Happening Today

Markey on opioid crisis, Butler Memorial Park, MassBenchmarks

— Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Laurie Garrett, who has written extensively about Ebola and other diseases, leads a discussion about global pandemics, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, Knafel Center, 10 Garden Street in Cambridge, 9 a.m.

— Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Sen. Jamie Eldridge tour TaraVista Behavioral Health Center, 85 Patton Road, Devens, 10 a.m.

— Auditor Suzanne Bump, who recently released a report calling for updates to the finance structure for regional schools, visits the Wachusett Regional School District to privately discuss the report’s recommendations, 1745 Main St., Jefferson, 10 a.m.

— U.S. Rep. James McGovern holds a tour of craft breweries in his district with six stops at local brewers and beer distributors, starting at Valley Malt, 4 Cemetery Rd., Hadley, 10:15 a.m.

— U.S. Sen. Edward Markey joins addiction treatment providers and advocates at a press conference to discuss President Donald Trump’s announcement of a public health emergency for the opioid crisis, Charlestown Recovery House, 15 Bunker Hill St., Charlestown, 10:30 a.m.

— Rep. Chris Walsh attends the launch of a statewide fuel assistance awareness campaign, with Framingham board of selectmen chair Cheryl Tully Stoll and others attending, South Middlesex Opportunity Council, 7 Bishop St., Framingham, 10:30 a.m.

William Bratton, who led police departments in Boston, New York City and Los Angeles, talks about ‘dealing with stress in the 21st Century and today’s networked world’ at an event hosted by Kripalu, The State Room, 33rd floor, 60 State St., Boston, 11:30 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker is the keynote speaker at the Massachusetts Association of Insurance Agents’ annual conference and trade show, Marriott Copley Place, salons A-E, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, 1 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, Rep. Nick Collins and Massport CEO Tom Glynn celebrate the unveiling of the Butler Memorial Park and Conley Terminal Dedicated Freight Corridor in South Boston, Butler Memorial Park, 940 East First St., Boston, 2:30 p.m.

— The MassBenchmarks current and leading economic indexes are scheduled for release today.

Today’s Stories

Senate gets it done, passes sweeping criminal-justice reform bill

They had to wade through more than 160 amendments and work till early this morning, but they got it done. From Joshua Miller at the Globe: “The Massachusetts Senate early Friday passed a sweeping bill that would upend state laws on crime and punishment, aiming to reduce the number of people ensnared in the thicket of the criminal justice system and ease the tough-on-crime approach of decades past. The vote was 27-10.”

MassLive’s Shira Schoenberg and WGBH’s Mike Deehan have more on the deliberations that ultimately led to the bill’s final passage.   

But they didn’t get a budget compromise done …

The Senate did pass a supplement FY2017 budget last night, but it still differs from a House bill and so lawmakers will need to hash out differences before a looming Halloween deadline next week. SHNS’s Andy Metzger has the details.

SHNS (pay wall)

DPU launches review of controversial pipeline claims

From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities launched ‘a thorough review’ of allegations in a recent report that Eversource Energy and Avangrid Inc. artificially constrained natural gas pipeline capacity in New England and drove up electricity prices by $3.6 billion over three years.” Attorney General Maura Healey’s office has previously announced it’s also reviewing the findings in the Environmental Defense Fund report.


CVS in talks to buy Aetna?

Talk about blurring the lines in health care. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that CVS, the giant Rhode Island drugstore chain that got its start way back when in Lowell, is now in talks to buy Aetna, the giant health insurer, for more than $66 billion. One of CVS’s motives for the merger: Concern that Amazon and others might eat into its current business revenues. There’s always an Amazon angle.

Fyi: Aetna isn’t one of the big four insurers in Massachusetts, but it still has a major presence here and a few years ago announced plans to expand here. The NYT has more on the still tenuous takeover talks.

WSJ (pay wall)

Dems and docs slam Trump’s opioid ‘emergency’ declaration while Baker calls for funding

President Trump yesterday declared the opioid crisis a “public health emergency” – and there was no shortage of local pols, doctors and others criticizing the president for not appropriating any funds to deal with the emergency. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has the reactions of medical officials while the Globe’s Felice Freyer has the reactions of activists and state Democrats, who are calling on Republican Gov. Charlie Baker to resign from a presidential commission on the opioid crisis.

The Associated Press reports Baker is calling on the White House and Congress to fully fund the commission’s eventual recommendations, which are expected to be released next week.

