Wynn Resorts hearing, Cannabis Commission, Bill Gates in Boston, GOP Convention
— Massachusetts Gaming Commission meets to hear from Steve Wynn’s personal attorney and lawyers for Wynn Resorts, who have argued that Steve Wynn shouldn’t be classified as a casino license ‘qualifier’ since he is no longer with the company, 101 Federal St., 12th Floor, Boston, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker holds a private cabinet meeting, Room 488, 10 a.m.
— Cannabis Control Commission meets to approve additional applications for priority license review and to discuss an investigative services contract, Health Policy Commission Conference Room, 50 Milk St., 8th Floor, Boston, 11 a.m.
— Microsoft founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates gives the keynote lecture at a Massachusetts Medical Society and New England Journal of Medicine conference on the importance of innovation in mitigating the impact of future epidemics, Boston Seaport Hotel and World Trade Center, with the day’s events starting at 8 a.m. and Gates’ lecture at 11:30 a.m.
— Family members of workers killed on the job will join union officials to publicize 2018 Dying for Work in Massachusetts report, State House steps, 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in the SkillsUSA 44th State Leadership and Skills Conference, Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School, 65 Pleasant Street, Upton, 1 p.m.
— Researchers from MIT and Harvard School of Public Health join others from the transportation sector at a forum titled ‘Texting Ourselves to Death: Is Distracted Driving a Solvable Problem or a Fact of Life?,’ Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Kresge Building, Snyder Auditorium, 677 Huntington Ave., Boston, 1 p.m.
— Students, faith leaders and others return to Smith and Wesson headquarters to demand a meeting with CEO P. James Debney, 2100 Roosevelt Ave., Springfield, 3 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Politohold a reception for delegates and guests of Saturday’s Republican State Convention, with a speaking program beginning afterward, Wachusett Ballroom, AC Marriott, 125 Front St., Worcester, 5 p.m.
— Attorney General Maura Healey delivers the keynote address at the Greater Boston PFLAG 40th Anniversary Gala, Boston Marriott Copley Place, 110 Huntington Ave., Boston, 6:45 p.m.
— The Massachusetts Republican Party holds a ‘Cocktails and Victory,’ reception ahead of Saturday’s state GOP convention, Citizen Wine Bar, 1 Exchange St., Worcester, 9 p.m.
— U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren holds a community meeting about the opioid crisis, UMass Lowell, Moloney Ballroom, University Crossing, 220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, 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.
Leominster pays $10,000 in bitcoin ransom to hackers to regain control of school computers
Hackers took control of the Leominster school district’s computer systems over April break and the city has paid $10,000 in Bitcoin to hackers to regain access to the network, Paula Owen reports in the Telegram. The FBI has been notified and is investigating, according to Mayor Dean Mazzarella, who also said he believes the rest of the city’s networks are safe from a similar ransomware attack.
The Setti fallout
The Globe’s Joshua Miller takes a look at who will benefit most from Setti Warren’s surprise decision to pull out of the Democratic gubernatorial primary race: Jay Gonzalez or Robert Massie. Lou DiNatale, a Massachusetts Democratic consultant, says Gonzalez will probably be viewed as the establishment candidate and Massie as the progressive candidate of choice – and that sounds about right.
WGBH’s Peter Kadzis thinks Massie has gotten off to a fast post-Setti start, winning the “battle of the press releases” only minutes after news first broke yesterday morning that Warren was pulling out. Indeed, the national climate change organization 350.org proceeded to endorse Massie for governor yesterday, after the Warren announcement, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall). Meanwhile, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker is downplaying, and even laughing at, the notion that the Warren move signals he’s “unbeatable,” reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive.
Baker’s ‘image nightmare’ this weekend: Lots of Trump signs, hats and bumper stickers
Speaking of the governor’s race, from Joe Battenfeld at the Herald: “Gov. Charlie Baker’s vaunted campaign machine faces off against a vocal band of conservatives and Trump supporters at this weekend’s GOP state convention, where the activists hope to embarrass the popular governor by securing a ballot spot for his primary opponent.”
Make Way for Right Whales: State delays start of lobster season for some rather large reasons
From Mary Whitfill at Wicked Local: “The dozens of right whales spotted off South Shore coasts since Sunday have delivered a major blow to the local fishing fleet. The unusually large number of right whales feeding close to the shores of Marshfield and Hull and in Cape Cod Bay this week has led the state Division of Marine Fisheries to implement two emergency regulations – pushing off the start of lobster season in southern Massachusetts.”
The Maine sheriff deputy shooting: Is the state’s bail system really at fault?
