Happening Today

SJC hearings, Federal workers rally, Offshore wind meeting

— U.S. and Massachusetts flags will be at half-staff today in honor of U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Eric Emond, a co-founder of Mass. Fallen Heroes, who was killed in Afghanistan last month; the Fall River native will be laid to rest today at Arlington National Cemetery.

— The Supreme Judicial Court hears four oral arguments, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan hosts a meeting of the Lowell Opioid Task Force, Lowell General Hospital, 295 Varnum Ave., Lowell, 10 a.m.

Union members from federal agencies rally against the government shutdown, with U.S. Sen. Ed Markey expected to attend, Post Office Square, Boston, 12 p.m.

Department of Conservation and Recreation officials provide the DCR Stewardship Council with agency updates at the council’s monthly meeting, Dunn State Park, 289 Pearl Street, Gardner, 12 p.m.

— Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is a guest on ‘Boston Public Radio,” WGBH-FM 89.7, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker joins Vineyard Wind CEO Lars Pedersen and MHI Vestas Offshore Wind Co-CEO Lars Bondo Krogsgaard for a photo opportunity and media availability, Room 360, 2 p.m.

— Health Policy Commission executive director David Seltz speaks about the HPC’s goals, agenda and relationships with stakeholders, legislators and other agencies at the HPC’s Student Forum, 50 Milk St., 8th floor, Boston, 2:15 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

Pollack choose I-90 ‘hybrid’ plan for Allston

We’ll let Adam Vaccaro at the Globe take a stab at summing this one up: “After years of debate, state transportation officials Thursday announced a final plan to build the biggest highway project in Boston in a generation: putting the Massachusetts Turnpike at ground level in Allston and elevating a section of Soldiers Field Road along the Charles River onto a new viaduct above the highway. The $1.1 billion project promises to radically reshape the western face of the city and disrupt travel for years.”

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports the plan will also “allow enough room for separate bike and pedestrian paths along the Charles River.” SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the WBUR report the plan Pollack picked is basically a “hybrid” design.

Peeved at lack of action on key legislation, union suspends campaign donations to Beacon Hill Dems

It’s not quite a revolt, but it’s more than a warning shot. From SHNS’s Michael Norton: “A union that represents electrical workers plans to withhold direct campaign contributions to state legislators until further notice, saying they hope lawmakers will “feel the pinch” that families are feeling due to inaction on important bills.” The union in question: International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The issues in question: Bills targeting wage theft, increasing education funding, blocking the MBTA privatization and shoring up union rights.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Rep. Holmes: House is run like a ‘dictatorship’

In other Beacon Hill news, state Rep. Russel Holmes is taking shots again at House Speaker Robert DeLeo, saying the House has been run like a “dictatorship from the time I’ve gotten there.” CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas has the details.


SJC: Judges can sentence addicts to rehab in jails

From the Globe’s Travis Andersen: “The state’s highest court said Thursday that Massachusetts judges can sometimes tailor jail sentences to match the length of time necessary for defendants to complete drug treatment programs while in custody.” Shira Schoenberg has more on the high-court ruling.

Boston Globe

In Canada, Walsh may get glimpse of the opioids-treatment future

Speaking of drug-addiction treatment: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and his Cambridge counterpart Marc McGovern will visit a supervised drug injection site in Canada next week after experts told a state panel that Massachusetts should consider allowing the controversial practice, Martha Bebinger reports at WBUR. Walsh says he has gone from a “hard no” to being more open-minded to the idea of supervised drug use sites.


Pressley: Focus on ‘Foul Policies, Not Foul Language’

Tori Bedford at WGBH reports U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley is defending U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s “mother&*cker” outburst to describe President Donald Trump, saying foul language isn’t nearly as bad as foul policies.


Haverhill principal apologizes for students’ assignment on Trump and fascism

And, yes, it was a deliberately biased class assignment. From Mike LaBella at the Eagle-Tribune: “A debate among members of the community has erupted on Facebook over a Haverhill High history class assignment in which students were asked to debate whether characteristics of fascism are exhibited by President Donald Trump.” The principal is apologizing for the assignment, saying it “missed the mark” and/or may have “skewed” the debate over Trump.


Populist appeal: Elizabeth Warren is likeable because people like her views on issues

Helain Olen at the Washington Post writes that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren is overcoming the “likeability” factor aimed at many female candidates by hammering away at economic themes that people happen to like.

Meanwhile, Margery Eagan at the Globe sounds a similar note, saying that the views of “extremists” like Warren and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are actually closer to what most Americans want. Finally, the NYT’s David Brooks may not agree with Warren on economic issues (he suggests she’s trapped in a 2008 mindset), but he doesn’t dispute the notion that modern capitalism has hurtled off the moral tracks.

