Gaming Commission, Massachusetts Military Heroes, Senate budget, Lewis at Harvard
— Gaming Commission meets to get updates about regulatory preparations in advance of the MGM Springfield opening and Steve Wynn’s qualifier status, a review of MGM’s liquor license application and other matters, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, 10 a.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Attorney General Maura Healey, Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, Speaker Robert DeLeo, Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Ureña, Massachusetts National Guard Adjutant General Gary Keefe and others will attend the Massachusetts Military Heroes Fund ceremony in advance of the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, Boston Common, 10:30 a.m.
— The Massachusetts Senate continues work on the Senate’s proposed $41.4 billion fiscal 2019 state budget, Gardner Auditorium, 11 a.m.
— Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson speaks at Massachusetts Clean Energy Day, hosted by the Northeast Clean Energy Council, Grand Staircase, 12 p.m.
— Gov. Charlie Baker tours the New England Center and Home for Veterans and participates in a plaque unveiling for the Brian A. Brooks Distinguished Service to Veterans Award, New England Center and Home for Veterans, 17 Court Street, Boston, 2 p.m.
— U.S. Rep. John Lewis, a Georgia Democrat and civil rights icon, delivers Harvard University’s commencement address at a ceremony that will be the last for Harvard President Drew Faust, who steps down June 30, Harvard Yard, Cambridge, 2:30 p.m.
— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joins Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Housing and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carolyn Kirk at a Seaport Economic Council meeting, Gloucester City Hall, 9 Dale Avenue, Gloucester, 3 p.m.
— Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh ‘share ideas for creating vibrant and resilient local harbors’ at a forum hosted by Boston Harbor Now and the New England Aquarium, Simons IMAX Theatre, New England Aquarium, One Central Wharf, Boston, 5:30 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.
McGrory denies harassment charge as Globe launches internal investigation of allegations
The Boston Globe has launched an investigation into charges that editor Brian McGrory had an ‘inappropriate text exchange’ with former Boston.com editor and writer Hillary Sargent, reports Jack Sullivan at CommonWealth Magazine and Mark Arsenault at the Globe itself.
Meanwhile, after Globe executives issued an internal memo about the paper’s planned probe, McGrory issued his own memo to staff members denying Sargent’s allegation. “I have never harassed Hilary Sargent or any other women at the Globe,” he defiantly writes.
In a ‘bold bet,’ Baker administration picks Vineyard Wind for offshore energy project
The Baker administration yesterday decided to go with one offshore wind developer, not two as some had hoped, to provide 800 megawatts of offshore wind power. The lucky winner: Vineyard Wind, a joint venture of Connecticut’s Avangrid and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Meanwhile, in a sort of surprise twofer move, Rhode Island yesterday selected Deepwater Wind to provide 400 megawatts of power from a separate but nearby offshore wind-farm project. The Globe’s Jon Chesto and the BBJ’s Kelly O’Brien have the details.
With the selection of Vineyard Wind, Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine writes that the “Baker administration placed a bold bet on the economic and environmental benefits of offshore wind.”
Meanwhile, some Maine lawmakers are having second thoughts about hydropower project
Now that it’s selected an offshore wind-farm developer, the Baker administration might want to turn its attention toward another simmering clean-energy problem up north. From Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “Maine, just like New Hampshire, seems to be having some second thoughts about a transmission line selected by Massachusetts to carry hydro-electricity from Quebec into New England. Four key lawmakers in the Maine legislature wrote a letter earlier this month to Massachusetts utility regulators urging them to reject the power purchase contract with New England Clean Energy Connect.”
Is there a doctor in the State House? There may be soon
From SHNS’s Sam Doran at the Newburyport Daily News: “After watching an injured House court officer lay on the ground for more than 20 minutes Wednesday waiting for medical attention, a senator is calling for the return of a dedicated State House medical doctor. … Sen. Kathleen O’Connor Ives said that incident, combined with a visitor falling in the Senate gallery on Tuesday, spurred her to call Wednesday for bringing back a State House doctor, a position abolished more than a decade ago.”
