Happening Today

Workforce Skills cabinet, overdose awareness vigils

Gov. Charlie Baker Joins Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and Education Secretary James Peyser at the Rapid Response & Business Engagement National Summit being organized by the Massachusetts Office of Labor and Workforce Development and sponsored by Massachusetts AFL-CIO. Baker plans to offer welcoming remarks before he and his Cabinet secretaries discuss the Massachusetts Workforce Skills Cabinet…..8:45 a.m., Boston Park Plaza, 50 Park Plaza, Boston … The State Retirement Board meets., 10 a.m., One Winter St., 8th floor, Boston … Both sessions of the Mass. legislature meet in formal sessions starting at 11 a.m…. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Peyser, Early Education and Care Commissioner Tom Weber, Congressman James McGovern, Sen. Ryan Fattman, Rep. Joseph McKenna, and Theresa Jordan from the Children’s Investment Fund, to announce the recipients of the state’s Early Education and Care and Out-of-School Time Facilities Improvement grants…..Worcester Community Action Council, 116 School St., Webster … Boston Mayor Martin Walsh joins interfaith leaders for an Overdose Awareness Day candlelight vigil, 5 p.m., City Hall Plaza, Boston. An hour later, Methuen Police will mark Overdose Awareness Day with a vigil of their own, 6 p.m., Riverside Park, Methuen and several other communities have similar events planned  … former Treasurer and current Quincy Chamber of Commerce President Tim Cahill is guest host on WBZ NewsRadio’s “NightSide,” 8 p.m. 

Today’s Stories

Trump tax plan panned by Mass Dems

It hardly comes as a shock, but members of the Bay State’s all-Democratic congressional delegation aren’t particularly impressed with President Trump’s long-awaited tax reform plan, MassLive’s Shannon Young reports. In a speech in Springfield, Missouri, Trump offered up a broad if rather fuzzy outline of a tax system overhaul that would slash the corporate rate down to 15 percent from 35 percent now. He also pledged tax relief for middle-class families and parents struggling with child care, but didn’t offer specifics.

Congressman Richard Neal (D-Springfield), knocked Trump for the lack of hard details on his pledge to cut taxes on middle-class families. Neal, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, dismissed Trump’s proposed corporate tax cut as reheated trickle-down economics, calling the idea “pure folly.”

U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III offered a somewhat more muted response, urging Trump to “go slowly” and try and reach across the aisle to Dems. 
Good advice, but barring some radical, late-life personality transformation, both sound unlikely for Trump.

But the most dire warning may have come from the most unlikely source: Secretary of State William Galvin says Republican plans to cap mortgage deductions and eliminate the deduction for state and local taxes could “cripple” the state’s housing market. Andy Metzger of State House News Service has the details on Galvin’s worries, which he has also shared with members of the state’s Congressional delegation. 


Baker bill takes hard line on criminals, drug dealers

Gov. Charlie Baker wants lawmakers to toughen the state’s drug-dealing laws to enable prosecutors to charge drug dealers with manslaughter if a customer dies after using their product, Bob McGovern of the Herald reports. Such a charge would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. 

The governor’s package of criminal justice updates would also expedited the scheduling of new synthetic drugs and strengthen laws protecting witnesses in criminal cases, Matt Murphy of the State House News Service reports. In sending the bill to the legislature, Baker said the state’s focus will remain on using education, prevention and treatment to address the opioid crisis, but “we should also ensure that those who cause our citizens the most harm by illegally selling drugs that kill people are held accountable for their actions.” 

The bill from Baker—who serves on President Trump’s opioid task force—comes as the legislature is already planning to take up a long-delayed package of criminal justice reforms. 

Boston Herald

Feds: Sheriff’s captain was Codfather helper

Federal prosecutors say a captain in the office of Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson helped Carlos Rafael, better known as ‘The Codfather,’ smuggle cash made through illegal overfishing to Portugal, the Standard-Times reports. The U.S. Attorney’s office said James Melo drove to Logan Airport in a Sheriff’s department car and flew to Portugal with $27,000 in cash on him. 

