when its street cleaning, or when trash day has been moved, and in extreme cases rescue each other from burning buildings. That is exactly what happened on Tuttle Street, when John Beleheen and William Vaillancourt rescued neighbors who were trapped on the third floor of 56 Tuttle Street. Thanks to the heroic actions of these two neighborhood guys, no one was seriously injured in the blaze that ruined the entire building. I am very proud to say that these two men, and many men and women who would do the same thing, live in my neighborhood. I hope that you will join us on February 2nd as we, with elected officials, offer them much deserved recognition and thanks.

- Deirdre Habershaw

March 2009

Dear Neighbors,

I was very sorry to miss what sounded like a great meeting last month. Thank you so much to those that made the meeting a great success. Especially, Mayor Menino, Representative Walsh, Councilors Feeney and Connolly as well as our officers and Executive Board members who helped in the planning and coordination in my absence.

We have another action packed agenda for the March meeting. Councilor Feeney will be addressing the group. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) will be updating us on the construction schedule of the Morrissey Blvd bridges as part of the Commonwealth's Expedited Bridge repair project. Paul Nutting will be sharing the work that he has been doing to restore and connect the harbor walk, and we will be hearing the latest update from Don Walsh and our other representatives on the Columbia Point Task Force. It seems like our elections at the May meeting are a long way away, but in fact it is right around the corner. Therefore, at this month's meeting we will be forming our nominations committee, which will be charged with receiving and presenting nominations at the April meeting. If you would like to participate on the nominations committee, please plan on attending the March meeting. Recent members of the nominations committee have included Joe Chaisson and Marleah Mesh. I am sure they would be willing to answer any questions that you may have about the (rather limited) duties involved in the committee.

On a related note, we have had some recent vacancies on the Executive Board. Both Marleah Mesh and Bing Broderick have determined that their other professional and personal responsibilities are keeping them too busy to participate in E-board. I would like to thank them very much for their active participation as active members of the association and dedicated community members. I am also happy to announce that Michael Christopher and Justin Green have accepted my request to join the e-board, and I am really looking forward to their input in this role.


April 2009

Dear Neighbors,

I was very sorry that we were unable to get together for the March meeting. The weather was just too treacherous, and several of our guest speakers were unable to come.

We will be taking nominations for officer positions at the April meeting. Elections will be held at the annual meeting in May. If you want to nominate yourself or someone else please come to the April meeting. If you are unable to attend, please contact one of our nominations committee members (Joe Chaisson or Cathleen McDermott).

I am sad to announce, that I will not be running for re-election. I have served the association in this role for two and a half years now, and while I have enjoyed working with all of you, I need to focus now on completing my graduate degree and entering the professional arena. Of course, I will remain as active in our community as possible and I am confident that our group is made up of many talented people who are capable of guiding the group in its leadership roles.

At Monday's meeting we will also be hearing from Paul Nutting regarding the Harbor Walk connection.

I look forward to seeing you at the Little House on Monday , April 6th.


May 2009

Dear Neighbors,

Spring has finally sprung! Thank you very much to all of the volunteers who came out on the beautiful Boston Shine's weekend. The neighborhood is looking gorgeous. Thanks are also very much deserved for Kevin Waterman, who cooked up another delicious batch of his famous chili for the Associations submission to the Dorchester Chili Cook-off benefiting Dorchester Day! Thank you to all who came out to support Columbia-Savin Hill.

At this month's meeting we will be joined by Councilor Maureen Feeney, whom was scheduled for our March meeting, which was cancelled due to inclement weather (thank goodness winter is behind us). The Councilor will be updating us on the initiative she is working on at City Hall and in the community. We will also be holding our election for officers.

I would like to take this opportunity (in my last president's letter) to thank everyone who has been so supportive during the last two and a half years that I have been filling the role of president. We really are a team, and it takes a lot of dedicated people keep this organization running. I couldn't have done it without the help of especially Maureen McQuillen, who has always been willing to take on more responsibility and always seems to have a new idea up her sleeve. Also, although he never reads this, I also have to thank my husband, Auston, who endured many the late night and cold dinner with only the slightest grumble. I am not going anywhere, but I am ready to pass things on to other capable hands. I am looking forward to other up coming neighborhood events such as Dorchester Day, the Dorchester Beach Festival and the Pacitti Cup, and I am hoping to see you at them!


