Happening Today

Rattlesnake hearing

The Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture holds a public hearing in Athol on plans to establish a Timber Rattlesnake habitat on Mount Zion in the Quabbin Reservoir, Athol Town Hall, 584 Main St., Athol, 11 a.m.

Social gaming

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets for a presentation and discussion on social gaming and social games that resemble traditional casino gambling, 101 Federal Street, 12th Floor, 1 p.m.

Tour of prisoner release school

Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and other administration officials tour and meet with students of the Massachusetts Department of Correction’s School of Reentry, Boston Pre-Release Center, 430 Canterbury Street, Boston, 1:30 p.m.

Baker and Walsh headline Chamber event

Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin are among those scheduled to speak at the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting, Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, Summer Street, 5 p.m.

Special election

Republican Patrick O’Connor, a Weymouth town council member and former top aide to former Sen. Robert Hedlund, faces attorney and former Hull Selectwoman Joan Meschino in a contested race to succeed Hedlund.

West Virginia and Nebraska primaries

Democrat Hillary Clinton will try to shake pesky rival Bernie Sanders while likely GOP nominee Donald Trump tries to win more delegates in presidential primaries today in West Virginia and Nebraska.

Today’s Stories

T prays for fed ‘yes’ on Green Line extension

In the end, state transportation officials’ vote yesterday to cautiously proceed with the controversial Green Line extension was a near classic case of “loss aversion” decision making. 

Basically, MBTA and DOT officials were faced with calling it quits and losing $700 million already spent on the project – or taking a gamble that the feds will effectively approve the project’s scaled-back $2.3 billion budget and hopefully kick in extra funds to pay for some of the cost overruns. As most other people would do, officials opted for the latter – and now the loss-aversion ball is in the feds’ court.

Sound familiar? It should. It’s what happened on the Big Dig project. 

In an editorial, the Herald is somewhat reassured that the Baker administration can still pull the plug on the project if the numbers don’t add up later. “For those of us who live in fear of a Big Dig redux we suppose there is some comfort in knowing that the officials in charge of this project live in fear of it, too.”

Boston Herald

Baker vows not to tap into reserves to cover budget shortfall

As state officials scramble to find enough funds to finish the Green Line extension, Gov. Charlie Baker, faced with a $261 million revenue shortfall, has ordered his number crunchers to review tax collection estimates for next fiscal year in light of recent slow growth, reports Matt Murphy of State House New Service in a piece appearing in The Recorder. Baker made one thing very clear: “We’re certainly not going to go to the rainy day fund, I can promise you that.”

The Recorder (SHNS)

Is Liz Warren auditioning for VP spot?

The New York Times has a story this morning about Massachusetts Sen. Liz Warren amidst her ongoing Twitter war with likely GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. The basic tone of what amounts to a puff piece: Warren, good Tweeter; Trump, bad Tweeter.

But what jumped out of the story were these lines: “Ms. Warren and Mrs. Clinton, the expected Democratic nominee, have had a strained relationship at times, and Ms. Warren’s decision not to endorse Mrs. Clinton so far has irked Democrats who would like to see the primary wrap up. But Ms. Warren is still often mentioned as a possible vice-presidential candidate for Mrs. Clinton, who has said she wants a running mate who can act as an attack dog. And Ms. Warren is embracing a role right now that Mrs. Clinton cannot.”

Then the Herald’s Jaclyn Cashman makes roughly the same observation: “Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is waging the kind of fight against Donald Trump you’d expect from an unmuzzled vice presidential candidate. Indeed, the liberal darling’s recent Twitter tirade could almost pass for an audition for the veep spot on Hillary Clinton’s ticket. If so, she’s nailing the part. And Hillary would do well by her campaign in handing it to her gift-wrapped.”

All this speculation from a Twitter war?

Prouty Garden’s days seem numbered

A Suffolk County judge is letting Boston Children’s Hospital proceed with a controversial project to construct a new clinical building over the popular Prouty Garden, considered a tranquil healing spot by patients, families and hospital employees, reports the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey. Judge Kenneth Salinger said supporters of the garden failed to prove that the hospital acted illegally by moving ahead with the project, but Salinger technically kept the case open in case plaintiffs can come up with new evidence.

Boston Globe

Kinder Morgan scores a victory in Berkshires

Two weeks after saying it would shelve one controversial pipeline project, Kinder Morgan won a legal victory in a separate project, with a judge granting the company the right to build its Connecticut Expansion pipeline through the Otis State Forest, Mary Serreze of MassLive reports. The judge ruled that federal eminent domain powers granted pipeline companies supersede state regulations, including a provision in Massachusetts that requires a two-thirds vote of the legislature to allow construction on state park land.