Washington Post

Fact checking: Warren’s claim of living on minimum wages in the early ‘60s is … very plausible

The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler fact checks U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s claim that her family once managed to live on minimum-wage jobs when she was young – and he concludes, after digging up the old government data, that her claims ring true: People in the early 1960s could indeed live on minimum-wage jobs (barely). It’s a great policy-wonk story. Read it. Bottom line: The U.S. minimum wage simply hasn’t kept up with inflation over the years.

Washington Post

Run, Joe, run. … Or maybe not

David Bernstein at WGBH writes that more than a few journalists are rooting for Joe Biden to run for president because “he’s funny, smart, big-hearted, passionate—and, most importantly, wildly undisciplined.” In other words, he’s gaffe-prone. And that’s why he probably shouldn’t run, Bernstein writes.


State board mulls ‘stress test’ for private colleges

Maybe they’ll call it the Mount Ida rule. The state’s higher education board will consider a plan to put private colleges through a confidential financial ‘stress test’ to ensure they remain viable, a reaction to the sudden closure of the private Newton college last year and worries that more institutions are in a similar bind, Kirk Carapezza reports at WGBH. It’s actually not a bad idea, apparently modeled after the federal government’s “stress tests” of banks.


UMass’s bonus babies (and other payroll news)

Speaking of higher education, the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld dives into the state payroll records and finds that a lot of UMass administrators are getting five-figure and six-figure bonuses on top of their normal salaries, from UMass president Marty Meehan ($87,312 bonus) to James Glasheen, an executive vice chancellor ($194,000 in added payments). Is this yet more proof that it’s largely administrative/non-faculty expenses that are driving up higher-education costs in general across the country? Answer: Yes (MarketWatch).

Fyi: The Herald is on a state payroll tear in general this morning. Here are its other related stories – From Sean Philip Cotter: “MBTA overtime jumped $10M in 2018.” From Joe Dwinell: “State payroll ‘unsustainable,’ watchdog warns.” And from Marky Markos: “State police still racking up OT cash.”

Boston Herald

Gaming commission: Wynn suit should be moved to Bay State court

State Gaming Commission attorneys say a thorny Nevada lawsuit brought by casino mogul Steve Wynn should be moved to Massachusetts, where, we assume, the commission believes it will be handled in a more judicious, enlightened, objective and noble fashion. Jacqueline Tempera at BBJ has the details.

And, thankfully, the Globe’s Mark Arsenault bails us out from having to explain what the thorny lawsuit is all about. He has a good explainer piece on the case and its potential impact on the now nearly-completed Everett casino.

BBJ (pay wall)

Meanwhile, Gaming Commission sure has nice things to say about Wynn Resorts these days

As the legal wrangling continues over the fate of the Everett casino license, Bruce Mohl notices that the state Gaming Commission has recently had a lot of nice things to say about Wynn Resorts as it nears completion of if its mega-casino in Everett, now slated to open in June. Bottom line: It sure doesn’t sound like the commission is going to strip Wynn Resorts of its license. But who knows?


Shutdown showdown: The missing paychecks

As union members plan to hold a rally today to protest the federal shutdown and employees going without paychecks, the Federal Reserve chairman is warning that the partial closure of the government could end up harming the general economy, according to a report at the BBJ (pay wall).

As for those going without federal paychecks, the Globe’s Laura Crimaldi focuses on the plight of one local federal worker, whose financial woes are far from unique.

Btw: The Herald’s Joyce Ferriabough Bolling is blunt this morning: It’s time for both sides, Democrats and Republicans alike, to compromise. Btw, II: More shutdown headlines from around the state: From the Gloucester Times: “Trump shutdown becalms Friendship” and, brace yourself, from the Worcester Business Journal: “The government shutdown is beginning to hurt the craft beer industry.”

Suggestion to Coast Guard families during shutdown: Hold a garage sale

So it’s come to this. From the Portland Press Herald: “Employees of the U.S. Coast Guard who are facing a long U.S. government shutdown just received a suggestion: To get by without pay, consider holding a garage sale, babysitting or serving as a ‘mystery shopper.’” And, yes, the memo came from Coast Guard Support Program and, strangely, it didn’t suggest becoming an Uber driver.

Press Herald

Scores of lawmakers say they’re ready for ‘bold’ action on climate change

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy at the MetroWest Daily News: “Over 80 House and Senate lawmakers have committed themselves early in the new session to a set of climate policy goals as Sen. Marc Pacheco and others get ready to file legislation next week that would require Massachusetts to speed its reduction of carbon emissions.”

MetroWest Daily News

Baker signs Equifax protection and disability insurance bills

The MassLive tag-team of Gintautas Dumcius and Shira Schoenberg have stories, respectively, on Gov. Charlie Baker’s signing of the Equifax consumer-protection bill and separate legislation banning insurers from charging women more than men for disability insurance policies.

Cannabis Commission to ask lawmakers to let it oversee host-community agreements

The Cannabis Control Commission is planning to ask lawmakers to let it oversee contracts signed between communities and marijuana firms that want to open businesses in their towns or cities. If you recall, some towns and cities, in classic Massachusetts fashion, are effectively shaking down the pot companies for everything they’re worth. The CCC appears to have had enough. The BBJ’s Jessica Bartlett (pay wall) and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the details.

