Happening Today

Sonja Farak cases, Life-sciences boost, Christmas tree lighting

ACLU of Massachusetts and the Committee for Public Counsel Services hold a press conference to discuss their petition urging the Supreme Judicial Court to dismiss all drug cases involving former state chemist Sonja Farak, who pled guilty in 2014 to tampering with evidence, ACLU ofices, 211 Congress St., 4th floor, Boston, 11 a.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh, Premier Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia and Mayor Michael Savage of Halifax celebrate the annual donation of a holiday tree from Halifax to Boston, marking the two cities’ friendship, Boston Common, 11 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging TechnologyJwill focus on the state’s life sciences industry at a hearing, including legislation that would steer $500 million to support the life sciences, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Albert Sherman Center, Worcester, 11 a.m.

— Senate President Stanley Rosenberg gives the lunchtime keynote at the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, Bastille Kitchen, 49 Melcher St., Boston, starts at 10 a.m. and Rosenberg’s remarks at 12:30 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,’ WGBH-FM 89.7, 12:30 p.m.

The I-90 Allston Interchange Improvement Project Task Force will hold a meeting to discuss the draft environmental impact report that MassDOT will file with the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Fiorentino Community Center, 123 Antwerp Street, Allston, 6 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Martin Walsh and the Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil commemorate 100 years of friendship between Boston and Nova Scotia at the 76th Annual Tree Lighting, Boston Common, 6 p.m.

— U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark, Massachusetts AFL-CIO, Massachusetts Building Trades Council and Ironworkers Local 7 host a rally and reception for Randy ‘Ironstache’ Bryce, a union ironworker who is running against U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin, Common Ground Bar & Grille, 319 Broadway, Arlington, 7 p.m.

Today’s Stories

Customer service doesn’t come first at CharlieCard store

Long lines. An argument with a customer. A Dunkin’ Donuts coffee run while customers wait. CommonWealth’s Jack Sullivan saw it all during a recent visit to the T’s CharlieCard store. MBTA general manager Luis Ramirez’s customers-first campaign has a lot of work to do, it seems.


State may lose $295M if Congress doesn’t act soon

That’s a lot of money to find if the feds don’t act. From Priyanka Dayal McCluskey at the Globe: “Massachusetts is on track to run out of money in January for a federal program that provides health coverage for 172,000 children in the state unless Congress moves quickly to approve new funding. Without congressional action, Massachusetts is slated to lose $295 million in annual funding, according to state health officials.” Gov. Baker yesterday sent a letter to D.C. leaders on behalf of National Governors Association, McCluskey writes.

Boston Globe

Project Veritas wants state law overturned so it can dupe victims here

They’re so righteous about it too. From Danny McDonald at the Globe: “Project Veritas, the group that was apparently caught red-handed this week trying to dupe The Washington Post, is challenging the legality of a Massachusetts law that makes it a crime to secretly record conversations. Project Veritas Action Fund, an affiliate of the group that uses deceptive tactics and secret taping to expose alleged bias among journalists, is suing Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley in federal court, claiming a state law on recording conversations is overly broad and tantamount to censorship.”

Btw: The Washington Post is taking a blowtorch to Project Veritas this morning, exposing how the group plotted for months to entrap Post reporters and the lying text messages sent by the woman peddling the bogus Roy Moore allegations.

Boston Globe

In hate crimes response, Westfield State to blanket campus with cameras

The irony of Project Veritas trying to overturn private-recording laws while a state government entity goes overboard with installing security cameras. How overboard? Westfield State University trustees have voted to install more than 400 security cameras across campus in response to a rash of hate crimes in recent months, Hope E. Tremblay reports at MassLive. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.


Walsh points finger at Chang and Flynn, Battenfeld points finger at Walsh

Mayor Marty Walsh is blaming Superintendent Tommy Chang for not telling him sooner about the apparent misuse of student activity accounts found in an IRS audit, reports the Globe’s James Vaznis. Walsh is even pointing a finger at former Mayor Ray Flynn. But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld says it’s all nonsense. “So the city of Boston shells out a nearly $1 million fine to the IRS on Election Day and Mayor Marty Walsh doesn’t notice? Sure. Right. Walsh is playing dumb.”

