Happening Today

Galvin update on Third recount, DOT-MBTA meeting, WooSox celebration, and more

Massachusetts Gaming Commission is expected to release gaming revenue figures for the month of August, including the first revenue data for the recently opened MGM Springfield.

— Attorney General Maura Healey speaks at the opening ceremony for the 28th annual Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery and Friends Recovery Celebration Day, Boston City Hall, 9 a.m.

— Members from Benchmark Senior Living, the Mass Falls Prevention Coalition and several other local and state agencies gather at the State House to discuss awareness of senior deaths from falling, the State House, 10 a.m.

Massachusetts Lottery Commission meets, One Ashburton Place, 12th floor, Boston, 10:30 a.m.

— State Secretary William Galvin holds a media availability to provide an update on the Third Congressional District primary recount, Room 116, 11 a.m.

— The Department of Transportation board of directors and the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board hold a joint meeting in addition to each body conducting its own business, State Transportation Building, 2nd Floor, Transportation Board Room, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, 11 a.m.

— Attorney General Maura Healey and the GE Foundation hold a press conference and panel discussion to unveil first-of-its-kind web-based education app to help prevent substance use by young people, Attorney General’s Office, One Ashburton Place, Boston, 11 a.m.

Matt Maddox, CEO of Wynn Resorts, and Deborah Jackson, president of Cambridge College, host a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Greater Boston Gaming Career Institute, Cambridge College, 510 Rutherford Avenue, Boston, 12:30 p.m.

— Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty, Pawtucket Red Sox chairman Larry Lucchino and others celebrate the minor league team’s move to Worcester, Worcester Common Oval, 455 Main St., Worcester, 5 p.m.

— Mental health among pro athletes will be the focus of a panel discussion Monday featuring former New England Patriot Troy Brown, WNBA legend Chamique Holdsclaw and former NHL player Kevin Stevens, Suffolk’s Modern Theatre, 525 Washington St., Boston, 5:30 p.m.

— House Speaker Robert DeLeo is a guest on ‘NightSide,’ WBZ NewsRadio 1030, 8 p.m.

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

Today’s Stories

Politics of gas, Part II: Baker’s ‘sternest test’

Residents were allowed to return home yesterday following last week’s devastating gas-line explosions and fires in Lawrence, Andover and North Andover, reports Todd Prussman at the Herald. The action followed Gov. Charlie Baker’s decision on Friday to oust Columbia Gas as the lead utility in recovery efforts, replacing Columbia with Eversource, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan and Michael Norton at the Telegram. No one is happy with Columbia’s initial response. The Eagle-Tribune has a video of Lawrence Mayor Dan Rivera blasting Columbia’s response to the catastrophe. In a press release, U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, along with U.S. Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, are demanding answers from Columbia’s president.

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld declares that Baker is now “facing the sternest test of his leadership yet — one likely to help define his governorship.” Battenfeld notes that Baker briefly left himself open to criticism from Democratic rival Jay Gonzalez, after Baker initially said Columbia’s response was “adequate.” The Herald’s Howie Carr takes a look at all those political campaign donations Columbia has been throwing around over the years. Of course, no disaster is complete without the threat of a class action lawsuit or two. Mary Serreze at MassLive has the details of one law firm that appears to be gunning for Columbia’s corporate parent.

Even before Lawrence gas explosions, National Grid was feeling the heat from pols

The Globe’s Katie Johnston reports that, even before last week’s gas-line explosions in the Lawrence area, National Grid was starting to feel pressure from Attorney General Maura Healey, Gov. Charlie Baker and others about its lockout of 1,250 natural-gas workers. We assume the behind-the-scenes pressure has only increased, or will very soon increase, after last week’s disaster.

Boston Globe

State Police accidently reveal they’ve kept tabs on left-wing activist groups before big events

Reacting to the gas-line explosions in the Lawrence area, the State Police tried to help out by showing, via an online map, some of the trouble spots within the impacted zone. In the process, though, police also shared bookmarks at the top of the browser and they revealed police have also been keeping tabs on several activist groups, reports Max Larkin at WBUR reports.


