Plainville and racing get the nod
A divided Massachusetts Gaming Commission, won over by the possibility of simultaneously creating new gambling jobs and preserving existing jobs at the Plainridge harness racing track, approved a slots parlor for Plainville.
Three commission members backed the Penn National Gaming proposal for Plainville and two, including chairman Stephen Crosby, supported the Cordish Cos. project in Leominster. A third Raynham Park proposal received no support.
Penn National plans to build a $225 million facility at the race track featuring 1,250 slot machines as well as restaurants and bars. The investment will also keep harness racing alive at Plainridge, with the season set to start in April.
Saving the race track was a key factor among commission members backing Plainville. Commissioner Enrique Zuniga said the roughly 100 racing jobs were important. “If our decision was to result in the track closing, there would be a number of people out of work that day,” he said.
The decision suggests horse racing could also play a role in the competition between Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts for a casino license in eastern Massachusetts. Mohegan Sun’s proposal calls for the construction of a casino in Revere adjacent to the Suffolk Downs horse track. The Wynn project would be a standalone facility in Everett.
The outside consultant brought in to fix the state’s Health Connector website said it may not be fixed by June and one option might be to scrap the whole thing and start over.
A Herald editorial backs House Speaker Robert DeLeo‘s push to throw the brakes on the state’s medical marijuana licensing efforts.
A spokeswoman for Boston Mayor Martin Walsh says he is reviewing a deal struck by his predecessor giving the Red Sox the authority to shut down Van Ness Street during events at Fenway Park, CommonWealth reports. The Herald piles on, as does the Globe, which is owned by Red Sox owner John Henry.
The Globe urges Walsh not to follow his predecessor’s habit of wasting public money to boost his own political standing by plastering his name on everything in sight, but fears it might already be a lost cause.
The new-fangled administration of Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone is looking a lot like the old backroom-dealing Somerville when it comes to releasing public records.
The “poop Nazi” wants to use DNA testing to track down people who fail to clean up after their dogs in Ipswich, the Salem News reports.
New Haven , Connecticut, experiments with a gift card for downtown shopping, eating, and parking, Governing reports.
Local opponents of Plainville‘s slots parlor plan to fight the development in court. The losing developer in the slots license fight blames an apparent desire to save horse racing jobs.
Members of Congress accepted $3.7 million in free travel last year and took family members along 40 percent of the time, USA Today reports.
Nonprofit advocates criticized a tax plan by the House Ways and Means chairman that would limit deductions for charitable donations to anything in excess of 2 percent of income.
A New York Times editorial talks up the benefits of a higher minimum wage to businesses.
Greater Boston looks at the rightward shift of the Massachusetts GOP platform and whether it will hurt Republican candidates in the fall.
Mitt Romney and Chris Christie drop into Boston and raise $1 million for the Republican Governors Association.
Martha Coakley and Steve Grossman get set to tussle over online gambling.
Anonymous Republicans tell the Herald they’re worried about the pace of Charlie Baker‘s fundraising efforts, while Putnam Investments boss Bob Reynolds tells Baker to lighten up.
A national nonprofit has picked Quincy to participate in a study that will select 30 liquor retailers to monitor in a program aimed at reducing alcohol sales to minors.
Malcolm Rogers , who has shepherded Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts through a period of massive growth, announced he will retire as soon as a replacement director can be selected.
With Lynn and other communities facing financial penalties for the way they calculate spending on schools, state lawmakers are studying the formula to see if a compromise can be found, the Item reports.
Despite more than 2,000 students at the struggling New Bedford High School, only 15 parents showed up at a meeting to discuss proposed turnaround plans.
The Berkshire Eagle bemoans the mounting costs of public education in the face of dwindling resources.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio rescinds some of Michael Bloomberg‘s charter school awards, but the politics behind the moves are messy.
WBUR’s CommonHealth blog does the numbers on the backlog at the Connector.
Stop cheering the great drop in childhood obesity, a problem that may not even exist, and if it does, is one that we have no idea what its causes are or what might explain its decrease, writes Paul Campos in The New Republic.
Harbor officials said replacing the aging swing bridge between New Bedford and Fairhaven with a new span that can accommodate large vessels is a key to the maritime future of the Whaling City.
The MBTA‘s effort to raise $20 million by selling station naming rights falls flat.
Sen. Jim Inhofe and Rep. Carl Levin talk up natural gas-powered cars in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column.
State officials move in to deal with skyrocketing flood insurance premiums.
We know it’s a bit of a dog-bites-man story, but check off another good year for utility honcho Tom May.
A major natural gas player takes a $20 billion write-down, driven by the strength of wind and solar power in Europe.
West Bridgewater selectmen fired a police officer after an investigation prompted by complaints from the attorney general’s office determined he allegedly lied about his military service and falsely denied he assisted a woman in getting a restraining order.
Hingham police pulled a Rockland man over for speeding but he said he had a good reason for rushing — he showed the cop a $50,000 winning instant ticket he had just hit on and he was heading to Braintree to cash it in. No word if police scratched the speeding ticket.
Boston University party people are sitting in jail after throwing one too many raucous events in Allston.MEDIA
CommonWealth offers a little context for those reports by the Globe and the Herald on the rise of six-figure salaries in state government.