Happening Today

Baker off to Israel

Gov. Baker leads his first overseas trade mission as governor, traveling to Israel on a six-day trip with about a dozen state government officials and 40 private sector representatives.

Export Expo

The Massachusetts Export Center hosts its annual Export Expo to provide a forum for exporters to connect with resources available in Massachusetts, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 8:30 a.m.

UMass Board of Trustees

The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees meets to approve an internal audit charter and the university’s financial statements, as well as votes on a sustainability policy and changes to the approved capital projects list, UMass Amherst Old Chapel, 144 Hicks Way, Amherst, 9 a.m.

SJC hears cases

The Supreme Judicial Court will hear first degree murder appeals from Nicholas Colton, Christian Muller, Natalio Felix and Benjamin Sanchez, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

Energy storage discussion

Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson participates in an energy storage panel at the New England Electricity Restructuring Roundtable, Foley Hoag LLP, 155 Seaport Boulevard, 13th Floor, Boston, 9 a.m.

Drive Sober

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and Massachusetts State Police launch a Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign featuring new artwork and a TV ad featuring state trooper Franklin Davis, Franingham State Police Headquarters, 470 Worcester Rd., Framingham, 10:30 a.m.

Today’s Stories

Baker completely ignores Gus’s request by jetting off to Israel

Can you believe it? Gov. Charlie Baker completely ignored Democratic Party chair Gus Bickford’s call to cancel his trade mission to Israel so the governor could explain why he cut the state budget by $98 million earlier this week, as reported at SHNS. So what did the governor do? He just kept packing his bags and is heading today for Israel anyway, muttering “Partisan politics is a funny business, don’t you think?” At least he didn’t add insult to injury by wearing sunglasses and sunscreen on his nose as he spoke.

But Gus does have a point: The budget cuts are indeed drawing negative reviews from many quarters, including Mayor Walsh, as the Herald reports, and the Globe’s Adrian Walker, who writes how seemingly small programs, such as those at the New England Center for Arts and Technology, are taking unfair hits as a result of Baker’s budget action. Baker did spend time yesterday defending his budget cuts, saying they were necessary in light of weak revenue numbers, reports Shira Schoenberg at MassLive.

Finneran’s attorney grilled by justices over pension

It apparently didn’t go too well for former House Speaker Tom Finneran’s attorney at yesterday’s Supreme Judicial Court hearing on whether the convicted ex-speaker should get his state pension back. The Boston Herald’s Matt Stout and the Boston Globe’s Andy Rosen have details of all the sparring at yesterday’s SJC hearing.

That reduction in T absenteeism? Never mind

CommonWealth’s Steve Koczela puts it bluntly: “MBTA officials regularly report they are reining in rampant worker absenteeism, but the progress they report is largely an illusion created by making comparisons to 2015, when severe winter weather brought the system to a standstill. When absenteeism rates are compared to earlier years, there has been little or no improvement.” Hope the other reforms work out a little better.


The Dynamic Duo: ‘StormRanger’ and ‘Weather Warrior’

NBC Boston, which starts airing next month on Channel 10, is pulling out all the stops for its planned New Year debut and future weather coverage. It’s outfitted a Dodge Ram 550 truck into an armored car-like vehicle called ‘StormRanger,’ which will be accompanied in its dramatic storm-team coverage by its sidekick ‘Weather Warrior,’ reports the Herald’s Alex Reimer. Kind of like Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, the Green Hornet and Kato: StormRanger and Weather Warrior. Beat that, WCVB!

Boston Herald

Lawrence mayor launches independent probe of horrible decapitation case

Under public pressure, Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera has formed a four-person investigative team to look into allegations that city police mishandled their investigation into the disappearance of a local teenager found murdered and decapitated two weeks after he was reported missing, Keith Eddings of the Eagle-Tribune reports. Former Providence, R.I. Mayor Angel Taveras will lead the team that also includes a deputy superintendent from the Boston police department and retired FBI and US Attorney investigators. Rivera has defended the police response amid calls for the city’s top cop to resign. 


Raising a stink about garbage-eating swine

DigBoston.com’s Evan Anderson and Katie Campisi dove into the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources’ application dumpster to find out more about who’s feeding pigs garbage in the state, besides Krochmal Farm in Tewksbury, where nearby residents and others, including Rep. James Miceli, have previously raised a stink about the stink of garbage fed to swine. Seriously, did you know that there’s a lot of garbage-fed swine in the state? … OK, let’s reword that. Did you know there’s actual farm-animal swine being fed garbage in the state?