DeLeo on sports-betting legislation this session: Forget it
The lobbying frenzy will have to wait for another day. From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo, D-Winthrop, said Wednesday that he does not anticipate taking up sports betting before the current legislative session ends in July. ‘There are so many questions that have to be answered, and I think that right now for us to be able to expect to do this within the last two months of session…I think it would be very difficult,’ DeLeo told reporters at the Statehouse.”
Fyi: Massachusetts Gaming Commission’s chairman Stephen Crosby is busy protecting the state’s regulatory sports-gambling turf against possible fed incursions. The Globe’s Andy Rosen has the details.
Suffolk Downs seeks to revive thoroughbred racing in Berkshires next year
Speaking of sports betting, this is interesting. From Gintautas Dumcius at MassLive: “The company that operates horse racing and simulcasting at Suffolk Downs in East Boston has agreed to lease and refurbish the race track in Great Barrington. Sterling Suffolk Racecourse LLC said Wednesday they will operate commercial races at the Great Barrington track while still operating simulcast wagering in East Boston.”
SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) reports that Sterling Suffolk, which still oversees a handful of racing events each year in East Boston, will soon be “coming to Beacon Hill with a legislative request to accommodate the new arrangement.” Hmm. What could they possibly want on Beacon Hill? We have no idea.
Bittersweet ending: NECCO sold for $18.8M in bankruptcy auction
From Don Seiffert at the BBJ: “The 171-year-old Revere candy maker known for Necco Wafers was sold in bankruptcy court Wednesday in Boston to Spangler Candy Co. Ohio-based Spangler bid $18.83 million for the New England Confectionery Co., or Necco.” Spangler apparently really wants Necco’s wafers, candy dots and Valentine’s Day hearts. But the fate of Necco’s Sky Bar, Clark Bar and Mary Janes (yum yum yum) remains uncertain.
Note: One of Spangler’s first priorities should be to clean up Necco’s Revere factory, where inspectors recently found rodent feces “too numerous to count.” Eww. CBS Boston has the icky details.
Boston schools still ‘off track’ when it comes to graduation outcomes
We sense a future lawsuit coming. From Michael Jones at CommonWealth magazine: “A decade after a report found that one of every five students in Boston Public Schools had fallen ‘off track’ to graduate from high school, a new study finds that the figure has barely budged, with the district showing little progress in getting those students through high school.”
Black nurse wins $28M in retaliation suit against Brigham
Yikes. Or should we say ‘Jackpot’? From the Globe’s Liz Kawalczyk: “A Haitian-American nurse who sued Brigham and Women’s Hospital for discrimination and retaliation was awarded more than $28 million by a jury Wednesday — an amount several attorneys said is the largest verdict of this type in Massachusetts.” Fyi: The jury ruled she didn’t prove discrimination, but it did agree Brigham retaliated against her.
Lawmakers eye $2 car rental fee to pay for police training
Planning to rent a car one of these days soon? It may cost you a little extra. The House yesterday approved a new $2 fee on car rentals to pay for municipal police training. The Senate has already passed a similar plan, so the two chambers must now find a common legislative vehicle to get the measure to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk. SHNS’s Katie Lannan has more.
Officials grow sour waiting for details of Garelick’s dairy-plant closure plan
The owners of the Garelick Farms plant where workers this week were told they will soon be out of jobs have yet to reach out to Lynn Mayor Thomas McGee or state officials, Thomas Grillo reports in the Lynn Item. McGee called it “disheartening to say the least,” that Dean Foods has not given the city any insight into its plans, especially given the company’s deep roots in the city, dating back to 1928 when it was founded as West Lynn Creameries.
Globe’s Nestor Ramos selflessly throws his hat into UMass-Boston chancellor ring
Now that the search for a new UMass-Boston chancellor is “down to the unqualified and self-loathing,” the Globe’s Nestor Ramos has a perfect candidate in mind for the post: Himself. “My conditions are straightforward: an exorbitant salary. A prime parking space in your finest gravel pit. And your solemn promise that you won’t tell anyone that you’re the one who hired me. I have a reputation to uphold.”
Perhaps you’ll need some deputy vice chancellors of morning university newsletters, Nestor? Just a thought.
Police association backs BPD in Seaport turf war with State Police
They may need to call in the United Nations if this doesn’t work. From Dan Atkinson: “A statewide organization of police chiefs is backing Boston police Commissioner William B. Evans’ call for shared jurisdiction in the Seaport, sending a letter to state officials criticizing the setup where state police patrol the growing neighborhood as detrimental to residents and visitors.”
