bostondotcom OP t1_jcbecgv wrote

Whoops. Haverhill Public Schools apologized to families for holding school on Tuesday after the city got nine inches of snow, according to a Facebook post from the district.

The school said it was following weather forecasts, which predicted snow wouldn’t start until 1 p.m. It started mid-morning instead.“We called this one wrong, and we are so sorry!” their post reads.

The full story is here on, if you're interested. (Non-paywalled.)


bostondotcom OP t1_jaeasli wrote

Boston could be the first municipality to institute a food recovery program, said Councilors Gabriela Coletta and Ricardo Arroyo, who filed an ordinance Monday proposing the plan.

If approved, the program would require certain food vendors — grocery stores, restaurants, and food-producing hotels — to give any safe-to-eat leftovers to local non-profits for human consumption. The ordinance would also formally establish the city’s first ever Office of Food Justice.A hearing for the ordinance will take place during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting Wednesday.

Coletta said this is an important step for the city because so many people lack access to food, and this program would “put foods in the hands of our most vulnerable at the end of the day.”

Food insecurity in Massachusetts doubled during the pandemic, shooting up from 8.2% to 19.6%, according to Project Bread, a food service program and hotline.As part of the City of Boston Food Recovery Program, food generators would need to start compiling their edible leftovers. Then, the goal is to have already established non-profits in the mix to help distribute to those who need it.

In 2014, Massachusetts started a similar program — the Commercial Food Material Disposal Ban — that diverted leftover food to recycling. Last year, it lowered the threshold for participating sites to those that produced more than one-half ton of food waste per week.

If you're interested in learning more, here is the full story.


bostondotcom OP t1_j9phept wrote

A tractor trailer carrying 35,000 pounds of peanut butter got jammed under an overpass Wednesday in Somerville, the home of Fluff.The truck hit an overpass in Somerville Wednesday afternoon, tearing off the roof and revealing the cargo inside.

The incident closed two lanes on McGrath Highway for scene cleanup.Massachusetts State Police say the truck struck the Route 28 overpass while turning onto McGrath Highway at 12:50 Wednesday afternoon.

The 51-year-old driver from Benton Harbor, Michigan was not injured, and the scene was cleared by 2:15 p.m.

Read the full story on, if you'd like. The crash remains under investigation.


bostondotcom OP t1_j8jcl2f wrote

From reporter Dialynn Dwyer:

An effort is underway in Massachusetts to legalize the right to strike for some public employees — including teachers.

The push to give educators and other unionized employees in the public sector — excluding public safety workers like police and fire — the right to go on strike began in the last session of the state Legislature. A new iteration of the proposal, “An Act uplifting families and securing the right to strike for certain public employees,” was filed last month as a companion bill in both the Senate and House. The legislation would allow unions to legally strike after six months of failed negotiations with their employers.

Twelve states give public school educators the right to strike, according to the Massachusetts Teachers Association, which has named the proposal in the Bay State one of its legislative priorities for 2023-2024.

The move comes as the start of the year saw teachers go on strike in Woburn for a week after working without a contract since the fall. Schools were closed in the city for five days as negotiations stretched on.

Because the strike was illegal, the union was subject to thousands of dollars in fines. Ultimately, the union accumulated up to $85,000 in fines from the state; it also agreed to pay $225,000 in damages to the city over four years and $20,000 to local charities, the Boston Herald reports.

The union has reached out to the community for help in the face of those costs, and so far, families and businesses in the city have responded, with more than $50,000 pouring in to the GoFundMe fundraiser started for the educators. The Woburn Teachers Association has said the encouragement received from parents and other members of the community through their strike kept them “strong and affirmed that [they] were doing the right thing.”

Yet, there remains debate in Massachusetts about whether teachers and other unionized public sector employees should legally have the right to strike. Supporters of the proposal say the measure is needed to level the playing field at the bargaining table, while opponents argue it is a bullying tactic that will only hurt students and families.

Read more about the stances behind those who support and oppose the effort to legalize the right to strike for teachers:


bostondotcom OP t1_j7m5vvt wrote

From Boston Globe reporters Travis Andersen and Jessica Bartlett:

The brutally cold weather that descended on the region last weekend caused pipes to burst at scores of homes and public venues, setting off a scramble for plumbing and repair help.

“I don’t have any hot water, but I do have very cold water,” said Keira Driscoll, 34, of Watertown, describing the bleak situation Monday inside her condo after hot water pipes burst in her bathroom over the weekend.