A novel approach to redevelopment: Ware declares its downtown a ‘slum’

From Jim Russell at MassLive: “Selectmen on Tuesday voted to designate the downtown business district and surrounding residential streets a slum and blight area as a means to procure government grants.” If you look at the story’s accompanying photo, you’ll have an idea what Ware is up against. Then there’s this: “The (Pioneer Valley Planning Commission) survey says a third of the 48 commercial structures appear blighted, more than three-fourths of the 17 industrial structures are in fair or poor condition and 146 of the 354 homes — 41 percent — appear either substandardly maintained or are a total wreck.”


‘Good advertisement’

So what do you get for advertising on MASSterList? A lot of attention! The Globe’s Frank Phillips reports how a recent job ad on MASSterList by U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton’s office, which is looking for a new campaign finance director, is drawing all sorts of attention for its candid admission that Moulton needs help because he already spends too much time on fundraising as it is. Republicans are criticizing Moulton for being, well, too honest, when you get right down to it. Moulton’s camp says it’s simply good advertising. And we couldn’t agree more! And so does our MASSterList advertising department.

Boston Globe

Plymouth officials demand answers from NRC

Selectmen in Plymouth are demanding answers from, and a meeting with, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission after release of an alarming email that suggested workers at the Pilgrim Station nuclear plant are overwhelmed with work, Christine Legere of the Cape Cod Times reports.  “We don’t want to be alarmists, but we don’t know exactly what’s going on,” said board chairman Kenneth Tavares. “I think the NRC needs to give us some assurances.” Meanwhile, the Cape Cod Times is also reporting of deteriorating panels at the nuclear plants, raising more questions about safety.  

Cape Cod Times

Now a Newton law firm is getting sucked into the Healey-ExxonMobil maw

A Newton law firm is fighting subpoenas by ExxonMobil, which apparently wants to know whether the firm and Attorney General Maura Healey were in cahoots over her probe of possible climate-change fraud by the oil giant, the Herald is reporting. Pawa Law Group is no spring chicken when it comes to battling ExxonMobil. The firm, which has denied helping Healey’s climate-change probe, specializes in environmental cases and has previously won a $236 million judgment against Exxon Mobil.

Boston Herald

Sheehan out, Franklin in as CEO at Globe Boston

Globe owner and publisher John Henry has announced Mike Sheehan is stepping down as chief executive of the Globe and will be replaced Doug Franklin, a former top executive at Cox Enterprises and Cox Media Group, reports Dan Kennedy at Media Nation. Dan’s quick to note that the change appears to be amicable and Henry heaped praise on the departing Sheehan.

As Bruce Mohl notes at CommonWealth, Henry said in an email to employees that Franklin was selected by himself, Sheehan and Globe editor Brian McGrory after a national search. So this has been in the works for a while. FYI: Dan has a full copy of Henry’s memo.

Media Nation

So who’s running Babson College? Oh, that’s right, Kerry Healey

The Herald has a story decrying the fact that the Babson College official investigating two students accused of shouting homophobic and racist slurs after Donald Trump’s election is a big Hillary Clinton fan. But who’s picture prominently accompanies the story (in print and online, as of this morning)? Babson College president Kerry Healey, who also is the former Republican lieutenant governor under Mitt Romney. Not that Healey likes Trump. And not that it matters. The whole case – from the kids’ actions to the anti-freedom-of-speech investigation itself – is bogus from beginning to end. That’s what should be decried here, not who supported whom in the election.

Boston Herald

‘Trump’s election stole my desire to look for a partner’

And we thought Arlington liberals were taking the election hard. From Stephanie Land, who has stopped her search for a mate since you-know-who was elected: “There is no room for dating in this place of grief. Dating means hope. I’ve lost that hope in seeing the words ‘President-elect Trump.’” 

Washington Post

Is someone keeping count? Now West Springfield pushes for pot moratorium

West Springfield is the latest community to take action on its own now that recreational marijuana will be legal in less than a week in Massachusetts. Mayor Will Reichelt is calling for a moratorium on retail pot shops to give West Springfield time to plan and craft the zoning changes necessary to accommodate legalized marijuana, reports Conor Berry at MassLive.


Apple CEO Tim Cook to deliver MIT commencement address

Apple chief executive Tim Cook will be giving this spring’s commencement address at MIT, reports the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien: “The school highlighted Cook’s outspoken stances on issues like equality and environmentalism in describing him as the leader of a company with a ‘mission is to change the world for the better, both through its products and its policies.’” Before you ask: Cook got his engineering degree from Auburn University and his MBA from Duke.


Bottoms up: Senate bill allows farm brewers to sell products at farmer markets

The Senate yesterday approved legislation that allows farmer brewers and farmer distillers to sell their wine, malt beverages and distilled spirits at farmers’ markets, reports SHNS’s Sam Doran and Michael Norton at Wicked Local. The bill is a Senate Ways and Means redraft of legislation originally sponsored by Sen. Benjamin Downing of Pittsfield.

