Investigations

Another approach on drunken driving

Another approach on drunken driving

24/7 Sobriety program better at changing long-term behavior

A TOUGH BUT fairly low-tech approach to drunken driving prevention is showing some promise in a handful of states and starting to pick up converts across the country. Called 24/7 Sobriety and pioneered in South Dakota, the program typically requires individuals convicted of a second or subsequent drunken driving offense to visit a testing facility(...)

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Contracting system isn’t saving money

Contracting system isn’t saving money

Some think the approach may even be driving up costs

Photographs by Mark Morelli   IT SOUNDED LIKE a good idea at the time. Stung by the enormous cost overruns of the Big Dig and other open-spigot public projects, officials on Beacon Hill wanted to put more of the risk associated with excess spending on contractors. They came up with a system in 2004 that(...)

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Reform through destruction

Reform through destruction

With public sector turnarounds, incremental change doesn’t always work

JERRY MILLER DIED in August in Virginia after a long illness. He was 83. Few people in Massachusetts now remember his name, but for several years in the early 1970s he was a controversial public official in the news nearly every day. Some saw him as an innovative reformer; others thought him irresponsible and dangerous(...)

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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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