Some water, Drsicoll said, was even “coming forward into my kitchen.”

The water was shut off and when she called her maintenance contractor Sunday morning he said her property was the 19th address on the street having problems.

“It’s looking like Tuesday of next week,” before workers can clean up the damage, she said. “And then I’m probably going to have to have my ceiling torn down. The wood floors got a ton of water [damage] underneath, so it looks like those might be coming up too.”

The cold front brought extreme temperatures and wind chills as low as 30 degrees below zero in Boston, forecasters said, freezing pipes across the region.

Carl Jonasson, owner of C.H. Jonasson Corp., a Needham-based plumbing, heating, and air conditioning contractor, said he’s prioritizing regular customers, who can probably get a repair scheduled within a couple of days. Everyone else should prepare to wait.

“For non-regular customers, it could be a week or two,” Jonasson said Monday. “Most plumbers aren’t even picking up the phone now.”

In Haverhill, firefighters were called Monday to a condominium complex on Casablanca Street, where they cleaned up water damage from a unit whose owner was out of town, said Jennifer Piazza, a resident of the complex.

The same thing had happened earlier at another unit, she said.

“It looked like they kind of just tried to contain the water,” Piazza said of firefighters who arrived Monday.

Among the businesses that sustained water damage was the restaurant Little Donkey, located in Cambridge’s Central Square.

On Saturday, chef and co-owner Jamie Bissonnette posted a video clip of water gushing from a leak in the restaurant’s ceiling and wrote that the restaurant would be “closed for maintenance.

On Monday, Bissonnette said the restaurant would reopen Monday evening after crews worked through the weekend to fix the leak.

“It’s a tough pill to swallow,” Bissonnette said.

Read more of the story — with no paywall:


bostondotcom OP t1_j3mge38 wrote

From reporter Yvonne Abraham:

As newly inaugurated Governor Maura Healey formally introduces herself and her plans to the Commonwealth, there’s one more thing she is now delighted to share.

She has a partner.

For almost two years, Healey has been in a relationship with Joanna Lydgate, an attorney and her former deputy in the attorney general’s office, who now heads a Washington nonprofit trying to safeguard our endangered democracy.

Until now, Healey has been quite circumspect when it comes to this part of her personal life. But being governor requires her to share more of herself than she did as attorney general, she said. More importantly, the women and their families are finally ready for the couple to step into view.

“I feel really happy today, being able to tell this story,” Healey said Friday evening, holding hands with Lydgate on a couch in the governor’s rented North Cambridge apartment. Healey made an unannounced move to the duplex, a converted bakery in a neighborhood of triple-deckers, just before the election.

“This is a person I love very much and I have great respect and admiration for,” the governor said.

Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_j071gl7 wrote

From reporter Ross Cristantiello:

Recreational cannabis has never been cheaper in Massachusetts than it was this year.

Prices have been steadily decreasing for more than a year, and those running businesses in the burgeoning industry expect them to keep dropping. While customers may be rejoicing over greater access to marijuana, the lowering of prices has some concerned about the ramifications for cultivators, small businesses, and the employees that make it all run.

Examining cannabis prices and the reasons they have decreased so significantly offers a peek into the state of an industry at a crossroads.

Cheaper than ever

In October, the average price for a gram of flower (the buds of the cannabis plant that are typically ground up and smoked) dropped to $7.76, an all-time low, according to the most recent data from the state’s Cannabis Control Commission.

The average price for a gram did rise slightly in November, back up to $8.04. Still, that was below September’s average price for a gram of flower, $9.17. The average price in September was also an all-time low at the time. So was the average price in August.

Cannabis prices stayed relatively consistent from late 2018, when recreational sales began, through 2019, 2020, and most of 2021. The average price for a gram of flower did drop to $9.74 in April 2020 as the pandemic upended business in a number of ways. But prices shot back up, hovering above $14 for a gram until June 2021. Prices decreased every month since then, with the steepest drop coming between September and October of this year.

Recreational cannabis sales revenue is also going down. Adult-use marijuana sellers in Massachusetts brought in $112.2 million in November, the lowest amount since February of this year, according to data from the CCC. Sales numbers peaked in July, with $132.4 million earned. Sales revenue fell steadily through the fall, but a significant decrease occurred between October and November.

Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_iy8d01h wrote

From reporter Ross Cristantiello:

Before officially taking the reins as governor in January, Attorney General Maura Healey announced that her office reached a settlement with Google and iHeartMedia to resolve an investigation into a deceptive ad campaign.

