Happening Today

Menino family Christmas; Lynn holiday parade

The Menino family and Cardinal Sean O’Malley joins Team Menino and Catholic Charities of Boston as they distribute 4,000 Christmas gifts to children and families in need, Catholic Charities Teen Center at St. Peter’s, 278 Bowdoin St., Dorchester, 10 a.m.


Pine Street Inn marks the Christmas holiday with a luncheon featuring Cardinal Sean O’Malley, Pine Street Inn, 444 Harrison Ave., Boston, 11 a.m.

The City of Lynn hosts its annual Christmas parade, with local elected officials expected to attend, Austin Sq., Lynn, 5 p.m.


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Today’s Stories

Is a deal near to end lockout? National Grid and unions shoot for Friday accord

SHNS’s Michael Norton at the Newburyport Daily News reports that National Grid and its unions, in a rare joint statement, now say they have “agreed to a firm schedule” to keep bargaining with the “shared intent” of settling their contract differences and the utility’s months-long lockout of more than 1,200 natural-gas workers by this Friday. The two sides resume their talks on Wednesday, the day after tomorrow’s Christmas holiday, Norton reports.

The unusual joint statement came only hours after the House late Friday passed a Senate measure that extends unemployment benefits to National Grid’s locked out workers, despite reservations by House Speaker Robert DeLeo that other businesses will have to shoulder the financial burden for the actions of one company, according to reports by Shira Schoenberg at MassLive and Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth. As Mohl points out in his story, the “big question” is whether the legislative action is enough to impact the labor dispute. We’ll see on Friday.

Daily News

Up next in Merrimack Valley: A battle over road repairs

With gas service mostly restored in Merrimack Valley, one of the next agenda items for the three communities impacted by September’s gas-line explosions is getting roads, which were torn up to fix pipelines, back into working condition. Zoe Matthews at the Eagle-Tribune reports that Columbia Gas is balking at demands for a full fix, which could cost as much as $200 million and take up to four years. 

Eagle-Tribune

Getting personal: Healey aims at family behind OxyContin maker

In a late Friday court filing that was at least partially redacted from public view, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey amended the state’s lawsuit against PurduePharma to add claims that the Sackler family personally directed and benefited from efforts to push doctors to prescribe more OxyContin, the Associated Press reports via the Salem News. 

Meanwhile, you can add the city of Framingam to the long and growing list of Bay State communities that have taken their own legal action against drug companies for their role in the opioid epidemic. Jim Haddadin at the MetroWest Daily News reports Framingham filed its own opioids lawsuit earlier this month.

Salem News

Shutdown stalemate: What a way to start a New Year

There is surprisingly little angst in Washington about the prospect of the federal government remaining in partial shutdown mode until at least January 1 and probably beyond, reports the New York Times. Political fallout looks scant for both parties, seeing the shutdown is so far from the next election cycle, so digging in seems to be the order of the day.

As for local impacts, Jeremy Fox and Lucas Phillips report at the Globe that the JFK Library in Dorchester and the Bunker Hill monument in Charlestown are among the local sites shuttered by the shutdown, while Alexi Cohan and Joe Dwinell of the Herald report some of the big losers could be ICE agents and other law enforcement officers who must keep working but face the prospect of receiving no paychecks during the shutdown. 

Stan TV: Rosenberg to host cable access show

Will he air any grievances? Former Senate President Stan Rosenberg has found a way to stay active in politics and local affairs after his ignominious departure from Beacon Hill. Rosenberg has teamed with the League of Women Voters to produce “Byline with Stan Rosenberg,” which will air on local cable access TV in the Amherst area, Scott Merzbach reports at the Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

Daily Hampshire Gazette

‘Big, shiny, beautiful’: T launches new Green Line trolley

Spencer Buell at Boston Magazine reports on the new “big, shiny, beautiful” Green Line train that the T rolled out on Friday, the first of 24 new trolleys that will be added between now and next fall.

Boston Magazine

For Racheal Rollins, ‘now comes the hard part’

Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine takes a look at Suffolk County District Attorney-elect Rachael Rollins, who ran on a reform platform that included not seeking charges for 15 lower-level offenses and other measures that bother law-enforcement types. The question is: Can Rollins strike a balance between keeping her campaign vows and working with law-enforcement agencies on cases?

CommonWealth Magazine

Fall River mayor uses website to attack local reporter’s stories as ‘fake news’

Apparently channeling Republican President Trump, Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia, a Democrat now facing federal fraud charges and a recall campaign, is using a website he created to attack Herald News reporter Jo C. Goode, trying to discredit her work by labeling it “fake news.” The Herald News is standing by Goode’s work, reports Will Richmond at the paper. The Hill’s Chris Mills Rodrigo has more on the cyber war in Fall River.

Herald News

Two ‘die-hard liberals’ expose German journalist’s lies about Fergus Falls, Minn.

