9:30 a.m. | Gov. Maura Healey joins Lt. Gov. Driscoll to swear in Herald Naughton as an Associate Judge for the District Court. | Governor’s Ceremonial Office
10 a.m. | Rep. Owens and Sen. Eldridge roll out their "Climate Change Superfund" legislation (H 872 / S 481) that would require the largest polluters to contribute a portion of their profits to a Massachusetts-based Superfund to support cities and towns' mitigation and resilience efforts | Commander's Mansion, 440 Talcott Ave., Watertown
10 a.m. | Mayor Wu gives remarks at the annual Evacuation Day Historical Exercises | Thomas Park, Dorchester Heights, South Boston
1 p.m. | U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern gives a report on the status of state and federal efforts to support food security initiatives on the heels of White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The event is hosted by Sen. Comerford, Rep. Domb, The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, and other anti-hunger organizations
Irish Catholics in Massachusetts are kissing their lucky shamrocks that God won’t get between them and their corned beef dinner this St. Patrick’s Day.
The Archdiocese of Boston stepped in to grant parishioners a “one day only dispensation” for the Irish high holiday, which this year falls on a Friday in Lent.
Eating meat is generally not allowed on Fridays during Lent for Catholics, but bishops in Fall River, Worcester and Springfield have followed the lead of Cardinal Seán Patrick O’Malley to grant a little luck to the Irish church-goers looking to indulge in a traditional meal this March 17.
Rhode Island Catholics, however, will have to stick to cabbage.
Bishop Thomas J. Tobin in Providence said he “believes it is important to remind the faithful of the importance of our Lenten disciplines.”
The question of whether or not Irish Catholics will be able to indulge on St. Patrick’s day depends on where you are.
Catholic leaders in Houston, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Cleveland, Minneapolis, Washington, D.C., both dioceses covering New York City were granted a day of dispensation. Most bishops urged their flock to perform other acts of penance to compensate for eating meat on Friday, or even to just choose another day to abstain instead.
Catholics in Chicago did not receive a general dispensation, but the archbishop there said, “Instead, Catholics who find themselves at an event where meat is served in celebrating St. Patrick may in good conscience substitute the general rule of abstinence with another form of penance or a significant act of charity that benefits the poor.”
Lent lasts 40 days starting on Ash Wednesday, which was Feb. 22, and ends at sundown on Holy Thursday, April 6 ahead of Good Friday.
PFAS appear to be everywhere these days, including in the headlines.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday proposed the first-ever national drinking water standard for “forever chemicals” that are dangerous to human health.
Earlier this month, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued advisories discouraging people from eating any fish caught at 13 Massachusetts parks where dangerous levels of PFAS were found.
On Thursday, the International Association of Fire Fighters filed a lawsuit to remove “cancer-causing” PFAS chemicals from firefighter protective gear.
The labor union sued the National Fire Protection Association in Norfolk County court, citing NFPA’s role in imposing a testing standard that effectively requires the use of PFAS in gear, writes Rick Sobey of the Boston Herald.
PFAS, toxic per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, are found in many plastics including in firefighter bunker gear. They are found in most drinking water and have been linked to cancer, the leading cause of firefighter death.
Nearly 75% of those honored at the 2022 Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial died of occupational cancer.
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MBTA watch 🚇
Days since the last derailment, fire, falling debris, or critical incident: 2
Days with localized speed restrictions: 8
Days without “normal” weekday subway service: 270
On Jan. 5, Gov. Healey pledged to hire a new MBTA Transportation Safety Chief within 60 days. It has now been 71 days without the position being filled.
Kissing shamrocks: Cities across the Bay State celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is back in South Boston this Sunday, where the festivities will trace the traditional 3.5-mile route. The neighborhood, a longstanding Irish enclave, has hosted the parade since 1901.
Kevin Slane of Boston.com has 10 more things you can do in Boston this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
In Worceseter, Spectrum news reported bars were already readying for the crowds for what’s known as a big-drinking holiday.
Northampton’s grand marshal of the year, Tony Ryan, called leading the contingent a “humbling honor.”
WBUR | Boston.com | Spectrum News | MassLive
Don’t look up: The sky is falling at the MBTA
For the second time in a month, it appears the sky is falling at an MBTA station. This time it was a piece of ceiling debris that fell Wednesday onto the Forest Hills commuter rail platform. The incident comes just two weeks after a 25-pound ceiling panel nearly hit a rider at a Red Line station, writes Gayla Cawley of The Boston Herald.
