Zoning Board of Appeal hearings - Jan 10

Even if these are not in your neighborhood and may not directly affect you, zoning board decisions set precedents that in the future could be relevant to something where you live. So if you would have an opinion if this was happening next door, it is worth writing a short letter about these appeals.

You can download zoning codes and maps here. The Allston-Brighton zoning is in Article 51.

Hearings at 11:30am, Tuesday Jan 10 in Room 801, City Hall.

Michael Lydon
9-11 Undine Road, Brighton
Off-street parking for 6 vehicles

Albert Mancini
73 Seattle St, Allston
Combine parcels and erect 3 family house

If you wish to support or oppose these proposals, it can be mailed to:
Board of Appeal, Room 204
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201
For more information, call the Board of Appeal at (617)635-4775.

Crime Keeps Dropping Across NY City

Crime Numbers Keep Dropping Across the City - New York Times: "New York's continuing decline is in contrast to some other cities across the nation. After years of falling crime, Boston is now experiencing a surge in homicides."

Cambridge City Councilors Running to Represent Allston in State Senate

Galluccio, Decker to duke it out
: Anthony Galluccio and Marjorie Decker told the Cambridge Chronicle this week that they are running for the state Senate seat being vacated by Jarrett Barrios, a candidate for Middlesex County District Attorney. The Middlesex, Suffolk and Essex district stretches into Allston, Brighton, Cambridge, Charlestown, Chelsea, Everett, Revere, Saugus and Somerville.

Officials say traffic cameras are needed

BostonHerald.com: Is your car ready for a close-up? Officials say traffic cameras are needed: " In 1996, Boston tested red-light cameras at a Commonwealth Avenue corner, but the city couldn't get state legislation passed to allow them to use the cameras to ticket. State law stipulates that a police officer give a citation to the violator. "

Time for Chemical Plant Security

National and local stories about the safety of chemical plants in general and Houghton Chemical in Allston.
Time for Chemical Plant Security - New York Times Editorial
It is hard to believe, but more than four years after the Sept. 11 attacks, Congress has still not acted to make chemical plants, one of the nation's greatest terrorist vulnerabilities, safer. If terrorists attacked a chemical plant, the death toll could be enormous. A single breached chlorine tank could, according to the Department of Homeland Security, lead to 17,500 deaths, 10,000 severe injuries and 100,000 hospitalizations. Many chemical plants have shockingly little security to defend against such attacks.

Defusing time bomb in Allston
Massachusetts public safety leaders should be taking a hard look at our emergency plan to see Houghton Chemical for what it is - a homemade bomb - that should be removed from the banks of the Charles River, the shadow of Fenway Park, and the midst of Boston.

Overtime still key issue for adding pilot schools

Overtime still key issue for adding pilot schools - The Boston Globe: "Both sides have quietly negotiated since the union blocked teachers' efforts to turn the Thomas Gardner Elementary School in Allston into a pilot school in June 2004, though the majority of teachers voted in favor of it."

Boston Police blog

Boston's police blotter has moved online, with information about recent crimes and statistics. Recent Allston crimes include:
  • Two Men Arrested for Tagging along the Massachusetts Turnpike in Allston - 1am Dec 23
  • Man Arrested After Operating Wrong Way On Commonwealth Ave. - 2am Dec 23
  • Male Robbed at Knife Point in Allston on Franklin Street overpass - 11pm Dec 20
BPDNews.com - News Updates from the Boston Police Department

Big Dig costs may rise by millions

Big Dig costs may rise by millions - The Boston Globe: "One of the officials pegged the estimated increase at $75 million, an increase that Massachusetts taxpayers or tollpayers would have to absorb, because the federal government has capped its contribution to the controversial megaproject."

'Harvard in Allston' Exhibit Room

This exhibit room is open to the public Monday-Friday. Click here for an online tour of the room. More information is at Harvard's Allston website. To schedule a guided tour, email allston@harvard.edu or call 617-495-3525.

