When did natives of the Caribbean take over key public works positions in Massachusetts? That has to be what happened, otherwise how else to explain the haphazard approach to clearing this white fluffy stuff that falls from the sky in these parts at least a couple times a year?

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh came in for a lot of heat for his decision to move forward with the parade celebrating the New England Patriots Super Bowl victory as other parts of the city struggled to dig out from under a record-setting week’s worth of snow. The parade went off without a hitch, allowing Walsh at least some sigh of relief.

Walsh insisted no resources were removed from other neighborhoods to clear out the parade route, but try telling that to drivers in Dorchester who got stuck in gridlock because Dot Ave was a single lane that got jammed up when school buses trying to leave the parking yard couldn’t budge. The ensuing traffic jam left a line of cars back onto Columbia Road, onto the Expressway, and back into the O’Neill Tunnel.

Or maybe Walsh needed to talk with the parents walking their children to school along busy Melnea Cass Boulevard because the sidewalks were still covered by three feet of snow. Or the Green Line riders who couldn’t get the E train past Brigham and Women’s Hospital because the roadways forced traffic onto the street rail lines, blocking the progress of trains and forcing buses to take over.

But it wasn’t just Walsh who was the victim of snow blindness. The state Department of Transportation decided that rush hour Wednesday morning was a good time to close down the HOV lane on the Expressway to repair a pothole. The ensuing funneling of all those extra cars, as well as the increase in volume from those heading into the parade and those who didn’t trust public transportation (see Gabrielle Gurley‘s Download from Wednesday), made the normal slow-moving commute into a mind-numbing crawl. A spokeswoman said the hole in the ground in Neponset was causing some flat tires, triggering the emergency patchwork.

Outside the city, suburbs are struggling to get the kids to school on time – actually, just getting them there, period, so no one is going to class over the Fourth of July – but clogged sidewalks are making the task difficult and parents angry. With cutbacks in transportation money, more students are walking to schools on slippery roads and even those who wait for the buses have to do it on snow-slicked streets because there is no sidewalk to stand on in many locales.

Some communities such as Somerville are finally starting to shame those who shirk their civic duty by not shoveling off the walks in front of their houses. In Brockton, officials have delayed the opening of schools by an hour for at least the remainder of this week over concerns for student safety.

“Students walking to school or bus stops during the first-tier of our three-tiered busing system are walking very early in the morning and the delay provides them with an additional hour of daylight and greater visibility and safety,” School Superintendent Kathleen Smith told parents in an automated phone call.

Which brings us back to the idea of tropical natives in charge of snow removal. If they’re going to take over here, perhaps we can rent out their houses down there.



The state Republican Party is demanding an ethics investigation of Sen. Brian Joyce following a recentGlobe report that the Milton Democrat bought high-end sunglasses from a company in his district as a holiday gift for his Senate colleagues at a deeply discounted price.

Attorney General Maura Healey tells Worcester parents that the opioid epidemic is her top priority, theTelegram & Gazette reports.

The winter storms are pushing the state’s coastal and transit policy debates to the forefront, State House News reports.

The Eagle-Tribune analyzes the committee assignments of the state senators from north of Boston, who for the most part didn’t win top posts.

The Senate’s Commonwealth Conversations tour continues on to Holyoke where people get 60 seconds to share their concerns. Report from the Berkshires is here.


Fairhaven officials will no longer have voters cast ballots at two of the town’s schools out of concerns for safety and security.

A Roxbury resident shares his journey through the Boston Police Department complaint process.

The Quincy Conservation Commission has given the green light to Boston to use explosives to demolish the Long Island Bridge despite pleas from officials and residents to hold public hearings first.


Wynn Resorts earnings fall sharply as Steve Wynn calls the prospects for his proposed Everett casino “titillating,” CommonWealth reports.


Boston Olympics organizers are dropping the idea of tapping the area’s private rental housing market to lease units to visitors who would descend on the region for a 2024 Games.


FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in an interview with Wired, explains the push for net neutrality.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner calls on the legislature to pass reforms that would weaken public sector unions, Governing reports.

Legislatures around the country are taking up proposals to lift restrictions on carrying concealed weapons on K-12 school grounds.


Jeb Bush road tests his 2016 message, Time reports.

An effort to draft Elizabeth Warren into the 2016 presidential race is taking root in Iowa, despite the Massachusetts senator’s insistence that she’s not running.


Framingham-based Staples plans to buy Office Depot for $6.3 billion.


Michael Lindsay, president of Gordon College, tries to restore ties in Lynn after many groups, including the School Committee, severed relationships with the school in the wake of its stances against federal job protections for gays and lesbians, the Item reports.

A new study finds a significant number of college freshmen report feeling depressed and overwhelmed by the changes and volume of work.

Boston will likely close a “handful” of schools next year in the face of a budget shortfall.

Adjunct professors at Boston University have voted to unionize, joining a trend among non-tenured area college instructors.


David Torchiana, a cardiac surgeon who has run a physicians group at Mass. General Hospital, will take over as the new CEO of Partners HealthCare in March.

Anthem, one of the country’s largest health insurers, says the personal data of as many as 80 million customers, including its CEO, were breached in a cyber attack.


A new report from the Frontier Group ranks cities based on access to tools that help people avoid the need to own a car. Boston ranks fourth.


Natural gas crunch? A station off the coast of Gloucester for offloading natural gas is being used again for the first time since March 2010, the Gloucester Times reports.


The judge in the trial of Aaron Hernandez ordered the mother of the murder victim not to cry when prosecutors showed jurors pictures of his body.

Lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev continue to push for a change of venue in his trial, and they have asked a federal appeals court to step in and order a speedier review of their latest request — the third one filed by the accused Boston Marathon bomber’s defense team.

WBUR profiles the Changing Lives Through Literature program for people on probation.


NBC News anchor Brian Williams retracted his story that he had been on a helicopter in Iraq in 2003 that had been shot down by enemy fire.

Harper Lee, the 88-year-old author of a single published book that is among the most widely known works of modern American fiction, will publish a second novel in July. The “new” book was actually written prior to To Kill A Mockingbird, which was first published in 1960.