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INDYMASS: MARCH 1, 2024

A biweekly roundup of articles from the Massachusetts independent press


Commentary: Can’t Comment, Too Swamped!

Honestly, my dear readers, I’ve been so busy joining my Alliance of Nonprofit News Outlets colleagues to convince big national foundations that “saving local journalism” has to include actually funding local news organizations (like the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism) or it’s just a pointless PR exercise that I don’t have time to reflect in more depth on an issue of the day here in the Bay State this time out. But check out the shot across the foundations’ collective bow issued by ANNO this week (in Editor & Publisher) to see what I’ve been up to … since I might have had a thing or three to do with it (lol).

And read on for my usual curated spin through some of the most interesting articles published in the Mass. independent press over the last couple of weeks!

ARTS
A Conversation with Mosa—the Heartbreak Kid
Boston Compass
Checking in with Boston-native Mosa, a rising Dominican-American rapper, singer, and songwriter who moved to Houston and has already caught the attention of the likes of Drake and Jas Prince.

Theater Commentary: Facing Some Hard Truths
The Arts Fuse
While calling a piece on a related topic in the Arts Fuse out for special favor in my commentary in IndyMass #3, I neglected to notice Arts Fuse Editor-in-Chief Bill Marx’s equally excellent article on the death spiral for local theater caused in part by the elimination of theater critics in area news media; so definitely check it out.

“Voices” Develops Empathy and Connection Through Storytelling
Burlington Buzz
So, I promised Burlington Buzz Editor-in-Chief Nicci Kadilak that I’d mention her advance article on a cultural event this weekend, forgetting that while some of my HorizonMass audience might see this in time to actually attend, most will not. Meaning I had better make sure I run event notices with more lead time going forward.

EDUCATION
Healey says no National Guard for Brockton High School
Bay State Banner
Staffing cuts cause a crisis at a high school in a poor city and officials were actually thinking about sending in the National Guard as a “solution?!” Kudos to Gov. Healey for putting a spike in that idea, but let’s see what kind of money the state and feds can get on point to actually solve the problems the Brockton school system is facing. Because so far, not much is happening on that front.

Deep staffing cuts projected in preliminary MPS budget
Marblehead Current
Oh look, school staffing cuts loom even in a rich Mass. town. It will be interesting to see how Marblehead deals with the crisis after failing to override Proposition 2 ½ to raise extra cash two times recently. 

ENVIRONMENT
At 400 Years Old, Topsfield Tree Enjoys Late Middle Age and Looks Forward to Many More Years
The Local News (Ipswich)
An old white oak that sprouted 25 years before the town of Topsfield was founded remains in good health despite damage from droughts and gypsy moth invasions.

GOVERNMENT
Reliance on big companies over small businesses adds to dearth of minority vendors for Cambridge
Cambridge Day
The City of Cambridge has been awarding most of its contracts on a race- and gender-neutral basis. The result: very few contracts for BIPOC- and women-owned vendors. Unclear if Cambridge will take any effective action to remediate the problem.

GUNS
Firearms Business Bylaw Discussions Get More Contentious, More Complicated
Sudbury Weekly
Sudbury is moving toward limiting the number of firearms businesses to two and citing them in an industrial area along the Wayland border. Wayland’s planning to build more dense housing developments close to those projected future firearms businesses. Meanwhile, a minority of the Select Board wants to ban firearms businesses outright, but such a measure failed as a Citizen Petition at the last annual town meeting. Sounds like fun times ahead for the tony suburb/s.

HOUSING
Is it illegal to exist without a home?
Worcester Sucks and I Love It
In advance of a Supreme Court decision looking at whether local governments have the right to forcibly move homeless people who have nowhere else to go, Worcester Sucks’ Bill Shaner takes a deep dive into Wormtown’s sad record of using “sweeps” to terrorize the unhoused and compares that “policy” to alternatives that cities like Chattanooga, Tenn. are using with great success—including permanent supportive housing, prevention, and an impact response that includes a temporary sanctioned homeless encampment, increased emergency shelter capacity, and public restrooms—questioning why the vast majority of American cities are currently doing what Worcester does, or worse. And looking to the frightening future that politicians like Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump are looking to make reality: putting homeless folks in literal internment camps to stop them from “affecting property values” by existing.

POLICE
Records: Former Greenfield Mayor Wanted To Fund Police Raises With COVID-Relief Money
The Shoestring (W. Mass.)
Yeah. What can one say about this kind of badge-licking by local pols? But read the piece, the scene in Greenfield is even worse than the article title suggests.

TRANSPORTATION
Critics say Blue Hill Avenue plan ignores voices of dissent
Dorchester Reporter
A government plan to redesign Blue Hill Ave. with center-running bus lanes causes a big debate among a host of different players along the route.


IndyMass is produced for HorizonMass, the independent, student-driven, news outlet of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism, by Jason Pramas and is syndicated by BINJ’s MassWire news service. Copyright 2024 Jason Pramas.


Jason Pramas is executive director of the Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism and editor-in-chief of HorizonMass.

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