Third recount: Perhaps Trahan’s victory speech wasn’t premature?

Despite last week’s gas-line explosions in the Lawrence area, the recount of the Third Congressional District primary results proceeded as planned in Lawrence over the weekend, reports the Globe’s John Hiliard. The Lowell Sun’s Amaris Castillo reports on yesterday’s recount in Lowell. More recounts will be held today. Secretary of State Bill Galvin plans to meet with the media this morning to provide an update on the recount (see Happening Today section above). Preliminary results show Lori Trahan, who has already declared she won the Sept. 4 primary, slightly expanding her lead over Dan Koh, according to published reports. Final results could be known by tonight.

The AP’s Bob Salsberg at the Lowell Sun has a piece on how the chaotic Third race is leading some to call for a change to a “ranked choice” system of voting.

Unsuccessful Third candidate Chandler: ‘America is a nicer place than what you see on TV’

Alexandra Chandler, one of the losing candidates in this month’s Third Congressional District primary, reflects at the Lowell Sun on what she learned while campaigning. First, the good news: “America is a nicer place than what you see on TV.” But she does have problems with the process. It’s a good column. Check it out.

Lowell Sun

Kerry catches flak for saying Trump has the ‘insecurity of a teenage girl’

Everything was going fine for John Kerry when he appeared on HBO’s ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’ – a sympathetic host, softball questions, an appreciative and applauding audience. Then Kerry said of Donald Trump: “He really is the rare combination of an 8-year-old boy — I mean, he’s got the maturity of an 8-year-old boy with the insecurity of a teenage girl. It’s just who he is.” The Washington Post has the reactions. The Herald’s Adriana Cohen is all over the Maher interview.

Washington Post

Fields of green: Baker, Walsh and other anti-pot pols haul in donations from marijuana firms

They were against it before they were for it. Or something like that. Anyway, the Herald’s Hillary Chabot reports on how Gov. Charlie Baker, Mayor Marty Walsh and others who opposed the legalization of pot don’t mind harvesting political donations from pot companies.

Boston Herald

Report: Alewife garage fix could cost T $30 million-plus

Repairs to the Alewife T station garage could cost the agency well over $30 million to fix, Karen Anderson and Jon Wells reports at WCVB, citing internal MBTA documents. A consultant put the price to repair the crumbling ceiling and other structural issues at $32.1 million, on top of the $5.7 million already set aside for short-term fixes. 


As task force forms, regional transit authorities say they already know what needs to be done

Speaking of transportation matters: As state officials assemble an 18-person task force to focus on the state’s regional transit authorities, the head of the SouthCoast Regional Transit Authority says his agency and others like it have already demonstrated the need for additional state funding and have adapted to changing customer demands with new routes and other improvements, Michael Holtzman reports in the Fall River Herald News. 

Separately, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority says it will temporarily reduce the number of bus trips it makes to and from the UMass Amherst campus in part because it can’t find enough drivers, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Herald News

Fatal shark attack: Time to address the ‘Cape Cod shark problem’?

Mary Ann Bragg at the Cape Cod Times and WCVB have the details of Saturday’s horrifying fatal shark attack on a 26-year-old Revere man in Wellfleet. Adding to the tragedy: The victim, Arthur Medici, was engaged to get married and his future brother-in-law, Isaac Rocha, was only a few yards away when Medici was attacked, reports the Globe. Somehow, Rocha, despite the menacing shark, hauled Medici to the shore. Talk about devotion and bravery.

The Herald’s Joe Dwinell reports (scroll down) that Barnstable County Commissioner Ron Beaty says it’s time to do something about the Great White Sharks now lurking off the Cape coast. “I publicly and urgently call for the formation of an official task force made up of key federal, state, regional and local officials, as well as relevant experts, to fully and completely address the Cape Cod shark problem before another human is horrifically killed by these voracious predators,” Beaty said in a statement.

Other than proposing a controversial culling of the Cape seal population, as a certain former Trump lawyer recently suggested, we’re not sure what a task force could, or should, accomplish.

