Happening Today

Mount Ida meeting, Berners-Lee and Markey, and more

Board of Higher Education officials are scheduled to meet privately with officials from Mount Ida College, which recently announced its plans to close after this semester and be acquired by UMass Amherst, Department of Higher Education, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito gives opening remarks at a UMass Dartmouth symposium ‘Catching the Next Wave: Building the Blue Economy,’ with Rep. Patricia Haddad also attending, Carney Library, 285 Old Westport Road, Dartmouth, 9 a.m.

— Sen. Jamie Eldridge hosts the 38th annual Senior Conference at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, with Auditor Suzanne Bump expected to attend, 215 Fitchburg St., Marlborough, 9 a.m.

Girl Scouts from across Massachusetts visit the State House for ‘Girl Power on the Hill’ hosted by the Caucus of Women Legislators and the Senate Office of Education and Civic Engagement, State House, 9 a.m.

— Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson provides keynote remarks to the Energy Storage Association’s 28th Annual Conference and Expo, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Senate President Harriette Chandler speaks at the Worcester Rising Civics Camp, Worcester State University, 10 a.m.

— The Massachusetts Service Alliance will gather non-profit leaders and volunteers from around the state for Service and Volunteerism Day, with Rep. Elizabeth Malia and other leaders expected to attend, Grand Staircase, 10 a.m.

— The Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure will hold a hearing on a late-filed bill that would alter the law governing chain store sales of liquor, Room B-1, 11 a.m.

Essex County Community Organization gathers immigrant families and others for a ‘Children’s March’ to the State House to protest immigration policies, 12 p.m.

— Treasurer Deborah Goldberg speaks at the 38th annual Senior Conference for the Middlesex & Worcester District, Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School, 215 Fitchburg St., Marlborough, 12:50 p.m.

Tim Berners-Lee, director of the World Wide Web Consortium and World Wide Web Foundation, joins U.S. Sen. Edward Markey and former Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler for a discussion of net neutrality, Wong Auditorium, MIT, 2 Amherst St., Cambridge, 6:30 p.m.

MassDOT will host a meeting to provide information to the public on the project to replace the North Washington Street Bridge, Nazzaro Community Center, 30 North Bennett Street, Boston, 6:30 p.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey will be at Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics to discuss the ongoing work of her office, Rutgers University, New Jersey, 7 p.m.

For more calendar listings, check out State House News Service’s Daily Advances (pay wall) and MassterList’s Beacon Hill Town Square below.

Today’s Stories

Now this: State Police payroll chief charged with stealing $23,000

It keeps getting worse for the State Police. From the Globe’s Kay Lazar and Matt Rocheleau: “Amid intense scrutiny of hefty overtime payouts and financial irregularities at the Massachusetts State Police, the agency’s head of payroll will face criminal charges for allegedly stealing from the department, officials said. Denise Ezekiel, the State Police director of payroll, is charged with larceny on accusations that she misappropriated over $23,000 in public money, prosecutors with the Middlesex district attorney’s office said Wednesday.” Dan Glaun at MassLive and Jordan Frias at the Herald have more.

Spinning away: Baker says State Police payroll probe is actually ‘good news’

We’ll just let SHNS’s Andy Metzger handle this one: “It is ‘good news’ that the payroll director for the State Police has been on unpaid leave amid a theft investigation, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday. … ‘It’s an allegation against somebody who works for the State Police by people who ran the State Police. This is good news, folks. When the leadership of the State Police is cleaning up its own house and doing the investigation that develops a baseline for criminal investigation, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing,’ Baker told reporters. He said he expects a ‘full blown investigation’ into the matter.”

SHNS (pay wall)

Rep. Calter chosen as Kingston town administrator, plans to resign House seat after contract talks

Another legislator is leaving the State House. State Rep. Tom Calter has been tapped to be the next town administrator in Kingston, reports Katherine Gallerani at the Patriot Ledger. Calter posted on Facebook that he will remain in the House through next week’s House budget debate, and then step down from the Legislature ‘on a date to be determined,’ reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan (pay wall). There will be no special election for the seat, which will remain vacant until after this fall’s elections.

Patriot Ledger

State House, here he comes: Lawrence’s Willie Lantigua plots his latest comeback attempt

We missed this exciting news from the other day. From Keith Eddings at the Eagle-Tribune: “William Lantigua has returned from several months in the Dominican Republic for a third attempt at a political comeback since losing the mayoralty after a single term in 2013, and will try – for a second time – to regain the Statehouse seat he gave up to become mayor in 2010. Lantigua announced he will make still another comeback attempt for the 16 Essex District seat in a Facebook posting on Sunday, when he invited supporters to a campaign kickoff event Thursday at his newly opened campaign headquarters.”

