Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Land Use Council schedule released

You can find the East Boston Land Use Council meeting schedule at eastboston.com.

East Boston Savings Bank employee auction to help Crossroads Family Shelter and Social Centers

DAILY ITEM OF LYNN:

East Boston Savings Bank's 23rd annual employee auction raised $25,000 through the sale of employee- and vendor-donated items, including tickets to sporting events, restaurant gift certificates, homemade arts and crafts and toys. This year's auction chair was Paul Cheremka, assistant vice president of residential lending.

The proceeds were divided among four area charities: Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston, East Boston Social Centers, Help for Abused Women and their Children (HAWC) in Salem and Haven from Hunger in Peabody.

"The auction is an event that our employees look forward to and take great pride in," said EBSB Chairman and CEO Richard J. Gavegnano. "We're proud of the role we play as a good neighbor in the communities we serve and our employees and vendors continue to be supportive of those efforts."

Monday, December 21, 2009

Absentee Ballots for Jan. 19 election are now available

ABSENTEE BALLOTS NOW AVAILABLE FOR JANUARY 19 ELECTION:
REQUEST/RENEW YOUR ABSENTEE BALLOT APPLICATION NOW

BOSTON, MA – The Board of Election Commissioners reminds all voters that absentee ballots are now available for the Special State Election for United States Senator, scheduled for January 19, 2010. Since an application for an absentee ballot must be submitted by each voter, the Board advises all residents considering the use of an absentee ballot in January to act now, in order to allow time for the ballot to be mailed and returned.

Given the unpredictability of January weather, voters – especially the elderly or those with mobility problems – may want to consider using an absentee ballot for this election. Voters who have used absentee ballots in the past are reminded that a new application must be filled out each calendar year.

Applications may be obtained by calling the Boston Election Department at 617-635-3767, or through the Department’s website: www.cityofboston.gov/elections. If a voter is unsure as to whether or not an absentee ballot request is up-to-date, he or she should contact the Department.

The last day to register to vote, change one’s voting address or political party affiliation for the January 19, 2010 election, is December 30, 2009. The Election Department, Room 241 at Boston City Hall, will be open until 8PM that evening to accommodate prospective registrants and those wishing to make changes. Those who wish to register or make changes by mail should make sure that their request is postmarked no later than December 30, 2009. Massachusetts Law does not allow these changes to be made via e-mail.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Who is Gene Sharp?

The theorist of non-violent political action, Gene Sharp of Maverick Square:
To the residents of East Boston, the faded townhouse on a working class block is just a house. But to Iran’s ruling regime, it is the epicenter of a foreign plot to overthrow its Islamic government.

The house belongs to Gene Sharp, an 81-year-old author whose books on the use of nonviolent methods to undermine authoritarian rule have been read by would-be revolutionaries all over the world.

In the wake of widespread protests in Iran after a disputed presidential election, a mass indictment accused more than 100 Iranian politicians and activists of following the instructions of Sharp, as well as spying for several other US academics. So far, about 80 of the accused have received prison sentences, while at least one has been sentenced to death.

The indictment, which appears to target Iranians with connections to the West, has led to soul-searching among some US scholars, some whom have curtailed communications with Iranian dissidents to avoid putting them in jeopardy. Others, like Sharp, see the charges as a badge of honor, and a sign that their arguments are hitting home. They have no intention of scaling back their activities.
More on Gene Sharp from the Wall Street Journal.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Verizon Wireless improves service in East Boston

Verizon upgrades service in East Boston
“Verizon Wireless’ 3G network coverage across New England is unparalleled,” said director for Network System Performance for Verizon Wireless, Richard Enright. “We’ve invested billions of dollars into New England believing that even the most sophisticated cell phone is only as good as the network it runs on. Our continued aggressive network investments provide customers with a 3G network advantage at home and on vacation.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Former City Councilor Joe Tierney dies

Joseph Tierney: "Joseph Tierney, former Boston City Council president and candidate for mayor died of cancer at his Hyde Park home.

Though respected for his ability to craft policy and pore over the city budget, "Joe's legacy really was working very hard for constituents," Flynn said.

"He was deeply committed to anyone who called on the phone," said Flynn, who knew Mr. Tierney since childhood, having grown up in a different South Boston neighborhood. "Anybody who called up, he'd go to bat for them and try to help them as best he could."

That was true for family members, too, said his son, Joseph, of Milton.