Healey, the Federal Trade Commission, and five other states announced the settlements on Monday. Both Google and iHeartMedia will pay more than $1 million to Massachusetts for allegedly staging an ad campaign for the Google Pixel 4 smartphone in 2019.

Google allegedly contracted radio personalities employed by iHeartMedia to record advertisements endorsing the phone that year. The companies arranged for ad campaigns to run in various media markets around the country, including in Boston. The ads ran on certain radio stations operated by iHeartMedia and on internet streaming services.

Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_ixhsbcm wrote

From reporter Susannah Sudborough:

Gov. Charlie Baker is asking the Legislature for $139 million to fund his plan to deal with the recent influx of migrants to Massachusetts and their impact on the state’s shelter system.

Baker filed the bill Friday, saying that the funding would expand the state’s emergency shelter capacity and improve services provided to the migrants through the shelter system.

“Massachusetts’ emergency shelter system provides support for thousands of families each year, but a recent uptick in new migrant arrivals, coupled with a strained housing market have led to a need for greater capacity across the system,” Baker said in the release.

“These expanded resources will help us quickly and effectively address this humanitarian crisis, especially as we enter the winter months.”

What’s in the bill

The bill has three major funding allocations.

The first includes $73 million to expand the overall capacity of the shelter system. Baker said this money will fund the creation of more than 1,300 additional temporary shelter units.

Secondly, the bill includes $20 million to establish and maintain a temporary central intake center. At the center, families will receive timely case management services and complete intake assessments during their first few days in the shelter system, Baker said.

The third part of the bill allocates $37 million for costs associated with placing new students in local schools through the end of FY24.
Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_ixho4ew wrote

From reporter Clara McCourt:

Whole Foods locations will temporarily stop selling Gulf of Maine lobster after the fishery’s certification was suspended last week.

The Marine Stewardship Council says its decision was based on an independent audit of the fishery’s risk to North Atlantic right whales.

“These third-party verifications and ratings are critical to maintaining the integrity of our standards for all wild-caught seafood found in our seafood department,” a Whole Foods spokesperson told NECN. The chain will continue to sell lobster which was bought before the suspension.

“We are closely monitoring this situation and are committed to working with suppliers, fisheries, and environmental advocacy groups as it develops,” the grocery chain said.

Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_ix91hvj wrote

From reporter Susannah Sudborough:

Gov. Charlie Baker has pardoned the two Amirault siblings who were convicted of child sex abuse in the 1980s in the long-questioned Fells Acre daycare case.

Gerald Amirault, 68, and his sister, Cheryl Amirault Lefave, 65, were accused of sexually assaulting over a dozen children at their Malden daycare in 1984, but have always maintained their innocence.

The case has long been controversial because of questionable techniques investigators used to elicit accusations from the children.

Amirault was convicted in 1986, and spent 18 years in prison before being paroled in 2004, according to GBH. Amirault Lefave was convicted in 1987 and served eight years in prison and 10 more on probation.

Violet Amirault, the siblings’ mother who opened the daycare in 1966, was also convicted in the 1987 trial, and served eight years in prison, GBH reported. She died within a few months of her release.

“The investigations and prosecutions of the Amiraults in the 1980s took place without the benefit of scientific studies that have in the intervening years led to widespread adoption of investigative protocols designed to protect objectivity and reliability in the investigation of child sex abuse cases,” Baker said in a news release about the pardons.

“Given the absence of these protections in these cases, and like many others who have reviewed the record of these convictions over the years, including legal experts, social scientists and even several judges charged with reviewing the cases, I am left with grave doubt regarding the evidentiary strength of these convictions. As measured by the standard we require of our system of justice, Gerald Amirault and Cheryl Amirault Lefave ought to be pardoned.”

Read more:


bostondotcom OP t1_iwq5kz9 wrote

From reporter Ross Cristantiello:

Haverhill Public Schools abruptly canceled the rest of its football season Wednesday after a video reportedly showing hazing was made known to school officials.

In an online post, the district announced the cancellation of all future practices and forfeiture of all future games.

“Haverhill Public Schools is currently investigating misconduct involving some members of the high school football team. The investigation is ongoing and significant material was uncovered today which impacts the direction of the investigation and the entire school community,” the district said in a statement.

The decision to stop the football season was due to the “seriousness of the misconduct."

Read more: