Happening Today

Education funding, horse racing, and more

— Gov. Charlie Baker, Secretary of Education James Peyser and local officials participate in a meeting about education funding reform with the Springfield Business Leaders for Education, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue, Springfield, 10:15 a.m.

— The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing reviews bills dealing with single-payer health care, public health options, a MassHealth buy-in program, business health care costs and health connector coverage, Gardner Auditorium, 10:30 a.m.

— Tobacco Free Mass. coalition holds a press conference on youth vaping, with Sens. Harriette Chandler and John Keenan and Rep. Marjorie Decker among those attending, Nurses Hall, 11 a.m.

Gaming Commission’s Horse Racing Committee meets to hear an update on the 2019 racing season and to receive a briefing from general counsel on racing-related legislation pending at the State House, 101 Federal St., 12th floor, Boston, 11 a.m.

— General Dynamics chairman and CEO Phebe Novakovic will speak at the Boston College Chief Executives Club luncheon, with Raytheon CEO Thomas Kennedy moderating the event, Wharf Room, Boston Harbor Hotel, 70 Rowes Wharf, Boston, 12 p.m.

— The Joint Committee on Public Health reviews 34 bills, including legislation related to the health impacts of pollution, lead poisoning and wind turbines, as well several bills seeking to restrict of Styrofoam containers and packages, Room A-2, 1 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

Yet another T derailment. This time on the Red Line

The wheels really are falling off at the T – off of subway tracks. Only a few days after a weekend derailment on the Green Line, the Globe’s Emily Sweeney and John Ellement report that a Red Line train derailed this morning shortly after 6 a.m. at the JFK/UMass station, causing “severe” passenger delays north and south. No cause has been determined yet. But they have found the probable cause of Saturday’s Green Line derailment: The operator, who’s been suspended, WCVB reports.

Quickie thought, I: Gov. Charlie Baker, who’s asked passengers to be patient as officials implement reforms at the T, will have some explaining to do later today. Quickie thought, II: Gus Bickford, this is your cue. Quickie thought, III: This will raise the issue, yet again, about the T’s driver hiring practices, among the many issues that will be raised in coming days.

Boston Globe

Obama: ‘Get well soon Papi’

Courtesy of the Boston Red Sox, David Ortiz was flown to Boston yesterday for medical treatment, after he was shot in the back at an outdoor café in the Dominican Republica, as the Globe and the Herald report this morning. Former President Barack Obama is among the legion of fans wishing Big Papi a quick recovery, MassLive reports.

Poll: Biden leads Warren among Dem voters in Massachusetts

It’s ultimately about who voters think can beat the guy with orange hair. From the Globe’s Christina Prignano: “Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading the 2020 primary field among likely Democratic voters in Massachusetts, a new Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll has found. Biden had 22 percent support in the survey, released on Tuesday, followed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 10 percent, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., at 8 percent, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders at 6 percent. Just over 40 percent of voters said they were still undecided.”

The results have to be disappointing, not to mention a little embarrassing, to Warren’s camp. Still, we doubt Buttigieg will hang in there and so many voters remain undecided. We’ll see if this holds up. Btw: The New York Times has the latest Warren-has-a-lot-of-ideas story, in case you want to read another Warren-has-a-lot-of-ideas story.

Boston Globe

Is Kerry backing Biden?

He’s not openly endorsing Joe Biden. But former Senator and Secretary of State John Kerry — who briefly mulled and has now rejected running again for president — sure sounds like he’s happy Biden is in the race for the White House, compared to the other declared Democratic candidates (including Elizabeth Warren). The Washington Post has the details.

Washington Post

Poll: Voters open to hiking taxes to make education funding more equitable

Saying they support something in theory isn’t the same as agreeing to something in reality. Still, this is interesting, via the Globe’s Matt Stout: “As the Legislature grapples with how to fund public education, the majority of Massachusetts voters say they are willing to pay more in taxes — or give up some education funding in their own communities — to funnel more money toward low-income or low-performing school districts. Sixty percent of the registered voters who participated in a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released Tuesday said they don’t believe the state is adequately funding its K-12 schools.”

Is Baker finally signaling his opposition to the millionaire’s tax?

