Happening Today

Public Health Council

Public Health Council meets with a vote planned on proposed amendments to the ‘determination of need program’ for health providers, 250 Washington St., Boston, 9 a.m.

Career education grant

Gov. Charlie Baker joins Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Secretary of Education Jim Peyser, Secretary of Labor and Workforce Development Ron Walker and others to announce a career education grant, Bunker Hill Community College, Art Gallery Lobby, 250 New Rutherford Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

Time zone meeting

The special commission to study the state’s time zone holds its first meeting as it considers permanently moving Bay State clocks onto eastern daylight time, Room 222, 11 a.m.

Governor’s Council

Governor’s Council holds a confirmation hearing on Paul Cronan’s nomination to be an associate justice in the Bristol County Division of the Probate and Family Court, Council Chamber, 11 a.m.

Healey speaks on sexual assault

Attorney General Maura Healey speaks at the Trauma-Informed Sexual Assault Investigation and Adjudication Institute, Salem State University, Marsh Hall Dining Commons, 121 Loring Avenue, Salem, 11:30 a.m.

Baker at mortgage bankers meeting

Gov. Baker attends the Massachusetts Mortgage Bankers Association annual meeting (closed to press), Four Points Sheraton Wakefield, 1 Audubon Road, Wakefield, 6:15 p.m.

Walsh on the radio

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh is scheduled to appear on ‘NightSide with Dan Rea,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Cambridge still in shock, barely registers Obama’s farewell speech

Local reactions to President Obama’s farewell speech last night were mixed – especially in Cambridge, where it was nearly impossible to get out of mind who will follow Obama, reports Mike Deehan at WGBH. “The scattered cheers from the crowd of around 35 Obama die-hards could only occasionally puncture the overall sense of dread these deep blue voters feel about the next four years.” Here’s the Globe’s coverage of local reactions and Joe Battenfeld’s take on Obama’s legacy.


Move out of the way, Curt. Rick Green wants to take on Warren

Curt Schilling better make up his mind about whether to take on U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018. Every day he dithers, others will step forward to do battle. From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the Sentinel & Enterprise: “Republican Rick Green, the wealthy owner of a Pepperell-based auto parts company and founder of the conservative non-profit Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, may challenge U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren for re-election in 2018, according to two sources with knowledge of his thinking.” Warren is shaking in her boots, guaranteed.

Sentinel & Enterprise

Rosenberg: Do pot smokers really need 30 joints a day?

Senate President Stan Rosenberg is suggesting the Legislature will consider reducing Question 4’s home growing limit of six marijuana plants per adult, or a maximum of 12 per household, as lawmakers grapple with regulation of the newly legalized cannabis industry in Massachusetts, SHNS’s Colin Young reports at the BBJ. “According to the people who know a lot more about this than I do, they say that for someone who knows how to truly grow these plants and once you master it — which is not all that hard — 12 plants would produce about 30 marijuana cigarettes a day,” Rosenberg said. “I mean it’s just it’s a very large quantity to have in your home at any given time.” Peter Bernard, president of the Mass. Growers Advocacy Council, is disputing that calculation.


Holyoke mayor sees gold in green

While many communities are gnashing teeth over the potential downers associated with legalized marijuana, the mayor of Holyoke sees a budding industry capable of capping off a once-struggling city’s turnaround story. Joshua Miller of the Globe reports that Mayor Alex Morse envisions turning acres of empty mill buildings into thriving greenhouses producing pot for the people. Other communities have eyed the Acapupco gold at the end of the legalization rainbow, including Pittsifled, where a task force has been created to study ways that city too can cash in on cannabis cultivation. 

Boston Globe

So what’s up with the Baker administration’s hiring freeze?

State House News Service’s Michael Norton noticed something odd. There was supposed to be a hiring freeze within state government’s executive branch – and yet, lo and behold, there was Executive Office of Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore’s office hiring a deputy communications director at an annual salary of $65,000. So he started asking simple questions: What’s up with that hiring freeze? Has it been lifted? Has it been achieving its goals? He didn’t get straight answers.

