Happening Today

Vaping-ban hearing, Global warming hearing, and more

— Boston Fed President & CEO Eric Rosengren speaks this morning at the bank’s economic conference, ‘A House Divided: Geographic Disparities in Twenty-First Century America,’ Federal Reserve Bank, starting at 8:30 a.m.

Supreme Judicial Court hears oral arguments in eight cases, John Adams Courthouse, Courtroom One, Second Floor, Pemberton Square, Boston, 9 a.m.

— Lexington town officials hold a grand opening ceremony for the new Minuteman Regional Vocational Technical School that opened this fall, with Treasurer Deborah Goldberg expected to attend, 758 Marrett Road, Lexington, 9:30 a.m.

— Judge Indira Talwani holds a hearing on whether to grant a preliminary injunction against the Baker administration’s four-month ban on sales of all vaping products, Moakley Courthouse, Courtroom Nine, One Courthouse Way, Boston, 10 a.m.

Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change holds hearing on status of the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program and the solar industry overall, 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

State halts Columbia Gas pipeline work after latest mishap

Is this the second or third work-halt order? We’re losing count. From the Globe’s Milton Valencia: “State regulators have ordered Columbia Gas to halt all non-emergency work on its gas systems in Massachusetts, amid new ‘troubling issues’ that have been raised about construction work that was done following the September 2018 gas disasters in the Merrimack Valley.”

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) has more on the Department of Public Utilities order, following last week’s gas-leak scare that led to a brief evacuation of hundreds of residents in Lawrence.

Boston Globe

After long debate, Senate unanimously passes education funding bill

So it did sail through, albeit after a long debate. From Michael Jonas at CommonWealth magazine: “The Senate moved Massachusetts one step closer to a long-awaited revamp of the state’s 26-year-old education aid formula, unanimously passing a bill that would steer an additional $1.5 billion a year to schools after a seven-year phase-in.  The 39-0 vote came after a long day of debate in which senators agreed to 13 amendments to the bill, one of which alarmed advocates of strong state accountability for how the new money is spent.”

Obviously, there was more than a little discussion about the Baker administration’s alleged ‘misleading’ analysis of the bill before the vote, as Herald’s Mary Markos and Alexi Cohan report.


Army Corps says new Cape bridges are the best option

The Army Corps of Engineers is saying building two new bridges to get traffic on and off the Cape is more cost-effective than upgrading the existing, 84-year-old spans, Ethan Genter reports at the Cape Cod Times. The Corp’s report indicates construction could begin as soon as 2025 and says keeping the old bridges in place until the new ones are ready could help minimize traffic disruptions. Next up: Public input on the proposal. 

Cape Cod Times

If at first you don’t succeed: Walsh unveils latest plan to crack down on ‘Methadone Mile’

The city’s “Operation Clean Sweep” obviously didn’t work. So Mayor Marty Walsh is now rolling out “Melnea Cass/Mass Ave 2.0,” aimed at addressing the “impact of homelessness, drug abuse, and crime in a hard-hit neighborhood in the South End,” reports Sarah Betancourt at CommonWealth magazine. The Globe’s Milton Valencia has more on “Melnea Cass/Mass Ave 2.0,”

The Herald’s Sean Philip Cotter reports that officials are adamant: This isn’t merely “Operation Clean Sweep 2.0” within what’s called the “Methadone Mile,” a nickname some consider disparaging and others consider more than apt for an obviously troubled section of the city. Fyi, from Zoe Mathews at WGBH: “The ACLU Is Suing Boston For Information About ‘Operation Clean Sweep.”

Lelling stands fast despite court ruling: No safe-injection sites

Speaking of drugs on the streets, from SHNS’s Chris Lisinski: “U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling reaffirmed his opposition to supervised drug consumption sites Thursday, doubling down on his promise to prosecute any such program a day after a federal judge ruled the facilities would not violate a section of the Controlled Substances Act.”

Supporters of safe-injections sites are obviously upset with Lelling’s views, but not the Herald’s editorial board: “Safe injection sites harm community.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Meanwhile, SJC tosses conviction against man who gave heroin to a friend who later overdosed

One last opioids-related item: The Herald is giving the Supreme Judicial Court the full Herald treatment this morning, blasting away at the high court’s decision to overturn a manslaughter conviction against a UMass grad student who gave heroin to a friend who later overdosed. Greg Saulmon at MassLive has more details on the controversial case.

Btw: The Herald’s Wendy Murphy makes an interesting point, comparing the UMass manslaughter conviction to the Michele Carter manslaughter case. We’re not sure it’s a fair comparison, but it’s interesting.

