10 a.m. | A Waltham redevelopment project that's converting a Waltham rest home into 68 affordable apartments for seniors breaks ground with Secretary of Housing and Livable Communities Ed Augustus. | 21 Newton St., Waltham
10 a.m. | Mass. Gaming Commission meets and is expected to select an interim leader for its Investigations and Enforcement Bureau, among other things.
1 p.m. | State Rehabilitation Council holds a meeting for the Business and Employment Opportunities Committee. | Virtual
7 p.m. | Environmental groups put on "Climate Action On + Off the Screen" on the banks of the Charles River. The event will feature three short films about drought, pollution and stormwater and then discuss legislation they support. | Herter Park Amphitheater, 1175 Soldiers Field Road, Boston
Unrelenting storms amid an unusually rainy New England summer have brought the pain of floodwaters typically experienced in coastal neighborhoods on the edge of rising seas into Massachusetts’ interior. Flash flooding in recent weeks has wreaked havoc from Western Massachusetts to Merrimack Valley and as the water levels recede, Beacon Hill leaders are scrambling to support residents and businesses. The full extent of the long-term damage is still largely unknown.
Rainwaters last month ravaged nearly 3,000 acres of crops across the state, affecting more than 100 farms and spurring losses of at least $15 million, according to the Department of Agricultural Resources. Last week powerful storms dropped 7 inches of rain on Merrimack Valley, spurring floods that have shuttered dozens of small businesses in the region. A sinkhole in a Haverhill neighborhood has left at least two dozen temporarily homeless.
Officials have said that the damage in North Andover alone is expected to exceed $20 million. At least three towns issued emergency declarations — a move that could open up eligibility for federal funding.
Gov. Maura Healey and House and Senate leaders have anted up millions of dollars to deal with the immediate consequences and offer a life raft to residents trying to stay afloat as they deal with the property damage and the aftermath of destructive floods.
Touring the flood-damaged areas in North Andover and Haverhill yesterday, Senate President Karen Spilka called the devastation “heartbreaking.” State lawmakers including gov. Maura Healey and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton have increasingly shown up in person as damage accrues.
For now, the state response has focused on the immediate response and officials are now turning to the federal government as costs continue to add up.
And the costs could continue to climb with another month left of what’s been one of the wettest summers on record. Boston has seen roughly three times as much rain than the typical 3.27 inches of rain it receives on average during July. This summer, the city got 10.43 inches, making it the second rainiest July on record after July 1921 when Boston got 11.69 inches of rain.
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Dax Shepherd and Kristen Bell respond to backlash over Logan Airport posts
Celebrities who were forced to rough it and sleep on an airport floor amid a nine-hour flight delay are responding to the angry backlash they received from their Instagram posts chronicling the experience, reports Boston.com’s Lydia Evans. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard unpacked the public’s response to their Instagram posts about a 9-hour flight delay in a recent episode of Shepard’s podcast “Armchair Expert.” Apparently, the masses weren’t buying the celebrities suffered any true hardship given their airport “bed” cost $600.
Former MassGOP head Jim Lyons sues current party leaders
Infighting in the state Republican Party has reached a new level. Ousted Chairman Jim Lyons filed suit against his successor, Amy Carnevale in a complaint that Boston Globe reporter Matt Stout says threatens to reignite an internal battle over party finances that leaders tried to bury months ago and bring renewed attention to long-standing party fissures. The suit from the former chairman includes signatures from more than 20 current state GOP committee members and accuses the party of wrongly killing a lawsuit against its own treasurer.
Special prosecutor appointed in car crash case against Boston Councilor Kendra Lara
Boston City Councilor Kendra Lara has asked a judge to toss charges over a car crash after claiming she was not properly served a citation at the scene. Worcester Assistant District Attorney Joel Luna was tapped by the Suffolk District Attorney’s office as the prosecutor in the case because the wife of William King, an opponent of Lara’s in the upcoming municipal elections, works in the city DA’s office, a spokesman told the Herald’s Chris Van Buskirk. A Suffolk DA spokesman said the office uses special prosecutors whenever there is a conflict like an employee having a relationship with someone who is connected to a case.
Boston’s buses are staffed and ready for the first day of school next month, says mayor
Students return to school in Boston in less than a month and city officials said they have a fully-staffed team of school bus drivers for the first time since before the pandemic. District leaders hope this will translate to more on-time arrivals and drop-offs for students, reports Emily Piper-Vallillo for WBUR. The district is staffed up with more than 700 bus drivers, with another 35 drivers in training. It has roughly 600 yellow school buses to transport 20,000 city students every day. The first day of Boston Public Schools for most students is Sept. 7.
Attorney General Andrea Campbell combats rising maternal morbidity, especially among women of color
Grants totaling $1.5 million for 11 organizations will address what Attorney General Andrea Campbell is calling a “maternal health crisis,” reports Sarah Betancourt for GBH. The state’s first Black woman attorney general pointed out that Black birthing people experience the highest rates of labor and delivery complications compared to other races and ethnicities. Beyond addressing birthing, the grants are going to organizations to address prenatal, perinatal care, increase access to doulas and breastfeeding support. A recent Department of Public Health report found that severe maternal morbidity nearly doubled in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2020.
There’s mortadella-bout this prosciutto lawsuit embroiling Eataly, says GBH caller
A woman who says she’s been eating prosciutto for most of her 80 years called into GBH to explain what she says is the ridiculousness of somebody claiming to have slipped on the meat product.
Ruling on medication abortion pill mifepristone sets up ‘showdown’
The future of a medication abortion pill that’s already spent 20 years on the market is up in the air again after a federal appeals court on Wednesday partially upheld a Texas ruling restricting access to medication abortion, and reproductive rights advocates are bracing for a “showdown” before the U.S. Supreme Court, with implications for residents of Massachusetts, reports Michael P. Norton for the News Service. According to Reproductive Equity Now, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision will not lead to changes in mifepristone access until the Supreme Court rules in the case, which the advocacy group says will likely take place in 2024.
Redevelopment of New Bedford State Pier back to drawing board
MassDevelopment says it will issue a new request for proposals to redevelop the New Bedford State Pier, essentially pulling the plug on a proposal to turn the 8-acre site into a mixed-use destination featuring apartments, shops, a public fish auction and space for offshore wind businesses. Taber’s Wharf Partners had a preliminary agreement on the property but the agency said final plans included too much public infrastructure spending.
Questions swirl about Douglas gas line extension that opened door to development
The state’s decision to allow a natural gas line extension that cleared the way for more than 1 million square feet of industrial development in Douglas is being questioned by environmentalists who question whether it undermines efforts to reduce the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. The Telegram’s Henry Schwan reports others say efforts were made to keep the proposal out of the public eye until the decision to approve it was made.
Crypto fallout: Investors say they’re ready if Lenox eateries have to be sold
A group of local investors say they’re ready to step in and buy some or all of the Lenox restaurants owned by cryptocurrency executive Ryan Salame, whose future remains uncertain amid a criminal case against FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried. Clarence Fanto of the Berkshire Eagle notes Salame was named as an unindicted conspirator in the case against Bankman-Fried and that some of the executive’s assets could be clawed back during ongoing bankruptcy proceedings.
Dining dynasty: UMass Amherst food offerings tops in nation again
Seven in a row. Princeton Review has once again found the best campus food in the country can be found at the flagship campus of the UMass system, marking the seventh consecutive year the eats in Amherst dining halls, cafes–and now, food trucks– have won the award.