Forecast: January 2010

| Boston Magazine |

LIBATIONS
1/23–1/24 A SIP OF THINGS TO COME 

The annual Boston Wine Expo kicks off at the World Trade Center, featuring the ever-popular wine-for-amateurs keynote by renowned grapes guru Kevin Zraly. More than 450 wineries will also be on hand, pouring close to 2,000 different wines. Local aficionados shouldn’t get too attached to their drinks, though: A repeal of the state’s ban on direct-to-consumer shipping from out-of-state vintners is still locked up on appeal, with a decision not expected until next month at the earliest. wineexpoboston.com.

NEWS

1/1 The last county sheriff’s departments come under state control. Bummer for Nantucket’s Richard Bretschneider: Slated to get a $26,000 raise, he’ll now see a $26,000 pay cut.
 
SPORTS
1/1 THE GUY YOU CALL TO FREEZE FENWAY

For decades people have gazed longingly upon the field at Fenway and imagined doing something historic there. Chances are, none were thinking the same thing as Dan Craig.  As the NHL’s facilities operations manager, Craig is perhaps the world’s foremost expert on the care and maintenance of ice. He’s also the guy charged with readying the ballyard for its hockey debut when the Bruins face the Philadelphia Flyers today.

"This is obviously an amazing ballpark," Craig said while on the job at Fenway last month. "Just being in here gives me chills." Pun or not, chills are exactly what Craig needs, and in advance of the New Year’s Day game, he monitors the thermometer and the weather forecast like a meteorological zealot. The weeklong process of building the actual rink was completed in mid-December, and since then Craig has kept the ice in shape with help from a 300-ton mobile refrigeration unit that the NHL trucked in 
from Toronto.

After the nationally televised NHL game, the Fenway ice will see a little college action, too: It hosts a double-header on 1/8 that will pit the women’s team from Northeastern against New Hampshire’s before the men’s teams from BC and BU face off.

POLITICS
1/1 DOG RACING ENDS, GAMBLING FIGHT RESTARTS

With the state’s ban on dog racing taking effect today, you might think it means curtains for the tracks at Taunton and Revere. Not so: Generous lawmakers gave them six-month extensions on their licenses to broadcast races from other states. Now the question is whether that’s long enough for track owners to finally persuade Beacon Hill to allow slots there—a debate that’s expected to resume quickly.

SECOND ACT
1/1 GOVERNOR’S OFFICE GRADUATES ANOTHER

Today Sarah Iselin, formerly Governor Patrick’s head of healthcare finance and policy, becomes president of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts Foundation, a move that comes with a $143,000 raise. She’s not the only staffer enjoying more-lucrative opportunities: Last fall Leslie Kirwan parlayed her job as secretary of administration and finance into a deanship at Harvard. Even those reportedly shown the door have done well, as Joan Wallace-Benjamin, Patrick’s old chief of staff, proved when she got a nearly $200,000 pay boost upon reclaiming her job as CEO of the Home for Little Wanderers (whose name sounds pretty apt for the gov’s administration, too).

1/5  Bet on BC tonight: The Eagles take on the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which is coming off a three-year, 51-game losing streak.  

1/12  Bucking the dying-media trend, online news outfit GlobalPost celebrates its first birthday with a projected $1 million profit.

1/15  Zoo New England files a financial plan with the governor today, the first step toward weaning itself off state funding.

FREE ADVICE
A few unsolicited tips for the Globe‘s new publisher

Ah, January. Perfect time to start a terrifyingly tough new job. And few in town have tougher gigs than Chris Mayer, who takes over as Globe publisher this month. Mayer—formerly the paper’s circulation and operations honcho—faces big obstacles in shoring up the struggling broadsheet. Not surprisingly, plenty of people have an opinion on what he should do first.

"Chris needs to be obsessed with younger, up-and-coming leaders—and he needs to convince them that reading the paper is critical to their success." —Paul Grogan, Boston Foundation president and CEO

"Addressing the game-changing impact of the Internet has to be the top priority." —Steve Pagliuca, Bain Capital managing director and recent would-be Globe owner

"The most important thing Chris Mayer could do is really be a presence in the community. The Globe‘s image took such a beating because they had nobody in management who had built any goodwill with the community and could stand up and say, ‘We’re the Globe; here’s what we stand for; here’s what we’re doing.’" —Dan Kennedy, media blogger and Northeastern University assistant professor

Illustration by Antony Hare