Speaking of fake news (of the genuine variety, not the Trump-Correia vintage), a MassterList reader sent in this piece at the Specator (USA) by two residents of Fergus Falls, Minn. who systematically exposed all the lies that disgraced German journalist Claas Relotiu wrote about their rural town for Germany’s Der Spiegel, before he was recently outed as a monumental journalistic fraud (Washington Post). Relotiu apparently peddled in, among other things, crude anti-Americanism – and Michele Anderson and Jake Krohn really let him have it for politically stereotyping and lying about their town and neighbors, Democrats and Republicans alike.

Spector (USA)

State’s fourth and fifth pot shops open in Wareham and Eastampton

They’re starting to roll off the line like widgets. Well, sort of. Mary McKenzie at Wicked Local reports on the smooth-running opening of a pot shop in Wareham on Friday, the state’s fourth retail marijuana outlet and the first in southeastern Massachusetts. Meanwhile, Alexi Cohan at the Herald reports on the opening of a pot shop on Saturday in Easthampton, the state’s fifth weed store, just five miles away from a previously opened Northampton shop. No reports of major traffic woes. Its seems police and town officials are starting to get the hang of this. 

‘Massachusetts Politics in 2018: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly’

Peter Kadzis and Adam Reilly at WGBH hash out the highs and lows of local politics in 2018, including the success of women of color in the fall elections, Elizabeth Warren’s stumbles, Seth Warren’s battle against Nancy Pelosi, and more.

WGBH

At least give Moulton a little credit for taking on Nancy Pelosi

Speaking of U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, Peter Lucas at the Herald writes that, yeah, sure, Moulton was more than a little embarrassed and humbled by Nancy Pelosi in the recent leadership fight in Washington. But at least he fought for change, unlike other members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation, he writes.

Boston Herald

It’s Worcester, damn it, not Worchester with an ‘h’

Jon Kamp, a Boston-based writer for the Wall Street Journal, writes that Worcester is“shaking off decades of post-industrial rust with help from downtown revival efforts” but the city can’t shake off chronic misspelling and mispronunciation of its name – and, yes, he’s pointing at you, Boston Globe, among others. The BBJ’s Doug Banks, a Worcester native, says it’s about time the problem gets a national airing.

Wall Street Journal (pay wall)

Elizabeth Warren’s Bernie problem

The Globe’s Liz Goodwin takes a look at all the ways another run for president by Bernie Sanders could seriously harm Elizabeth Warren’s presidential ambitions, with the two progressive Dems potentially “cannibalizing each other’s support and leaving progressives without a clear standard bearer” in 2020.

Boston Globe

Diehl’s endorsement of moderate GOP chair candidate leaves conservatives dismayed

Geoff Diehl’s decision not to run for chairman of the state Republican Party – and his timely offer of a job at the party headquarters — disappointed many conservatives. But his endorsement of a moderate candidate backed by Charlie Baker’s team is leaving conservatives gnashing their teeth, reports the Globe’s Frank Phillips. You gotta hand it to the Baker operatives. They apparently found Diehl’s price point.

Boston Globe

Gift of ammo proves politically tricky in Northampton

Ah, the pitfalls of gift-giving. Walmart thought it was being generous when it decided to donate about $13,000 worth of unused ammunition, left over after it stopped selling firearms,  to the city of Northampton. But Bera Dunau at the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports the gift hasn’t exactly been welcomed with open arms by the city council, which referred the controversial gift to committee for study.  

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg to attend Harvard

David Hogg, who became a prominent gun-control advocate–and favorite target of the right–after surviving the Parkland school shooting in Florida earlier this year, has announced he will be attending Harvard this fall, reports CBS Boston. His intended major: Political science, of course.

CBS Boston

Bringing joy to a 97-year-old man who brings joy to others simply by waving hello

If this doesn’t fill you with the Christmas spirit, nothing will. Bill Arrighi, 97, has been a little lonely since his wife of nearly 70 years passed away this past January, spending warm days sitting in a white plastic chair on his front porch just waving to cars passing by his home. It’s brought joy to many in Bridgewater. So the many brought joy to Arrighi, thanking him by singing Christmas carols in his honor outside his home. Corlyn Voorhees at Wicked Local has the life-is-good details.

Wicked Local Bridgewater

Merry Christmas – and see you Wednesday morning

We’d like to wish all our MassterList readers a very merry Christmas. We’ll be taking the holiday off tomorrow. But we’ll be back first thing Wednesday morning.

Thank you for reading Beacon Hill Town Square…

We appreciate your readership and hope you have a happy holiday season & New Year’s! January events will be listed soon.

Today’s Headlines

Metro

MBTA, Massport seek pilot for Chelsea Street bridge restrictions – Chelsea Record

Boston lags on tickets to enforce speed limit – Boston Globe

Massachusetts

CPA fund lacks cash in Mass. – MetroWest Daily News

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe’s bill must wait until 2019 – Cape Cod Times

North Attleboro to consider $3,000 fee for pot shops – Sun Chronicle

State panel: Penalize drivers for pot like alcohol – Boston Globe

Nation

Chief Justice Roberts issues stay in case of unknown subpoena – Politico

Treasury Secretary stuns Wall Street with calls to bank CEOs – Washington Post

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