Why should I pay for this concrete sidewalk?

Why should I pay for this? - The Boston Globe
Boston residents who want a concrete sidewalk in front of their house are charged $150 for the city to replace an asphalt sidewalk with concrete. Do you think improvements such as fixing sidewalks should cost extra, depending on where you live, or come as part of basic city services?

Public schools advanced classes see dip in diversity

Advanced classes see dip in diversity - The Boston Globe
In 1999 Boston stopped using racial quotas to assign students to its advanced work classes. Since then the % of black students in advanced classes has dropped from 49 to 25. Black and Hispanic students fill 44 percent of the 968 seats in the accelerated classes in the school district, though they make up more than three-quarters of Boston's students overall.

Boston Globe Letter to the Editor - Allston needs a stronger fence

Allston needs a stronger fence - The Boston Globe
NATIONALLY, more than 14,000 people are killed and one million injured each year in run-off road accidents. Allston residents have been warned by Turnpike officials about the dangers of snow plowed from the Pike's new breakdown lane onto Lincoln Street (''After storm, Pike faces complaints," City & Region, Dec. 13).
The wood fence that the Turnpike built this year is not strong enough to block plowed snow -- sections of this fence came crashing down after this season's first snow. It should therefore be replaced with a wall able to protect us from both these dangers. The new wall should be tall enough to block plowed snow and strong enough to prevent a crash on the Turnpike from ending up in someone's front yard.
My neighbors and I are not asking for a sound barrier to be built now. In 2004 the Turnpike spent $12 million to build a safe barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic. We are only asking that Turnpike authorities be as serious about the safety of people who live near the road as it is about the safety of people who drive on it.

Ceramics Show and Sale

The Harvard Cermaics Program at 219 Western Ave (at the intersection of North Harvard) is having their semi-annual sale through Sunday. A lot of different styles of ceramics at very reasonable prices. More Info.

Holiday Family Fun Day at the Library on Saturday

Preschool Holiday Storytime for children ages 2 to 5 at 10:30 a.m., Holiday Craft for Older Kids for children ages 6 and above at 1 p.m., and 3pm Movie: March of the Penguins.
More Info

Green strip proposals get first public review

Lincoln Street Green strip proposals get first public review
Overview of the Dec 5 presentation by the semi-finalist artists for this site. The proposals are on display at the Honan Library through the end of the month. Click here for more information about this project.

ABCDC organizes over college impacts

ABCDC organizes over college impacts
Story from the Bulletin about the Allston Brighton CDC's effort to organize a coalition to look at future expansion by Harvard and Boston College

Harvard expansion in Cambridge blog

Cambridge Common: we need to hear all sides on allston
The Cambridge Common blog has an interesting dicussion about Harvard expansion and Charlesview

Councilors back graffiti law

Councilors back graffiti law that puts onus on property owners - The Boston Globe
Something that Allston certainly has too much of. You can contact the city's 24-Hour hotline at 617-635-4500 or use this form to get graffitti removed.

Goodbye Governor Romney

Incumbent's decision puts the spotlight on four announced rivals - The Boston Globe
Romney never was considered friendly to the major cities in the state. Boston would benefit from a new governor more willing to help our cities who meet many of the state's needs (like affordable housing).

meet Mayor Menino & enjoy free skating

One in 3 Boston - Upcoming Events
On December 19 from 7:30-9:00pm, ONEin3 Boston, a program to Bostonians between 20 and 34 years old, is hosting a free ice skating event at the Frog Pond

Business leaders hear plea from Menino

Business leaders hear plea from Menino - The Boston Globe
Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday appealed to business leaders to pressure lawmakers in his long fight with the State House over local taxes and other efforts to bring more money to Boston. Boston is facing an intensifying financial crunch in a climate of reduced state aid and escalating health and energy costs.

Anyone else want to post?

