A crane moves an Orange Line car stranded on the side of Route 495 in Chelmsford. Credit: MBTA

Happening today:

10 a.m. | Boston Public Schools Supt. Mary Skipper joins city officials, neighborhood leaders and education professionals to announce $2 million in new after-school learning grants. | Sportsmen's Tennis & Enrichment Center, 950 Blue Hill Ave., Dorchester

10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission plans to hear more about MGM Springfield's illegal acceptance of wagers on Harvard men's basketball games, discuss scheduling the review of Raynham Park's sports betting license, and potentially vote to finalize the temporary licensing process for the mobile betting operators expected to launch March 10. A slate of horse racing matters, including a discussion of unpaid winnings, are also on the agenda. | Watch via massgaming.com.

11:00 | MassDOT's Freight Advisory Committee, which is overseeing analysis of next steps for rail, air, truck, maritime and freight transportation, convenes its second meeting virtually to discuss work completed since the first meeting

11 a.m. | U.S. Sen. Markey visits Codman Square Health Center to discuss the role of community health centers and the $35 dollar per month cap on insulin costs included in the Inflation Reduction Act. Codman Square Health Center CEO Sandra Cotterell and Chief Medical Officer Renee Crichlow as well as Boston Medical Center Chief of Emergency Medicine Christian Arbelaez join. | Codman Square Health Center, 637 Washington St., Boston

12:15 | I Have A Future Coalition hosts a rally to outline its demands for funding in the fiscal 2024 state budget, including $33 million for YouthWorks career opportunities, allowing 16- and 17-year-olds to vote, and reshaping school safety measures. | Hall of Flags

7 p.m. | ACLU of Massachusetts hosts a virtual session called "Massachusetts State Legislature 101: How does it all work anyway?" The hourlong info session will touch upon "the structure of our state legislature, what happens over the course of our 2 year legislative session, and different scenarios for a how a bill becomes law," organizers said. The virtual event is hosted in collaboration with the Boston Public Library.

A long-awaited fleet of brand new Orange Line cars come with the promise of an eventual smoother, sleeker experience for T riders fed up with the struggles of a 120-year-old transit system, but one apparent squeaky wheel didn’t even make it onto the tracks before becoming another thorn in the side of commuters. 

Just not in the way one might expect.

One of the new Orange Line trains was stuck on the side of Route 495 North on Wednesday and part of Tuesday after it fell off a truck on its journey from the manufacturing facility in Springfield to the Wellington Car house in Medford.

Instead of delaying T riders, it was motorists who felt the hit from this Orange Line car’s first faux pas.

Weird flex, but it’s a move that tracks with the MBTA’s reputation for stranding riders and snarling commutes.

Officials called in cranes and closed an exit ramp and one lane of highway travel as they scrambled to remove the train car stuck on the side of the roadway for roughly 24 hours. Universal Hub pointed out officials’ race to remove the car ahead of a fast-approaching winter storm bringing sleet that would freeze it in place.

It was a scene illustrative of the various woes troubling a system under scrutiny following a pattern of safety incidents, passenger deaths and agonizing delays. It was winter weather in 2015 that ground the transit system to a halt, putting the MBTA’s failures in the spotlight. 

The T’s woes have continued to pile up. From mechanical failures to a malfunctioning signal system, the agency has battled in vain to stay ahead of the rail service’s aging infrastructure. Accumulating system failures endangering, maiming and in some cases killing riders triggered Federal Transit Administration investigation last that concluded the MBTA prioritized long-term projects at the expense of daily operations and safety.

The Orange Line stopped service for a month last summer to address pressing maintenance concerns.

And those new train cars? The Chinese company, CRRC, contracted to supply 152 Orange Line and 252 Red Line cars to the tune of $900 million is at least two years behind schedule. As of January only 78 Orange Line and 12 Red Line cars were in service, reported WBUR — after major electrical issues initially sidelined the new cars until repairs were made.

MassLive | Boston.com

Zero chill: Another arctic blast is headed for Mass

A wintery mix expected to hit the state Thursday evening will be followed by plunging temperatures once again and wind chills that will make it feel well below zero as we cruise through Friday into Saturday, write’s MassLive’s Noah Bombard.


