Investigations

Doing well and good

Doing well and good

With an unusual restructuring, a Billerica education publishing company has been able to thrive – and stay true to its mission

CALL IT A textbook case of serendipity. A few years ago, Frank Ferguson, then in his early 80s, reluctantly began considering the fact that he would not be able to run Curriculum Associates forever. The Billerica-based educational publishing company he helped launch in the late 1960s was doing well. But Ferguson lamented the idea that(...)

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Boston’s transportation ‘war room’

Boston’s transportation ‘war room’

Traffic cams, lights, and parking spots: the high-tech side of dealing with traffic congestion

When it comes to Boston’s notoriously tangled matrix of streets, which are a challenge for local drivers and a nightmare for visitors brave enough to try navigating them, a seventh-floor command center in City Hall is where a team of engineers does its best to make order out of chaos. The center utilizes a complex(...)

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Eminent domain for mortgages

Eminent domain for mortgages

Brockton, other cities consider novel idea

ON THE MORNING OF SEPTEMBER 28, Brockton police arrested 51-year old Tyrone Hubbard and his two sons for trespassing in their own home. Fannie Mae, the federally chartered purchaser of mortgages, was foreclosing on Hubbard’s house and wanted him out. Trying in vain to make peace was City Councilor Jass Stewart, who had arrived to(...)

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Fire drill

Fire drill

Two-thirds of Massachusetts schools lack sprinkler systems even though fires are commonplace

  ‘ As adults we believe we are putting our children into a safe environment,” says State Fire Marshall Stephen Coan. as tropical storm Irene raged through the western part of the state during the first weekend of August, a lightning bolt exploded into the Rowe Elementary School and destroyed the small brick and wood building(...)

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Rhode Island red

Rhode Island red

The Ocean State did the math on pensions and boldly went where no state had gone before

little rhody was in big trouble. That much Gina Raimondo knew when she pumped her fist in victory on election night two years ago. It wasn’t until the new Rhode Island state treasurer set up shop in her cavernous offices in the Ocean State’s majestic State House that she found out how close the ship(...)

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Tap vs. bottled

Tap vs. bottled

DC Water is trying to transform cheap, environmentally friendly tap water into a powerful brand

in the battle between tap and bottled water, bottled water usually has all the zest. Perrier, Poland Spring, Fiji, Glacier—these companies reel consumers in with big-budget advertising campaigns promoting crystal clear waters from exotic locales all over the world. It’s not easy to counter those images if you’re running the local public water authority. But(...)

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What would Jesus do?

What would Jesus do?

The Catholic Church is using deeds associated with its land sales to spread its word - including blocking charter schools and other churches

The Holy Trinity School in Lawrence, which closed in 2004, was recently sold with the restriction that it not be used as a charter school for the next 90 years. Photo by J. Cappuccio. Boston cardinal Seán O’Malley condemns the Obama administration’s requirement that all employers, even religious ones, offer insurance covering the cost of(...)

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Calling for backup

Mental health clinicians work with police officers in Framingham to make referrals instead of arrests

the framingham police officer called for a different sort of backup. He was at a department store in a local mall where a woman suspected of shop­lifting was acting strangely. She was visibly upset and didn’t seem to be a sophisticated criminal, so the officer called in the department’s mental health clinician. By the time(...)

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Smart on crime

Smart on crime

Conservatives in such states as Texas and Mississippi embrace reforms that are tough sellers in liberal Massachusetts

several of the nation’s most conservative, tough-on-crime states are spearheading a growing reform movement that’s cutting both crime and prison costs. The dramatic changes taking place in Texas, Mississippi, South Carolina, Kansas, and Kentucky are designed to keep people out of jail, but they weren’t launched because of pro-prisoner compassion. They are emerging from a(...)

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Social impact bonds

Social impact bonds

Boston company is looking for capitalists willing to invest in government social programs

tracy palandjian looks and acts like many of the other hotshot dealmakers in Boston. She dresses in upscale chic, occupies a 14th-floor office on State Street with panoramic views of the city, and peddles bonds to private investors. What sets her apart from most of her colleagues is the type of deals she’s pursuing. She’s(...)

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