Wicked Local

T drivers head to court for travel pay

A suit filed by MBTA bus drivers who want back pay for the time they spent traveling between separate bus routes during the same work shift will head to court next month, Jordan Graham of the Herald reports. A judge has ruled that drivers should be compensated for the time, but he wants the members of the T Carmen’s union to prove how much time they actually spent shuttling between buses. 

Boston Herald

In Lowell, OD deaths outpace 2015 numbers

  In just the latest reminder of how stubborn the state’s opioid crisis remains, even in the face of increased public investment and attention, the city of Lowell says it had already seen more fatal overdoses through mid-November than in all of 2015.  Grant Welker of the Lowell Sun reports that the 55 overdose deaths already on record outpaces last year’s total of 47 deaths, though the rate appears to have slowed some in the third quarter. 

Lowell Sun

Boston maps out climate change response

Boston officials rolled out a plan for responding to the impacts of climate change on the city, saying much of downtown and even Faneuil Hall could be under water each month, and even neighborhoods well away from the waterfront will be impacted, Craig Lemoult of WGBH reports. The report, which envisions the city potentially investing billions of dollars to control storm surges, came just as President-elect Donald Trump moved to appoint a climate-change denier to head the EPA. 


Real estate start-up goes under after CEO realizes ‘Wow, we know nothing about this market’

Wizio, a local startup that wanted to provide services that would prevent tenants from getting screwed by commission-hungry brokers, never got off the ground after the founders realized their business model depended on revenues from those very same commission-hungry brokers, writes Olivia Vanni at BostInno. “We came to the realization that, ‘Wow, we know nothing about this market,’” said Devon Grodkiewicz, Wizio’s CEO and one of the co-founders.


Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. Guest: U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, who talks with host Jon Keller about the Trump transition, turmoil in the Democratic Party and Logan Airport noise issues.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. Gus Bickford, chairman of the state Democratic Party, talks with anchor Ed Harding and State House reporter Janet Wu.

This Week in Business, NECN, 11 a.m. Greater Boston Chamber chief executive Jim Rooney discusses the Beacon Hill budget battle, the 21st Century Cures Act, the fight for a $15/hour minimum wage and more; Catalant co-CEOs Rob Biederman and Pat Petitti talk about how they are working to disrupt the consulting industry; and Boston Business Journal Managing Editor Don Seiffert on Governor Baker’s trip to Israel and other top business issues of the week.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 11:30 a.m. Deb Manus, the managing partner of Nutter, discusses the business of law and how it is evolving in Boston and beyond; also, Paul Cushing, head of litigation and compliance in the office of General Counsel for Partners Healthcare System, and Mark Young, the president of ShiftCentral, a market intelligence agency.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s focus: A Conversation with Boston Public Schools superintendent Tommy Chang.

Today’s Headlines


Boston takes parking lessons from L.A., Seattle – Boston Globe

Mayor Walsh says gov’s budget cuts raise concerns – Boston Herald

City report seeks to provide a framework for adapting to climate change – WBUR

Protests continue as West Roxbury pipeline starts operation – WGBH


$15 minimum wage could squeeze workers on public assistance – Boston Globe

15 Baker donors to travel with him to Israel – Boston Globe

SJC justices grill Thomas Finneran lawyer – Boston Herald

T drivers suing for bus money – Boston Herald

Exxon subpoenas Newton law firm – Boston Herald

UMass students want trustees to address sanctuary campus issue, divestment, tuition – MasssLive

Human rights bill co-authored by McGovern passes Congress – Telegram & Gazette

State Democratic leader says Baker should skip Israel trip – Telegram & Gazette

Quincy hospital property sold in deal with major downtown implications – Patriot Ledger

Plymouth leaders demand answers from NRC on Pilgrim plant – Cape Cod Times

Feds, Mashpee tribe to appeal judge’s ruling – Cape Cod Times

Governor slashes anti-addiction funds for Cape – Cape Cod Times

Maldonado announces bid for mayor – Eagle-Tribune

Is MBTA absenteeism really declining? – CommonWealth Magazine

AG Healey says she’ll sue if needed to protect the state’s health care market – Boston Business Journal

Framingham hits $56 million in downtown investments – Worcester Business Journal

Deadly Lowell opioid ODs outpacing 2015 – Lowell Sun

Results of no-confidence vote in Lowell’s top cop remain secret—for now – Lowell Sun

Fishing interests, New Bedford sue feds over New York wind turbines – Standard-Times


Democrats push government toward shutdown – Politico

Trump era confronts organized labor with gravest crisis in decades – Washington Post

Trump will remain executive producer on ‘Apprentice’ – New York Times

Russia seen moving new missiles to eastern Europe – NPR

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