I'm happy to open up this soapbox to anyone else who would like to post instead of just comment on the posts I've made. I just need your email address. Give me a call if you are interested - 617-538-7038.

Mass Pike safety - letters to the editor

To follow up today's story in the Globe and keep the attention on this issue, you can all help by writing a letter to the editor. If all of us write even a short letter, the volume of letters will tell them that it is a good issue to cover and make them more likely to publish the best letter they get on the subject. Importand points to make in the letter are:
  • We are not asking for a sound barrier to be built now. Every time the sound barrier issue comes up the Turnpike just tells us we have to wait because we are lower on their list. We don’t seem to be able to move up on their list and this issue becomes a conversation stopper.
  • We want a safe wall tall enough to block snow. The Turnpike told us that without a safe wall to block snow we would not be safe. The wood fence is obviously not capable of blocking snow.
  • We want a safe wall strong enough to prevent an accident on the Turnpike from ending up on Lincoln Street
To submit a letter to the editor, e-mail letter@globe.com or use the this form
Letters may be sent by fax to (617) 929-2098 or by regular mail to:
    Letters to the Editor
    The Boston Globe
    P.O. Box 55819
    Boston, MA 02205-5819
    Include your full name, address, and a telephone number for confirmation purposes. Letters should be 200 words or less. Here is the letter I wrote this morning:
    Nationally, more than 14,000 people are killed and one million are injured each year in run-off road accidents. The residents of Allston have also been warned by Turnpike officials about the dangers of snow plowed from the Pike’s new breakdown lane onto Lincoln Street (“After storm, Pike faces complaints”, December 13). The wood fence that the Turnpike built this year is not strong enough to block plowed snow – sections of this fence came crashing down after this season’s first snow. It should therefore be replaced with a wall able to protect us from both these dangers. The new wall should be tall enough to block plowed snow and strong enough to prevent a crash on the Turnpike from ending up in someone’s front yard. My neighbors and I are not asking for a sound barrier to be built now. In 2004 the Turnpike spent $12,000,000 to build a safe barrier between the eastbound and westbound lanes of traffic. We are only asking the Turnpike be as serious about the safety of people who live near their road as it is about the safety of people who drive on it.

    Harry Mattison
    28 Mansfield St, Allston
    617 538 7038

      After storm, Pike faces complaints - The Boston Globe

      After storm, Pike faces complaints - The Boston Globe

      Turnpike's 42" concrete median barrier

      Extensive safety enhancement project on Boston Extension - In 2004 the Turnpike built a 42" concrete median barrier between the eastbound and westbound traffic lanes. "These are vital safety improvements" said Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello. What the Turnpike builds between Lincoln Street and the Turnpike should be at least as safe.

      What do we need between Lincoln St & the Pike to be safe?

      The stories below raise an interesting question about the safety of Lincoln Street. The Turnpike built the wood fence to protect Lincoln Street from plowed snow. But what will happen if an 18-wheel tractor-trailer going westbound on the Pike has a serious accident? Will the guard rail between the new breakdown lane and Lincoln St. stop the truck? I'm not an expert, but I don't want to trust my life to the guardrail keeping the truck on the turnpike.

      Sturbridge, MA: A head-on crash began when a tractor-trailer crashed through the center guardrail on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

      Texas: Car & truck crash from bridge, through a guardrail, and tumble down an embankment.

      California: Tow truck flipped over a guardrail and plunged 30 feet

      Illinois: A semi hauling two trailers crashed into a tollway maintenance vehicle. The truck then ran through a guardrail, rolled over, and caught fire.

      Mass Pike's $200,000 wall - what next?

