Happening Today

Presidents Day

— Today is Presidents Day, a federal and state holiday, with government offices, schools, banks and stock markets closed; most retail stores will be open.

— U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley kicks off local canvassing drives on behalf of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, starting at 108 Fawcett St., Cambridge, 10 a.m. and at 405 Centre St., Jamaica Plain, 1 p.m.

Today’s Stories

ICE SWAT teams: They’re here

CommonWealth magazine’s Sarah Betancourt reports on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s decision to send “tactical teams” to Boston and other sanctuary cities around the country to help ICE engage in immigration enforcement efforts.

A three-reporter team at the Globe reports that local advocates and officials, including Suffolk DA Rachael Rollins, are condemning the Trump administration’s move. And from Fausto Menard at WBUR: “Warren And Markey Demand CBP Withdraw Plan To Deploy Heavily Armed Officers.”


Warren’s millions vs Bloomberg’s billions

The AP at CBS Boston reports that U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign is pumped over the fact that it has raised $6 million in donations since the Iowa-caucus debacle earlier this month, indicating there’s still strong support for her struggling presidential bid.  

Then again, six-million bucks is mere chicken feed compared to the billions at the disposal of billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who’s throwing money around these days like, well, a billionaire, reports the Globe’s Victoria McGrane and Jazmine Ulloa. And the Dem presidential candidate is spending a lot of that dough right here in Warren’s home state, along with other candidates who suddenly see Warren as vulnerable in Massachusetts, as the Herald’s Lisa Kashinsky reports.

Btw: The Herald’s Joe Battenfeld is dumbstruck that Bloomberg, as the Drudge Report has reported (via CNBC), is reportedly considering Hillary Clinton as a potential running mate should he win the Dem nomination.

Vermont’s GOP governor endorses Weld

Former Mass. Gov. Bill Weld’s plan to use the New Hampshire primary as a launching pad for a serious GOP primary challenge to President Trump certainly didn’t materialize, but he’s still picking up some support. His latest endorser is Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican and longtime Trump critic who formally backed Weld’s bid on Saturday. Now if only Weld can secure an endorsement from a certain other Republican governor who hails from New England.

The Hill

Cruise-ship vacation from hell

The Globe’s John Hilliard reports on a Westford couple who went on what they thought would be a delightful Asian cruise – only to see it turned into a coronavirus quarantined trip from hell. They’re among the Americans being evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan – and now face another two weeks in quarantine in California.

Boston Globe

Forget coronavirus. It’s the flu that’s worrying officials here

The Westford couple quarantined on a cruise ship for days in Asia, due to coronavirus concerns, will eventually be coming home to a state grappling with a different type of medical problem. SHNS’s Michael Norton reports that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health on Friday determined that the severity of influenza in the state has risen from “high” to “very high.”

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

‘Councilor No’

The Globe’s Milton Valencia has an update on a new endangered species on the Boston city council, i.e. white males, specifically District 3 councilor Frank Baker, an old-school “traditionalist” who focuses on fixing pot holes and not on all those progressive things that newer members with their eyes on the mayor’s office seem to favor.

Boston Globe

Another week, another Fall River crime thriller

The office of Attorney General Maura Healey has served Fall River with a plateful of subpoenas, this time focusing on city efforts to redevelop the former King Phillip Mill property, Jo C. Goode reports at the Herald-News. And the mystery deepens: Ten different city departments were served with demands even as Environmental Police oversaw digging on the property itself. 

Herald News

‘Environmental gentrification’

This is interesting. The Herald’s Erin Tiernan reports on a new study that shows Boston’s attempt to make the city’s waterfront districts more climate resilient is merely making it more attractive for developers to gentrify those areas for the rich – and pushing out long-time poorer residents. The phenomenon is known as “environmental gentrification.”

Meanwhile, Mary Reed, president of National Grid of Massachusetts, writes at CommonWealth magazine that green clean-energy policies shouldn’t come at the expense of poor people, who shouldn’t have to choose between heating their homes and eating.

Boston Herald

The new weapon of choice to block developments in Newton: Land-use referendums

As they battle it out over waterfront turf in Boston, they’re battling it out over a massive development project in Newton – and opponents have found a loophole in the city’s charter that makes it easier to hold referendums on land-use issues, even if the city council approves a project. The Globe’s Jon Chesto has more.

No love for MBTA on Valentine’s Day

The MBTA asked for it – and it got it. Tanner Stening at MassLive reports on the agency’s St. Valentine’s Day question to riders about what they love about the T. And the snark types loved every non-cupid moment of it.


The spotlight turns towards the Markey-Kennedy race

WGBH’s Kaitlyn Locke has a friendly reminder that WGBH tomorrow will be hosting the first U.S. Senate debate between U.S. Sen. Ed Markey and U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy III – and the Herald’s Hilary Chabotwrites that the clash “could set the tone for an already-roiling race.” We’re not sure about the “already-roiling” description, but it will be roiling soon.


Next up for Spilka: Housing, transportation and health care

Now that the Senate has passed its major mental-health parity bill, Senate President Karen Spilka is setting her sights on other issues that senators will tackle in coming months, namely housing, transportation and health care, reports SHNS’s Michael Norton.