"He was just a phone call away for anything from a question about your house to advice on a relationship," he said. "Anything we needed, he'd help us get it."

Also, unlike those for whom law school and elective office are excuses to set aside a humble past, "the thing I remember as if it were yesterday is that Joe never forgot where he came from," said Larry DiCara, a lawyer with the Boston firm Nixon Peabody who was elected alongside Mr. Tierney in 1971, each to a first council term. "That came through time and time again."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Danilchuck takes top prize in Fourth Annual Holiday Window Contest



Danilchuck takes top prize in Fourth Annual Holiday Window Contest

East Boston, MA.14-December-2009 East Boston Main Streets and the East Boston Chamber of Commerce are proud to announce that Danilchuck Auto Body at 73 Addison Street has won top honors in the Fourth Annual Holiday Window Contest.

The next four runners up are

Images by Kahn & Murray at 6 Bremen Street,
The Elder Service Plan at 225 Sumner Street,
Balloon City at 995 Bennington Street and
Al’s Shoe Store at 225 Border Street.


Honorable mentions go to

East Boston Diamond and Gold,
Spinelli’s,
La Chiva,
Tello’s,
Fashion Flowers,
Meridian Food Market,
Oxygen,
First Class Salon,
Burbugos Laundry,
Boston Check Cashiers
and Maverick Family Dental.


East Boston Main Streets and the East Boston Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all businesses who have participated and have helped to brighten up the business districts in East Boston.


Contact
Clark Moulaison
East Boston Main Streets
617.561.1044
ebmainstreets@verizon.net
www.ebmainstreets.com

On NECN's CEO Corner: Dick Gavegnano of East Boston Savings Bank

CEO Corner: Dick Gavegnano of East Boston Savings Bank
NECN
This week Maryanne Kane is joined by Dick Gavegnano, Chairman and CEO of
East Boston Savings Bank and Meridian Interstate Bancorp.

Chamber Works With Boston Transportation to Address Concerns of Businesses

Chamber Works With Boston Transportation to Address Concerns of Businesses

The East Boston Chamber of Commerce first informed City Councilor Sal LaMattina, Chairperson of the Council?s Transportation Committee, in mid-2008 of the large volume of neighborhood parking issues being logged by the Chamber from local business owners. Working with Councilor LaMattina and Boston Transportation Department (BTD) Commissioner Thomas Tinlin, the Chamber hosted a forum in early 2009 at Maverick Landing, where business owners shared their stories and expressed their concerns.


Two months ago, the Chamber invited Commissioner Tinlin to take part in a walking tour of the neighborhood?s business districts; he welcomed the opportunity. Several BTD representatives led by Commissioner Tinlin, along with Chamber President Angelo Vigliotta, Jr., Chamber director John Dudley, East Boston Main Street director Clark Moulaison, and Janet Knott from the Office of Councilor LaMattina, took to each of the four major East Boston business districts ? Central, Day, Maverick, and Orient Heights Squares.


The group made stops at several merchants in each square and took notes. Several issues were identified by the Chamber: these issues have been already, or are in the process of, being addressed by BTD. Included in this list were: a problematic, dangerous intersection at the corner of Bremen and Maverick Streets, which had no stop signs, unclear parking signage, and potential for increased customer parking; a lack of two-hour visitor limits along Meridian Street, to turn over parking for merchants? customers; faded commercial signage in Day Square; and need for increased parking enforcement in sections of Central Square and Orient Heights. ?The Chamber would like to thank Commissioner Tinlin and Councilor LaMattina for their time and concern for our business community.

They are helping us create a setting that will make it easier for our members and other businesses to operate and satisfy customers," said Chamber President Angelo Vigliotta, Jr. "We will continue to work closely with them moving forward," he added.
For more information on the East Boston Chamber of Commerce, please call 617-569-5000 or visit www.EastBostonChamber.com.


Commissioner Thomas Tinlin and staff join Chamber members and representatives from Councilor Sal LaMattina?s office and East Boston Main Streets in Day Square. Photo 271: Chamber President Angelo Vigliotta, Jr., with Commissioner Thomas Tinlin and BTD staff in Maverick Square.

Chamber President Angelo Vigliotta, Jr., with Commissioner Thomas Tinlin and BTD staff in Maverick Square.