For his part, Hodgson tells the Herald’s O’Ryan Johnson Melo has been placed on unpaid leave and that the charges are “very disappointing for us and for me personally.” It will be interesting to watch whether the news results in any outside pressure on Hodgson to pay more attention to his own department and spend less time trying to latch onto national headlines. 


Walsh: Boston would be “wiped out” by Harvey-like storm

The city of Boston would be “wiped out” if a storm similar to Harvey were to hit the region, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday, adding that the devastation such as storm would cause is a good argument in favor of a $10 billion plan to build a hurricane barrier in Boston Harbor. Walsh, who held a meeting with the city’s emergency response leadership, also wants a complete update of the city’s storm-response plan, Chris Villani and Dan Atkinson of the Herald report. 

Private developments are already being built with future storms and floods in mind, including Wynn Boston Harbor. Jack Lepiarz of WBUR explains how the construction plan includes such protections form the ground up

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Irma is churning away in the Atlantic and is expected to grow into a hurricane as soon as Thursday.  

Boston Herald

T search advisory board member unaware of Ramirez past stumbles

One of the five members of the advisory committee that worked with Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack on the search that resulted in the hiring of Luis Ramirez as the MBTA’s new general manager says she was not aware of a lawsuit against him or that his former company had to restate financial statements, Meghna Chakrabarti and Kathleen McNerney of WBUR report. 

Pollack herself is not commenting on the selection, which for the first time was hers alone to make: Past GM hirings have been at least quasi-public processes. 

Monica Tibbits-Nutt, executive director of the 128 Business Council who also serves on the T’s Fiscal and Management Control Board, says the reports swirling around Ramirez since his selection have put him at a disadvantage as he prepares to start work Sept. 12. “For now, I’m going to give Ramirez the benefit of the doubt and be cautiously optimistic. I’m going to wait until we have all the facts,” she said.


Colleges face unprecedented drop in enrollment

The long rise of college tuition has led to a sizable drop in enrollment nationwide, resulting in financial conditions that are forcing colleges to consider merging, Jack Encarnacao of the Herald reports. Enrollment numbers have been declining since 2011 and 1.2 million fewer students were in college in 2015 compared to four years earlier. Experts say such a drop is unprecedented in American history and helps explain moves such as the merger between Wheelock College and Boston University now said to be moving toward finalization. 

Boston Herald

Real-time sales tax may not mean instant budget gratification

A bid to boost the state’s tax coffers in the short-term by installing a real-time sales tax collection system has the potential to backfire and leave the state in even worse financial straits, Jon Chesto of the Globe reports. Chesto notes that the state’s revenue commissioner will collect input on the proposal for another month and can still back the state out of the switch if it is shown to be not cost-effective. 

Boston Globe

Otis air base pilots track Harvey damage

Christine Legere of the Cape Cod Times has a cool story on how Air National Guard pilots on the Cape are providing an extra set of eyes for the Harvey rescue and recovery mission. The 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base is pouring over photos of the storm-ravaged Texas region gathered from satellites, planes and helicopters.

A six-person team of airmen are working around the clock analyzing images as they come in, with an eye towards spotting power outages and damage to key infrastructure, Legere reports. Meanwhile, twenty-five Coast Guard crew members have been conducting rescuing missions in Texas in a pair of helicopters and a plane, scooping up nearly 100 people from the floodwaters, the paper reports.

Cape Cod Times

Undocumented Mass. immigrants await Trump DACA decision

Fear is growing among undocumented immigrants as President Trump mulls the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program, Christopher Gavin of the MetroWest Daily News reports. Trump is facing a Sept. 5 deadline set by a group of Republican attorney generals who say they’ll sue if the program is not rolled back by then. 

MetroWest Daily News

Clinton returns to New Hampshire, but not in that way

Hillary Clinton is coming back to New Hampshire, but this time to sign books, not campaign, The Boston Globe’s Shira Center reports.