Gov. Charlie Baker is urging the Massachusetts courts to review the process that led to the release on bail of a man who’s now accused of murdering a sheriff deputy earlier this week in Maine, reports Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive. Meanwhile, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey says new state laws and court decisions are making it tougher for prosecutors to win bail for criminal defendants, reports the Herald’s Brian Dowling and Laurel Sweet. The Herald’s Howie Carr, in typical Howie fashion, is ripping into Judge Timothy Feeley for lowering the bail of John Williams on gun charges, allowing him to go free and later allegedly kill the Maine cop. Feeley is now the target of a massive manhunt in Maine.
But here’s why all the lock-‘em-up-and-throw-away-the-keys solutions are not as simple as they sound, as Chris Burrell at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting made clear earlier this week, prior to the Maine shooting, at WGBH: For every person who perhaps is released unfairly on bail, there’s another person who perhaps is kept unfairly in jail because he can’t afford bail. It’s what they call a “quandary.”
It’s official: Yawkey Way is now Jersey Street
After months of emotional debate and numerous delays, Boston’s Public Improvement Commission yesterday unanimously voted to change the name of Yawkey Way to Jersey Street, stripping away the name of late Red Sox owner Tom Yawkey, who many considered a racist and symbol of Boston’s troubled racial past, reports the Associated Press at WGBH. Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin has identified Boston’s next item to interminably argue over: The name of the MBTA’s nearby commuter-rail station.
Face it, Springfield: MGM is just not that into you
MGM swears it loves Springfield and even plans to open its nearly $1 billion new casino earlier than expected this summer, as WBUR reports. But former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano cites all the reasons why MGM’s heart pitter-patters for Boston, not Springfield, and he says the Gaming Commission needs to put a stop to the outrageous cross-state flirting. He elaborates at CommonWealth magazine.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of MGM Springfield yesterday downplayed the possibility of MGM buying the Everett casino license from the embattled Wynn Resorts, reports the BBJ’s David Harris. “I don’t think it’s likely,” James Murren said. But he added: “It would have to be an extremely unique situation.”
Fyi: Wynn Resorts officials will appear today at a Gaming Commission hearing to effectively argue why Wynn shouldn’t have its Everett casino license yanked in the wake of sexual-harassment charges against its former CEO, Steve Wynn
House passes $41B budget after four days of deliberation
From SHNS’s Andy Metzger: “The House passed its roughly $41 billion fiscal 2019 budget on Thursday by a 150 – 4 vote, devoting billions towards perennial priorities and much smaller amounts toward pet projects favored by lawmakers. Among the changes to the document made over the course of four days of debate is an increase in the earned income tax credit that assists the working poor, fewer restrictions on welfare for young families, and more tax credits to put land into conservation.”
Meanwhile, lawmakers ignore Baker administration, pass funding for regional transit agencies
Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack may oppose additional funds to bail out struggling regional transit authorities across the state, but lawmakers on Beacon Hill seem determined to funnel more funds to the agencies, Bruce Mohl reports at CommonWealth magazine. The House has approved an additional $2 million for RTAs while the Senate has OK’d an extra $4 million.
Was it fair to suspend Globe columnist Kevin Cullen?
Marcus Breen, an assistant professor who oversees the Media Lab at Boston College, says the Boston Globe acted too fast by putting Globe columnist Kevin Cullen on paid administrative leave as it investigates charges Cullen fabricated portions of a recent column, reports the BBJ’s Don Seiffert. But Dan Kennedy, a journalism professor at Northeastern University, thinks otherwise.
State failed to pay taxes on state trooper car perks dating back to the ‘70s
Another day, another State Police accounting revelation. From Kay Lazar at the Globe: “The state has failed to pay taxes on tens of millions of dollars doled out to state troopers since the 1970s as a reward for driving their own cars to work, leaving Massachusetts vulnerable to a potentially massive bill from the IRS.”
UMass-Amherst chief defends Mount Ida takeover, saying it will help avert regional ‘brain drain’
From Max Stendahl at the BBJ: “The chancellor of UMass Amherst on Thursday defended the university’s decision to acquire the Newton campus of closing Mount Ida College and use it as a career-prep satellite, as state lawmakers begin scrutinizing the controversial deal. In a letter to legislators, Kumble Subbaswamy wrote that the acquisition would slow a ‘brain drain’ of Massachusetts high school students leaving the state to attend other public research universities.”
The Globe’s Laura Krantz has more on why Subbaswamy thinks spending $70 million to buy Mount Ida’s Newton campus is a wise investment, though university officials have yet to make clear why UMass-Boston can’t be used as UMass-Amherst’s satellite campus.