In this instance, the debris was not concrete and weighed less than a pound, an MBTA spokesperson said.
Priced out: Housing activists rally at the State House
More than 300 people gathered on the steps of the State House to press Gov. Maura Healey to increase in public housing authority subsidies. Activists was to see Healey and the Legislature double that current appropriation to $184 million next year, one of several requests they rolled out as the Greater Boston Interfaith Organization kicked off a new housing justice campaign aiming to blunt the sharp edges of a statewide housing crisis and prevent people from being pushed out of their communities or into homelessness, writes Chris Lisinski for State House News.
Shining a light: DiZoglio to tackle NDAs in next big swing from auditor’s office
In her next move as state auditor, Diana DiZoglio says she will investigate the use of nondisclosure agreements in settlements across state government “to shine a light” on how much taxpayer money has been spent to hide harassment and other misconduct. DiZoglio has advocated for banning NDAs and has spoken out about her personal experience after being fired as a legislative aide amid innuendo and what she described as harassment.
Accused pizza tyrant allegedly exploited workers, under arrest
The owner of Stash’s Pizza in Dorchester and Roslindale – and of several other suburban pizza places who is accused of preying on workers he allegedly called “fucking immigrants,” whom he’d hire and allegedly beat, scream at, and force to work up to 80 hours without overtime and sometimes without any pay at all, on threat of having the undocumented workers deported. Federal authorities arrested Stavros Papantoniadis Thursday.
The Boston Globe | Universal Hub
Bluer pastures: Students at Florida liberal arts college taken over by conservatives find new home in Mass.
Hampshire College in Amherst has rolled out the welcome mats for students at a state-run liberal arts college in Florida that has been taken over by conservatives picked by Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. Students at the New College of Florida say they have felt threatened by the DeSantis takeover.
Full speed ahead: MBTA gets moving in Mattapan
The MBTA announced this morning it’s lifted most of the speed restrictions on the Mattapan Line, but adds it still has “block restrictions where necessary,” so not quite 100% back to being the Mattapan High-ish Speed Line.
Scammed: Fall River proclamation feted fake country
At least they’re not alone. Looks like Fall River was among a host of cities fooled into issuing a proclamation recognizing the leader of a country that doesn’t exist. A year ago, Fall River Mayor Paul Coogan signed a proclamation about the fake nation of Kailasa and its purported leader, an Indian scam artist now on the run from authorities.
Fall River Herald News | Fall River Reporter
Going down: Provincetown pot shop is latest to call it quits
Does MassterList need to start a cannabis dispensary watch? Paul Benson of the Provincetown Independent reports Heal Cannabis has closed its recreational dispensary and turned its license back into regulators. The closure, which leaves Provincetown with four operating dispensaries, comes after stores in Northampton and Easthampton became the first to close their doors since adult-use pot sales began in the fall of 2018.
Windfall: $20 million gift to UMass biz school is largest ever
A 1971 graduate of UMass and his wife have promised a $20 million gift to the Isenberg School of Management, the largest single donation in the business school’s 76-year history. Douglas Berthiaume, who helmed the Waters Corporation in Milford for many years, and his wife, Diana, have previously given $16 million to the Amherst campus.
MassLive | Daily Hampshire Gazette
Wicked rich: Massachusetts among tops in country for million-dollar cities
Meanwhile, at the top end of the housing market … Real estate listings company Zillow says the Bay State now has 26 “million-dollar cities”–communities where the average home costs $1 million or more–one fewer than last year. Massachusetts ranks 5th nationally in the metric even though one community dropped off the list since last year. (Sorry, Sudbury.)
Weekend political and policy talk shows
Keller@Large | 8:30 a.m. Sunday | WBZ-TV | Political analyst Jon Keller interviews state Sen. Nick Collins, where he’ll be previewing the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day breakfast and discussing Auditor Diana DiZoglio’s plan to audit the legislature.
On The Record | 11 a.m. Sunday | WCVB-TV | Lt Gov. Kim Driscoll is the guest this week on WCVB’s On The Record. Topics will include the current MBTA crisis, the pushback from some cities and towns over the state law concerning multi-family housing near MBTA stations, and the concerns over the stability of the banking system. Ed Harding and Sharman Sacchetti host. Democratic Political Analyst Mary Anne Marsh and Republican Political Analyst Virginia Buckingham join the roundtable discussion.
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