Campaign collapse watch, Part II: Massie flak quits over ‘finance’ issues
First, Republican U.S. Senate candidate John Kingston started cutting the pay of his staff members. Now, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Robert Massie has lost a key staff member, communications director Mara Dolan, who has quit after only six weeks, citing ‘finance’ issues. The Globe’s Frank Phillips notes that Massie had only $18,006 in his campaign coffers as of last week. He has more details.
Charlie ‘Tall Sphinx’ Baker
Speaking of the governor’s race, the Globe’s Joan Vennochi may have a new nickname for Gov. Charlie Baker: ‘Extreme Sphinx.’ Actually, she presents it as a description of the governor’s routine stances on policy issues, but we sort of like it as a nickname, with a minor modification. Anyway, Joan has more.
Second Rockwell brings in $7 million as Berkshire Museum mulls additional artwork sales
Norman Rockwell’s painting ‘Blacksmith Boy’ fetched $7 million in a Sotheby’s auction on Wednesday, but the Berkshire Museum says it still short of its fundraising goal and may soon put another batch of works up for sale, Larry Parnass reports in the Berkshire Eagle. The museum says it has raised $42 million of the $55 million state authorities cleared it to raise, with the sale of 13 pieces to date (including another Rockwell work). Trustees will meet early next month to plan their next steps.
House passes ‘red flag’ gun safety bill
Another ‘expected but still important’ vote on Beacon Hill. From Christian Wade at Gloucester Times: “Brushing aside opposition from gun rights supporters, the House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday to expand a state law allowing for the seizure of firearms from those who show unstable or dangerous behavior.” As Wade notes, the so-called ‘red flag’ bill must still win passage in the Senate before heading to Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk.
MassLive.com opens office in Telegram territory in Worcester
MassLive.com, the digital offshoot of the Springfield Republican, is all but taunting the Worcester Telegram by grandly announcing the opening of its new downtown Worcester office. With this and other expansion moves by MassLive, we’d be curious to see how its digital-news model is financially faring, though we doubt its privately held owner, Advance Publications, would ever release the data.
It’s now ‘Beth Israel Lahey Health’
Sorry, Deaconess, you didn’t make the cut. The new health-care giant resulting from the mega-merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health and three other hospitals will now be known as ‘Beth Israel Lahey Health,’ leaving out the Deaconess name, i.e. the old New England Deaconess Hospital that merged with Beth Israel in the ‘90s. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett has more.
Washing out the deadly carcinogens in firefighters’ gear
After battling blazes, firefighters’ clothing and other gear are often permeated with all sorts of nasty stuff – and now the Senate wants to earmark funds to help municipalities buy special “extractors,” or basically large washing machines that can remove carcinogens, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan at Wicked Local.
Extra aid to rural school districts added to Senate budget
Hoping to help rural school districts that say their budgets are being undermined by falling enrollment and spiking transportation costs, the state Senate has adopted a budget amendment that would send an additional $1.5 million to hard-pressed districts in western Massachusetts. Shira Schoenberg of MassLive reports the legislation pushed by state Sen. Adam Hinds of Pittsfield would funnel an additional $100 per student to some 40 districts that qualify as rural.
After a two-year slog, Brockton Mayor completes hiring process for police spokesman
Hey, what was the rush? Two years after Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter announced the hiring of the city’s first civilian police spokesman, sparking a dispute between the mayor and the police department, Darren Duarte is officially ready to start his job. Marc Larocque of the Enterprise reports that Duarte was first tapped for the job in 2016, only to have the position caught up in union grievances that led to the city council defunding the post.
Holiday weekend traffic alert: The worst times to leave Boston
Finally, the Globe’s Christina Prignano talked to the folks at AAA and navigation app Waze about when’s the worst possible time to leave Boston for upcoming Memorial Day weekend festivities. One of them believes the nightmare starts earlier than you may think.
Opening Doors to Federal Government Contracting
Community Choice Energy – Boston City Council Hearing
Getting to the Point with Eric H. Holder Jr., 82nd Attorney General of the United States
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