Happening Today

Healey at vaping conference, Baker at MIT Sports Analytics

— Attorney General Maura Healey delivers a keynote address at the Vaping and Our Youth conference that is focused on ‘how the use of vaping products and e-cigarettes has become an epidemic among young people,’ Essex North Shore Agricultural and Technical School, 565 Maple St., Danvers, 9 a.m.

— The Boston Opportunity Agenda, a public-private partnership, and the Everyone Graduates Center at the Johns Hopkins University School of Education release a report titled ‘College, Career and Life Readiness: A Look at High School Indicators of Post-Secondary Outcomes in Boston,’ Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building, 2300 Washington St., Boston, 10 a.m.

Jane Doe Inc. holds a press conference to launch its 12th annual Massachusetts White Ribbon Day Campaign, which aims to engage men and boys in the prevention of gender-based violence, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Bank of America Massachusetts president Micael Chaberlain and others speaking, Nurses Hall, 1 p.m.

Disabled American Veterans Department of Massachusetts announces a first-of-its-kind collaboration with registered medical marijuana dispensary Revolutionary Clinics, Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN), Room 428, State House, 2 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker participates in a panel discussion at the MIT Sloan Annual Sports Analytics Conference, Bill James Room, Hynes Convention Center, 900 Boylston St, Boston, 3:45 a.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

The end is near: Commission says Wynn settlement only days away

One of these days, it really will get resolved. From the Herald’s Jonathan Ng: “Massachusetts gaming regulators said Thursday a lawsuit filed by Steve Wynn will be dismissed in the upcoming days, freeing the board to receive its own investigation report into the sexual misconduct allegations against the casino magnate and complete its review of the Encore Boston Harbor license.” SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) has more the ” necessary steps to finalize” a settlement. 

Meanwhile, the Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that former BPD commissioner Ed Davis has been hired to review all sexual assault claims at Wynn Resorts.

Boston Herald

Are the air rights over the T’s Cabot Yard the next development bonanza?

The Globe’s Jon Chesto reports that state Sen. Nick Collins and Rep. David Biele of South Boston have written to the T about the possibility of developing the air rights over the MBTA’s sprawling Cabot Yard. Hoping to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, the two note UMass-Boston’s recent mega-development deal at the old Bayside Expo site.

Boston Globe

Life without parole or life with parole? That is the question

SHNS’s Michael Norton (pay wall) and Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine report that criminal-justice reformers on Beacon Hill are now turning their attention back to a familiar issue, to wit: Whether some who are sentenced to life in prison should at least have the chance at parole.

The do’s and don’ts of paying and accepting bribes

This is an odd one. From Adam Gaffin at UH: “The Supreme Judicial Court (yesterday) upheld a fine of more than $2.6 million against a beer distributor for kickbacks paid to some Boston-area bars to give its beers guaranteed taps, but said that the state commission that oversees liquor laws can’t punish a Seaport bar that accepted the bribes because of what it said was a tortured interpretation of those laws.”

Universal Hub

Pot, wind and power

Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine reports on Smith Costello & Crawford’s rise to powerhouse lobbying status on Beacon Hill.  The secret to its success? Representing pot and offshore-wind clients.


Nantucket fishermen say Vineyard Wind threatens livelihood

Here’s a policy fire that Smith Costello & Crawford may be called in to put out: Nantucket-based fishermen pushed back hard against suggestions that the Vineyard Wind project would not impact their abilities to earn a living from the sea, with some suggesting lobsters and other important food sources will be driven elsewhere by the sea-floor construction work, Brian Bushard reports at the Cape Cod Times. 

Here’s one tried-and-true way the dispute could get settled, via a mitigation agreement, like the one announced last week between Rhode Island fishermen and Vineyard Wind. MassLive reports that Rhode Island coastal regulators have since approved the wind project proposed by Vineyard Wind. 

Cape Cod Times

It’s official: Massachusetts now has another behemoth provider network

The merger of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Lahey Health becomes official today, creating a new provider network of 13 hospitals that’s nearly the size of Partners HealthCare, reports Lisa Mullins and Martha Bebinger at WBUR. 

The Globe’s Priyanka Dayal McClusey has a list of all the things to watch at the new Beth Israel Lahey Health, such as future service and cost trends. We’re particularly interested in seeing whether two potentially monopolistic entities are better than one, as some argued in their support of the BI/Lahey merger. We have our doubts about the two-giants-will-compete theory.


