Revamping Central Square

CentralSquare.com has posted reports from several committees looking at the future of the Cambridge business district, with ideas ranging from creation of a full-service visitor information center, new plantings and better lighting. Some merchants want to create a "business improvement district," like the one in Downtown Crossing that would include hiring "ambassadors" to greet visitors - and broom panhandlers from the area (one landowner proposed removing all the benches in the square as a way to discourage the loitering classes).

One committee dealt with Central Square's "messaging" and came up with an elevator pitch:

Central Square is the pulse of Cambridge; an eclectic urban neighborhood where cultures mix, mingle and create. Day or night, Central Square is a vibrant destination for dance, theater, music, and global cuisine.

DA drops charges against three for Franklin Field triple murder after key witnesses turn up dead

The Suffolk County District Attorney's office reported today it has dropped murder charges against suspects in a triple murder after a Franklin Field cookout in 2004.

The DA's office said there is no connection between the case and the deaths of two key witnesses - one died of natural causes, the other in a fight in Lewiston, Maine. It said it formally ended the charges in a nolle prosequi filing, which means it could re-charge the three - Jemald Allen, his nephew Roderick Allen and Antoin Fields - if it can find other compelling evidence with which to pin them with the murders of Angelo Henderson, Jaison Jenkins, and Anthony Williams.

Because of that, investigators urge anyone with knowledge about the Sept. 4, 2004 murders to contact the Boston Police homicide unit at 617-343-4470 or the anonymous tip line by calling 800-494-TIPS, or texting TIP to CRIME (27463).

Burlington residents, workers told to boil water

When tests showed fecal coliform in the town water supply, the town retested the water and found e. coli, so now the state and town are telling people not to drink Burlington water without boiling it first.

TOWN OF BURLINGTON ISSUES BOIL WATER ORDER

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has directed the Town to issue a boil water order for the entire water system. This means no tap water should be consumed unless is boiled first.

During the normal weekly water testing some sites tested positive for total coliform bacteria. Samples were further tested and the results showed e-coli bacteria positive. In order to protect the health of our customers the DEP and the Town are issuing a boil water order.

The boil water order will remain in place until two full rounds of system wide testing show no total coliform present.

What a boil-water order means.

H/T Ryan.

Police to step up surveillance along Geneva Avenue following double shooting that left one teen dead

Boston Police announced today they will be stepping up walking beats and installing more cameras along Geneva Avenue in the wake of a Sunday-afternoon double shooting that killed a 16-year-old and sent a 14-year-old to the hospital with critical injuries.

BPD says it will also crack down on "impact players" in the local drug and gun trade, put up "high profile" signs along Geneva Avenue with contact information for the department's anonymous tip line and step up coordination with the city street-worker team to try to stop further outbreaks of violence.

Meanwhile, police say they are looking for a black male, wearing a red shirt, seen leaving the area of the shootings on a bicycle.

Court overturns damages against landlord who tried to get tenants fired

The Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled today that Housing Court is the wrong place to consider a complaint by two Roxbury tenants that their landlord reacted to a rent dispute by badmouthing them to congregants at the church where they work as custodians - and by trying to get them fired by strewing trash on the church floors to make it seem like they weren't doing their jobs.

The court did uphold the tenants' withholding of nearly four months' worth of rent for the landlord's failure to fix problems in the apartment, notably failing to fix a hole above the kitchen sink and to provide locks on the door to first-floor apartment in the two-family home in which both landlord and tenants lived.

The tenants are employed as custodians at a church to which the landlord belongs. The tenants testified that "[the landlord] has been going throughout the congregation, speaking to other members regarding this incident.... Members have come and questioned [one tenant] about [his] private business, which has been told to them by [the landlord]." According to the tenants, the landlord would come into the church after they had finished cleaning and place trash on the floors to make it look like the tenants had failed to clean the church.

However, the court overturned the $3,600 in damages a Housing Court judge levied against Donald Kelly, noting that none of this happened at the rental unit:

However distressing these actions by the landlord may have been to the tenants, such conduct did not amount to interference with their quiet enjoyment of the premises they were renting. According to the judge's findings and our own review of the hearing transcript, the landlord's conduct did not occur on or near the premises and was unrelated to their physical condition. Nor did the judge make a finding that the landlord's conduct impaired the character or value of the leased premises. Absent such findings or other evidence in the record, on these facts the judge erred in holding that the landlord interfered with the tenants' right to quiet enjoyment.

The judges added this does not mean they were taking a position on any action the tenants might take in another court over the behavior.

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