Happening Today

New Year festivities, T holiday service, Warren speech

— All MBTA service, including the commuter rail, will be free after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, according to the MBTA.

— The city of Boston plays host to tens of thousands of New Year revelers at its annual First Night celebrations around the city.

— Presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren delivers a speech, with U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III expected to attend, Old South Meeting House, 310 Washington St., Boston, 11 a.m.

— Gov. Charlie Baker left the state Monday afternoon to travel to Chicago for a wedding, with plans to return on Thursday night, according to SHNS .

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

Harvard graduate students call off strike without a new contract

One side just blinked – and it wasn’t the university. From James Bikales at the Harvard Crimson: “Harvard’s graduate student union will end its strike Dec. 31 and return to work in the new year without a contract, the union’s bargaining committee announced in an email to members Monday afternoon. Though the union and University have yet to reach an agreement, the two sides enter 2020 weathered by the longest graduate student strike in recent history.”

The union says the university has agreed to try to reach a final settlement by the end of January. But the Globe’s Katie Johnston reports the university insists “no such timeline has been given.”

Harvard Crimson

‘Biological espionage’: The Chinese Connection

The Globe’s Deirdre Fernandes and the Herald’s Andrew Martinez report the feds strongly believe a Chinese medical student, accused of stealing lab specimens in vials from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, may well have been working for the Chinese government, as “part of China’s longstanding effort to acquire intellectual property from American colleges and universities.”

And, needless to say, Boston is a mecca of life-science and technology research in general – and therefore a magnet for the espionage minded. The Herald’s Rick Sobey has more on China’s suspected “biological espionage” efforts here and elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts sees spike in data-breach victims in 2019

Speaking of technological theft and breaches, the BBJ’s Greg Ryan reports that more than 605,000 Massachusetts consumers had their personal information exposed in data breaches in 2019, an “increase of more than a third over the previous year, according to data from the state’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation.”


EPA settlement over pollution controls could cost towns and cities hundreds of millions

Keep an eye on this one. Christian Wade at the Gloucester Times reports that federal regulators have reached a settlement with environmentalists, local officials and developers to “take aggressive steps over the next five years to reduce the amount of toxins flowing into the waterways” – and the agreement, which impacts hundreds of Massachusetts cities and towns, is ultimately “expected to cost local governments hundreds of millions of dollars in coming years.”

It’s mostly about storm-water controls, we assume, and we’re likely to hear a lot more about this as the bills come due.

Gloucester Times

No Name, no more: Famed Boston seafood restaurant closes shop

Another famed Boston eatery/watering hole has bitten the dust. The No Name restaurant, which has been in business for more than 100 years, yesterday closed its doors for good, apparently only hours after declaring bankruptcy, according to reports at Universal Hub and WCVB. Its biggest creditors: The city of Boston and Massport. As UH notes, it’s just the “latest in a string of landmark Boston restaurants to shut down of late, for example, Doyle’s and Durgin-Park.”

Meanwhile, Boston-based restaurant chain Cosi Inc. has closed multiple stores across the region, according to reports at Boston Restaurant Talk and the BBJ.

Back to the future: MBTA train crews getting instructions in manual track switching

Just fyi: The great grandfather of one your humble MassterList aggregators used to be a manual “train track switcher” way back in the late 1800s, so this item definitely intrigues from a technological (or lack thereof) standpoint, i.e. reports by SHNS’s Chris Lisinski (pay wall) and MassLive’s Tanner Stening about how the MBTA is now giving “special instruction” on manual track switching, following last week’s Worcester Line commuter-rail derailment.

File under: ‘The more things change …’

Public transportation: From Cambridge to Northampton, it isn’t easy

Still on the subject of public transit: You can get there from here — eventually. Self-described transit enthusiast Anthony Thomas ventured to get from Cambridge to Northampton solely through public transportation options. Travis Andersen and Jeremy Fox at the Globe report it took him two trains, four buses and nearly seven hours to make the 100-mile journey. 

We did the math so you don’t have to: That averages about 14 miles per hour.

Boston Globe

N.H. to Massachusetts gamblers: ‘Come on over the border!’

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu is openly calling on Bay State gamblers and others across the region “to come on over the border,” now that the Granite State, as of yesterday, has legalized mobile sports betting. The Globe’s Matt Stout has the details.

Three Dems vying to fill Brodeur’s House seat

SHNS’s Katie Lannan reports that three Democrats — Mathew Helman, Kate Lipper-Garabedian and Ann McGonigle Santos – returned enough signatures to likely run in a special election for the House seat most recently held by Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur. They still have one last hurdle to jump before officially landing on the ballot.

Meanwhile, the House yesterday set March 31 as the date for the special general election to fill the seat of Rep. Jennifer Benson, who is resigning in January, according to a report at the Lowell Sun.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘The Worst Political Predictions of 2019’

Perhaps a little unfairly, Politico has included a prediction by Stephen Kinzer at the Globe as among the “worst political predictions of 2019.” We say unfair because Kinzer usually has fun with his predictions – and we assume he was having a little fun about the prospects of a future President Nancy Pelosi. Anyway, there are some real political doozies on Politico’s list. Check it out.  