State orders Haverhill to turn over ‘without delay’ secret DPW report

From WHAV: “Haverhill was ordered Wednesday to immediately turn over to the state a clean copy of a secret police investigation of the Department of Public Works. Rebecca S. Murray, the state’s supervisor of public records, issued the written order in response to WHAV’s Dec. 21 appeal of the city’s refusal to release the report. Her office will now determine if the city is legally withholding the document the radio station has twice requested.”

The issue is apparently tied to a probe that led to the arrests of two highway department employees and a former DPW employee on drug-related charges.


Wind turbine company picks Boston for US HQ

At a meeting today with Gov. Charlie Baker (see our Happening Today section above), MHI Vestas Offshore Wind officials plan to announce they’re establishing their U.S. headquarters in Boston, reports the Globe’s Jon Chesto. It’s not a lot of jobs. But it does help Boston, in a small way, establish itself as a clean-energy hub.

Massachusetts schools still feeling impact of Hurricane Maria

Many have moved on, but nearly 2,000 students who fled Puertro Rico after Hurricane Maria remain enrolled in Bay State public schools, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. As of October, 1,940 such students were in classrooms across the commonwealth, down from 3,450 just five months earlier.


In this case, a penny saved is a penny earned, plus $199,999.99

This makes you want to check the old penny jar sitting on your kitchen counter. From the Globe’s Emily Sweeney: “A rare penny that a Pittsfield teenager found in his lunch money more than 70 years ago was auctioned off for more than $200,000 on Thursday to a Concord coin dealer.  Don Lutes Jr. was 16 when he found the copper-colored penny in change he received from his school cafeteria in 1947, according to Heritage Auctions, which is offering the coin for sale. The bronze penny was accidentally minted in 1943 and is one of only a handful known to exist.”

Boston Globe

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who discusses and fact-checks the border wall debate and the future of immigration policy.    

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Boston Globe reporter Jon Chesto and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks talk about some of the top business stories of the week, including the local impact of the government shutdown, State Street slashing 15 percent of its senior executives and the latest in the cannabis industry.    

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. A look at the new practice facility for the Boston Celtics, with Celtics president Rich Gotham and VP/Analytics guru Mike Zerran discussing the team and the business of basketball.   

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5 11 a.m. This week’s guest: Rachael Rollins, the new Suffolk County District Attorney, 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 topic: Highlighting charitable organizations in New England.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Philanthropy, with a look at the Boston Ujima Project and New England Blacks in Philanthropy, among other groups.

2019 Leadership Institute

The goal of the NAIOP Massachusetts Leadership Institute is to develop the practical knowledge and leadership skills that are necessary to advance the careers of mid-level commercial real estate professionals with 10+ years of experience. This is a 12 week program (January 15 – April 4).

NAIOP Massachusetts

Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives

“Faith and Justice in Society: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Perspectives” will bring people from across Greater Boston together to learn about Jewish, Christian and Muslim perspectives on social justice from prominent religious leaders, deepening their awareness of our shared religious and social heritage.

A Faith That Does Justice

Live Webinar: Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning

Join AIM on a Webinar led by experts from Wolf & Company who will discuss best practices for achieving and maintaining safety, security, and compliance in times of trouble. In addition to providing ample time for your questions, you will also hear first-hand from one of Wolf’s clients, Kurt Shouse, AVP, Information & Cybersecurity Officer Florence Bank, about his recent experiences.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Power Breakfast: Economic Outlook

Join the BBJ for a panel discussion looking into 2019!

Boston Business Journal

Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton

Author Talk and Book Signing with Jim Hamilton, Author of The Black Cats of Amherst

State Library of Massachusetts

Executive Forum – The State of Massachusetts Business 2019

Join us on January 25 as AIM presents the 2019 State of Massachusetts Business address and Economic Outlook Forum. AIM President Rick Lord and a panel of experts will discuss solutions to one of the most persistent challenge facing employers today: the shortage of qualified workers.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts

Get New Insight and Practices for Boosting Revenues

Are you ready to infuse your product, marketing and sales efforts with fresh ideas that work? Past Summits have won rave reviews. Learn more and register at StrategicMarketingSummit.com

MarketReach, Inc.

Today’s Headlines


Walsh taps Zapata as city’s census liaison – Dorchester Reporter

Boston city councilors to consider traffic cameras, full-time cops to reduce road mayhem – Universal Hub


Milford police chief files complaint with AG – Milford Daily News

Police pay continues to dog Methuen officials – Eagle-Tribune

Attendance up, chronic absenteeism down with new initiative in Lynn public schools – Lynn Item

Councilor calls for Framingham to adopt Community Preservation Act – MetroWest Daily News


Airline safety ‘eroding’ as shutdown drags on – Politico

Democratic lawmakers call for delay in easing sanctions on close ally of Putin – Washington Post

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