Clinton will pop up to sign copies of her appropriately titled memoir, “What Happened,” on Dec. 5th at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord. Clinton’s stop in the always crucial primary state that is part of an international tour she is embarking on to promote her book that will bring her to the Boston Opera House on Nov. 28.

Iowa is not in the itinerary – or at least not yet, Center notes.

Boston Globe

Braintree may add tax to fund police patrols at hotels

Call it the Motel 6 tax. Braintree officials are mulling a plan to raise the local taxes collected on hotel stays to fund dedicated police patrols of the facilities, Fred Hanson of the Patriot Ledger reports. The move would boost the tax from 6 to 6.5 percent with the new funds used to pay officers. Braintree ordered the local Motel 6 to shut down after a police officer was shot when responding to a call. 

Patriot Ledger

Former Millbury monk sues L’Oreal over anti-aging serum

A former Roman Catholic monk has joined forces with the University of Massachusetts to sue cosmetics giant L’Oreal, saying the company stole patented technology the school had licensed to him, Pat Eaton-Robb of the Associated Press reports via the Telegram. Dennis Wyrzykowski  claims the makeup maker knew his company, Carmel Laboratories, held a patent on the technology because its own patent applications had been denied and says the company’s actions have cut into funds that were being directed to charity work with prisoners, drug addicts and young kids. 

Telegram & Gazette

Pub dispute leaving North Adams Redevelopment Authority cash-strapped

The North Adams Redevelopment Authority is facing a cash crisis because the Freight Yard Pub is withholding its $4,000-per-month rent, saying the agency has not kept it in good condition. Adam Shanks of the Berkshire Eagle has details on the dispute, which could leave the authority in the red until a planned sale of property to a pair of museums can be completed.

Berkshire Eagle

Store that sold winning Powerball ticket to give away $50K

The owner of the convenience store chain that sold the $750 million Powerball winning ticket says he’ll donate the $50,000 prize he’ll get from the Mass. Lottery, Dave Canton of MassLive reports. Robert Bolduc is calling for local nonprofits to apply for some of the funds, setting up a Web page to solicit ideas. He’ll decide where the money goes after Sept. 15. 

Meanwhile, Colin A. Young of the State House News Service reports that the machine that produced that golden ticket is itself being retired

And Yvonne Abraham of the Globe writes that the new life of jackpot winner Mavis Wanczyk has been dominating her daydreams—which is exactly what the powers that be at the Mass. Lottery want. 



WBRU is no more. The longtime alternative-music Brown University FM station will see its signal start carrying Christian rock on Thursday following last month’s sale by the college, Jim Hand of the Sun-Chronicle reports. For many, especially those south of Boston, ‘BRU was a stronger-signal companion to Boston’s WFNX, back in the day when alternative rock was still cool. 


Beverly pays feds to remove geese

Some Beverly residents have their feathers ruffled after word got out that the community is paying the U.S. Department of Agriculture to send a firm to capture and euthanize Canada geese from town playing fields and public spaces. Arianna MacNeil of the Salem News reports the city signed a $4,300 contract to have the geese removed and killed, with the resulting goose meat sent to local good banks. 

Salem News

Data Science Conf™

The Future of Jewish Journalism

The Jewish Journal

Today’s Headlines


City approves Treadmark building demolition plan – Dorchester Reporter

Boston area has added 220,000 private-sector jobs since Great Recession, says new report – Boston Business Journal

Facebook to hire more than 500 at new Cambridge office – Boston Business Journal


Xchange Leasing, Uber subsidiary, overcharged Mass. drivers for tolling fees – MassLive

Andover man donates inflatable boats to help Harvey rescuers – Eagle-Tribune

Brockton hires former Boston cop fired for assault – Brockton Enterprise


Mueller teams up with New York attorney general in Manafort probe – Politico

Trump pitches tax cuts on corporations as helping middle class – New York Times

Mattis puts hold on transgender ban for current military service members – NPR

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