Public school officials sure heard an earful last night from angry parents, reports the Herald’s Dan Atkinson and Kathleen McKiernan.

Not even CEOs like the Republican tax plan

The Globe’s Shirley Leung has a good piece about how even corporate CEOs, who are supposed to be among the biggest beneficiaries of the Republican tax-cut proposals, think the promised economic gains from the cuts are mostly bogus. “Totally ludicrous,” concludes one local CEO.

Boston Globe

Cannabis Commission to get more cash

A few days after signing a $15,000-per-month temporary office lease, the Cannabis Control Commission is now in line, it seems, to get an additional $2.7 million for operations. SHNS’s Katie Lannan at the Salem News reports how a spending bill began moving through the House Ways and Means Committee late yesterday, a move that would appropriate extra funds for the agency charged with developing new regulations for the recently legalized marijuana industry in Massachusetts. The appropriation, assuming it’s eventually passed, would bring the commission’s budget to $5 million, which is still short of what the agency says it needs in the long run.

Salem News

‘Matt didn’t think his farts stunk’

Sorry for the crude headline, but the quote was too good to pass up regarding the arrogance of Matt Lauer, the now ousted NBC television host and former Boston broadcast veteran accused of serial sexual-harassment behavior. The Herald’s Olivia Vanni has more local media reactions to Matt’s plight. Speaking of the media, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi tallies up all the high-profile media members caught up in the #MeToo movement. The list is getting longer by the day.

Boston Herald

Should taxpayers be on the hook for Beacon Hill harassment settlements?

Good question. From the Herald’s Brian Dowling: “Senate President Stanley Rosenberg says a review of the state Senate’s sexual harassment policies could examine whether taxpayers should be on the hook when it comes to paying out settlements for misconduct.” Rosenberg makes a good point about the responsibility of workplace employers in such matters.

Boston Herald

Meanwhile, Moulton slams sexual-harassment payouts by Congress

Speaking of taxpayers being on the hook for sexual-harassment settlements, from Shannon Young at MassLive: “U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, slammed a recently released Congressional Office of Compliance report, which noted that it has spent more than $17 million on 264 settlements and awards to federal employees for violations of various employment rules, including sexual harassment, since 1997.  Calling the report’s findings a ‘scheme (that) is appalling and unacceptable,’ Moulton urged congressional leaders to set better standards for workplace behavior.”


Baker has distanced himself from Trump, but not Republicans at the local level

Gov. Charlie Baker’s trip to Fitchburg last night to campaign for Dean Tran, the GOP candidate for the state Senate seat recently vacated by Democrat Jennifer Flanagan, shows he hasn’t given up trying to elect Republicans at the local level, even though he’s distanced himself from a certain Republican leader now residing in the White House, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton at New Boston Post.

Meanwhile, Leominster City Councilor Sue Chalifoux Zephir, the Democrat vying for Flanagan’s seat in the special election, is attacking Republicans for attacking her husband’s past business dealings. Here’s her Facebook video response. She’s also launching a media blitz as the campaign winds to a close. Here’s that Facebook video.

New Boston Post

Prosecutors modify extortion charges against Walsh aides

Federal prosecutors have tweaked extortion charges against two aides to Mayor Marty Walsh in a case scheduled to go to trial early next year, possibly in a bid to protect potential guilty verdicts from being tossed on appeal, Isaiah Thompson of WGBH reports. Defense attorneys say the late changes could open doors to having the case itself challenged. 


Lawrence’s Rivera endorses Matias in Third District race

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera isn’t waiting around to find out if the field of candidates seeking the Third Congressional seat keeps growing (it’s already at 12 on the Democratic side alone). Lisa Kashinsky of the Eagle-Tribune reports Rivera has formally endorsed state Rep. Juana Matias, noting in doing so that it’s been more than three decades since someone from Lawrence served in the U.S. House of Representatives. 