We’re pretty sure more than a few people at the State House are not looking forward to Willie’s possible return.


‘White Lives Matter’ graffiti spray painted on Black Market in Roxbury

CBS Boston has the ugly details of an ugly incident in which a vandal spray painted ‘White Lives Matter’ on a Roxbury co-op that is trying to help black entrepreneurs. The vandalism occurred just days before the spring opening of the Black Market.

CBS Boston

Pot VIPs: Marijuana dispensaries get shown to the front of the line

They’re like the beautiful people outside a popular nightclub who get ushered to the front of the line by bouncers. Except it’s medical marijuana dispensaries getting the favored treatment by regulators for retail pot-shop licenses, even though most of the dispensaries aren’t even open for medical business. Jessica Bartlett at the BBJ has the Studio 54-like details.

Meanwhile, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive reports that more than 800 potential marijuana businesses have submitted at least partial applications for ‘priority certification.’

Poll: Gifford holds commanding lead in Third with 11 percent support

This is what you get when you have 13 candidates running for one office: A frontrunner with only 11 percent support in the polls. In the case of the crowded Third Congressional Democratic primary race, that frontrunner is a former US ambassador to Denmark who only recently moved into the district, none other than Rufus Gifford. The Globe’s Frank Phillips has the Boston Globe/UMass Lowell poll details, including how nearly 60 percent of voters are undecided who to support in the Third.

Boston Globe

In an attempt to win regulatory favor, Wynn Resorts appoints three females to its board

This can be interpreted as a sign that Wynn Resorts, reeling from sexual-harassment charges against its former CEO, isn’t giving up hope of retaining its Everett casino license: The company has announced that it has added three women to its board of directors. Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine has the details.


Plainridge posts most lucrative March to date

One place that’s just-fine-thank-you-very much with all the wrangling and maneuvering over the state’s other casino licenses: Plainridge Park casino, which says it just had its best March ever, bringing in $15.8 million in slot machine revenue, Jim Hand reports at the Sun Chronicle.

Sun Chronicle

Quincy throws up roadblock to Walsh’s Long Island Bridge plan

From Sean Philip Cotter at the Patriot Ledger: “Mayor Thomas Koch wants to block the city of Boston from rebuilding the Long Island Bridge by banning construction vehicles from Quincy roads that lead there. Koch and Ward 6 city councilor William Harris will introduce an ordinance change next week that would ban commercial traffic on stretches of Moon Island Road and Dorchester Street.”

Patriot Ledger

Lewandowski the latest Fox News commentator to link an ex-FBI director to nefarious Boston activities

First, Fox News host Sean Hannity tried to link Robert Mueller to Boston gangster Whitey Bulger. The Globe’s Shelley Murphy made mincemeat of the charge. Now Corey Lewandowski, appearing on Fox News, is trying to link former FBI director James Comey to the Boston Marathon bombing. The Globe’s Martha Schick shreds the allegation. … We’re eagerly anticipating Fox News’ next Boston-tied conspiracy theory. Who and what might be next? And where were Mueller and Comey on the night of March 18, 1990?

Sgt. Sean Gannon, RIP

Amid a sea of mourning relatives, friends, neighbors and police officers from across the state and country, Yarmouth police officer Sean Gannon, who was posthumously promoted to sergeant after he was killed last week in the line of duty, was laid to rest yesterday on the Cape. Sean Driscoll of the Cape Cod Times reports on yesterday’s funeral, attended by Gov. Charlie Baker, among other state and local dignitaries at the funeral. The Times has a photo gallery of yesterday’s procession and Tuesday’s wake.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Evan Allen and Laura Crimaldi report that Gannon and his accused killer, Thomas Latanowich, couldn’t have been more different.

Cape Cod Times

In wake of Gannon killing, Mass GOP tweets its support for death penalty

The Massachusetts Republican Party is trying to make political hay out of the death of Yarmouth police officer Sean Gannon, sending out a message earlier this week on Twitter reaffirming the party’s backing of capital punishment for criminals who kill police officers, a sentiment backed by Republican Gov. Charlie Baker, reports the AP’s Steve LeBlanc at WBUR. 


Special prosecutor: Law firm didn’t violate state campaign finance laws

From Andrea Estes at the Globe: “Thornton Law Firm didn’t violate state campaign finance laws when it reimbursed its partners for up to $175,000 in donations to state and local politicians, a special prosecutor said Wednesday. In a statement, Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said he didn’t find ‘sufficient evidence’ to bring criminal charges against the Boston law firm, but recommended reforms to state campaign finance laws that ‘address the ambiguities in the law that gave rise to these allegations.’”