Speaking of taxes, Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday expressed more than a little skepticism about a graduated income tax in general in Massachusetts – but he didn’t explicitly say he was opposed to the proposed millionaire’s tax in Massachusetts. Still, if he’s against graduated income taxes in general, doesn’t that mean he should also be opposed to the graduated millionaire’s tax in particular? Yes, it should. But … Anyway, the Herald’s Mary Markos and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the details on the tax debate on Beacon Hill, as lawmakers prepared for tomorrow’s first-step vote to amend the state constitution to make way for a possible millionaire’s tax – or some other graduated income tax.

The Raytheon-UT megadeal: And Massachusetts bests Connecticut yet again

The Globe’s Larry Edelman has a good piece this morning that goes over the pluses and minuses of the huge merger announced on Monday between Waltham’s Raytheon Co. and Connecticut’s United Technologies. Bottom line: As long as the company is based in Massachusetts as the corporate types say, it’s a good deal for the Bay State, even though Raytheon is indeed the company being taken over by UT.

A piece by WBUR’s Steve Brown is more blunt: “Raytheon Merger Is Another Win For Mass. — And Loss For Conn.” Jenna Fisher at Patch reports Gov. Charlie Baker is optimistic about the deal. But some in western Massachusetts, where many residents are employed by UT, are nervous about jobs flowing east to Boston, as Jim Kinney reports at MassLive. Here’s an interesting note: President Trump isn’t wild about the merger, as the BBJ’s Gintautas Dumcius and Greg Ryan report.

Rep. Vargas faces backlash from anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists

File under “zealots” or “fanatics.” Take your pick. From Alison Kuznitz at the Globe: “A state lawmaker says he is being subjected to personal attacks from antivaccine conspiracy theorists over a bill he is sponsoring to eliminate Massachusetts’ religious exemption for vaccinating schoolchildren. Despite the deluge of angry mail and social media postings, state Representative Andy Vargas said he has seen an overwhelmingly positive response to his proposed legislation.”

Great White Shark problem solved? Orca spotted off Cape Cod coast

Have we finally found a solution for the Great White Shark problem off the coast of Cape Cod? Dialynn Dwyer at Boston.com reports on the rare sighting of an orca (aka killer whale), complete with video, about 12 miles off the coast of Chatham on Sunday. And in case you didn’t know, from the Smithsonian Magazine: “Great White Sharks Are Completely Terrified of Orcas.” And from the Atlantic: “The Predator That Makes Great White Sharks Flee in Fear.”

Now, if they can only find a way to lure orcas closer to shore. 


C’est la vie: Walsh scraps cabinet-level education post

After all, it was just a campaign promise. From Max Larkin at WBUR: “As Brenda Cassellius takes over as the next superintendent of Boston Public Schools, she won’t be working alongside a cabinet-level aide to the mayor. Mayor Marty Walsh said Friday that he won’t appoint another ‘education chief’ for the foreseeable future. Walsh said the position makes less sense today than it did in 2014, as he first took office.”


To avoid walking the plank, operator of pirate radio station agrees to remain silent

From Brian Lee at the Telegram: “The operator of a pirate radio station (in Worcester) has reached an agreement with the government to no longer broadcast and to surrender its equipment. A settlement with the U.S. attorney’s Massachusetts office includes an admission by Vasco Oburoni and Christian Praise International Church that they operated without a license from the Federal Communications Commission, according to a consent decree filed Monday.”


So the New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal isn’t big enough to handle most offshore wind projects?

Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine has an interesting story coming out of yesterday’s US Offshore Wind Conference in Boston, to wit: Offshore wind companies are in desperate need of adequate port facilities in order to handle all the envisioned offshore wind farms along the East Coast. It seems the recently built New Bedford Marine Commerce Terminal, which cost taxpayers about $113 million, can only handle about half the needs of Vineyard Wind’s planned offshore wind farm south of Martha’s Vineyard – and more offshore facilities are on the way.

Separately,SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) reports that Gov. Charlie Baker, who addressed the conference yesterday, is optimistic about the offshore-wind industry in general.


Insys files bankruptcy after $225M opioid settlement with feds

A month after its former CEO was found guilty of racketeering conspiracy by a jury in Boston, opioid manufacturer Insys Therapeutics has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, just days after settling criminal and civil cases against the firm and agreeing to pay $225 million in fines, reports Vanessa Roma at WBUR. File under: Good riddance.


Myrtle the Turtle is hot – literally too hot – for children

It turns out the new Myrtle the Turtle statue on Beacon Hill, designed by the same woman credited with the iconic Make Way for Ducklings memorial in the Boston Public Garden, is literally too hot for children to sit on during sunny days – and some want the adorable statue gone, reports Universal Hub.