Springfield’s Domenic Sarno: Setting a record and facing stalemate

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno is busy preparing his inaugural festivities that will effectively celebrate his becoming the longest serving mayor in the city’s history, reports Jim Kinney at MassLive. But Sarno’s fifth term will be ushered in amid continued stalemate between the mayor and city council on many issues, notes Western Massachusetts Politics & Insight.

Local billionaire poised to sell AS Roma soccer club

Boston may be down to only one billionaire owner of a prestigious European football/soccer team, now that AS Roma, currently controlled by Boston businessman James Pallotta, is poised to be sold to an investment group led by yet another American billionaire, according to a Financial Times report at the BBJ. Unless we’ve lost count, this leaves Boston’s John Henry et gang as the sole local billionaire owner of a European soccer team, i.e. the Liverpool Football Club.


‘Biden Rebounds, Warren Slows, Sanders Rolls’

The NYT has an update on fund-raising estimates for the top four Democratic candidates for president (they couldn’t fit Pete Buttigieg into the headline above, as you can see). What strikes us are the impressive numbers for Bernie Sanders, the socialist darling who sure has a capitalist’s knack for raising money.


Local Jewish community on edge after latest anti-Semitic violence

The Globe’s Dugan Arnett and Hanna Krueger report that this past weekend’s attack on Hanukkah celebrants in New York and other recent violent incidents have members of the local Jewish community on edge about growing anti-Semitism here and elsewhere. Meanwhile, from the MetroWest Daily News: “Rabbis from Milford, Sudbury, Wayland call for action following violence on Jews in New York.”

The Globe’s Jeff Jacoby says it’s time to condemn all forms of anti-Semitism — on the left, right and everything in between.

Facebook fail? Dennis man sues over Yarmouth police posting

A Dennis man is seeking $5 million from the town of Yarmouth and a local private school over a police department Facebook post that he says libeled him and made him a laughingstock in the community. Christine Legere at the Cape Cod Times has the details on a case that could be closely watched as many police departments become prolific social media users. 

Cape Cod Times

Ice storm forces cancellations and delays across Berkshire County

Power outages from yesterday’s ice storm were not widespread across the state, according to MEMA. But they were severe enough in pockets, such as in Berkshire County, to wreak havoc, according to the Berkshire Eagle. Meanwhile, from MassLive: “Travel ‘strongly discouraged’ as ice storm hits part of central, western Mass.”

Berkshire Eagle

Markey: Future wind jobs should be union jobs

SHNS’s Colin Young reports that U.S. Sen. Ed Markey has sent letters to Vineyard Wind and Mayflower Wind, calling on the two offshore wind developers to enter into project labor agreements (PLAs) with unions for all projects off the coast of Massachusetts and the broader East Coast.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

Calendar may upend Salem election trial

Will the calendar turn this trial into a moot court? A courtroom delay is making it more likely that a trial over the Ward 6 election in Salem–where a one-vote margin survived a recount—won’t be completed before the new batch of city councilors is sworn into office in less than a week, Dustin Luca reports in the Salem News. 

Salem News

MASSterList hits 21,000 subscribers in 2019

As we wish our MASSterList audience a healthy and prosperous New Year, we want to thank you for helping us achieve record growth in 2019. Our audited subscriber base is at 21,000, almost 5,000 more than at the beginning of the year. Much of it stems from referrals our existing readers made to their friends.  

Meanwhile, our Job Board has featured hundreds of posts and kicks off every Monday’s edition, helping hundreds of people find new career opportunities in Massachusetts. Beacon Hill Town Square, where we invite your listings for free events, has also established a loyal following. We are indeed grateful for all your support.

We’ll be taking tomorrow’s holiday off, so we’ll next see you on Thursday morning. Happy New Year, everyone!

Medford 2020 – The Inauguration

MEDFORD 2020 is a celebration of community at the Historic Chevalier Theatre in Medford, Massachusetts.

Medford 2020 Inauguration Committee

Civic Practice Symposium: Reimagining Community Futures Through Arts & Philanthropy

How can creative people in place-based communities catalyze economic change, bridge divisions, and foster meaningful connections between people? How can philanthropic efforts be reoriented toward social weaving, toward participatory democracy, and toward the slow push in communities to integrate and reconnect—to build shared interests and shared purpose in heart and mind?

Adam Erickson

State of the City 2020

Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s annual State of the City address will review the City’s progress and lay out his agenda for his next year in office.

Mayor’s Office of the City of Boston

A Political Discussion As We Enter 2020

Author, politician, raconteur, Larry DiCara., former Congressman Michael Harrington and Government Relations Strategist Peter Mazareas will lead an interactive discussion on what is going on with our democracy. Come on January 7 and let us reason together. We’ll try to find common ground and avoid the harsh tones of current political divisiveness.

Harvard Club of the North Shore

Today’s Headlines


A glossary of very 2019 Boston terms – Boston Magazine

Chinese medical student accused of trying to smuggle cancer research material out of Boston – Boston Globe


Mass. sees jump in data breach victims in 2019 – Boston Business Journal

Amherst convenience store falls victim to vape ban – Daily Hampshire Gazette


Susan Collins says she’s ‘open’ to calling witnesses in Senate impeachment trial – The Hill

The worst political predictions of 2019 – Politico

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