      The Turnpike Authority has told us many times that we need a strong wall between Lincoln Street and the Pike. In the March 13 Boston Globe we were told:
      "It is part of the important safety improvements we're making on the Boston Extension, where we're introducing breakdown lanes to areas of the westbound side of the roadway that has never had them before," Turnpike Spokesman Doug Hanchett added. Without the screening fence heavy snow and ice from Turnpike plows would be thrown onto the sidewalk on Lincoln Street. The screening fence, which needs to be sufficiently sturdy to handle the force and weight of the snow, will prevent that from happening.
      Obviously what is now between Lincoln Street and the Pike is inadequate. We should not accept a patch job of 2x4s and nails on this inadequate fence. This fence needs to be taken down and immediately replaced with a properly engineered wall made of brick, concrete, or other durable materials and designed in collaboration with the community.
      Please let your State Rep and Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello know that this is what should be done. The more people they hear from the more likely we are to have this corrected.
      State Rep Kevin Honan 617-722-2470
      State Rep Mike Moran 617-722-2460
      Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello 617-248-2800

      Harvard MBA Students Tutoring at Allston's Gardner School

      Tutoring at Gardner Gives HBSers a Chance to Connect with Kids - News

      Harvard dorms in Allston?

      The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Connected by a (foot)bridge

      Mass Pike's new wall falling down

      When the Mass Pike was planning this wall along Lincoln Street they insisted that it would be a strong wall that would last decades. It is only a few months old and already falling down!
      Map of 274 Lincoln St - across the street from the wall
      If you don't like seeing this, call Turnpike Chairman Matt Amorello 617-248-2800 or send him an email.

      Letter to the Editor by Police Capt. Evans

      No humor in binge drinking - The Boston Globe
      Our police captain certainly seems to be looking out for the interests of the Allston homeowner when it comes to rowdy student behavior.

      NSTAR - please shovel!

      For years the abutters of NSTAR's Lincoln Street substation have been asking NSTAR to be a good neighbor. One way to do that is to shovel the snow off the sidewalk adjacent to their property. As you can see they haven't done that since yesterday's storm. NSTAR claims to be "committed to the communities it serves" so will it make a commitment to keep their sidewalks safe?

      Sidewalks that don't get shoveled

      Some people in our neighborhood do a nice job shoveling their sidewalks. Others don't. Boston's Storm Guide says "Sidewalks should be passable within three hours after a snowstorm." But what if they aren't? Do we want Boston to issue fines? What is the safety impact for people who are old, young, or disabled when they have to walk in the snow and ice on the sidewalk or dodge cars in the street?

      Were your streets plowed?

      Plowing from yesterday's storm was somewhat uneven in our neighborhood. Here is the intersection of Mansfield and Allcott 18 hours after the storm ended.

      Property taxes rise 9.2%

      Property taxes rise 9.2% in city - The Boston Globe
      The average bill is 58 percent higher than it was in 2002 and the average single-family homeowner's tax bill will increase to $2,750.

      Charlesview story in Harvard Crimson

      The Harvard Crimson :: Opinion :: Who's Got the 'View?
      "If our Allston neighbors want to stay, let them" says the writer of this opinion piece

      Evacuating Boston

      Menino details emergency evacuation plan - The Boston Globe
      More info at the City's website. In Allston our neighborhood emergency shelters are the Gardner and Jackson/Mann Schools.

      Lincoln Street Green Strip - Doormat to welcome mat?

      Doormat to welcome mat? - The Boston Globe
      A great story in the Globe about this effort to improve the neighborhood and create a much needed green space of beauty.

      Mass Pike to build U-turn ramp in Allston

      City to equip taxis with Fast Lane transponders - The Boston Globe
      Most of this story is about Fast Lane transponders, but it also mentions the U-turn ramp that will allow vehicles travelling west on the Pike to turn around in Allston to head east and then use the exits that are only available for east-going traffic (Prudential, Copley Sq...)

      Lincoln Street Green Strip artist presentations - Dec 5, 6pm

      Meet semifinalists of Lincoln Street art project
      On Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m., residents will meet the four teams of semifinalists at the Honan library who have been chosen to design the public art installation at the Lincoln Street strip.
      More information about the project is here.

