Happening Today

Pelosi at Tufts, 29 Who Shine and more

— Rep. Dan Hunt will join construction industry leaders for 150 seconds of silence to honor the 150 workers per every 10,000 who die from the opioid crisis, Lee Kennedy HOOD Plant Project, 480 Rutherford Ave., Charlestown, 11 a.m.

— MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak joins leaders from the assistive technology company Aira to launch the six-month human artificial intelligence technology pilot called AccessAI, which will allow people who are blind or have low vision to use a visual interpreting service for free within the entire MBTA system, Government Center, Lobby Level, Boston, 12 p.m.

— Philip Morris International Chief Executive Officer André Calantzopoulos will be the keynote speaker at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon, Wharf Room, Boston Harbor Hotel, 12 p.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Education James Peyser, Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago and Board of Higher Education Chairman Chris Gabrieli participate in the 9th Annual 29 Who Shine Awards, Grand Staircase, 2 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

Breaking Bad: From drug-firm executives to convicted opioid dealers …

One down. More to go? From Laurel Sweet at the Herald: “The fight against opioids hit Big Pharma Thursday as the billionaire founder of a drug company that bribed doctors to push deadly fentanyl for off-label use was convicted racketeering along with four of his former co-conspirator colleagues at Insys Therapeutics. The verdict marks the first time the head of a pharmaceutical company has been criminally charged and convicted in the nationwide opioid crisis.” 

 The Globe’s Jonathan Saltzman and Maria Cramer have more on how the convicted executives conspired to peddle the “highly addictive painkiller to patients who didn’t need it and tricking insurers into paying for it.” The New York Times is all over the story, as is Gabrielle Emanuel at WGBH.

Federal judge: So why aren’t state troopers being charged with RICO conspiracy?

Speaking of conspiracies and courtroom drama, U.S. Judge Mark L. Wolf appeared all set to sentence State Police Trooper Daren DeJong for his role in the ongoing OT scandal at the agency when he popped a question: Why aren’t some of these state troopers being charged with conspiracy or RICO conspiracy? Hmm. Interesting question to raise. Don’t you think? Kristin LaFratta at MassLive has more on Wolf’s surprise courtroom inquiry that probably caused more than a few defense-attorney hearts to skip a beat.


Hallelujah: ‘Elizabeth Warren, Left For Dead, Enjoys Rebirth’

David Bernstein at WGBH notes that recent reports of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s political demise seem, for now, to have been greatly exaggerated. 

Meanwhile, the NYT reports on the staffing “juggernaut” Warren’s campaign has put together in Iowa. And speaking of Warren’s juggernaut, from Christian Wade at the Gloucester Daily Times: “Leftover PAC money funneled into Warren’s campaign.”


Third time the charm? Senate plans another vote on hands-free bill – despite profiling concerns

From SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) “After passing similar proposals in back-to-back sessions over the past four years, the Senate plans to vote once again next week on legislation to ban the hand-held use of cellphones while driving. The complete cellphone ban is included in a distracted driving bill that was released by a Senate committee and marked for debate next Thursday.”

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth reports the bill includes data-collection measures intended to both discourage and gauge possible racial profiling of minorities when police stop cars for cell-phone violations.

Day 1: New schools superintend gets the rough-and-tumble Boston treatment

Welcome to Boston, Brenda! She hasn’t even officially started yet, but Brenda Cassellius is already getting the Boston treatment that her out-of-town predecessor knew all too well. From the Herald’s Joe Dwinell and Lisa Kashinsky: “Incoming Boston schools superintendent left ‘unconstitutional mess’ in Minnesota, advocate says.” The Herald’s front-page splash headline: “Past Fail.”

From CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas: “Boston taps high-stakes testing opponent: New superintendent opposes 10th grade MCAS graduation requirement.” The Globe goes a little soft on her this morning, perhaps out of pity: “Here’s what Brenda Cassellius is planning as BPS superintendent.”

Rising tensions: Worcester delays vote on superintendent contract amid protests

Speaking of schools superintendents, the Worcester School Committee delayed a vote on whether to extend the contract of schools Superintendent Maureen Binienda as students and advocacy group continue to protest her handling of racial concerns, Bill Shaner reports at Worcester Magazine. 

Worcester Magazine

Judge refuses to block pro-Palestinian forum at UMass-Amherst

Score one for the First Amendment. From Jim Russell at MassLive: “Suffolk Superior Court Judge Robert L. Ullmann on Thursday refused to issue an injunction requested by attorney Karen Hurvitz to prevent a panel discussion on Palestine from being convened at University of Massachusetts campus. Hurvitz argued the event could wound the college’s reputation, harm Jewish students and violate anti-discrimination policies.”


Forget wage disparities. How about government contracts disparity?

File under “crumbs.” From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “Less than 1 percent of the $664 million Boston awarded last year for contracts for construction and professional goods and services went to minority- or women-owned businesses, according to data released Thursday that paint a dire picture of the city’s quest for more equity in taxpayer-funded contracts.”

