Summer 2011

Summer 2011

Divining Devens

Divining Devens

As the former Army base searches for its identity, a group of residents wants to form the state's 352nd town

massachusetts hasn’t created a new municipality in nearly a century, since East Brookfield and Brookfield divorced in 1920. Five years ago, it looked like Devens would displace East Brook­field as the state’s newest town. Commercial construction at the old Army base on Route 2 had been speeding along for a decade, and it had recently(...)

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Delays in service

Delays in service

The South Coast desperately wants a rail link to Boston and politicians are eager to provide it, but can the state afford it?

late into a May evening in New Bedford, commuters told three stone-faced federal officials about their daily 90-minute plus treks up Route 24 to Interstate 93 toward Boston, a stressful gumbo of traffic bottlenecks, distracted drivers, and too many fatal accidents. State lawmakers and local officials chimed in with appeals to economic justice and opportunity.(...)

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Salary divide

Salary divide

Gov. Patrick is winning political points reining in the compensation of state authority executives, but some question his motivations and the long-range value of his actions

It’s 7:30 a.m. The MBTA’s Richard Davey is standing just inside the Roxbury Crossing station, sipping his coffee while getting an earful from a woman worried about security on Orange Line trains now that the number of operators has been cut from two to one. After she heads off to catch her train, another woman(...)

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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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Liquor battle brewing

Liquor battle brewing

With Massachusetts law on wine shipments overturned, Congress struggles with who should regulate alcohol distribution

massachusetts has long guarded its unique rules for regulating alcohol, so state officials weren’t happy last year when the federal appeals court in Boston struck down a 2006 state law that barred large wineries from shipping their products directly to Bay State consumers. The three-judge panel ruled that the law violated the Constitution’s guarantee of(...)

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Mooring mess

Mooring mess

Private businesses are cashing in on access to public waters while boaters wait years for affordable mooring sites

Robert Guimond is like a lot of retirees who stay in Massachusetts. The biggest attraction for him is the ocean, which is why the former salesman for General Motors and his wife left New Hamp­shire and took up residence in their one-time vacation home in Bourne. Guimond’s pride and joy, aside from his family, is(...)

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Cracks in cap and trade

Cracks in cap and trade

the same carbon tax concerns that have stymied climate change legislation in Washington are now starting to gain some traction in the Northeast. Chris Christie, the Republican governor of New Jersey, says he plans to pull his state out of the Regional Green­house Gas Initiative by the end of this year. The Republican-controlled House in(...)

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Mixed media

Mixed media

Dueling documentaries underscore the great divide in American education

the trend at first seemed heartening. The problems in the US education system had become so compelling that filmmakers recently produced several documentaries on the topic, with some even enjoying commercial success at theaters. It suggested that the critical issues facing schooling in America might finally be registering on a broad scale. But after attending(...)

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Criminal capacity

Criminal capacity

gov. deval patrick wants to close two prisons this year to save money, but the Legislature isn’t enthusiastic about the idea, partly because of fears about violence stemming from cramming too many prisoners into tight spaces. According to 2009 data from the US Department of Justice, Massachusetts has one of the 10 most overcrowded prison(...)

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Transparency missing from government

Transparency missing from government

MuckRock finds Public Records Law isn't working

For more on the Public Records Law, see CommonWealth’s updated guide to public records. last november i received an email from an attorney working at the Department of Transitional Assistance informing me that if I didn’t remove from my website information I had received from his office through a public records request, I could “be(...)

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