Boston Globe

UMass-Boston employees on Mount Ida deal: ‘Done behind our backs, in our own backyard’

University of Massachusetts-Boston faculty, staff and students yesterday rallied against the proposed sale of Newton’s Mount Ida College to UMass-Amherst, pointing to cutbacks at the Boston school while a separate wing of the UMass system spends tens of millions of dollars to buy a nearby 74-acre campus, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. The deal was “done behind our backs, in our own backyard,” said Tom Goodkind, UMass Boston’s professional staff union president.


Shocking: Mount Ida brass granted pay raises as college sank further into debt

Why are we not surprised? Max Stendahl at the BBJ reports that in the years leading up to the proposed sale of Mount Ida College to UMass-Amherst, Mount Ida’s top executive received some pretty hefty pay raises, even as the school’s debt load increased. He has the names and dollar amounts.


King of marketing, still: Budweiser parent company absolved of pay-to-play charges

From the Globe’s Dan Adams: “In a case closely watched by the US beer industry, Massachusetts alcohol officials have determined that a local beer wholesaler owned by Anheuser-Busch is not liable under state anti-pay-to-play rules for giving away nearly $1 million in equipment to beer retailers.”

Boston Globe

Warren, Markey co-sign letter demanding ‘urgent action’ on contaminated water in Westfield and elsewhere

Twenty-five U.S. senators, including Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey of Massachusetts, have sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency that asks it to take action on contaminated water in areas near Department of Defense installations across the nation, including in Westfield, where three of four public drinking water wells are inactive due to contamination from firefighting foam used at Barnes Air National Guard Base. Hope Tremblay at MassLive has more.

Lawyers warn Amherst on timing of first Town Council election

Not so fast, Amherst. The town’s select board voted to schedule the first-ever Town Council elections since voters approved a charter revamp for Nov. 6, but two local attorneys say the timing could be constitutionally problematic, Scott Merzbach reports in the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Critics say the date means that the nomination process for the seats would take place during the summer months, when the vast majority of local college students are out of town.


Stan makes his case for re-election: ‘Experience and seniority count’

He may be down but he’s not out. The Globe’s Joshua Miller caught up with Sen. Stan Rosenberg, the former Senate president who’s facing a primary challenge amid various State House scandal woes, and finds Rosenberg is the same old policy wonk and determined to win re-election. “Experience and seniority count for a lot in the Legislature,” said the Amherst Democrat.

Out of state drivers might get free ride on Pike

The state Department of Transportation says out-of-state drivers who used the Mass Pike without a transponder owe the state more than $15 million in tolls and fees that the state may be unable to collect, Shannon Young reports at MassLive. Massachusetts has reciprocal collection agreements with Maine and New Hampshire, which means that drivers from those states who don’t pay may have their car registrations blocked. But others appear poised to get off toll free. Young notes the no-pay numbers are largely in line with previous DOT estimates.


Report says Boston is co-favorite for Amazon HQ2, but do Bostonians really care?

We’ve learned to take these things with a healthy grain of salt. Still, the Conference Board says its study of job ads posted by Amazon suggest that Boston and Washington D.C. are co-favorites to land Amazon’s HQ2 project. Catherine Carlock at the BBJ explains. Meanwhile, the Globe’s Tim Logan reports that residents of the Boston area seem to be among the least excited about the prospect of landing HQ2, citing a poll by Elon University that says only 34 percent of residents ‘strongly support’ efforts to score the deal, the weakest level of support of all the regions surveyed. 

‘This fight for a free and open Internet belongs to all of us’

U.S. Senator Edward J. Markey and Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, have a joint op-ed in the Globe this morning defending net neutrality and calling on people to oppose seizure of the Internet by “powerful corporate interests.”

Educational Program on Guardianship in Pittsfield

Guardian Community Trust

Innovation Bioscience: Solve-It, Open Innovation Challenge

Munevar & Associates, Inc./Innovation Bioscience

Exploring the Future of Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities


Grid Modernization in Massachusetts: International Insights to Meet 2050 Carbon Goals

Fraunhofer Center for Sustainable Energy Systems (CSE)

Today’s Headlines


Boston’s brand as a tech destination is muddled – CommonWealth Magazine

Interim chancellor moves to boost morale at UMass Boston as transition looms – Dorchester Reporter


Lowell implements overtime and hiring freeze – Lowell Sun

Weymouth eyes public-to-private development for Lakeview Manor – Patriot Ledger

Head of nonprofit aims to change voting options – Newburyport Daily News

Massachusetts Attorney General to give MassBay graduation speech – MetroWest Daily News

For 4th time, Ipswich Pharmaceuticals again pitches pot facility in Becket – Hampshire Daily Gazette


Puerto Rico is once again hit by island-wide blackout – New York Times

Poll: Cruz running neck and neck with Dem challenger – The Hill

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