In Brief

By Phil Orlandella

Farm Press Boston Campaign

City officials kicked off “Farm Fresh Boston” an annual campaign by the Boston Public Health Commission and the Mayor’s Office of Food Access aimed at raising awareness that affordable locally-grown produce is available at 24 farmers markets located all around the city.

Now in its second year, “Farm Fresh Boston” campaign highlights the Commonwealth’s Healthy Incentives Program which helps SNAP participants buy more locally-grown produce.

MBTA Satisfaction Survey

An independent survey related to the MBTA’s commuter rail spring passenger satisfaction comments revealed overall satisfaction remain steady in the number of satisfied passengers has nearly doubled in the past two years.

Cambridge-based Social Sphere conducted the survey from April 22-28 and included 5,780 responders who matched overall commuter rail ridership by line.

MassDOT Awarded for Environmental Excellence

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has received a 2017 Environmental Excellence Award from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) for its ongoing efforts to achieve environmental excellence in transportation across the state.

The award, the Vulnerability Assessments and Adaptation Options for the Central Artery for Adaptations and Residents, was given in recognition of the agency’s creation and development of the Boston Harbor Risk Model.

The plan is reportedly a crucial resource in preparation to prepare coastal roadways for extreme weather, hurricanes and rising sea levels.

Completion for US Senate Street

Whittman Republican State Representative Geoff Diehl is mounting a challenge to US Senator Elizabeth Warren and reportedly he has raised more than $343,000 to engage in the Senate seat race in 2018.

Diehl has formally announced his candidacy on August 1. He was the Massachusetts campaign co-chairman for Donald Trump’s successful Presidential campaign.

Casino Increased Drinking Hours Challenged

A new law allowing casinos in Massachusetts to serve alcohol until 4 AM has stirred up some controversy from Chelsea Police Chief Brian Kyes and Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria siting possible public safety problem that could be generated by adding two more hours of serving alcoholic drinks.

A spokesperson, Stephen Clark, of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, claimed the new law could lead to bars and restaurants to call for later closing hour times of their own.

City Creates Additional Affordable Housing

A quality housing report, ending June 30, has been released by Mayor Martin Walsh that contains the City’s significant gains in stabilizing the housing market and accommodating population growth and increasing affordability.

The City remains on target to meet the project’s goals outlined in the Housing A Changing City Boston 2030 plan.

13,551 new units of housing have been completed, with another 8,412 units currently under construction.

Art Submissions for City Hall Exhibition

Submission for the third annual Fay Chandler Emerging Exhibition at Boston City Hall’s Scollay Square Gallery are being sought by the Office of Arts and Culture.

The exhibition will feature original and contemporary works of art created by Boston artists during the month of September.

All submissions will be judged by Boston art professionals and peers.

A total of $5,000 in prizes will be awarded in three categories: Best in Show, New Artist and Over 50 Artist.

Deadline for submission is Thursday, August 10. Prizes will be awarded at City Hall on Saturday, August 12.

Innovation Lab Become Permanent Office

The Housing Innovation Lab which began as an Innovation Team within the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics will become a permanent office in the City’s Department of Neighborhood Development (DND).

The permanence of the lab will allow the team to build on the success of its first year and exploring ideas to bring down the cost to build, buy and own homes in the City.

Advocates Rally for Affordable Housing

Hundreds of residents recently gathered at Faneuil Hall in support of federal investments in affordable homes in Boston.

Federal cuts being proposed threatened to increase housing instability and hopelessness throughout the city.

Congresswoman Katherine Clark and Mayor Martin Walsh joined the crowd to call for federal investments in affordable homes.

The proposed cuts include: Section 8 and public housing, under minding cities, towns and state progress in making affordable housing and community development available.

Mayor Names CPA Director

Christine Poff has been selected as Director of the Community Preservation Committee, a newly established position and committee that will shape the future of investments in Boston’s neighborhoods with funds contributed through the Community Preservation Act (CPA).

In November 2016, Boston voters approved adoption of the Massachusetts Community Preservation Act (CPA), which will generate millions of dollars of revenue to be used for the creation and acquisition of affordable housing, historic preservation, open space and recreation.

“I am incredibly pleased to welcome Christine to this new role as Director of the Community Preservation Committee, which will have an important role in ensuring that the funding captured through this CPA is re-invested in our communities,” said Mayor Martin Walsh.

New Vehicle Registration Forms

The Registry of Motor Vehicles has a newly designed Certificate of Registration form available for customers that renew their registration online, at RMV Service Centers or by using the automated telephone system.

Plate decals will now be attached to mailed registrations. For details visit www.massRMV.com.

RAM to File Palette Initiatives to Reduce Taxes

Plans to file several ballot initiatives, aimed at helping small businesses, seniors and working families across the state, by reducing the 6.25 percent sales tax and establishing a permanent sales tax holiday has been announced by the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM).

            RAM plans to file four ballot initiatives with the Attorney General’s Office stating small businesses and workers are significantly disadvantaged when competing with stores in tax-free New Hampshire and big online retailers.