Upstate New Yorker gets six months for South Boston condo scam

A Skaneateles, N.Y. man who set up shop in Brighton, was sentenced to six months in federal prison this week for his role in a scheme in which he and his associates profited from mortgage fees on a building they converted to condos at 25-31 W 5 St. in South Boston, the US Attorney's office reports.

Michael St. Claire will also have to spend four months in home confinement and pay $1.2 million in restitution for the scheme to defraud lenders.

St. Claire had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to federal prosecutors, his Morpheus, LLC bought the ramshackle building and turned it into 12 condos. Then, prosecutors say, he and his accomplices recruited sham buyers and made up bogus income statements for lenders. The lenders approved the loans, St. Claire and pals paid off the sham buyers and pocketed the fees - after which the buyers promptly defaulted.

The feds say lenders lost $1 million to the scheme.

Maine pair admit prostituting a 13-year-old in Boston

The two, Shawna Calhoun, 24, of Lewiston and Alvin Houston, Jr., 27, of Auburn, pleaded guilty yesterday to driving a 13-year-old from Maine to Boston so she could service the men who called the number in backpage.com ads, the US Attorney's office in Portland, reports.

In their defense, Calhoun, born in Boston, and Houston said they thought the girl was 16, according to an affidavit filed by an FBI agent brought in to investigate the case of a runaway teen from Lisbon, ME last December.

While in the Boston area, the trio stayed at Calhoun's mother's home and "drove the 13-year old girl to various hotels in the Boston area to engage in prostitution," the US Attorney's office says. Calhoun took half the girl's earnings. When they returned to Maine, the girl continued her work. FBI agents set up a sting in a Bangor hotel room to take her into custody and arrest Calhoun and Houston.

The two face up to 10 years in prison.

Chinatown restaurant records five-day suspension for not fixing its video surveillance system

The Boston Licensing Board recently ordered New Moon Villa on Edinboro Street to shut for five days for failing to fix its surveillance system even as violence kept erupting outside the restaurant and sometimes spilled into it.

At a hearing earlier this month, a Boston Police detective said he went into the restaurant several times to ask for a copy of video after violent incidents, only to be told the system was not working that night. The most notable of these was a gang shootout last August that injured six people, one of whom ran through the restaurant kitchen, gushing blood, as he tried to flee.

The formal citation was for "failure to cooperate with police."

At the most recent hearing, a restaurant co-owner apologized and said he kept trying to fix an aging video and computer system, rather than buying a new one. The restaurant's lawyer said the restaurant would buy a new video system.

Jamaica Pond: Now even more toxic

Results from Monday testing of Jamaica Pond water show cyanobacteria levels more than three times higher than the maximum considered safe for people and their pets, the Boston Public Health Commission reports.

The results of this sampling indicate that algae levels exceed the state-established 70,000 cells/milliliter. Massachusetts Department of Public Health analysis of the sample taken on July 27th shows cyanobacteria levels of 240,000 cells/mL, above the DPH guideline level of 70,000 cells/mL threshold.

The numbers are way higher than even last week's results.

That means the ban on swimming, boating, fishing or even just coming in contact with the pond's water continues, because the blue-green algae can make you or your dog sick; in rare cases, it can prove fatal.

The Boston Public Health Commission will continue to review state sampling results for the presence of a algae bloom in Jamaica Pond over the coming weeks. Water sampling will occur at least weekly while ​the algae bloom persists, and for several weeks after it is no longer visible. DPH recommends that the recreational water advisory not be lifted until two consecutive weekly samples show algal cell counts below the safe limit of 70,000 cells/milliliter of water.​​​​​​​

New public market opens next to Haymarket tomorrow; will offer New England's bounty

The market had a soft opening today.

Boston Public Market
The market had a soft opening today.

At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh will cut the ribbon to officially open the Boston Public Market in the Hanover Street building that houses the Registry of Motor Vehicles and the Haymarket T stop - bringing produce, honey, fish, meat and other products from the farms, fishermen and artisans of New England.

The 30,000-square foot space, which had been vacant since the building opened 12 years ago, will also offer all sorts of food - from pastrami sandwiches and matzah-ball soup to ice cream and donuts that can be consumed in a small seating area - or taken to go, of course.

Boston Public Market flowers for sale
Fresh flowers for sale.

"There's a lot of great energy with the other vendors," said Chris Kurth, owner of Siena Farms, a Sudbury farm with a CSA - and a store in the South End. "Everyone is excited to learn about each other and support each other, even competing products."

NutsQuinn and her nuts.

Beth Quinn, who owns Q's Nuts with her husband Brian, agreed. The two have a small kitchen and storefront in Somerville but said that they are hoping to reach many more people from their new spot at the Market.

For other vendors, a space at the Boston Public Market is a completely new experience. Chris Avery of Boston Smoked Fish Company said the Boston Public Market is the biggest development for their business to date.

Kim Denney, co-owner of Chestnut Farms said, "This is literally our first hour of retail ever." She and her husband Rich Jakshtis sell meat at farmers markets around the region seven days a week from May through October. They hope to settle into a more sustainable home in the Market.

Beer
Only New England beers and spirits in this market.

In addition to delivering fresh meats, produce and other local products, The Boston Public Market features Hopster's Ally, a mini-store showcasing locally made beers, wines and spirits. Unlike its sister store in Newton, this Hopster's Ally doesn't brew onsite. They will, however, sell growlers and host tastings.

At one entrance of the Boston Public Market is a large open KITCHEN space, where the Market will host programming through The Trustees of Reservations. Beginning on August 19, nearly 40 program collaborators will give lectures, run cooking classes, teach yoga and host running clubs.

"The KITCHEN at the Boston Public Market is one of the many components that truly set it apart from any other public market in the nation," said Boston Public market CEO Liz Morningstar.

The KITCHEN will feature a mixture of free, low-priced and competitively priced classes. "Our KITCHEN programming is designed to appeal to a broad base of people, ranging from seasoned foodies interested in picking up a new skill, to those looking for a healthy start to their day, to families looking for ideas on how to cook nutritious food on a budget," said Trustees' President and CEO Barbara Erickson.

After tomorrow's ribbon cutting ceremony, the Boston Public Market will be open every Wednesday through Sunday, 8:00 am to 8:00 pm.

More photos

Donuts
No more waiting until fall for fresh apple cider donuts.
East Boston greens
You can buy greens grown in converted shipping containers in East Boston.
Chocolate
Taza Chocolate of Somerville has a booth.
Cheese
Fresh cheese? Of course.
Cheese
Watermelon fudge.

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