Haven for city teens in peril

 

There are the periodic public squabbles that break out over who is doing what to quell violence in Boston neighborhoods and who is bears responsibility for stopping the cycle of retaliatory attacks that often make bad situations worse. Such was the case earlier this week with finger pointing over the Sunday shooting of a Roxbury 6-year-old.

Then there are those like Emmett Folgert who labor outside the limelight, keeping a lid on further mayhem and helping young people get their lives onto more productive paths.

The longtime director of the Dorchester Youth Collaborative has spent more than 35 years working out of a barebones outpost in Fields Corner that thousands of teens have turned to as a refuge from troubled streets. With a mix of grants and donations, the center has persisted through all those years, cobbling together a program that includes of sports activities, early evening homework sessions, and impromptu poetry and rap writing. But Folgert tells the Herald’s Peter Gelzinis that government grants have gotten tight and private donors “seem to be under a lot of pressure as well.”

What it all adds up to, he says, is a do-or-die edict from his board to come up with $50,000 over the next few weeks to stay afloat.

Folgert has not just been a mentor to countless numbers of kids on the edge of trouble and involvement in area gangs, he’s been a father figure to many of them.

Consider brothers George and Johnny Huynh, whose story Globe reporter Billy Baker beautifully told in this heart-wrenching 2011 piece and in this incredibly good-news follow-up in 2013. Or Damone Clark, a teen Folgert mentored but whose cancer he could not stop. They became so close that, at Damone’s request, Folgert delivered the eulogy at his funeral when he died a year ago at age 17.

Then there is the everyday hard work Folgert does networking and connecting kids to opportunities that seem to come much easier to well-off kids in the suburbs — like summer jobs hawking hot dogs at Fenway Park, part of the ongoing battle to win out over gangs and their promise of easy money.

Though it all, Folgert has managed to be an advocate for kids on the brink of trouble — or already in it — while also maintaining good relationships with police.

If the Dorchester Youth Collaborative goes under, Police Commissioner Bill Evans tells Gelzinis, “then the Boston police lose a key resource in the continuing effort to build a dialogue with kids in a critical location in this city.”

The BPD’s Superintendent-in Chief William Gross says, “Emmett Folgert and the Dorchester Youth Collaborative have built more bridges between the black, Asian and Latino youth population than almost any place I know. We can’t lose it.”

–MICHAEL JONAS


BEACON HILL

Proclaiming the state is “no longer rolling in dough,” Senate President Stanley Rosenberg builds a case for the millionaire’s tax by arguing that the existing tax system is ineffective, unfair, and taxing the wrong things. (CommonWealth)

Rep. William Straus of Mattapoisett says Gov. Charlie Baker is preparing to put MassDevelopment in charge of the state pier in New Bedford currently owned and run by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. (South Coast Today) DCR has been criticized for managing the piers poorly and New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell has pushed aggressively for a MassDevelopment takeover. (CommonWealth)

The Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled that former House speaker Tom Finneran should forfeit his state pension because his felony conviction related to untruthful testimony in a federal redistricting lawsuit was directly tied to his role as House leader. (CommonWealth) The state retirement board may now seek repayment of more than $48,000 from Finneran, who began collecting his pension following a 2015 lower court ruling in his favor. (Boston Herald)

The state collected $7.2 million in fees from regulating medical marijuana while spending only $2.8 million administering the program. (Eagle-Tribune)

Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone calls for passage of legislation identifying Massachusetts as a sanctuary state. (WGBH)

In the wake of President Trump’s signing on Monday of legislation repealing internet privacy rules adopted at the end of the Obama administration, a Globe editorial calls on Beacon Hill to follow the lead of other states and restore the protections at the state level. Connor Lentz wrote last week about the repeal move by Congress — and US Rep. Michael Capuano’s colorful incredulity over it. (CommonWealth)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS

Stoughton residents voted overwhelmingly to ban recreational marijuana shops in the town. (Patriot Ledger)

Attorney General Maura Healey says there was nothing improper or illegal about state Rep. Michelle DuBois sending out a Facebook alert that immigration officials were carrying out a raid in Brockton (even though it turned out there was no raid). (Brockton Enterprise)

Andover police say they are working with local hotel owners to prevent prostitution. (Eagle-Tribune)

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

President Trump, who had long sworn off deeper involvement in the Syrian civil war and whose top aides only days ago signaled a hands-off posture toward President Bashar al-Assad, says the murder of civilians with chemical weapons has changed his views. (New York Times)

Trump removes Stephan Bannon from the National Security Council. (Bloomberg)

The head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s brainchild gets a tough grilling from House Republicans, who seem determined to see him ousted. (Boston Herald)

ELECTIONS

Shiva Ayyadurai, who is running for Elizabeth Warren’s Senate seat, sits down with the Lowell Sun. The Sun headline calls him “no ordinary candidate.”

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

Unemployment in several of the state’s Gateway Cities is on the rise. Fall River was up to 8.5 percent in February, compared to 7.9 percent in January and 4.9 percent in December. New Bedford (7.9 percent), Lawrence (7.8 percent), Springfield (7.3 percent), Brockton (5.5 percent), and Taunton (5.2 percent) were also high. The state unemployment rate is 4.2 percent.

Tax experts say the state is opening itself up to a legal challenge by insisting that out-of-state online retailers. (Boston Globe)

Pepsi pulls a new Kendall Jenner protest commercial after backlash. (Time)

Hiawatha Bray says Attorney General Maura Healey’s agreement with a Boston company to stop using smartphone location data to send anti-abortion messages to women near abortion clinics probably would not stand up to legal challenge. (Boston Globe)

EDUCATION

The writing had been on the wall, and now it’s official: Keith Motley is out as chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston. (Boston Globe)

TRANSPORTATION

8,200 Uber and Lyft drivers fail a state background check after passing more limited company background checks. (State House News)

Defects with the new set of locomotives recently purchased by the MBTA are causing commuter rail delays and cancellations — and testing the patience of riders, legislators, and some members of the T’s control board. (Boston Globe)

While attention was focused on the fact that Gov. Charlie Baker was seated next to Ivanka Trump at a National Governors Association dinner in February, to his other side sat Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, whose ear he bent on the Green Line Extension project — which happens to have just received a crucial go-ahead from the feds. (Boston Herald)

Colombia’s Avianca Airlines will begin nonstop service between Boston and Bogota.

MEDIA

Boston mayoral candidate Tito Jackson apologizes to a female WGBH reporter for pushing away her arm. (WGBH)