Boston Herald

The vaping ban’s ‘unintended consequences’

As a judge hears arguments today on whether to lift Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-month ban on the sale of all vaping products in Massachusetts (see our Happening Today section above), the Globe’s Naomi Martin and Dan Adams report on all the “unintended consequences” of the ban: “customers crossing the border to buy e-cigarettes in New Hampshire, former smokers switching back to cigarettes, sick patients fearfully experimenting with unfamiliar alternatives,” etc. etc.

Let’s be clear: The consequences were indeed “unintended,” but they were, or should have been, fully anticipated. Anyway, the Herald’s Howie Carr is ripping into the ban, calling the move “classic Charlie Baker.”

Boston Globe

The RMV records-keeping scandal: Et tu, Rhode Island?

More proof that the Massachusetts RMV isn’t the only RMV that has problems keeping track of driving records. From Andy Metzger at CommonWealth magazine. “Making amends for past inaction, Rhode Island regulators plan to send the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles roughly 22,500 notices about infractions committed by Bay State drivers in the Ocean State dating back two years.”

SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall) notes that New Hampshire has previously fessed up to its own records-keeping incompetence.


The ‘wow child’ wows them again at the Handel and Haydn Society

You gotta love this story. Ronan Mattin, the 9-year-old New Hampshire boy who won the hearts of people across the world this past spring when he exclaimed “wow” at the end of a piece by Mozart at Symphony Hall, was treated like a celebrity when he returned yesterday to hear a special rehearsal of the Handel and Haydn Society. Zoe Greenberg at the Globe has the life-is-good/tears-in-your-eyes details.

There they go: Koh and Trahan trade blows over finance records

File under: ‘Guilty until proven innocent’? Dan Koh is now saying he won’t run against U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan if she can prove she didn’t break any financial-disclosure laws. And if she can’t prove she’s innocent? Well … Alena Melanson and Lisa Kashinsky at the Lowell Sun have more on the bizarre non-race race already developing in the Third District.

Lowell Sun

So where are the Republican candidates for Kennedy’s seat?

As expected, Jake Auchincloss, a Newton city councilor and Marine veteran, is the latest Democrat to declare for the state’s 4th congressional district seat being vacated by Joe Kennedy III, Matt Stout reports at the Globe.

Meanwhile, the soon-to-be-open seat is drawing scant interest from Republicans — in part because members of the GOP are wary of appearing on the same ballot as President Trump in a heavily blue district, Jim Hand reports at the Sun-Chronicle. 

Sun Chronicle

Hands off: Judge decides contested cash is WPI’s to keep

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the ex-wife of a major donor to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, clearing the way for the college to keep the entire $40 million it received from ex-hubbie five years ago, Scott O’Connell reports at the Telegram. Janet Foisie had sued the school, saying she was entitled to $4.5 million because the donor, the late Robert Foisie, had hid the money during their divorce proceedings. 


Future of Fall River mayor’s office now up to superior court judge

The voters have voted. The city council has weighed in. But now it’s likely up to a Superior Court judge to decide if Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia can remain in office. Correia’s attorneys and lawyers for the city council –which voted last month to order him to vacate City Hall –sparred over language in the city’s charter in front of a judge who has been asked to issue an injunction backing up the council’s just-go vote. Jo C. Goode at the Herald-News has the details. 

Herald News

Two Mass. men among dead in B-17 crash; airman hailed for helping others escape

MassLive’s Jeanette DeForge reports that two men from Massachusetts were among those killed in the crash earlier this week of a World War II-era B-17 bomber in Connecticut. Meanwhile, an airman with the Connecticut National Guard who was aboard the B-17 is being hailed for helping other passengers escape the burning airfield wreckage, according to a report at WCVB.

The Stow-based Collings Foundation, which owned the plane, has more than a few questions to answer. From Callum Borchers and Beth Healy at WBUR: “Deadly crash of WWII-era bomber wasn’t the first accident for Mass. foundation.”

Harvard’s admissions win may not be a slam dunk at the appeals levels

Kimberly Atkins at WBUR reports that Harvard University and other colleges may be high-fiving it after the school’s court victory in the admissions-discrimination case brought by Asian-American students. But if the case ever lands before the U.S. Supreme Court on appeal, the outcome could be much different. Atkins explains why.

Btw, from Kirk Carapezza at WGBH: “Some college leaders questioned Harvard’s defense in admissions case. Now they’re celebrating.” As the saying goes, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan.


State could again alter rules on chicken cages

Christian Wade at the Salem News reports that lawmakers are revisiting the new voter-approved law requiring larger enclosures for egg-laying chickens, amid warnings of a shortage of eggs when the new rules take effect in two years. Here’s the thing: Some animal rights advocates say the suggested changes, which include smaller cages, could actually strengthen the law, if they’re accompanied by certain other “enhancements.”