Office of Consumer Affairs Ends Check Casher Partnerships Targeting Social Security Recipients

Office of Consumer Affairs Ends Check Casher Partnerships Targeting Social Security Recipients
Division of Banks Actions Lead to Bank Ending Relationships Nationwide;
Local Banks and Credit Unions to Fill Void for Consumers


BOSTON – December 14, 2009 – The Patrick Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation announced today that the Division of Banks has ordered six state-licensed check cashers to terminate partnerships with out-of-state banks to charge Social Security recipients exorbitant fees to cash and access their benefit checks.

Under these arrangements, check cashers would market the establishment of direct deposit services at their locations and create a limited-purpose account with an out-of-state bank to allow for the direct deposit of customers’ Social Security or other government benefit checks. Approximately 2,700 Massachusetts residents had established these accounts, even though Massachusetts banks and credit unions are required by law to cash Social Security and pension checks at no cost to the consumer.

The out-of-state banks routinely charged between $4 and $4.95 each time a Social Security benefit check was electronically deposited into one of these accounts. These so-called limited-purpose accounts did not provide an access device for customers. Accordingly, consumers were dependent upon the participating check cashers to access their funds once deposited in the out-of-state banks. Check cashers were provided with the ability to write checks on the accounts by the out-of-state banks and typically charged consumers an additional fee ranging from 2 percent to 2.8 percent of the face value of any check created to access funds.

“These partnerships between check cashers and out-of-state banks and the resulting fees are outrageous. The consumer thinks they are getting access to their Social Security benefits though a direct deposit at a bank. Instead, they are forced to pay high fees to access their own money,” said Barbara Anthony, the Undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. “Consumers will be far better served to open a full-service account at a local bank or credit union.”

Commissioner of Banks Steven L. Antonakes said that the partnerships between the out-of-state banks and check cashers were discovered during routine examinations of the check cashers. Check cashers entering into formal consent orders with the Division include Boston Check Cashers and its 20 Boston area locations; Cassie H. Farmer d/b/a Family Financial Center, in Framingham; JMT Check Cashing, Inc., d/b/a United Check Cashing, in West Springfield; Northeast Check Cashing, Inc., d/b/a The Money Stop, in Worcester; Parras, Inc., d/b/a Ace Cash Express, in Worcester; and Speedy Check, Inc., in Lowell. The out-of-state banks partnering with these licensees were Republic Bank and Trust Company of Louisville, Kentucky, and Bank of Agriculture and Commerce of Stockton, California.

The action by the Division will have nationwide ramifications. Subsequent to the release of the Division’s orders, the bank involved in all six Massachusetts check cashers – Republic Bank and Trust Company – announced to check cashers around the country that it was exiting the business. The California bank had previously announced that it was ending all partnerships with check cashers nationally.

“What makes these practices even more frustrating is that under existing Massachusetts law, any bank or credit union doing business in the Commonwealth must cash Social Security checks at no cost for all Massachusetts residents,” Commissioner Antonakes said.

Massachusetts law requires all banks and credit unions to cash Social Security and other pension benefit checks at no charge, even if the consumer does not have an account. Dan Forte, President of the Massachusetts Bankers Association, urged consumers to establish a secure and insured account at a local bank.

“Consumers can avoid high check casher fees by opening a low-cost bank account or a free full-service account at most local banks,” said Forte. “Massachusetts banks have been serving customers on fixed incomes for years.”

Dan Egan, President of the Massachusetts Credit Union League also advised Social Security recipients to save money by establishing a direct deposit account locally.

“Massachusetts credit unions were founded to serve people of limited means,” Egan said. “By doing business with a credit union in Massachusetts, consumers can access their accounts without having to pay a fee.”

Under the terms of the consent orders, all six check cashers will be required to terminate their relationships with the out-of-state banks and end all advertising that implies that they offer banking accounts. In addition, they must provide a letter to each customer that has established a limited-purpose bank account notifying the customer that the check casher will no longer be able to provide direct deposit services. The check cashers must also notify customers that they can either open up a direct deposit relationship at another bank or credit union, set up a DirectExpress® debit card through the Social Security Administration, or revert to receiving paper checks. They will also advise customers that banks and credit unions in Massachusetts must cash Social Security and other pension checks for free.

Consumers with direct deposit relationships with one of these check cashers who have questions, or other consumers receiving Social Security or other pension checks who would like information on alternatives to check cashers, should call the Division’s Consumer Hotline at (800) 495-BANK (2265).