      Plans for new billboard tipped over

      Allston-Brighton TAB story about the new billboard that will be going up at the intersection of Lincoln and Franklin Streets

      City begins search for Payzant's successor

      City begins search for Payzant's successor - The Boston Globe
      Nearly three months later than expected, Mayor Thomas M. Menino and the Boston School Committee named a 12-person superintendent search committee yesterday. Despite the delay, the committee still plans to name a superintendent by the end of the school year to replace Thomas W. Payzant, who will retire in June after leading Boston schools for more than a decade.
      ''As mayor, in my next term, this will probably be the most important thing I do," Menino said.

      Boston schools get an 'A' for improvement in math

      Boston schools get an 'A' for improvement in math - The Boston Globe
      A more complete story from the Globe than yesterday's Herald coverage

      Taxi fares to rise 50 cents per ride

      Taxi fares to rise 50 cents per ride - The Boston Globe
      Thankfully there is a silver lining:
      Officials will require taxicab operators to place transponders in cabs so they can use the Fast Lanes in the tunnels and on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The requirement will take effect June 1.

      States (but not MA) to move on cutting emissions

      States to move on cutting emissions - The Boston Globe: "Seven Northeast states decided yesterday to move forward without Massachusetts on a landmark agreement to limit power plant emissions, because of the Romney administration's reluctance to act on the pact, according to two government officials involved in the negotiations."

      Boston students improve their math scores

      Boston students improve their math scores - Boston Herald
      Boston showed the most improvement among a group of eleven large cities in federal math testing. Overall, Boston's scores were in the middle of the pack. What this means for your child at a specific school is not exactly clear.

      Click here to see the complete report.

      Lead in drinking water

      City Council to discuss lead in water today - The Boston Globe
      Tap water in 4,500 Boston properties flows through aging lead pipes that could be exposing city residents to higher lead levels than is allowed by federal law.Read the Boston Globe story. Is your house linked to city water lines with lead pipes? Find out here.

      Boston killings equal 10-year high - The Boston Globe

      Killings equal 10-year high - The Boston Globe
      Sad news. More people are being killed in Boston, fewer people murder cases are being solved. Where are all the homicides happening? Check out the map.

      Boston Police posts crime statistics here. D14 is the district that includes Allston and Brighton. Through Novemeber 16 there were 2 homicides in our district. Most of Boston's homicides this year have been in Mattapan, Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Dorchester.

      Chicago Police use mapping technology to show where crimes are happening in their city. An even more interesting technology is ChicagoCrime.org. The crime mapping along a route of your choosing is very interesting.

      Bedbugs - not just in Allston

      Just Try to Sleep Tight. The Bedbugs Are Back. - New York Times

      Tax Exempt Property in Boston

      Tax Exempt Property in Boston - Analysis of Types, Uses, and Issues by the Boston Redevelopment Authority
      A report by the Boston Redevelopment Authority about the ownership and usage of tax exempt land in Boston. Last page is an interesting map of Boston showing the exempt land.

      50% of the land in Boston is tax exempt. Most of that land is state (26%) or city (14%) owned. Colleges and universities own 1.5%, cemetaries own 2.6%, and museums and other cultural organizations own 1.4%.

      This report suggests a different solution than the City Council's proposal to get more PILOT from the colleges. The BRA says:

      The state needs to reimburse cities and towns – especially Boston – for
      the revenue lost by the presence of tax-exempt institutions and the cost of providing
      services to them.

      City Council wants to increase PILOT $$

      Boston feels pinch of higher learning as tax-exempt colleges skimp on payments - The Boston Herald
      With major non-profit organizations Harvard and Boston University in the neighborhood, payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT) is a perennial issue of interest. The City Council held a hearing on Tuesday proposing that colleges and universities pay 25% of what their real estate taxes would be if they were not non-profits. If this formula were used, the 8 biggest schools would pay 16 times more than they do now. Will the schools really agree to pay so much more than they do under their current agreements?

