This one’s personal

It’s often easy to forget those in the news business are human and have lives beyond what we report on. And sometimes those lives are disrupted by events that just send us reeling.

Such is the case this week with the drowning death of Jenny King Phillips, the 76-year-old wife of Boston Globe State House Bureau chief Frank Phillips. Her accomplishments and impact are not limited to who she was married to.

For us at MassINC and CommonWealth, Jenny Phillips was a friend both professionally and personally. An award-winning filmmaker, she produced several documentaries around criminal justice, including the acclaimed Beyond the Wall, which took a look at the post-incarceration lives of ex-inmates in Lowell and Lawrence.

“I can tell you right off the bat she changed my life,” Louie Diaz, a former inmate who is now a re-entry and outreach specialist for the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, told the Globe. “She was an amazing person who just had this way of seeing things. There was no ‘noing’ her. It was always, ‘Yes, we’ve got to get in there.’”

In addition to her criminal justice interests, Jenny Phillips also had a view of the much larger world. From her time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the ‘60s with Frank Phillips to her meetings with Cuban dictator Fidel Castro to liberate papers and letters left by Ernest Hemingway that were tied to her grandfather, who was Hemingway’s editor, she left her footprint on the far reaches of the globe.

Many on social media are posting remembrances of Jenny Phillips that form a full picture of a very full life. In 1996, on relatively short notice, she trained for the Boston-to-New York AIDS Ride, which ended up going through driving rainstorms that were the remnants of a hurricane that year. At one point in Connecticut, the rain-drenched streets caused a bad accident with several riders, including one who suffered a serious head injury. Jenny Phillips, who was a trained nurse in addition to her multitude of other skills, stayed with the man and treated him until an ambulance arrived. She got back on her bike and finished the ride.

There is much in the stories of Jenny about the accomplishments of her family, from her grandfather to her brothers and sister, to her husband, and now her children. But Jenny Phillips’ life is one that can, should be, and is celebrated for who she was, not who she was related to. Her works will go on and have impact. We needed to pause and acknowledge her loss, to her family, her friends, and those whose lives have been changed by her presence. Our work here at MassINC is richer for her efforts.



The Massachusetts Senate passed automatic voter registration legislation; the Senate now needs to resolve differences with a House-passed bill. (MassLive)

Despite House passage of a bill that would help address school funding inequities, Worcester officials are moving ahead with plans for a lawsuit challenging the current funding formula. (Telegram & Gazette)

A Gloucester Times editorial urges the Senate to reverse an earlier no vote and say yes to holding a tax-free weekend in August.

Business groups raise concerns about health care legislation approved separately by the House and Senate, particularly sections that would provide financial aid to struggling community hospitals. (CommonWealth)


In Lawrence, city officials are frustrated that a judge won’t appoint a receiver to make repairs to the rundown Bay State building and bill the owner. The judge said she feels the owner is making enough progress on the repairs to be given still more time. (Eagle-Tribune)

Brockton Mayor Bill Carpenter is targeting a downtown lot for legal action after complaints that it’s become a hangout for homeless and has been turned into a de facto junkyard. (The Enterprise)

Fall River’s Community Preservation Committee is considering changes to its funding protocol to exercise more oversight over grants and payments after a contractor complained he wasn’t paid for work done on a historic building after the committee released money to the landlord. (Herald News)


President Trump is trying to repair his relationship with British Prime Minister Theresa May after he gave a scorching interview to a tabloid criticizing her approach to Brexit. (New York Times)

The appearance by embattled FBI agent Peter Strzok before the GOP-controlled House Judiciary Committee turned into must-see theater. (New York Times)

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price wasted more than $340,000 of taxpayer money on travel in violation of federal regulations, according to the department’s inspector general. (Washington Post)


Jay Gonzalez and Robert Massie, the two Democrats vying to run against Gov. Charlie Baker, received an infusion of cash under the state’s public financing system. (Boston Globe)

Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung backs legislation that would allow candidates for office to use campaign funds for child care. Not passing the bill is yet another structural bias against working mothers,” Leung said.

Gov. Charlie Baker campaigns for reelection just by doing his job as governor and appearing often with Democrats. (Salem News)


The Department of Justice has filed an appeal to try to derail the planned $85 billion merger between AT&T and Time Warner. (Wall Street Journal)

Keller@Large says it’s bad form for North End residents to demonize Starbucks for wanting to invest and locate in the neighborhood.


With the millionaire tax shot down, state lawmakers and transit activists begin exploring alternative ways of funding state transportation needs. (CommonWealth)

A bus driver working for the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority was fired for ignoring a passenger seeking to flag the bus down. The driver later admitted he didn’t stop because the passenger was black, an exchange that was caught on onboard footage. (Boston Globe)

Peabody is seriously exploring launching a trolley service that would run through downtown to the Salem commuter rail station and possibly in the other direction to the North Shore Mall. (Salem News)


The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in early July rejected a bid by the New England power grid operator to essentially subsidize the uneconomic Mystic Station in Everett for fuel security reasons. (Power)  Instead, FERC ordered ISO-New England to come up with a short-term cost recovery plan for the plant and broader market changes to address the region’s fuel security issues. (Utility Dive) A Boston Globe editorial skipped the details of the decision and warned that the ruling will hike electric bills by $1 a month to pay for the uneconomic Mystic Station power plant to keep operating. The Globe thinks a better solution would be to build a new natural gas pipeline into the region. Another Globe editorial says dirty coal-fired power plants, because they run on a fuel that can be stored on-site, may get a boost from the Mystic decision.


Retail marijuana sales are unlikely to start this month, with August the probable time when people will be able to buy pot at a retail store. (MassLive)

The state’s Cannabis Control Commission is scoping out sites for its new headquarters — in Worcester. (Telegram & Gazette)

Orleans officials, stymied in their efforts by Town Meeting voters to enact a ban or moratorium on retail marijuana, are proposing zoning amendments that would allow a single store and no more than two other types of establishments such as cultivation, manufacturing, or testing in the town. (Cape Cod Times)

Ashland’s Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 against signing a “letter of non-opposition” required by state law to site a medical marijuana dispensary on an unused lot with an empty shack. (MetroWest Daily News)

The owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Brockton says he would consider moving a planned recreational pot store out of the city if councilors succeed in placing a question to ban retail sales on the ballot despite support from the mayor to make the City of Champions a recreational marijuana destination. (The Enterprise)

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is dragging Wynn Resorts into an ongoing dispute with the former owners of the land on which the casino is being built. (Boston Globe)


Attorney General Jeff Sessions, in a speech in New Hampshire on efforts to combat the opioid crisis, hailed prosecutors for bringing charges against 50 fentanyl traffickers, including “four illegal aliens residing in the sanctuary city of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”

Andrew Bisignani, the former town manage in Saugus who was convicted of defrauding taxpayers, ignored the terms of his house arrest so a judge is locking him up for 18 months. (Salem News)

A Weymouth kennel owner is facing criminal charges after a veterinarian determined a 4-year-old husky in her care died from dehydration and overheating from being kept in a cage too small and without water. (Patriot Ledger)


An investigator hired by the Boston Globe cleared editor Brian McGrory of sexual harassment allegations brought by former reporter Hilary Sargent. The paper released little information about what the investigation uncovered, but said McGrory and Sargent, who dated many years ago, had personal interactions that were initiated by and reciprocated by both parties. “We have addressed this personnel matter directly with Mr. McGrory,” said in a memo to staff. (CommonWealth) The Globe’s report on the investigation is here.