SHNS (pay wall)

Baker’s ‘high-powered troubleshooter-in-chief’

CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas takes a look at Gov. Charlie Baker’s unlikely choice for chief of staff, Steve Kadish, a sort of Mr. Fix It for Governor Fix It, as the publication put it. From Michael: “Kadish does not come from the political realm, had no role on Baker’s campaign, and has an understated style that, on first blush, seems more timid than terrorizing. … All of which is to say appearances can be deceiving, for Kadish, someone with little public profile, is probably one of the most powerful—and at times most feared—people in state government.”


Moulton rips Trump as a deferment-crazed ‘draft dodger’ dragging his feet on VA appointment

We’re pretty sure Scott Brown, who desperately wants to become the next head of the Veterans Administration, isn’t viewing this as helping his cause. From the Associated Press at the Lynn Item: “Congressman Seth Moulton is faulting President-elect Donald Trump for failing to announce a nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs. … Moulton said the delay should come as no surprise from someone he described as “a draft dodger who had five deferments during the Vietnam War.’”

Lynn Item

Partners CEO: ObamaCare repeal was not on Trump’s meeting agenda

Scott Brown, are you aware of this? The CEO of the state’s largest health system says his meeting at president-elect Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort last month was not focused on repealing Obamacare, but instead was a chance for health industry leaders to provide input on cabinet picks, Jessica Bartlett of the Boston Business Journal reports. Dr. David Torchiana of Partners HealthCare said Trump sought input on who he should appoint to head Veterans Affairs and the National Institutes of Health. Input on Veterans Affairs? 


Dems plan ‘First stand’ rally this weekend at Faneuil Hall

From Alison Bauter at the Beacon Hill Patch: “Massachusetts Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey are among the elected leaders at the head of the fight against Republican plans to roll back key parts of the Affordable Care Act, and they’re taking the battle back to their home turf with a rally planned this Sunday in Boston. Along with Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and members of Massachusetts’ congressional delegation, Warren and Markey will host a rally they’re calling “First Stand: Save Health Care,’ from noon until 3 p.m. outside Faneuil Hall.”


Editorial calls on Rep. Bud Williams to dump Springfield council seat

The Springfield Republican’s editorial board makes no mention of the fact that newly elected state Rep. Bud Williams, who has announced he will keep his Springfield council seat, will be now collecting a state salary, a city salary and a government pension from his old probation job. Instead, the editorial says the reason why he needs to resign from the council comes down to time. “Williams is entering a new and much larger political arena, one that requires his full attention. Not only do travel demands make the State Legislature an especially demanding job for Western Massachusetts legislators, but the political reality of being outnumbered by Eastern Massachusetts political veterans pose additional obstacles.”


No goal for Kraft’s soccer stadium

Robert Kraft’s dream of building a new soccer stadium near UMass Boston may have the backing of Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and UMass president Marty Meehan. But it’s the Boston Teachers Union that appears to have killed the idea. The Globe’s Shirley Leung has the details .

Boston Globe

No more Police Squad lights for some state employees

Following a controversy over a state employee who used his state vehicle’s police-like lights to get through traffic, the Baker administration has removed emergency lights from dozens of state cars following an internal audit, reports the Herald’s Matt Stout. So no more playing police squad for some employees. Speaking of which, you know you can’t resist watching the opening scene of perhaps the funniest short-lived TV show in history: Police Squad!

Boston Herald

WUMD radio station sale sparks outcry at UMass Dartmouth

UMass Dartmouth students and on-air volunteers are among those rallying to try to save WUMD from being sold to Rhode Island Public Radio in a $1.5 million deal, Aimee Chiavaroli of the Standard-Times reports. While some of the proceeds from the sale of 89.3 FM would benefit the school, WUMD—which marks its 45th anniversary later this week—would move to an online-only format after the deal is approved by the FCC. 


Photos of prison-riot aftermath, weapons and gang scrawlings

Inmates were “getting ready for war” when prison guards decided to use pepper spray to quell a near riot at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center in Shirley, according to Secretary of Public Safety Daniel Bennett, as reported at WBUR. What started out a fight among two inmates quickly escalated and posed a direct danger to correctional officers, Bennett said. “You had 47 inmates ready to take on those COs and they had armed themselves with knives, bats and iron pipes, and they were going to go after the COs.”

Michelle Williams at MassLive has more on the major disturbance, including a photo slide-show, courtesy of state officials, of the aftermath of the near riot, including shots of some pretty nasty looking homemade weapons and gang-related scrawlings.