      City's role in traffic safety

      City ignores role in traffic safety - The Boston Globe
      A letter to the editor about problems in Chinatown similar to those in Allston

      Low tech at City Hall

      Low tech at City Hall - Boston Globe editorial
      Did you know that most city employees at City Hall don't even have voice mail? Look at what New York City is doing!

      Avoiding Tolls On The Massachusetts Turnpike

      A wise guy has some fun on the Mass Pike
      (Not an endorsement of illegal activity, but this story might give you a laugh)

      Billboard going up on Lincoln Street

      Many people in Allston rejoiced in February 2005 when Clear Channel Outdoor removed their billboards from this building at 298 Lincoln Street after their lease expired in January. So you can imagine our dissapointment nine months later to learn that the building owner wanted to put billboards back on top of the building.

      Inspectional Services DENIED a permit because Allston's zoning says: Any billboard except those in existence as of the effective date [2003] of this Article, shall be forbidden.

      The building owner appealed this decision to Boston's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

      The Boston Redevelopment Authority reccomended denial of the appeal because billboards are a forbidden use, excessive, and would create a bad precedent in this residential neighborhood.

      Several Allston residents wrote letters opposing this appeal and Paul Berkeley attended the ZBA meeting to testify against it. But Allston's City Councilor Jerry McDermott and City Council President Michael Flaherty SUPPORTED constructing these billboards in our neigborhood and the Zoning Board APPROVED the appeal.

      So, soon Allston will have two more billboards than it does today.

      Pedestrian Safety (or lack thereof)

      A walk on the wild side - The Boston Globe
      Allston certainly has its share of pedestrian dangers. Lincoln Street may be the worst.
      • A bicyclist was hit by a car and killed in June 2004
      • A car crashed through the brick wall on Lincoln Street near Everett Street in February 2005
      • Cars have gone off the road and badly damaged fences on both sides of Lincoln Street at the intersection with Mansfield Street

      There are many cities doing a lot of innovative things to try to make their environments safter for pedestrians and bicyclists. Boston should be a leader in keeping its citizens safe like these cities are. Here is some of the information on Boston's website:

      Pedestrian Safety Guidelines For Residential Streets - 2001
      Boston’s Streets May Be Hazardous to Pedestrian Health

      You can read more at:


      State lags on upkeep of parks system

      For anyone who goes to Artesani Playground or Herter Park or crosses the river from Allston to Cambridge or Watertown, this story in today's Globe is too true.

      ''We should not accept the status quo," Romney said in February 2003. ''Every park in Massachusetts should be world-class and the way to achieve this is to create a unified, world-class management system."


      • Since 2003, the DCR has lost 158 employees
      • Funding has dropped by more than 10 percent since 2002
      • Governing Magazine recently ranked state spending on parks and recreation and found Massachusetts last in the nation
      State Representative Mike Moran of Brighton, who sometimes beseeches the city for help in cleaning graffiti on DCR-owned land in his district, said that years of inadequate funding preceded Romney.
      ''He wants to have a world-class parks system. Today we have a Third-World parks system," Moran said. ''I don't think Governor Romney understands how important these pools and rinks and recreation areas are for people that don't have them at their disposal down the street or in their backyard."

      Superintendent Payzant - Public Official of the Year Award

      It is great to see Boston's superintendent recognized as a Public Offical of the Year. Payzant is retiring in 2006 and his replacement will certainly be important to the future of Boston and the Boston Public Schools.

      Governing: 2005 Public Officials of the Year/Payzant

      Massachusetts Report card - C+

      This is an interesting review of our State by Governing Magazine. It looks at the state from several different angles and gives an overall grade of C+. It mentions weaknesses in:
      - long term outlook
      - hiring
      - retaining employees
      - capital planning
      - project monitoring
      - strategic direction

      Unfortunately it does not note any areas of strength for Massachusetts. I hope our government is better than that!