Annie Dookhan might not be ‘sole bad actor’ in state drug lab scandal

The infamous state drug lab scandal might rear its head once again. After newly released court documents suggested more widespread employee misconduct at the now-closed Jamaica Plain facility was more widespread and not the work of “sole bad actor” Annie Dookhan, lawyers for four defendants convicted of drug charges based on tests conducted there are seeking new trials for their clients.

The Boston Globe

Millionaires tax rekindles ‘Taxachusetts’ label in Bay State

Despite the Bay State’s efforts to shed its old “Taxachusetts” label, a new report suggests the state could be on a path to reclaim its old title. The Tax Foundation’s annual report on state tax brackets singled out Massachusetts as the only jurisdiction to enact an individual income tax rate increase in the previous year, with the voter-approved “millionaires tax” setting a new 4% levy on incomes of more than $1 million. The study ranked Massachusetts’ 9% marginal state income tax rate as the seventh highest in the nation.

Newburyport News

No shelter: Newton hotel could be converted for emergency housing

A vacant Newton hotel could soon serve as temporary shelter for families with Massachusetts’ strapped support system struggling to support the thousands of families in dire neeed of emergency housing, writes The Boston Globe’s John Hilliard.

The Boston Globe

Roundhouse to stop opioid treatment programs

Opioid treatment programs catering largely to Boston’s homeless population at its epicenter at Mass and Cass are slated to soon close as funding dwindles, writes The Boston Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter. The temporary funding dries up in June, officials said.

The Boston Globe | The Boson Herald

Payroll for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu’s office tops $6.5 million

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu has more employees and higher payroll than any of her predecessors, reports The Boston Herald’s Sean Phillip Cotter. Her office also employs the most people earning over $150,000.

The Boston Herald

DA: Man who killed wife, son in murder suicide suffered depression

The 56-year-old Andover man who shot his wife an 12-year-old son before turning the gun on himself almost two weeks ago was being treated for depression and other health issues, the Essex District Attorney’s Office said.

The Boston Herald The Boston Globe

How Boston’s new task force will tackle reparations 

Joseph Feaster Jr., who will helm the newly formed Boston Reparations Task Force, tells Alvin Buyinza of MassLive the group has plenty of work ahead of it to find out who in Boston may be entitled to reparations, what the payments should look like and how the city might cover the cost. The group will meet for the first time early next month and is charged with returning recommendations by October of 2024.


Easthampton dispensary is second pot shop to close

Another one bites the dust. Pleasantrees in Easthampton has become the second recreational cannabis dispensary to close its doors, Emily Thurlow of the Daily Hampshire Gazette reports. Late last year, The Source in neighboring Northampton closed its doors after operating for just 10 months and the latest closure will fuel speculation that the market for weed is approaching saturation.

Daily Hampshire Gazette

Get in line: Boston landlord latest to sue Twitter over unpaid rent 

The owners of Center Plaza in Boston have filed a lawsuit against Twitter, saying the company is essentially squatting in its downtown digs, hasn’t paid rent since November and already owes more than $600,000. Adam Gaffin of Universal Hub reports Twitter’s lease in the space near City Hall runs until 2027. 

Universal Hub

Beverly mayor says city will oppose apartments over T garage 

The city of Beverly is not on board with a plan to build 70 apartments atop the downtown MBTA parking garage because it does not provide any new parking. The Salem News’ Paul Leighton reports Mayor Mike Cahill will not support a plan to use T parking for the development, which came to light recently after Barnat Development struck a deal to pay the MBTA $1 million for the air rights to develop over the garage.

Salem News

Going dark: Wilbraham school can finally dim the lights after two years

The lights at the new Minnechaug Regional High School, which have been stuck on 24/7 since it opened in 2021, can finally be turned off after the district spent around $80,000 to fix a glitch that had proved intractable amid global supply chain disruptions. Alana Flood of WWLP has the details.


Erin Tiernan was a Editor and Author of MASSterList