June 2009

Dear Neighbors,

I spoke too soon last month. THIS is my last President's Letter. I would like to congratulate Maureen McQuillen, who was elected as our next President. I know Maureen will do a fantastic job!

I would like to thank the members of the Dorchester Day Committee for all the work that they put in year round in planning for the Dorchester Day Parade and other events. This year's parade will be held on June 6th (the first Sunday in June). I hope that you are able to enjoy the parade and join your neighbors in celebrating the amazing community in which we live. I would also ask that if you see a volunteer that day, please extend a thank you from the Savin Hill Community.

As you know, we will not be meeting as a full group during the months of July and August. The Executive Board and Planning committee will be meeting on an as needed basis, when issues requiring our attention arise. These meeting are tentatively scheduled for the second Monday of the month at 6:30 at the McLaughlin Center and are open to members of the association if you are interested in attending.

At this month's meeting we will be joined by Bill Oates of the City's Citizen Relationship Management System, as well as Paige Davis and representatives from the Friends of Ronan Park who will update us on their efforts to bring a dog park to the park. I haven't been able to run the meetings for the last few months, due to a conflict with my class schedule. The spring semester has now ended, so I am looking forward to running my last full membership meeting on June 1st at 7pm at the Little House. I hope to see you there.


September 2009

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you experienced a pleasant, productive and relaxing summer. The neighborhood played host to several fun events including the Richard Pacitti Memorial Cup Youth Baseball Tournament and the DORCHESTER BEACH FESTIVAL. Heartfelt thanks to everyone involved with the sponsorship, organization and execution of these and other neighborhood events.

Thanks to Deirdre Habershaw for her years of service as President of this civic association. Best wishes to Deirdre and her husband Auston who are expecting their first child in November.

I am excited to begin my term as your president. Over the next several months I plan to share my vision for this association's future. I need your input and welcome your ideas and feedback. My contact information is listed in the grey column to the left. Immediate goals include growing our membership and increasing community participation. To this end a key initiative is to re-activate the Membership Committee and connect with long-time and new residents of our neighborhood engaging them to join and become actively involved. I encourage all members and residents to help shape this association's future by attending meetings and offering suggestions for improvement and renewal.

Representatives from the North Cambridge Catholic High School will share their plans for relocating their campus to the former St. Williams School at 100 Savin Hill Avenue at our September meeting. Winners of the Beautification's Committee annual Curb Appeal Contest will be announced. A short award ceremony will follow.

On August 21st Thomas Casey, a founding member and past president of this civic association passed away. A donation was made in his memory to the Federated Dorchester Neighborhood House, another organization he helped to create.

Please bring a neighbor on September 14th


October 2009

Dear Neighbors,

The air has become markedly crisper, the daylight hours shorter and autumn has officially begun. September's meeting was well attended and those who made it to the Little House on September 14th were not disappointed as the Beautification Committee produced a wonderful PowerPoint presentation of gardens and plantings around our neighborhood. Curb Appeal Contest winners were awarded garden themed gift baskets. We all win when a resident, business owner or institution takes the extra effort to tidy and enhance their property. Thank you to all that show pride in your property and to the Beautification Committee for running another top-notch program.

Members of Boston Police Department including Carolyn MacNeil, Director of Neighborhood Watch Unit, have met with two large gatherings in recent months: the Sagamore/Elton/Hallam Neighborhood Watch Meeting held at the Waymark Seventh Day Adventist Church and at an 'OTB' meeting hosted by Peter McNamara's E-lerts at DYC. Both meetings were open and attended by residents throughout Columbia/SH. Superintendant Evans, Captain Sexton, Sergeant Daly, Officers Keaney and/or Rorie and other C-11 officers attended both meetings. Thank you to our elected officials and their representatives (Senator Jack Hart, Representative Marty Walsh, City Councilor Maureen Feeney) and to Lauren Smyth from the Mayor's Office for attending and coordinating the meetings. Engaging neighbors to form smaller watch groups is an important and proven tool combating crime. As part of our website enhancement we hope to list crime watch meeting dates/times on the association's website. Please forward pertinent info to our webmasters as new groups form or others reactivate.