      Government Performance Project 2005/Report card: Massachusetts

      Mahoney's coming to Allston

      Mahoney's Garden Center is moving from its site on Memorial Drive in Cambridge to Western Ave in Allston! They are moving into the vacant building formerly operated by Lotus Motor Sports and using the vacant lot next door. Western Ave will be much nicer with a bit of green on it.

      Boston's Premier Garden Centers

      Dog electrocuted on Western Ave

      Boston.com / News / Local / Mass. / NStar holds the power

      Very sad news from March 1.

      A one-year-old dog died yesterday after stepping in a muddy area where a live electrical wire was buried on Western Avenue in Allston.

      The boxer's 13-year-old owner, who had been taking the dog for a morning walk, watched as the dog suddenly lurched and went into convulsions. The boy was injured slightly when the dog bit his hand. "The dog was shaking, and he nipped at the boy and then collapsed and died," said Bonnie Zeledon, vice president of marketing for Angell Animal Medical Center, where the dog was pronounced dead.

      The incident rekindled outrage from Boston city leaders who say the problem of stray electricity is out of control.

      "What makes me so disgusted is that every body is going to start pointing fingers again instead of solving the problem," said Councilor at Large Maura Hennigan, who insisted last year that the city conduct an investigation into the problem after several dogs and their owners were shocked by manhole covers and other places in city streets where electrical currents were flowing.

      While a series of City Council hearings on the issue were held last year, Hennigan says that the city needs to do more.

      "I am just so enraged," she said. "Now you have someone's pet killed and someone's child injured because of this. Are we waiting for someone to die before doing something? It's so aggravating."

      After conducting an investigation yesterday, officials from the city's Inspectional Services Department cited NStar, saying that several years ago the company removed a light pole from the spot where the dog was electrocuted. The company failed to shut off power to the site and cap wires that remained exposed under the surface.

      "A violation will be written against NStar," said city spokeswoman Lisa Timberlake. "It is NStar's duty to maintain the electricity. If there's no pole there, it's NStar's responsibility to shut off the power."

      NStar officials offered words of condolence to the boy's family. The family could not be reached for comment yesterday.

      "Our hearts go out to the family, especially to the boy," said Michael Durand, NStar spokesman. "We all know that this is a difficult time for them, and we have reached out to them. They are under standably upset, and we are doing what we can to work with them."

      Company officials said they are investigating why power was not shut off after the light pole was removed.

      "We are continuing to research and find out how this could have happened," Durand said. "There was a streetlight post set with under ground electricity. The pole is no longer there. When lights are removed, the electricity that feeds [them is] generally disconnected. We are responsible for the underground electricity distribution system in the city of Boston. We are responsible to find out why this happened."

      Durand said the damp ground, which may also have been soaked with salt from the nearby roadway, probably made the ground conduct current from the exposed wires underneath. He added that the company would not have known about the problem without the accident.

      Last year, city officials, outraged by similar problems involving live electric currents conducted by manhole covers, conducted several hearings and demanded that NStar inspect all its property for stray wires. The company subsequently issued a report saying that 99.9 percent of the manholes were free of live wires.

      The report also found that about eight incidents in which stray electrical currents shocked dogs or their owners showed that either no current was found at the site or that the problem was attributed to a business other than NStar.

      Still, Durand said, officials somehow missed the site where the dog was electrocuted yesterday.

      Workers at nearby WGBH offices yesterday morning heard yelping and the boy screaming. They ran outside and then called emergency officials and the boy's family. "People inside heard the dog barking and the boy screaming; it's just so sad," said Valerie Gunderson, a WGBH worker.

      One woman rushed to the scene about a half-hour after the accident, hoping to obtain the boy's address to send him flowers.

      "We're just feeling a lot of shock and sadness," said Patrina Katsikas, who also works for WGBH. "That poor dog. I heard he died pretty quick."