Btw: Wasn’t that Mayor Walsh on Beacon Hill the other day pushing for private-sector pay equity and transparency? Yes it was.

Boston Globe

Residents blast Beaton’s departure to firm with ties to compressor station

From Jessica Trufant at the Patriot Ledger: “Residents fighting a proposed 7,700-horsepower natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth say they’re outraged that the state’s top environmental regulator is going to work for a firm with ties to the project. Gov. Charlie Baker announced this week that Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton is leaving the agency to serve as a senior vice president at TRC Companies Inc.”

Read on about how residents say they recently met with Beaton about the proposed station and TRC etc. – before this week’s announcement that he was joining TRC.

Patriot Ledger

So who’s speaking where this commencement season?

We love these lists of college commencement speakers – and MassLive has a very complete one, from Sen. Ed Markey at Berkshire Community College to German Chancellor Angela Merkel at Harvard. Lots of actors, industry leaders and others are speaking as well, not just pols.

From shopping center to saving souls: Former Macy’s at Swansea Mall to be turned into church

We knew bricks-and-mortar shopping malls weren’t doing well these days, but we didn’t know they were this desperate. From Peter Jasinski at the Herald News: “His Providence Church, the non-denominational parish that attracted media attention by holding its Easter Mass in the parking lot of a shuttered Macy’s last month, has secured a 12-month lease of the former department store despite the mall it sits in having closed.”

Herald News

Meanwhile, malls on opposite sides of state face financial crises

It’s indeed a rough time to be a mall owner. The Silver City Galleria in Taunton is in foreclosure and will be put up for auction on May 17, Charles Winokoor reports at the Taunton Gazette. The mall was valued at more than $120 million in 2002 but is now assessed by the city at well under the $20 million loan the current owners hold.

Nearly all the way across the state, the owner of the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough has missed the deadline to pay taxes on that shopping center for the fourth straight time, Tony Doborowski at the Berkshire Eagle. The city may start proceedings to take the property–something it has worked to avoid, for obvious reasons–sometime this month if payments don’t appear.

Healey allowed to pursue birth-control suit against Trump administration after court ruling

From Shira Schoenberg at MassLive: “Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey will be allowed to proceed with her lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s policy on insurance coverage for birth control, after a U.S. Appeals Court overturned a lower court’s ruling. The lawsuit challenges the Trump administration’s expansion of a religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that contraceptive care be covered by insurance without co-pays.”

Resurrecting past sins of the Boston Phoenix?

The Boston Phoenix has been closed for six years now. But Casey Sherman at the Herald is asking why Northeastern University’s Snell Library, which oversees the defunct alternative paper’s special collection, isn’t telling students and scholars about the Phoenix’s heavy “reliance on prostitution ads” and the paper’s “disturbing collusion with pimps and other sex trade predators.” I.e. it made a lot of bucks, indirectly, off of the human-trafficking industry.

Boston Herald

Worcester County’s problem: Too many kids, too few judges, too much child-welfare heartbreak

Deborah Becker at WBUR takes a look at the child-welfare case load in Worcester County, where the “whole system is really heartbreaking” due to a variety of reasons, including too few judges handling the most DCF-involved cases in Massachusetts.


Baker files late ‘policy-filled’ spending bill

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) is busy sifting through this one: “Gov. Charlie Baker filed a policy-heavy, $23.7 million spending bill on Thursday to provide funding for state legal settlements and public defenders coping with increased caseloads. The governor also renewed a number of his previous requests of the Legislature, writing in a letter that he’d still like to see them clarify the state’s marijuana laws to allow hemp to be grown on land preserved for agriculture and to explicitly ban the use of welfare benefit cards to purchase marijuana products.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Supreme Court grants more time to lawyers in texting suicide case after they cite state’s lab scandals

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted attorneys for Michelle Carter — the young Plainville woman whose texting-suicide manslaughter conviction was upheld by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court — more time to file an appeal after lawyers said they’re busy helping other clients, including those whose cases are entangled in the state’s dual drug-testing lab scandals, reports David Linton at the Sun Chronicle.

Sun Chronicle

Police captain latest to toss hat into ring for Westfield mayor

We’ve got a race in Westfield. Michael McCabe, a captain in the city’s police department, says he’ll seek the mayor’s office this fall, setting up a race against former state Sen. Donald Humason, who announced a bid last month, Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. McCabe said he plans to keep his job in the department but resign if elected. 

Shattered illusions: The Polito Connection

From the Herald’s Mary Markos: “A member of the Governor’s Council accused the Baker-Polito Administration of playing favorites after the body named Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito’s college pal, Sharon Shelfer Casey, clerk magistrate of the Cambridge District Court. ‘This nominee has shattered the illusion of the level playing field — being a privileged insider is obvious — the opportunity for special access is clear,’ Councilor Marilyn Petitto Devaney said.”