Justice Gants declares ‘constitutional emergency’ over state taking children away from parents

Speaking of declared emergencies, from the Globe’s Danny McDonald: “When it comes to dispensing justice to the state’s most vulnerable families, Massachusetts is facing a ‘constitutional emergency,’ and must urgently address the dearth of attorneys who handle cases where a child is removed from parental custody, the state’s top jurist said. ‘We simply cannot continue to allow so many parents and children to be denied their right to a timely 72-hour hearing,’ Chief Justice Ralph D. Gants of the state Supreme Judicial Court said, referring to the state law that entitles parents and children to a timely hearing.”

Boston Globe

SJC: No, someone can’t get a fair trial if jurors fall asleep during testimony

From the Associated Press at WBUR: “A man convicted of involuntary manslaughter should get a new trial because two jurors at his original trial slept during testimony, the highest court in Massachusetts said in a decision released Thursday. In addition, the judge in the 2011 trial of Anthony Villalobos erred by failing to question the jurors about what they had missed after the prosecutor spotted them napping, the Supreme Judicial Court ruled. The trial was tied to the so-called “tuxedo killing” case in Boston.


State Police admit revising arrest report of judge’s daughter

State Police confirm that a report on the arrest of the daughter of a district court judge in Worcester on drug possession and other charges had in fact been altered but said that’s not outside of normal procedure, Walter Bird Jr. of Worcester Magazine reports. The controversial blog Turtleboy Sports first reported that a comment by the daughter was removed and suggested the scrubbing came at the best of the Worcester DA and the head of the state police after District Court Judge Tim Bibaud sought to have it removed.  

Worcester Magazine

Pittsfield City Council candidate sues newspaper for defamation

Craig Gaetani, a candidate for city council in Pittsfield, has sued The Berkshire Eagle for defamation, seeking $50 million in damages stemming from an article that he said amounted to a ‘character assassination,’ Bob Dunn reports in the newspaper. The story in question was a roundup of a candidates’ forum that ended with a description of a parking-lot exchange between Gaetani and passersby who urged him not to drive because he smelled of alcohol. Gaetani, who apparently has a history of threatening to sue reporters and has represented himself in court on recent criminal cases against him, did not appear to dispute the facts in the story. 

Berkshire Eagle

Pundit: Dems’ tollway plan is really about embarrassing Baker

The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld writes that a bill that would extend highway tolling to I-95, I-93 and other major roadways sure looks like a mischievous attempt by Democrats to embarrass Gov. Charlie Baker as he gears up for re-election next year. Joe makes a convincing case. And he does suggest a way Baker can turn the table on Dems. Btw: Mayor Walsh likes the tollway idea. And, of course, he thinks Boston should get most of the money, reports Jordan Graham at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Not so fast: Late-arriving ballots delay Feeney swearing-in

Call him the senator-in-waiting. More than a week after winning the three-way race to fill a vacant state Senate seat, Paul Feeney’s swearing-in was delayed because two towns in the district received overseas ballots after the election, Jim Hand reports in the Sun-Chronicle. The delay—over what likely amounts to no more than a handful of votes—meant Feeney was not in office during the Senate’s lengthy all-nighter over criminal justice reform.  

Sun Chronicle

‘Long live Willie Lantigua a thousand and one times’

The Lawrence mayoral race is the best political show in the state – and Bianca Vázquez Toness gives you a front-row perspective at WGBH. The headline above is from a casual conversation between two city residents. The response from a Dan Rivera supporter to that comment: ‘Lantigua is good for nothing.’ Yes, they’re following the election closely in Lawrence.


Meanwhile, Newton’s mayoral race has suddenly gotten interesting …

There’s no way Newton’s mayoral race can ever outdo Lawrence’s mayoral contest for sheer fun and bedlam. But the two Democratic candidates have certainly made the suburban race more interesting, the Globe’s Shirley Leung reports. Hint: It’s not a good idea to suggest a woman’s years spent mothering her children don’t count on the old curriculum vitae, particularly when she has degrees from Brown and Harvard Business School, among other impressive accomplishments.

Boston Globe

‘The Umbrella Man’

To get the breaking news out of the way first: The Trump administration last evening indeed released 2,800 documents tied to the JFK assassination, but it delayed releasing thousands of other classified documents at the insistence of the CIA and FBI, reports the Washington Post. Conspiracy theorists, make what you will of that move.

But what caught our attention was how the New York Times, on the front of its web site, prominently featured a six-year-old short video by Errol Morris on the mysterious “Umbrella Man” on Dealey Plaza on Nov. 22, 1963. It’s a great tutorial about how a fact, any fact, can be turned into a sinister underpinning of a conspiracy theory. The video’s placement, we suppose, was the NYT’s way of telling people not to get too revved up about the assassination documents.