SHNS (pay wall — free trial subscription available)

State once again suspends popular farm-food benefits program

Shira Schoenberg at CommonWealth magazine reports that a state program that encourages people to use SNAP benefits to buy healthy foods has been suspended, once again, due to lack of funds. Bottom line: The popular program is a “victim of its own success and has outgrown its budget,” as Schoenberg writes.


MIT’s big re-development plan for Brockton

Ben Berke at the Enterprise reports on how urban-planning folks at MIT have developed a “conceptual” plan for a massive redevelopment of a little-used portion of the city – and how it could bridge the racial divide in Brockton, if the conceptual plan ever becomes a reality.

Meanwhile, Emily Sweeney at the Globe reports that a new lecture series at the West End Museum will look at the long-ago urban renewal project that wiped an entire neighborhood off the face of the map, becoming in the process “a textbook example of how NOT to transform a city.”


Town clerks: They’re not too keen on Baker’s proposal to limit access to vital records

The Telegram’s Susan Spencer reports that city and town clerks in central Massachusetts are not exactly thrilled with Gov. Charlie Baker’s proposal to limit public access to birth records, death certificates and other vital records in Massachusetts, saying it will probably just lead to more work for their offices for little, if any, public gain.


So whatever happened to all that state pot-tax revenue?

Leaders in minority neighborhoods had hoped that the state’s new pot-tax revenues would flow to communities most hard hit by the war on drugs. But the money is instead flowing to the state’s Bureau of Substance Addiction Services for existing programs, freeing up general-fund monies to be spent elsewhere. The Globe’s Naomi Martin has the details.

Meanwhile, from the Herald’s Stefan Geller and Joe Dwinell: “Cambridge appealing decision after pot shop wins fight over two-year moratorium.” But some seem pleased about legalized pot in the region. From the Herald News: ” Legal marijuana shops revitalizing neighborhoods.” 

Overnight SOS: Milford asks state for help with Amazon vans

We can’t defeat this Goliath on our own. That’s the message from officials in Milford, who are asking state lawmakers to help it deal with Amazon’s surge into the centrally located community, which has meant hundreds of vans appearing on local roadways virtually overnight, Alison Bosma reports in the MetroWest Daily News.  

MetroWest Daily News

Encore moves to make less-affluent gamblers feel welcome

Welcome, low rollers. Encore Boston Harbor is looking to appeal to more modestly heeled gamblers by launching low-cost food options — think: food truck on the casino floor — and making other moves as the Everett resort casino looks to improve its relatively weak early revenue results, reports the Globe’s Andy Rosen.

Meanwhile, Hanover Theater in Worcester says it can, in fact, put a dollar figure on what the state’s two resort casinos have meant for its entertainment-business bottom line. Sam Bonacci at the Worcester Business Journal reports Hanover Theater in Worcester is telling regulators it has lost $555,000 so far due to stiffer competition for signing up acts to play there. Example: The fee to get Foreigner to play the auditorium more than doubled since the last time the act was booked. 

Next stop, Nubian Square

WBUR’s Fausto Menard reports that the MBTA will indeed change the name of Roxbury’s Dudley Station to Nubian Station, following the recent decision to rename the entire neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the Globe’s Jordan Erb takes a look at how business owners and community leaders are grappling with the looming issue of rebranding the neighborhood, now that it’s known as Nubian Square.


The ‘great debate’ over U.S. Navy bragging rights

They have not yet begun to fight in Beverly and Marblehead over which community is the true “birthplace” of the U.S. Navy – and next month two historians will go mano-a-mano in a “great debate” over the issue, reports G. Jeffrey MacDonald at the Globe. Meanwhile, Salem and Newburyport are mischievously making their own “birthplace” claims as Beverly and Marblehead’s attention is focused elsewhere.

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna

Author Talk and Book Signing with Christian Di Spigna, author of: Founding Martyr: The Life and Death of Dr. Joseph Warren, the American Revolution’s Lost Hero.

State Library of Massachusetts

Being a Republican on College Campuses

Come and hear Jamie Gass of the Pioneer Institute who will present 2019 Math and English Common Core disappointing results and explain why, as well as Kaila Webb from Wellesley College present her non-profit which aims to bring diversity of thought on college campuses.

Wellesley Republican Town Committee

Boston Speaker Series: Peter Diamandis

Fortune named Diamandis one of the “World’s Greatest Leaders.” A space entrepreneur turned innovation pioneer, he founded the XPRIZE Foundation to fund big money competitions to inspire groundbreaking developments in science and technology, and to solve some of the planet’s most pressing challenges.

Lesley University

Getting to the Point with Richard Blanco

Presidential inaugural poet Richard Blanco will visit the Institute to discuss the themes in his poetry collection, How to Love a Country.

Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate

ADL’s Breaking Barriers Speaker Series Presents: An Evening with Andrea Campbell

Please join us on Thursday, March 5, 2020 to hear from City Councilor Andrea Campbell.

ADL New England

Today’s Headlines


BPS graduation rate drops – Boston Globe

Unindicted co-conspirators name among seals docs in Boston Calling case – Boston Herald


Worcester using Canadian program model to connect people to the services they need – Telegram & Gazette

Voter registration rises ahead of Mass. primary – Patriot Ledger

Rest of river: Public gets to weigh in – Berkshire Eagle


Hillary for vice president? Bloomberg campaign refuses to shoot down ‘speculation’ about Clinton as running mate – New York Daily News

Former Justice Department employees urge Barr to resign – Politico

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