Pass the Airbnb tax, for heaven’s sake

In an editorial, the Globe is urging lawmakers to approve the Airbnb tax bill with Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposed amendments, saying the state could use the money. “The governor’s amendments were no poison pill — not then and not now,” the editorial says. “Meanwhile real money is at stake here — and legislative leaders ought to at least try to get this done rather than starting over in January.”

Boston Globe

Quincy: Transitioning from the old to the new

Jack Sullivan takes a look at the “new Quincy” that Mayor Thomas Koch and other city officials are trying to transition to in coming years — with the help of more than $1 billion in new investments.

Meanwhile, Carter Wilkie, also at CommonWealth magazine, reviews the new book ‘Our Towns: A 100,000-Mile Journey into the Heart of America,’ by James Fallows and Deborah Fallows, who examine what smaller cities across the country are doing to change and improve. Their findings are encouraging, Wilkie writes.


Got milk? Not at area schools since closure of Lynn dairy plant

Allison Hagan at the Globe reports that, since the closure of a dairy plant in Lynn, Garelick Farms is struggling to keep up with milk orders from some schools and businesses.

Boston Globe

Gonzalez has big plans – and Republicans want to know how he’ll pay for them

Cristian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune reports that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez is touting all sorts of new spending initiatives, from fixing the state’s public transit system to improving schools. But Republicans are dogging him on the issue of how he would pay for them all.

Separately, Gonzalez was firing away at Gov. Charlie Baker over the weekend on WCVB’s ‘On the Record,’ saying Baker was against transgender rights before he signed a bill supporting them.


Primary results highlight strong pockets of Trump red in deep blue Massachusetts

The unexpectedly strong showing by GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively in this month’s primary is a reminder that President Trump continues to have strong support in some parts of the state, Kori Tuitt of the Lowell Sun reports. Lively scored more than 40 percent of the vote in several Lowell-area communities and observers say those votes may be more about backing Trump than about unhappiness with Baker. 

Lowell Sun

Warren: ‘My focus is on 2018’

Appearing at a Quincy town hall meeting over the weekend, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren ripped into the Republican Congress and vowed to block the conservative agenda in Washington if re-elected this fall. But she also fended off reporters’ questions afterward about the 2020 presidential race that she’s obviously been eying. “Right now, my focus is on 2018,” she said, as reported by Kathleen McKiernan at the Herald.

Boston Herald

Deval Patrick: ‘The character of the country is on the ballot’

Speaking of the 2018 and 2020 elections, from CNN: “Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick believes the stakes are high in upcoming American elections — and is making the argument that the ‘character of the country’ is on the line. ‘When I think about the next election, whether it’s 2018 or 2020 or 2022, you know, folks say that the character of the candidate is always on the ballot; I think the character of the country is on the ballot right now,’ Patrick, a potential Democratic contender in the 2020 presidential race, said in a televised edition of ‘The Axe Files.’”


Six gay candidates running for legislature in Connecticut – as Republicans

More proof that New England Republicans are different from Republicans elsewhere around the country: In Connecticut, six openly gay candidates are running for the legislature in Connecticut – as Republicans. NBC New has the details.

NBC News

Shovel ready: Suffolk Downs developer awaits Amazon’s decision

The developers ready to transform Suffolk Downs into a mixed-use mega-project are ready to start building, but are in a holding pattern awaiting a decision from Amazon on where its HQ2 project will land, Catherine Carlock reports in the Boston Business Journal (pay wall).

Meanwhile, CEO Jeff Bezos narrowed the timeframe for an HQ2 decision somewhat last week, saying Amazon will announce its choice before the end of this calendar year, according to a CNBC report. 

BBJ (pay wall)

Another state police trooper pleads guilty in OT scandal

He’s not the first to plead guilty in the OT scandal – and he very likely won’t be the last. From Scott Croteau at MassLive: “Suspended trooper Kevin Sweeney pleaded guilty in federal court in connection with the overtime scandal that has rocked the Massachusetts State Police and resulted in more than 40 troopers coming under investigation. Authorities say Sweeney, a member of the now-defunct Troop E, pleaded guilty to embezzlement from an agency receiving federal funds and one count of wire fraud.”