Wynn ready to build in Everett

Steve Wynn expressed confidence to his investors that construction will begin this summer on Everett resort casino project, with a challenge from Somerville over an environmental permit likely the last, Bruce Mohl of CommonWealth Magazine reports. Wynn also revealed on an earnings conference call that Suffolk Construction, which won the contract to build the $2 billion casino, recently sent its management team to Wynn Las Vegas for a retreat, on their own dime.


Did Howie Carr column help change Rep. race?

Agawam Democrat Richard Theroux said he would drop out of the race for the 3rd Hampden District representative seat just days after being named to Herald columnist Howie Carr’s “Hack hall of fame,” Conor Berry of MassLive reports. Theroux said he wanted to avoid a potentially nasty race but his decision not to run came after Carr highlighted his multiple positions on the public payroll and his growing pension.


Japanese company to pay Massachusetts $1.9M in kick-back case

Camera and medical-device maker Oympus Corp. has agreed to pay $1.9 million to the state’s Medicaid program for allegedly paying kickbacks to physicians, hospitals and other care providers in the Bay State, the Boston Business Journal’s Jessica Bartlett reports. The settlement is part of a federal agreement involving all 50 U.S. states and calls for the Japanese-based firm pay a total of $306 million for alleged payment violations. “Medical device companies cannot use exotic trips and expensive gifts to lure healthcare providers into buying their products,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in a press release. “Illegal kickbacks undermine the integrity of our healthcare system and hurt patients.”


Babson cans popular entrepreneurship course and teacher

There’s a small brouhaha in Wellesley these days over Babson College’s decision to eliminate its “beloved” Ultimate Entrepreneurship Challenge course and fire its instructor, Len Green, reports BostInno’s Olivia Vanni. More than 850 supporters are listed as backing a Change.org petition seeking to change the Babson administration’s decision. 

Hey, future gap-year students can always sign up for an entrepreneurship course via Boston-based Startup Institute’s new partnership, Olivia also reports. Competition. You gotta love it.


Interest runs high in Essex County Sheriff seat

As many as 13 candidates could enter the race to succeed Frank Cousins as Sheriff of Essex County, Jill Harmacinski of the Salem News reports. Five candidates—two Democrats, a Republican and an independent—are already officially in the race and eight others have expressed interest in succeeding the Newburyport Republican in the $152,000-a-year job.

Salem News

Extra witness protection cash goes unused

Prosecutors who pushed lawmakers to more than double the size of the fund they use to protect witnesses in criminal cases spent just a fraction of the money, Matt Stout and Jack Encarnacao of the Herald report. District attorneys convinced lawmakers to increase the fund to $250,000 but just $73,000 was spent statewide last year, the lowest amount in the program’s history.

Boston Herald

How politically liberal are Massachusetts’ colleges?

Crowdpac has an interesting chart on how liberal or conservative American colleges are based on the political donations of the people working at them. Some of the state’s highest profile institutions – Harvard, MIT, Tufts, Northeastern and BU – are considerably less liberal than other area schools. We’re tempted to say their strong science, engineering and grad schools keep their liberal scores in check. But that doesn’t explain why Worcester Polytechnic and Clark University rank so high. Anyway, below are area schools cited by Crowdpac and their national “liberal” rankings:

Amherst College 8th

UMass Amherst 13th

Worcester Polytechnic 14th

Clark University 15th

Wellesley College 16th

Williams College 18th

Brandeis University 23rd

MIT 40th

Tufts University 43rd

Northeastern University 44th

Boston University 47th

Harvard University 55th

Boston College 101st


Boston entrepreneur lands on ‘Shark Tank’ with chocolate cures for women

Producing gluten-free chocolate “bites” aimed at combating bloating and irritability for women on their periods has won Boston entrepreneur Tania Green a spot on a May 20 episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank” reality TV show, reports the BBJ’s Sara Castellanos. The “bites” contain vegan ingredients such as ginseng, chamomile and dandelion root, which are herbs commonly used to treat bloating, cramping and irritability associated with premenstrual syndrome.


Today’s Headlines


Green Line Extension still alive, for now – Boston Globe

Parents still worried about lead in water at Boston schools – Boston Globe

City Hall outlines cultural goals for Boston – Boston Globe


Operation Safe Streets gives Brockton residents chance to speak directly to law enforcement – Brockton Enterprise

Financial adviser: Quincy should consider tax increases to tackle unfunded benefits – Patriot Ledger

5 officially in race to succeed Sheriff Cousins – Salem News

Lawmen don’t cash in: Extra witness protection $ goes unused – Boston Herald

Did Howe Carr column influence Democrat Richard Theroux to leave state House race? – MassLive

Judge for Kinder Morgan in Berkshire County case – MassLive

Trump says US won’t default because ‘you print the money’ – Boston Globe


Some in GOP eye third-party run against Donald Trump – Boston Globe

After lots of nudging from New England, Congress suddenly moving on opiate-crisis legislation – WGBH

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