MassLive (photos)

Just say ‘no’ to millionaire tax

Edward M. Murphy, a former top-level commissioner at a number of state agencies, writes in CommonWealth magazine that he favors a progressive tax system for Massachusetts, but he’s no fan of the proposed constitutional amendment that would hike taxes on millionaires: “There are rational arguments on both sides, but a detached examination suggests that the proposed tax does not accomplish the goals it purports to achieve. There is no guarantee that the new money will go to education and transportation as claimed; it risks driving some top taxpayers out of state; it fails to mitigate the state’s regressive tax system; and it seeks to embed unprecedented language in the state’s constitution. It is an initiative that ought not to pass.”


Battle escalates between CJP and newspapers

The publisher of the Brookline and Newton Voice newspapers, Joshua Resnek, is calling on the chairman of the Combined Jewish Philanthropy, Neil Wallack, to resign and calling on the group’s CEO, Barry Shrage, to return a $1.3 million retirement bonus given to him by CJP. The newspapers also ran a front page story on how Shrage has effectively blocked access to his Twitter and email accounts to and from Voice personnel.

Brookline Voice (PDF)

Meanwhile, Bob Kraft donates $10M to CJP for downtown office renovation

From the BBJ’s Catherine Carlock: “Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston Inc., the largest nonprofit organization in the state, is renovating its longtime headquarters in downtown Boston, a $15.6 million project funded in part through a $10 million gift from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The renovation of the 55,226-square-foot office at 126 High St. started this summer and is targeting a fall completion, CJP spokesperson Julie Somers said. After work is complete, the nine-story office will be known as the Kraft Family Building at Combined Jewish Philanthropies.”


Janey’s in

Community organizer Kim Janey has formally announced she will seek the Roxbury District 7 Boston City Council seat currently held by potential mayoral challenger Tito Jackson, Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub reports. The Globe had earlier reported Janey’s interest in the seat, which onetime state representative hopeful Rufus Faulk has already declared he would seek. Ohers are also eyeing a run.

Universal Hub

Report: Massachusetts had lowest gun-death rate

Massachusetts had the lowest rate of gun deaths in the country in 2015, the Centers for Disease Control found, and advocates were quick to point to the state’s strict gun laws as the reason why, Travis Andersen of the Globe reports. Last year, 213 Bay State residents died due to guns, a rate of 3.13 per 100,000 residents.  Rhode Island and Connecticut were also among those with the lowest gun-death rates, while Alaska ranked highest with a rate of 23.97 per 100,000. 

Boston Globe

Today’s Headlines


Is Bob Kraft’s hoped-for soccer stadium in Dorchester dead? – Boston Globe

Housing plan put in play for Southie’s Broadway Theatre – Boston Herald

Even in Cambridge, Obama’s farewell message of hope can’t overpower dismay over Trump – WGBH

Roxbury city-council district gets second declared candidate – Universal Hub


Governor fix-it’s fix-it man – CommonWealth Magazine

Milford selectmen want middle ground on pot stores – MetroWest Daily News

Mass. had lowest gun death rate in country in 2015, study says – Boston Globe

Baker audit: Equipment on 30 state vehicles unneeded – Boston Herald

Healey takes aim at Trump presidency – Salem News

Pembroke considering raising legal age to buy tobacco to 21 – Patriot Ledger

‘We are turning the corner’: Pittsfield residents react positively to State of the City – Berkshire Eagle

Worcester group staging student walkout during Trump inauguration – Worcester Magazine

Macy’s will lay off more than 200 in Mass. as part of store closings – Boston Business Journal

Partners CEO says Trump meeting wasn’t about Obamacare repeal – Boston Business Journal

Brockton water commissioner resigns in protest ahead of re-appointment – Brockton Enterprise

City, UML still treading lightly on master pact – Lowell Sun

Proposed WUMD sale hits sour note with volunteers and listeners – Standard-Times


Obama in farewell: ‘Yes, we can. Yes, we did.’ – Washington Post

Trump briefed on claims Russia has compromising information on him – Washington Post

Sessions vows to be independent and to stand up to Trump – New York Times

Moulton calls Trump a draft dodger, faults him for delay in naming VA chief – Boston Globe

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