Groper in Chief?

If true, this is just sad. From Felicia Gans at the Globe: “A third woman has accused former President George H.W. Bush of groping her, writing about the alleged experience in a first-person article published on Slate’s website Thursday night.” 

Samoan reception guest: Scott Brown stared at my chest

In other political news, the media is squeezing every last drop out of former U.S. senator Scott Brown’s Samoan delights controversy. The Globe’s Mark Shanahan has the latest.

MassHousing chief leaving to take job at UBS

From SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Salem News: “The head of MassHousing is stepping down to join UBS, a global financial services firm. Tim Sullivan informed staff on Thursday of his plans to resign, effective Nov. 14. The MassHousing Board plans to meet Nov. 14 to take steps to appoint an interim executive director and begin a search process to find a permanent director.”

Salem News

MIAA finally getting its comeuppance

It’s about time. The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, which seems to be trying its level best to turn high-school sports into a local version of the morally challenged NCAA, is catching flak for its refusal to recognize a Lunenberg girl’s golf tournament victory over boys, as the Herald Ben Atkinson reports. But the nonprofit MIAA should be getting equal knocks for its secretiveness, six-figure staff salaries, costly fees and “ironclad grip” over high school athletics in Massachusetts, as the Herald’s Chris Cassidy puts it. Like the NCCA, the MIAA’s entire business model is ultimately based on taking maximum advantage of amateur student-athletes and scholarship-hungry parents. P.S. – A Herald editorial is ripping into the MIAA over the Lunenberg incident.

You can’t afford to miss this spoof of Boston’s unaffordable luxury condos

Greg Cook at WBUR has a great story about an artistic spoof of Boston’s luxury-condo market, complete with a fake real estate sales office, signs, design renderings, building model and sales videos, all intended to get real-live walk-in customers (and others) interested in the stupendous Luxury Waters housing project being built in the middle of Fort Point Channel. It’s hilarious. The video even has (fictional) quotes form Gov. Baker and Mayor Walsh touting the wonders of Luxury Waters. All we can say is, thank you, Pat Falco.


‘Life is good’

Want to get away from all the terrible news of late? Tired of arguing politics with friends? Then read this great column in Jewish World Review that’s making the rounds. Garrison Keillor, who wrote the piece, is right: ‘The gentle people shall prevail. Count on it.’

Jewish World Report

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8: 30 a.m. This week’s guest: Gus Bickford, chair of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, who talks with host Jon Keller about all things politics, including 2018 elections.

This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 9:30 a.m. With host JC Monahan, this week’s topics: Halloween safety tips and customes, and Let’s Talk About it:  Halloween Safety tips and a look at the Joslin Diabetes Center with center chief executive D. Peter Amenta.  

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Charles Toole, an Adviser Investments portfolio manager, weighs in on both the future of General Electric and the nation’s tax code;  Chip Malt and Jake Kalick, the co-founders of Made In, share the vision behind their new company and its cookware product line; Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe on the top business stories of the week.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Gary Hirshberg, a pioneer in the organic foods industry and co-founder of Stonyfield Farm, talks about his company and its sale to a private French company. 

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. This week’s topics: Guide for the Homesick, The Color Purple, Network for Arts Administrators of Color.

Beer Mansion

Brooklyn Brewery

Daughter and Mother Camp Congress for Girls Boston 2017

Girls in Politics Initiative

Medicare for All: Film, Discussion, Action

CAST-Cambridge Area Stronger Together

Women in Advocacy and Politics Workshop Boston

Political Institute for Women

Tales from the Home of the World’s Worst Weather

Nahant Public Library

Mass. Marijuana Summit: Understanding the challenges and opportunities in the new age of legalization

State House News Forum

Today’s Headlines


GE reportedly looking to shed railroad business – Boston Business Journal

Marty Walsh open to added tolls on major highways – Boston Herald

Harvard’s surplus may be ‘high-water mark’ – Boston Globe


Study: 90 percent of Plainridge customers also visited other casinos – Sun-Chronicle

Mass. chief Justice Ralph Gants urges legal reforms to reduce recidivism – MassLive

Vatican ruling opens door to sell Mt. Carmel church property in Worcester – Telegram & Gazette

Job fair connects homeless with employers – Patriot Ledger

Second lawsuit seeks to halt Berkshire Museum art sale – Berkshire Eagle


Budget vote raises red flag for GOP on tax reform – The Hill

‘Game change’ book, movie canceled over Halperin’s alleged sexual harassment – Politico

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