Eagle Tribune

Troopergate suit refocuses on Worcester DA’s office

From James Russell at the Telegram: “One of the two federal lawsuits filed against top state police officials, involving accusations that troopers were told to alter records detailing the arrest of a judge’s daughter, was amended Tuesday and promises to name as defendants employees in the office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr.”


Harvard’s plans for Allston, explained, in broad themes

CommonWealth’s Bruce Mohl reports on a meeting last night between Harvard officials and Allston residents, who have long wanted a lot more details on what exactly Harvard plans to do with the vast tracts of land that it owns in Allston. They mostly got some broad themes last night, not specific details, by the look of it.


Meanwhile, Harvard-Yale game to be played at Fenway, not Allston

This may be welcome news by some Allston residents, but we’re pretty sure the smaller venue will upset many alumni who can’t find tickets. From the Harvard Crimson: “The 135th meeting of the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Bulldogs will be played at Boston’s Fenway Park instead of Harvard Stadium, Fenway Sports Management announced Wednesday morning. The annual football match has not been played at a location other than Harvard Stadium or the Yale Bowl since 1912, according to a press release from the Harvard Athletics Department.”

In case you’re wondering, the Crimson’s football calendar year translates into 2018, for all you who use the Gregorian calendar.

Visiting Cape seashore to get more expensive

The National Park Service is poised to boost entrance fees for pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcycles at the Cape Cod National Seashore next summer, though the fee for cars is expected to hold steady at $20, Christine Legere of the Cape Cod Times reports. The service is taking comments on the fees, but it sounds like a done deal to us. 

Cape Cod Times

Council bags plastic bags, slaps 5-cent charge on paper bags

Even though some communities are reportedly reconsidering their prior bans on plastic bags, the Boston City Council yesterday unanimously approved a measure that would ban plastic shopping bags and impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags and thicker plastic bags, writes Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin. The measure would go into effect in a year if approved by Mayor Walsh, whose office says he’s reviewing the proposal.

Universal Hub

Former Comptroller of the Currency and state banking commissioner lands at Nutter

Thomas Curry, who recently left his post as U.S. Comptroller of the Currency and who previously served as the state’s banking commissioner, has started working as a partner at Boston’s Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP. The BBJ’s Greg Ryan takes a look into Curry’s first foray into private-practice law.


Summers, Messina join advisory board of Somerville’s PillBack Inc.

Two political heavyweights — former Harvard president and U.S. Treasury Larry Summers and former Obama campaign manager Jim Messina – are hooking up with medicine delivery startup PillBack Inc., Summers as a member of the firm’s strategic advisory committee and Messina as a member of the board of directors, reports Kelly O’Brien at the BBJ.


Texas kids just want to hear more about Boston’s history

This is a sweet story about some kids in Texas trying to revive the lost art of letter writing – and now they’re asking Boston kids to write back to Mrs. Jones’s Fifth Grade Class in Emory, Texas, about the 1765 Stamp Act and Boston colonists. The Herald’s Jessica Heslam has the details. 

Boston Herald

40 Under 40 After Hours

Boston Business Journal

From cocoon to silk: Transformation lessons from an early-stage biotech start-up

North Shore Technology Council

Today’s Headlines


Council takes first step toward building new Boston Arts Academy – Universal Hub

City prepared to face Old Man Winter – Boston Herald


North-South rail link advocates, including Dukakis, meet in Quincy – Patriot Ledger

Judge denies Eagle request to release documents in Berkshire Museum case – Berkshire Eagle

Rosenberg hails Senate work, eyes minimum wage hike cautiously – Hampshire Gazette

State obtains judgment in data breach affecting Plainville, Norfolk and Foxboro students – Sun Chronicle


Project Veritas’ efforts to infiltrate Post extended back many months – Washington Post

Mueller’s prosecutors are said to have interviewed Kushner – New York Times

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