Salem News

Forget weekend Orange Line closures. Is the T really considering weekday closures?

The Herald’s Stefan Geller reports that the T, starting today, begins the first of six weekend closures to sections of the Orange line in order to make badly needed repairs, closures that will effect, among others, workers at Tufts Medical Center. But Alyssa Vaughn at Boston Magazine is aghast that the T is actually mulling possible weekday (not just weekend) closures next year on the Red, Orange, and Green Lines.

The negative side of Worcester’s building boon: Pricing out affordable housing

Blame it on the Pawtucket Red Sox? Anna Kusmer at WGBH reports that the recent development boom in Worcester – much of it tied to the city’s recent luring of the PawSox to Worcester – is making it more difficult for housing advocates to find affordable land on which to build affordable housing.


State Police arrest 13 immigrant rights activists outside DeLeo’s office

From Steph Solis at MassLive: “Thirteen immigrant rights activists were arrested Thursday night after they refused to leave House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s office in the Massachusetts State House. The activists sat at the entrance to DeLeo’s office for more than three hours calling for the Winthrop Democrat to move forward on a bill that would offer driver’s licenses to residents regardless of immigration status.”


Helping farmers deal with climate change

We missed these two stories from the other day on rural-related matters in Massachusetts. The first, via Cesareo Contreras at MetroWest Daily News, is on Rep. Kate Hogan’s new bill that would allow the state to create a special commission tasked with helping local farms to deal with climate change. And the second, from SHNS’s Matt Murphy (pay wall): “Rural towns appeal for tailored policy focus.”    

Sunday public affairs TV: Ayanna Pressley, Andrew Lelling and more

Keller at Large, WBZ-TV Channel 4, 8:30 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, who talks with host Jon Keller about President Trump, the House impeachment inquiry and the housing crisis.

This Week in Business, NECN 10 a.m. Mike Mathis, MGM Springfield president and COO, provides an update on the Springfield casino; Pratt Wiley, the new CEO and president of The Partnership, shares his vision for the organization; and Shirley Leung of the Boston Globe on the ruling in the Harvard admissions case, Amazon’s new store in the Natick Mall, the vaping controversy and paid family leave.  

CEO Corner, NECN, 10: 30 a.m. An update on MassChallenge and a talk with some participants in this year’s Boston cohort.  

On The Record, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 11 a.m. This week’s guest: U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling, who talks with hosts Ed Harding and Janet Wu, followed by a roundtable discussion with Democratic political analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican political analyst Andrew Goodrich.

CityLine, WCVB-TV Channel 5, 12 p.m. With host Karen Holmes Ward, this week’s topic: Part of the Solution.

Boston College Chief Executives Club, NECN, 1 p.m. Tiffany & Co. CEO Alessandro Bogliolo talks about his iconic company at this past week’s meeting of the Boston College Chief Executives Club.    

Boston Speakers Series: John Kerry

Kerry served as United States Secretary of State during President Barack Obama’s second term. He represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for nearly thirty years, and was the Democratic Party’s nominee for president in 2004.

Lesley University

Discussion: Building Urgency and Political Will

There are many policy solutions that could have impact, but their viability is challenged by the lack of urgency and broad political will that is needed to get municipal leaders to lead on a crisis that their constituents may not currently feel.

Next Level Housing Solutions

Forever at Home – An Evening to Celebrate and Support Boston Senior Home Care

Boston Senior Home Care’s Annual Fundraiser will be held at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood on October 16, 2019. This annual event raises about $175,000 each year for BSHC thanks to our sponsors, donors and attendees. The event is a fun night filled with music from Boston’s own Rich DiMare, delicious food and drink, and amazing auction items to bid on!

Boston Senior Home Care

Race in the Public Dialogue: History, Free Speech and Civil Rights

Panelists will focus on the history of free speech and civil rights in the context of academia and the university campus.

Museum of African American History

Boston Speakers Series: Zanny Minton Beddoes

Named one of the “Most Powerful Women in the World” by Forbes, Beddoes is the first female editor-in-chief of The Economist, a post she has held since 2015. Prior to her 25-year tenure with The Economist, she was an economist at the International Monetary Fund.

Lesley University

Today’s Headlines


Plans to connect Encore property with Orange Line move closer to reality – Boston Globe

Brockton VA smokers fuming over new ban – Brockton Enterprise


Judge sets timeline for Ashland-Eversource legal clash – MetroWest Daily News

Great Barrington to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples Day – Berkshire Eagle

Ginsburg holds court at Amherst College – Daily Hampshire Gazette


A California City Tested Universal Basic Income. Here’s How Recipients Spent the $500 in Free Money – Fortune

Senate Democrats ask the IRS to consider stripping the NRA of its tax-exempt status – NBC News

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