VideosGate: Springfield councilors call for closer review of city police

After one too many instances of Springfield police officers getting caught on video behaving badly (and other assorted controversies), members of the city council are calling for closer review of the embattled police department, reports Dan Glaun at MassLive.


Kevin Spacey’s team suggests accusers are trying to cash in on his fame

Lawyers for actor Kevin Spacey, who’s been accused of groping an 18-year-old man at a Nantucket bar, are trying to vacuum up all the documents and cell phone records they can get from a private attorney representing the accuser and his family. Why? Because the family may be trying to cash in on Spacey’s fame, according to new court filings, as reported by the Globe’s Matt Rocheleau and the AP at the Herald.

For the record: Kraft pleads not guilty to john charges

In case you needed to know what you already knew would happen, via the AP at WBUR: “New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft has pleaded not guilty to two counts of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution in a Florida case. … The 77-year-old Kraft is requesting a non-jury trial.”

Meanwhile, Jenifer McKim and Phillip Martin, who were investigating the illicit massage industry long before Kraft got legally tangled up in it, explore in a Globe opinion piece what drives rich and powerful men to risk it all for a few minutes of pleasure.

Spilka only partially turns the page on Rosenberg era

From Matt Stout at the Globe: “Karen E. Spilka, who ascended to the Senate presidency promising to ‘turn the page’ from a tumultuous chapter in chamber history, has quietly leaned on the top aide of her predecessor Stanley C. Rosenberg to help do just that. Spilka has kept Rosenberg’s former chief of staff, Natasha Perez, on the Senate payroll since January to provide her office with ‘transition advice and consultation,’ aides confirmed Thursday.”

Boston Globe

Feds: Employer sicced BPD and ICE on immigrant after he filed for worker’s compensation

From Shannon Dooling at WBUR: “An undocumented construction worker who was arrested by ICE after filing a worker’s compensation claim two years ago was unlawfully retaliated against by his Boston-based employer, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Boston’s federal court. The DOL further asserted a Boston police sergeant was involved in the employee’s arrest by ICE.”


In Heath, closed school could host pot farm

File this one under: “intersecting trend lines.” With enrollment in the state’s rural schools dwindling, and demand for marijuana growing facilities rising, voters in the town of Heath will soon take up a plan that could kill two birds with one vote, i.e. selling a closed elementary school to a Boston-based pot grower for $250,000, Mary Serreze reports at MassLive.


Bucking the trend: Assumption College eyes restructuring to become university

In a bid to buck the trend of smaller higher-ed institutions downsizing, merging or even closing, Worcester’s Assumption College says it will restructure itself in the opposite direction by creating five distinct schools of study and seeking to gain university status, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. “While Assumption faces challenges similar to all higher education institutions, we do so from a position of strength at another pivotal moment in our history that calls us to adapt,” said Franceso Cesareo, the Catholic college’s president.


Meanwhile, there’s confidence and no confidence at Middlesex Community College

In other high-education news, Middlesex Community College President James Mabry had a good news/bad news kind of day: Just hours after the school’s board voted to give its full support to Mabry, the college’s largest union voted ‘no confidence’ in Mabry’s leadership. Emma Murphy has the details at the Lowell Sun. 

Lowell Sun

Former Maine environmental chief tapped to head New England EPA office

Even though he served in the administration of THAT man (former Maine Gov. Paul LePage), the appointment of Paul Mercer as head of the federal New England EPA office is drawing cautious praise from environmentalists, reports Craig LeMoult at WGBH. Mercer is the former commissioner of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection. In an interview with Barbara Howard at WGBH, LeMoult explains why environmentalists are both a little nervous and yet optimistic about the appointment.


Getting Beacon Hill to go along with the ‘healing power of art’

Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine takes a look at the use of “art therapy” in mental health counseling – and how its practitioners are now pushing legislation on Beacon Hill to license art therapists, which, it should be noted, would allow them to bill through insurance companies. They say it will also make the practices “more widely accessible to low-income families.”


Latest NH poll: Sanders rockets to top spot, Warren still in single digits

File under: “For what it’s worth,” considering how early it is in the process. Politico’s Rebecca Morin reports that Bernie Sanders has rocketed to the top spot in the New Hampshire Dem presidential primary race, according to a new poll by UNH’s Granite State Poll. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren? Still far down the ladder at 7 percent. But there’s a huge number of undecided voters, so …


Baker administration announces $68M for rental housing projects across state

From Aviva Luttrell at MassLive: “The state has awarded $68 million in funding to nine rental housing projects across Massachusetts with the goal of creating more mixed-income units. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the awards at the former Worcester County Courthouse Thursday morning, saying the funding will help support the construction of 643 new apartments from Lowell to Springfield. 


