9:00 | MBTA Board of Directors meets at the State Transportation Building, 10 Park Plaza, Boston
10:00 | Massachusetts Task Force to End Loneliness hosts its fourth annual "Good Neighbor Day Summit." The theme is "Let's Talk, Massachusetts: Embracing Conversations to Build Community."
10:45 | In honor of National Suicide Prevention Month, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh and Secretary of Education Patrick Tutwiler will join students, educators, administrators, and peer mentors for a roundtable discussion on youth mental health and suicide prevention. At Woburn Memorial High School, 88 Montvale Ave., Woburn
1:00 | Office of the Inspector General holds a virtual webinar on rules and "best practices" on using recovery funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, with the goal of preventing and detecting waste, fraud and abuse of public resources.
Since the last meeting of the MBTA Board of Directors, a series of “near misses,” in which employees narrowly avoided being struck by trains, brought down the feds’ disapproval once again; the governor herself had to reassure the head of the Federal Transit Administration that her administration is taking train safety incidents seriously; and a new Boston Globe report revealed the T’s newest tracks are so defective that trains are moving slower than some people walk.
Board members should have plenty to talk about today.
This morning’s monthly meeting will include an update from General Manager Phil Eng, who has been trying to right the helm of the T’s sinking ship since he took the post in the spring.
“I have done this to ensure that, as I make challenging decisions, we are rebuilding our ability to better succeed today as we strive to create an organization that is sustainable well into the future that we all will be proud of,” Eng said at the time. “We are taking direct action to guide and lead the workforce at all levels, protect their safety and ability to deliver the safe, reliable and robust service that the public deserves and expects.”
“Safety” is the word on everyone’s lips at the T lately.
MassDOT Chief Safety Officer Pat Lavin will give a safety programs update to board members this morning, Deputy Chief of Quality, Compliance and Oversight Meredith Sandberg will discuss safety management inspections and Doug Connett, the new chief of infrastructure, will give a presentation on maintenance of way reports.
The maintenance of way reports — another development since the last board meeting — found that poorly trained staff, a breakdown of communication between T leaders and employees, and missing documentation of inspections are among the reasons the MBTA’s tracks have deteriorated to the point where it is not safe for trains to operate at full speeds.
It’s been a busy September for the T, here’s to hoping for a less eventful October.
Narrow thinking: More on the problem with the new Green Line tracks
It’s a new mystery from a trouble-plagued transit system. A brand-new train line to Somerville and Medford, much heralded, that now must travel at walking pace (3 mph) out of safety concerns. The culprit is narrow tracks that risk train derailment, and in an interview with the Globe, Gov. Healey asks the question we all want to know: “How these defects can be possible after only a year in service.”
Gun owners turn out to protest potential new restrictions
Hundreds of supporters of the right to bear arms enshrined in the 2nd Amendment to the Constitution rallied on Boston Common Wednesday to protest potential new gun regulations. The advocates argue that soMme Massachusetts lawmakers are acting to implement new restrictions just a year after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down similar measures in New York.
Reparations panel moving forward with research on city’s relationship with slavery
A panel whose mission is to recommend ways Boston might pay reparations for having benefited from slavery is moving forward with research projects that will explore the city’s involvement with slavery during six historical periods beginning in 1620. The Boston Taskforce on Reparations will pay for the research with $500,000 in city funds.
Feds say wages rose in nine Mass. counties
The federal government reports that wages increased in nine Massachusetts counties during the year that ended in March 2023. The biggest increase was in Suffolk County, which posted a 3.0 percent boost. Wages in Hampden County fell 0.3 percent.
Pressley calls for student-loan payment pause if government shuts down
U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley wants President Biden to order a pause in student-loan payments for as long as the rest of the non-essential parts of the government shut down, John Micek of MassLive reports. Pressley said a pause would help mitigate the impact of a possible government shutdown on low-income and middle-class families.
Cahill, Zarella advance in Beverly’s mayor’s race
[Correction: We confused readers with an incorrect headline on this item yesterday.] Voters in Beverly narrowed the mayoral race to two on Tuesday, setting up a November showdown between Mayor Mike Cahill, who is seeking a sixth straight term, and first-time candidate Jamie Zarella, who has made slowing the pace of growth in the city a centerpiece of his campaign.
Evicted art students seek reimbursements from UMass Dartmouth
UMass Dartmouth art students who lost their studios in downtown New Bedford just before the start of the school year say the new spaces they were promised still aren’t ready and are asking for a meeting with the school’s president to discuss possible reimbursements and post-graduation support to mitigate damage the students say has been done to their careers.
Go home: Over objections, Oak Bluffs moves up last call
Despite last-minute pleas from local businesses, the Oak Bluffs Select Board has voted to require bars to stop serving liquor a half-hour earlier, a move the town said is necessary to keep the peace in the early hours with an under-staffed police department.
Parent says Andover schools overstepped bounds, seeks $25M
Andover resident David Howard has filed a $25 million lawsuit against the local school district, claiming his constitutional rights were violated by administrators he claims did not honor his custody rights over his two children.
Tenants at Northampton housing project would be encouraged to volunteer
The developer of an age-restricted 88-unit housing project in Northampton that is facing opposition from some neighbors says he plans to connect the residents of his building with local nonprofits and encourage them all to spend at least some time volunteering in the community.
Legislature may create a right to counsel for potential evictees
State Legislature weighing measure to provide lawyers for low-income renters facing eviction. A legislative committee Wednesday testimony that would provide state funding to provide free legal services for renters facing eviction. A similar proposed bill died in committee last year.