Universal Hub

Compressor station opponents ‘sickened’ by DEP’s handling of data

SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) is all over the controversy surrounding the DEP’s sudden discovery (thanks to a freelance journalist) of insufficient air-quality data tied to the proposed natural-gas compressor station in Weymouth. In a separate piece (pay wall), Lisinksi reports that station opponents are ‘sickened” with the DEP in general. Still, the DEP is standing by its issuance of a permit for the project, Lisinski also reports (pay wall).

T agrees to study subsidized fares for low-income riders

Back to the T, from Bruce Mohl at CommonWealth magazine: “MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said on Monday that the agency intends to research how to implement a special, less expensive fare for low-income people, but he said the scope and parameters of the study need to be worked out.” The move comes as one T board member pushes for subsidized fares in the wake of a new MIT study showing low-income riders are “particularly price sensitive,” as Mohl writes.


Baystate’s mental health consolidation stirs anxiety in western Mass.

First, the good news: Baystate Health is proposing a new 130-bed mental health facility in Holyoke, increasing the total number of beds in the region by 30 percent. Now the bad news: It plans to close smaller mental health facilities in Westfield, Palmer and Greenfield – and that’s upsetting people. Linda Enerson at CommonWealth magazine has the details.

Why wouldn’t Whitey love Trump?

The Globe’s Kevin Cullen says no one should be surprised that the late gangster Whitey Bulger was a Donald Trump fan during his final days on earth. After all, Whitey once “torched John F. Kennedy’s birthplace in Brookline, aggrieved over the Kennedy family’s support for desegregation,” took a shot (literally) at the Globe’s offices in Dorchester, again aggrieved over desegregation, and bemoaned the integration of Southie.

Central Square improvement district may fund Narcan-toting ambassadors

The Cambridge City Council has unanimously approved the creation of a Central Square business improvement district to raise taxes to keep the area thriving — and a portion of the $1.2 million raised annually could be used to fund the ‘living wage’ salaries of community ambassadors who would be trained in CPR and armed with overdose-reversing drugs, Marc Levy reports at Cambridge Day. 

Cambridge Day

Meanwhile, lawmakers hear pleas for help on drug crisis on the Cape

Mental health and public safety professionals from Cape Cod pleaded with lawmakers to take additional steps to address the opioid crisis and its related problems during a hearing Monday that underscored the myriad ways the crisis is impacting daily life on the Cape, Tanner Stening reports in the Cape Cod Times.

Cape Cod Times

Fact check: Worcester board may honor student research that sparked diversity debate

The debate continues. The Worcester School Committee may honor students for their research into teacher diversity in the district, but first wants to review the facts behind their report, which has sparked a fierce debate about race in the city, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram.


Boston’s Bigfoot connection

Deanna Pan at the Globe reports that the Academy of Applied Science in Boston – yes, right here in Boston – was involved in that now long-ago FBI file on Bigfoot.

Boston Globe

31st Annual Charitable Golf Tournament Benefiting Heading Home

Join us for NAIOP’s 31st Anniversary Golf Tournament at The International! If you haven’t played there yet, it is a golfer’s paradise that features two award-winning 18-hole golf courses, including The Pines, designed by Robert Trent Jones.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christine M. DeLucia

History professor and author Christine M. DeLucia will speak about her recent book, Memory Lands: King Philip’s War and the Place of Violence in the Northeast.

State Library of Massachusetts

Launching Young Leaders: An Intensive Workshop

For CRE professionals with less than five years business experience.

NAIOP Massachusetts

Suffrage Centennial Kick-Off Celebration

Kicking off a year of commemorations celebrating 100 years since the 19th Amendment was adopted in 1920, enabling women to vote.

The Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of Massachusetts and The Greater Boston Women’s Vote

Today’s Headlines


Judge vacates Boston licensing board’s rejection of Dorchester Popeye’s – WGBH

Seniors are more likely to work past 65 in large metro areas like Boston – Boston Globe


Shutesbury man refiles lawsuit over lead in water in Amherst schools – Daily Hampshire Gazette

Methuen firefighter says sexism played role in promotion – Eagle-Tribune

Large scale solar project proposed for Sandwich – Cape Cod Times


Gun seller that bet big on Hillary Clinton winning goes bankrupt – Bloomberg

New York Times to stop publishing political cartoons – The Hill

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