Thanks to $100M donation, the American Repertory Theater may be headed to Allston

Universal Hub’s Adam Gaffin and WBUR’s Cristela Guerrareport that David E. Goel, co-founder and managing general partner of Waltham-based Matrix Capital Management Company LP, and his wife, Stacey, have donated $100 million to Harvard to possibly build a new home for the Cambridge-based American Repertory Theater in Allston.

Meanwhile, couple donates another $10M for local treatment of substance abuse

Eilene Davidson Grayken and John Grayken made news two years ago by donating $25 million to Boston Medical Center to help those suffering from substance abuse and mental health problems begin treatment. Now the couple has donated another $10 million to the South Shore Health System for the same purpose. Jessica Trufant at the Enterprise explains why the two feel so strongly about the issue.


Correia in crosshairs at Fall River mayoral debate

They talked about trash, crime and cleaning up City Hall, but in the end it was really all about the mayor’s legal woes. At a debate among the five candidates running for mayor of Fall River in next month’s recall election, Mayor Jasiel Correia was forced to play defense as his opponents hit on his federal indictment for fraud and tax evasion, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News.

Herald News

Disgusting video alert: Seagull swallowing a rat whole

We started viewing this video that’s gone semi-viral around town — and just couldn’t watch till the end. But you can watch it all you want, i.e. of a seagull greedily devouring a rat in the North End, at Universal Hub, where the headline reads: “Hub of the Universe, baby: Brit tourist videos one of our seagulls swallowing a rat whole.”

Universal Hub (video)

Oh, we know: It’s Moulton, not Mouton

More than a few readers alerted us to a misspelling/typo of Seth Moulton’s (not ‘Mouton’) name in our headlines section yesterday, a boo-boo made more embarrassing by the fact we were having a little fun with a potential rival’s ‘stupidity’ description of the congressman. As we told one reader, the final stupid laugh was on us, of course!

Sunday public affairs TV

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guests: Katie Lannan and Matt Murphy of State House News Service, who talk with host Jon Keller about the revenue shortfall on Beacon Hill, the return of the millionaires tax and other issues.

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. Castle Group principal and co-founder Sandy Lish looks at the Robert Kraft prostitution case, and similar high-profile controversies, through the lens of crisis communications; Jobcase CEO Fred Goff on his growing company; and Boston Business Journal editor Doug Banks on the Wynn case, GE’s future and Governor Baker’s housing bill.   

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. John Fish, Suffolk Construction chairman and CEO, discusses some of his company’s major projects, including Encore Boston Harbor and the Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences at One Dalton, and provides his thoughts on GE opting out of the second corporate building in Boston.

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guests: Former U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano, followed by a discussion with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican analyst Rob Gray 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: Celebrating Women’s History Month, with Registered Dietician & Nutritionist Stephanie Ferrari of Fresh Communications.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Celebrating books.

Chamber Networking Group

This free, members-only event is designed specifically for our member companies who want to expand their network of contacts, generate new business leads, and learn the most effective strategies for networking. Attendees take part in a group “speed networking” and leave with at least twenty new business contacts. Don’t forget your business cards!

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

Venezuela: Sanctions, Elections and Attempted Coup

Will the crisis lead to a major new war? The US is trying to overthrow the Maduro government with military threats, economic warfare and diplomatic isolation. But the solutions for the problems in Venezuela are for the Venezuelans to decide. The peace movement must oppose US intervention and support a resolution through peaceful dialogue!

Massachusetts Peace Action

The Breakfast Club

Please join us for this event which features a speaking program, salutes to area businesses and a networking breakfast. More than 300 area professionals attend.

Worcester Chamber of Commerce

Author Talk and Book Signing with Dina Vargo

Author Talk and Book Signing with Historian Dina Vargo, Author of Hidden History of Boston

State Library of Massachusetts

Today’s Headlines


Six new fears keeping GE execs awake at night – Boston Business Journal

Study urges curriculum shift to aid Boston students’ success in college – Boston Globe


Worcester schools urged to change headwear ban deemed culturally insensitive – Telegram & Gazette

Spotted tiger beetles force redesign of Saugus Ridge complex – Lynn Item

Mass Gaming Commission OKs 30-day extension for MGM Springfield to consider aiding housing project – MassLive


Trump ordered officials to give Kushner a security clearance – New York Times

Ten years gone: The Rocky Mountain News – Poynter

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