Boston Herald

WBUR union accuses BU of contract foot-dragging

From the BBJ’s Don Seiffert: “The newly formed union at the WBUR newsroom filed a complaint this week with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the public media organization’s owner, Boston University, is dragging its feet in starting initial contract negotiations.”


Get your lottery winnings here …

For all you dreamers, from SHNS’s Colin Young: “A change at the Massachusetts Lottery means some winners now won’t have to travel quite as far to collect their windfall. Effective Thursday, Lottery players are able to claim prizes between $50,000 and $100,000 at the Lottery’s regional offices in Braintree, New Bedford, Springfield, Woburn and Worcester, in addition to the agency’s Dorchester headquarters.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Sunday public affairs TV: DeLeo, Moulton and more

This Week in Business, NECN, 10 a.m. This week’s guests: Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria on the preparations for next month’s opening of the Encore Boston Harbor casino; Bruce Van Saun, chairman and CEO of Citizens Financial Group, on the economy and retail banking in the region; and Janelle Nanos of the Boston Globe on some of the top business stories of the week.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10:30 a.m. Michael B. Alexander, the president of Lasell College, talks about running a small independent college at a time when several schools have been forced to shut down; Claudia Rinaldi, Phd, associate professor of education, and student government president James Kappatos, join the conversation.   

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: House Speaker Robert DeLeo, who talks with anchor Ed Harding and co-anchor Janet Wu, followed by a discuss with Democratic analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican analyst Rob Gray.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s main topic: Boston’s Chinatown, with discussions with Karen Chen, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association, Giles Li, executive director of the Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center, and Angie Liou, executive director of the Asian Community Development Corporation.

Conversation with the Candidate, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12:30 p.m. The show’s guest: U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, who is now running for president in the Democratic primary.

BAA Honors

Boston Arts Academy (BAA), Boston’s only public school for the visual and performing arts, will host its annual BAA Honors celebration at the Rose Kennedy Ballroom, InterContinental Boston, featuring an array of arts dignitaries from Boston and beyond. The celebratory, creative black-tie event honors prominent leaders across industries, including arts, entertainment and education.

Boston Arts Academy

Advanced Analytics and Artificial Intelligence Impact on Healthcare

This forum will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear both pros and cons as the healthcare industry moves forward with these types of advancements in technologies. In light of Governor Baker’s comments regarding the space, we welcome further dialog as to what is real and what is science fiction.

Sen. Jo Comerford, Rep. Paul Mark, and SAS

Offshore Wind Panel

YPE is excited to announce that we will be hosting a panel discussion on offshore wind energy at WilmerHale later this spring! Our panelists and moderator represent a diverse group of stakeholder interests from the growing offshore wind industry here in Boston, from finance and development to engineering and manufacturing.

YPE Boston

NETWORK Conference

The Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE) brings together over 500 adult educators, counselors, administrators, volunteers, and activists for its annual NETWORK Conference, the largest gathering of its kind in New England.

Massachusetts Coalition for Adult Education (MCAE)

Intro to Construction Management Onsite Course

This is a two-part course that will be held on May 10, 2019, and May 17, 2019. Introduction to Construction Management will provide students with a practical understanding of the planning, design and construction processes from project initiation to closeout.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Book Talk: Boston’s 20th-Century Bicycling Renaissance

Author talk and book signing with Lorenz J. Finison, author of the new book Boston’s Twentieth-Century Bicycling Renaissance.

State Library of Massachusetts

A Conversation With Bill Cummings

Young professionals are invited to hear from Cummings Properties founder Bill Cummings as he discusses his career, dedication to philanthropy and new self-written memoir.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Poverty and Inequality in Boston: A Tale of Two Cities?

Join us for a discussion about what we can do about income inequality in Boston.

A Faith that Does Justice

JALSA 2019 Annual Meeting

The Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action is devoted to engaging the community in promoting civil rights, protecting civil liberties and achieving social, economic, racial, and environmental justice.


Massachusetts Clean Community Awards Gala

The Massachusetts Clean Community Awards Gala recognize volunteers, nonprofit leaders, government leaders, businesses, and educators for exceptional environmental protection and community improvement efforts. This celebration will be chock full of inspiring stories, good food, drink, and entertainment! WCVB news anchors Emily Riemer and Ben Simmoneau will emcee the event.

Keep Massachusetts Beautiful

Today’s Headlines


Some officers to begin wearing body cams this spring, Walsh says – Boston Globe

Boston homeless fund gets $1 million gift from MassMutual – Boston Herald


Greenfield to see extended passenger rail service by end of summer – The Recorder

Legislator: Assisted living closures a ‘troubling trend’ – Cape Cod Times

Drive to recall Mashpee Wampanoag officials dealt setback – Cape Cod Times


Trump hits rough patch in efforts to juice US economy – Washington Post

Bernie Sanders had his own TV show. We found the archives – Politico

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