Calling NH Governor Sununu: Feds bust major fentanyl ring run out of Lawrence
Wasn’t there a prominent New Hampshire politician who was criticized for linking Lawrence with the drug trade in northern New England? Yep. Anyway, Scott Croteau at MassLive reports on the bust of 45 people tied to a major drug pipeline feeding fentanyl into New Hampshire from a base in Lawrence.
Grave concerns indeed: Town cemeteries are quickly filling up
Melissa Russell at Wicked Local takes a look at how communities like Arlington are scrambling to find new cemetery space in order to comply with a state law that requires cities and towns to take responsibility for the burial of their dead.
It’s about time: Framingham brewer Jack’s Abby named Manufacturer of the Year
This makes so much sense: The Small Business Administration named Jack’s Abby brewery in Framingham the state’s Manufacturer of the Year, Norman Miller reports in the MetroWest Daily News. Jack’s Abby has been at the forefront of the craft brewing movement in the Bay State and a model for an industry that seems destined to put a tap room and beer garden on every corner in every downtown. The SBA noted the brewer has created 150 jobs since launching in 2011.
Opioid crisis and construction take their toll on workers
The number of workers killed on the job in the Bay State rose to an 11-year high in 2017 and the opioid crisis is being cited as one reason why, Paige Smith reports at the Boston Business Journal, citing data from the Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health. The other major factor: A strong state economy driving activity in the dangerous construction industry, which remained the state’s deadliest sector with 21 of the 74 deaths recorded.
About those National Grid rebates …
Turns out National Grid won’t be able to provide those GOP tax-cut rebates until this fall, and not this July, because the utility hasn’t seen the financial benefits yet of the corporate tax cuts. And, oh, any rebates will probably be offset by higher natural gas prices. Christian Wade at the Newburyport Daily News has delayed offset details.
Partners HealthCare quietly advising Trump administration on how to fix VA
At a Boston College Chief Executives Club event yesterday, Dr. John Noseworthy, chief executive of the Mayo Clinic, revealed that his organization and Boston’s Partners HealthCare have been quietly advising the Trump administration on how to improve care and services at the much-criticized Department of Veterans Affairs, reports the Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McCluskey.
When Boston had a truly extensive trolley system …
Courtesy of the Boston City Archives, Universal Hub has a cool map of Greater Boston’s mass transit system in 1930, when nearly three-quarters of people traveling in and out of downtown Boston either walked or used mass transit. Pay attention to the yellow “surface car” lines, i.e. the trolleys/light rail lines, and notice how places like Arlington, Brighton, Chelsea, Dorchester, Roxbury, South Boston and Watertown etc. used to have extensive trolley service.
Senate passes bill giving consumers free credit freezes in wake of recent data breaches
The state Senate yesterday approved a bill designed to make it easier for consumers to monitor and protect their credit – and to freeze or unfreeze their credit without fees, Shira Schoenberg reports at MassLive. The House has passed similar legislation in reaction to last year’s huge data breach at Equifax.
More on Cambridge’s evil ‘vendetta’ against Shiva Ayyadurai …
Shiva Ayyadurai, an Independent candidate for U.S. Senate, has issued a press release that reiterates his lawsuit-charge that the city of Cambridge is waging a political “vendetta” against him for posting anti-Elizabeth Warren signs on his campaign bus. Frank Phillips at the Globe has more.
Sunday public affairs TV
Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 p.m. This week’s guest: Former Gov. Michael Dukakis, who talks with host Jon Keller about the governor’s race, the state of the Democratic Party and President Trump.
This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. State Street Corp. CEO Jay Hooley discusses his company, the economy and the future of State Street’s headquarters building in Boston: Boston College’s Warren Zola joins Hooley to look back at 25 years of the BC Chief Executives Club, and BBJ editor Doug Banks reviews the top business stories of the week.
CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. A conversation with Golden Seeds angel investor Deb Kemper and two entrepreneurs who have benefitted from seed money that focuses on women start-ups.
On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Sen. Karen Spilka, the incoming Senate president, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu.
This is New England, NBC Boston Channel 10, 11:30 a.m. With host Latoyia Edwards, this week’s main topic: Stories on the mind, body and health and those helping people with health issues.
CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Criminal justice reform.
Boston College Chief Executives Club, NECN, 1 p.m. A recording of Mayo Clinic CEO John Noseworthy’s speech and Q&A at the Boston College Chief Executives Club earlier this week.
Free Open House Networking Event
IEEE 2018 International Symposium on Technologies for Homeland Security
Author Talk and Book Signing with Kathleen Teahan
Leonard Bernstein and President John F. Kennedy
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