Last month I spoke of reactivating the Membership Committee to connect with long-time and new residents of our neighborhood engaging them to join and become actively involved. A couple of members offered to assist with this effort but we need more volunteers. Recruits are also needed to form a Media Redesign Committee.

Please help shape this association's future by attending meetings and offering suggestions for improvement and renewal. My contact info is in column to left. Please bring a neighbor on October 5th.


November 2009

Dear Neighbors,

Greetings! I hope you all enjoy a safe and festive Halloween weekend. There are many fun activities for adults and children scheduled throughout the city.

The days seem to pass quickly and soon Thanksgiving and the Christmas/Hanukkah Season will be upon us. Fall is the time to prep forthe long winter. Please take advantage of the Household HazardousWaste Drop Off on Saturday, 10/31 from 9am-2pm at UMASS BostonCampus. Dispose of some hazardousmaterials, old tires and reclaim some space in your shed, garage or basement. The leaves are fallingand the summer gardens succumbing to the cold temperatures so as yourake the leaves and prep your flower beds and yard for winter, please takeadvantage of the Fall Leaf & Yard Waste Collections which run 10/26-12/4 on your trash pickup day. See newsletter for details.

During the November meeting we will collect canned goods for theBoston Food Bank as part of the city's 23rd annual food drive. Details are noted below. If you cannot attend the meeting but would still like todonate some items please email me to arrange a pickup.

Please mark your calendar for an informative and engagingpresentation of 'How not to be a Victim' by Police Academy Instructor Sergeant Gary Eblan, at the Waymark Seventh Day Adventist Church(former St. Williams Church), 1048 Dorchester Avenue on November 12that 7pm. We realize many members may not have cars or live too far towalk to this meeting so please reach out to seniors and neighbors whomay wish to attend but need transportation. We will try to arrangecarpools, please email me at president@columbiasavinhillcivic.org or leave a message on my cell at 781-622-0723 if you need a ride or can assist with carpool.

Congrats to the Beautification Committee on their successful BulbSale. Save the date for the wreath sale and tree lighting, Saturday, 11/28. Please help shape this association's future by attending meetings and offering suggestions for improvement and renewal. My contact info is in column to left. Please bring a neighbor on November 2nd.


December 2009

Dear Neighbors,

Congratulations to Deirdre and Auston Habershaw on the birth of their first child, Madelyn.

Thank you to Sallie Permar and Matt Ferraguto for organizing the First Annual Savin Hill Halloween Parade. Approximately 60 costumed children, parents, grandparents, dogs and neighbors paraded along the Auckland, Sagamore, Elton, Savin Hill Avenue area on Halloween afternoon. Stay tuned; rumor has it next year the route will be expanded.

The Beautification Committee hosted another successful wreath sale at the Ryan Playground Tree Lighting ceremony on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Thanks to this committee's hard work, fundraising and the help of a crew from Sullivan & McLaughlin the streetlights along Dorchester & Savin Hill Avenues are now adorn with balsam wreaths. Watch for the street banner, which will debut on a light post near the intersection of SHA & Dot Ave. Kudos to the Dorchester Celebrations Committee for a great night with Santa at our tree lighting. The Boston Parks Department secured a grant to plant a live 'Christmas' tree at Ryan Playground. We can enjoy this magestic evergreen year round.

Please bring a new unwrapped toy or gift appropriate for a child (newborn to teenager) to the December general assembly meeting. Gifts will be donated to BPD, C-11 for distribution at their annual Christmas Party. If you would like to donate but cannot attend the meeting please contact the Community Officers at 617-343-4524 to arrange a pickup.

The agenda for the December meeting is purposely light to accommodate a social gathering in celebration of the Holiday Season. Refreshments will be served and a free raffle of donated items will be held. Take advantage of the opportunity to meet neighbors and catch up with old friends. Please invite neighbors to attend. Volunteers are needed to assist with party setup and securing raffle or food items. If interested please contact me via cell at 781-622-0723 or email at maureen_mc_q@hotmail.com.

Have an enjoyable Holiday Season and a safe, healthy New Year!