Unregulated home health aides: ‘The stuff of baby boomers’ nightmares’

Linda Matchan at the Globe has a big piece on the growing business of home health aides hired to help take care of the elderly and sick in homes. Most are honest – but not all of them. Matchan has some pretty scary examples of outright thieves preying on the vulnerable – with little or no regulatory oversight.

Boston Globe

So why did education-funding talks break down in June?

Armed with emails and other documents she obtained from officials, Shira Schoenberg at MassLive takes a look at why lawmakers in June couldn’t reach a last-minute agreement on major changes to school funding. Bottom line: Wildly varying numbers played a role. Schoenberg has the details.


Fire at Old Boston City Hall causes $150K in damage

A basement fire at the old Boston City Hall was contained to one room in the basement, but the landmark building still suffered about $150,000 in damage, reports Maddie Kilgannon at the Globe.

The counter counter-offensive: Sierra Club hits back at hydro’s ‘fake clean power’

Like recent debates over the pros and cons of natural-gas pipeline expansion plans, the debate over the pros and cons of hydro electricity seems to never end. Today’s installment: Sierra Club Maine’s counter-counter blast at CommonWealth magazine to hydro-industry officials’ recent counter-offensive blast at CommonWealth magazine to environmentalists’ initial anti-hyrdo blast.


The other counter counter-offensive: Baker administration demands that Bump retract driver’s license audit

Speaking of seemingly never-ending feuds, from Christian Wade at the Eagle-Tribune: “Wrangling between the Baker administration and State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office continued Friday, with the Registry of Motor Vehicles demanding that Bump ‘correct’ what it says are inaccuracies in a recent report that the agency gave out more than 1,900 drivers licenses to dead people.” We assume there must be a way to confirm who’s write and wrong in this matter. It’s not as if we’re scientifically incapable of determining when someone is dead.


Lobster industry feeling the pinch of China’s tariffs on U.S. seafood

The AP’s Patrick Whittle at WBUR reports on how the U.S.-China trade war is starting to impact the lobster industry and its wholesale prices.


Anatomy of a Commercial Building

The session will be divided into three parts: architectural design issues (the skin and personality of a building); mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection and building control systems (the organs and brain of a building); and structural systems (the skeleton of a building).

NAIOP Massachusetts

America is Watching: Response to the Opioid Crisis in New England

William James College will convene a public forum focused on novel treatments and early intervention programs aimed at curbing the opioid epidemic that continues to devastate communities across the region. Attendees will include policymakers, academics, business and community leaders, clinicians, families and first responders.

William James College

Slums: New Visions for an Enduring Global Phenomenon

Slums: New Visions for an Enduring Global Phenomenon is a symposium that challenges its participants to discuss the range of perceptions and systemic changes needed to re-imagine integrative urban and social landscapes, as well as the labor and land markets that most often underpin the formation of slums.

Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University

Navigating the Permitting Maze: A Crash Course On Permitting in Massachusetts

What does it take to successfully navigate a development project through the permitting process? Find out at this in-depth two-day (September 21 + 28) educational workshop where some of the real estate industry’s foremost experts will provide a close look at the ins and outs of environmental review and permitting in Massachusetts.

NAIOP Massachusetts

2018 Better Government Competition Awards Gala

Join Us on Sept. 24th at the 2018 Better Government Competition Awards Gala! Remarks by Governor Charlie Baker Keynote Speaker: John Sexton 2018 Topic: Making higher education & career training options affordable & effective.

Pioneer Institute

Starr Forum: The Assault on Intelligence

Starr Forum: The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies. A book talk with Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA.

MIT Center for International Studies (CIS)

Today’s Headlines


Four injured in deck collapse in South Boston – Boston.com


Heroux is a different kind of mayor – Sun Chronicle

MGM Springfield sees hope for housing project – MassLive

Group to start needle exchange program in Framingham – MetroWest Daily News

Mashpee tribe members, nonmembers meet to discuss Interior finding – Cape Cod Times


Trump gets pass from Congress on Puerto Rico deaths – Politico

Sen. Jeff Flake calls for Kavanaugh hearing to be postponed – Washington Post

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