Keller at Large
Keller: St. Pat’s Party Is Over
On this week’s Keller at Large, Jon Keller takes a look at whether the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast has fizzled out or is just going through a down year. Keller’s take: “The breakfast as we knew it in the days of Bill Bulger and Steve Lynch – a celebration of the Boston Irish Catholic version of this thing of ours – has been fading into memory since 2014, when Haitian-American state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry became the first non-white-Catholic-male to host it.”
7:45 a.m. | Gov. Charlie Baker addresses the Boston Chamber of Commerce at an in-person government affairs forum at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.
9 a.m. | Worcester Business Journal and State House News Service hold first webinar in a two-part series on the growing interest in the state’s second largest city. Register here.
11:30 a.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu holds a media availability with U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and former Mayor Kim Janey “regarding the fare-free bus pilot for the 23, 28, and 29 buses, and how these routes are helping local community college students,” according to an advisory.
1 p.m. | Boston Mayor Michelle Wu joins Boston Globe reporter Milton Valencia for a virtual town hall to reflect on her work and preview what lies ahead.
Good morning. By the time this newsletter hits your inbox, Gov. Charlie Baker should be close to starting his address to the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.
The governor typically uses the annual appearance to discuss some major initiative the administration is rolling out or the yearly state budget, but being his last speech to the chamber there will probably also be a fair amount of nostalgia. This year the event is in-person at the Westin Copley Place Hotel in Boston.
But before Baker turned his attention what he wanted to tell the business community, he, along with a wide array of state and federal officials were geeking out over trains. That’s because the newly extended Green Line officially opened up in Union Square in Somerville.
It was ribbon cutting mania yesterday. Officials cut one at Union Square Station, a train drove through one, and officials had a third ribbon ready to go in front of the stage they were speaking later in the day. Politicians and ribbons, they’re inseparable.
And while a good amount of attention should be paid to the completed work, train aficionados and Medford residents are now wondering when it will be their turn — opening five new stops in Somerville and Medford that stretch near Tufts University is the next and final stage of the Green Line Extension
The Boston Globe’s Taylor Doven (who got up extra early to see the first train pull into the new station) reports the opening of the second branch to Medford has been delayed to the summer. The GLX project is no stranger to delays over the years.
State House News Servie’s Chris Lisinski reports MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said yesterday that the T will host another ceremony to mark the next extension “later this year.” But an exact opening date for the hasn’t been announced.
Some of those at Monday’s ceremony called for further T expansions. State Sen. Patricia Jehlen and Somerville Mayor Katjana Ballantyne urged state officials to expand out to the Mystic Valley Parkway.
National school debates over masks, curriculum come home
Discussions over masking in schools and how students are taught about racism have sparked heated debate across the nation, including Massachusetts. WBUR’s Wilder Fleming and Bob Oakes report that people have challenged mask mandates in at least one-third of all Massachusetts school districts since last summer.
More from WBUR duo: “And WBUR found dozens of districts have faced criticism over how teachers discuss race and diversity in the classroom, as well as sex education.”
What’s the deal with sports betting in Massachusetts?
If most all the major players are on board with sports betting, why isn’t it legal in Massachusetts? Look no further than the state Senate. Boston Globe’s Samantha J. Gross reports there’s no organized opposition to sports betting in the state. All the major sports franchises and casinos back it, as does Gov. Charlie Baker and the House.
More from Gross: “The hesitation lives in the state Senate, where some lawmakers fear that easier access to wagering in Massachusetts — which has the highest average lottery spending per capita in the nation — could put people at risk of losing their money.”
Leah Allen has a personal reason to run for LG
Republican gubernatorial candidate Geoff Diehl’s new running mate pointed to personal frustration and her experience with COVID-19 vaccination policies as one reason she decided to get back into the political game. GBH News’ Adam Reilly reports lieutenant governor hopeful Leah Allen said she is “faced with losing my job over not complying with the COVID-vaccine mandates,” a prospect that pushed her to run alongside Diehl.
North End outdoor seating fee called ‘not fair’
If you own a restaurant in the North End, you’ll have to pay to seat. That’s because the City of Boston announced last week a $7,500 fee for restaurant owners who want to have outdoor seating this year. GBH News’ Jeremy Siegel and Rachel Armany report some restauranteurs in the area say the fee is unfair.
The city said the fee is intended to cover some of the cons local residents face because of increased outdoor dining.
Correia victim not phased by ex-mayor’s postponed jail arrival
Members of the public may be getting antsy watching former Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correia continue to remain free after being granted six delays to the start of his term in a federal prison in New Hampshire, but Dan Medeiros of the Herald News reports legal experts say the mayor’s treatment is not that unusual and at least one victim extorted by Correia says he’s already moved on with his life.
Gas prices dropping in Mass. and Rhode Island
Some relief may be on its way to gas pumps. The Associated Press reports gasoline prices dropped in Massachusetts and Rhode Island after reaching record highs after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to skyrocketing oil prices. AAA Northeast said gas prices in the Bay State were down 9 cents from last week.
Former Worcester chief diversity officer takes job at MWCC
The former chief diversity officer for Worcester took a similar job at a local community college. Telegram & Gazette’s Mike Elfland reports Stephanie Williams — who stepped down from the city role two weeks ago — has been hired by Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner.
More from Elfland: “Williams’ departure from Worcester set off discussion about the future of the position in city government. Some officials are unhappy with the turnover, with three people in the position since it was created in 2016.”
Holy Cross joins $1 billion endowment club
The College of the Holy Cross says a record-setting fundraising year in 2021 has pushed its endowment over $1 billion, a milestone that puts it well ahead of other Central Mass. colleges and universities. Jeff Chamer of the Telegram has all the numbers.
Boston bouncer charged with murder
A bouncer at the Sons of Boston pub in downtown Boston is accused of stabbing a 23-year-old Marine outside the bar over the weekend. Boston Herald’s Rick Sobey reports 39-year-old Alvaro Larrama was charged with murder in the death of Daniel Martinez, who was an active duty Marine from Illinois.
The Boston Globe’s Ivy Scott and John R. Ellement reports all bars on Union Street — where Sons of Boston is located — were shut down over the weekend as police investigated the incident.
Five arrested at Raytheon facility after protesting war profits
Five protesters were arrested Monday after scaling the roof of a Raytheon manufacturing facility, unfurling banners and setting off smoke flares to draw attention to what they call the weapons maker’s history of human rights violations. Marc Levy of Cambridge Day has the report.
Westborough tries again to find new life for old movie theater
Westborough is in the market again for a developer willing to transform a long-vacant movie theater on Route 9 that ended up in town hands after it was abandoned by its previous owners, Katherine Hamilton of the Worcester Business Journal reports.
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