Forecast: June 2010

The month in preview

| Boston Magazine |


Started in 1980 as a way to celebrate the success of the Hub’s Chinese denizens – and, of course, to commemorate the life of ancient poet Qu Yuan – Boston’s Dragon Boat Festival is now the longest-running festival of its kind in North America. The party/race along the Charles is expected to draw as many as 20,000 spectators, a number that reflects not only the popularity of the event, but also the continued growth, and influence, of the city’s Chinese community.

6/1 The builder of the Cape Wind turbines, Siemens, opens its U.S. headquarters for offshore wind power in Boston.

6/4 Boston Pride celebrates its 40th anniversary by kicking off Pride Week, the gay community’s annual celebration.


In a bid to bring more visitors to the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, certain food vendors will be allowed to sell their fare on the empty green space starting today. Just to make sure the place remains devoid of fun, frivolity, and funnel cakes, however, the greenway’s overseer has forbidden vendors from wearing jeans or tank tops and stipulates that they offer "healthy" foods. Because nothing keeps the crowds coming like celery sold by guys in suits!


Applications are due today for the second round of funding in the federal Race to the Top program, which is handing out $3.4 billion in grants to states with the best education reform plans. Massachusetts struck out in the first round of funding, in March, ranking 13th among the 16 finalists thanks in part to an absence of incentives for teachers to work in low-income schools.
Should Massachusetts again fail to claim a share of the jackpot, Governor Patrick will have spent a good deal of political capital for naught. Like Mayor Menino, Patrick has been a convert on charter schools. In January, he signed an education bill that included a push for more charters – a move that just might have had something to do with the allure of more federal funding.
Patrick’s embrace of charter schools, however, hasn’t been without consequence. It’s the reason the American Federation of Teachers Massachusetts – the state’s second-largest teachers union – voted in April against cooperating with the administration on the second round of the application for Race to the Top funds, potentially imperiling the state’s bid.
Given the likelihood of a close governor’s race this fall, one might wonder if Patrick will regret breaking with the union – a typically loyal voting bloc that he might very well need in order to win a second term.

Expert Knowledge: Deval’s Game Plan

Brookline native Conan O’Brien never trained as a standup comedian, but 17 years of opening monologues seems like decent practice for taking the stage at the Wang Theatre. This visit is part of a national tour, which should keep the Harvard alum’s fans satiated until his new talk show debuts on TBS in November.

6/5 The Cambridge River Festival celebrates creativity of all kinds, offering music and dance performances as well as art demonstrations.

6/8 Jim Mullen steps down as CEO of Biogen Idec. That sound you’re hearing is corporate raider – sorry, "active investor" – Carl Icahn rubbing his hands together.


When Newton North’s brand-new $197.5 million high school opens its doors in September, misty-eyed types can take comfort in the fact that the project’s architects incorporated many of the previous building’s elements – like the "Main Street" central corridor – into the new structure. Today, however, Newton North alums have a chance to say goodbye to their old stomping grounds, with a "Bringing Down the House" party, where former students can gather to celebrate the history of a place they were once so eager to leave.


Jon Kingsdale steps down today as Massachusetts healthcare czar, potentially creating one of Mitt Romney’s biggest headaches for 2012.
In 2006, Romney appointed Kingsdale to head up the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector. At the time, Kingsdale was tasked with implementing the state’s universal healthcare plan, specifically targeting the low-income and uninsured. Though the program did its job – the percentage of uninsured dropped from 6 to 2.6 in two years – Romney has sought to distance himself from the plan because of its similarities to Obamacare. Kingsdale hasn’t helped his former boss in this respect, noting in his retirement announcement that his office should be "proud of having created the model for national health reform."
Kingsdale’s endorsement of the federal plan will open up Romney to further attacks from the right. Given the visceral reaction among some conservatives to the national bill, the shots Romney took during the 2008 presidential campaign over the insurance mandates may seem mild compared to what greets him this time around.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way, of course. Four years ago, Romney surely saw his groundbreaking work on healthcare as a bipartisan project, a badge of courage – something that would distance him from the rest of the 2008 Republican pack. Now it’s the albatross around his neck, and how well he deals with it may determine whether he’s the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.

Sports: World Cup Watching


If the $1 million in prize money isn’t incentive enough to get startup companies to apply by today’s deadline for the inaugural Mass-Challenge business competition, the prospect of no longer having to hold all of their business meetings at a nearby Starbucks should be. Next month, the 100 finalists will be offered free office space on the 14th floor of Fan Pier’s One Marina Park Drive.

6/21 You may not recognize her face, but you probably know the blouse: Former state senator Dianne Wilkerson’s federal corruption trial begins.

6/28 Today is the last day of classes for students in Boston public schools. Tomorrow marks the start of Shopping Mall Avoidance Season.


Hub docs get their close-up when the ABC News primetime documentary series Boston Med begins tonight, featuring white coats from Mass General, Children’s Hospital, and Brigham and Women’s.
The network plans to air eight hourlong installments of footage from their four months spent inside the local hospitals, and will focus in part on the first face transplant ever filmed. The surgery was only the second of its kind in the country, performed over 17 hours at Brigham and Women’s. The heart-wrenching TV twist: The donor was Brookline’s Joseph Helfgot – an entrepreneur and former WHDH radio host who joined BU’s faculty at age 23 – who had died from complications during heart transplant surgery at the hospital.
It’s the kind of intellectual, touching reality show that serves as a necessary counterweight to the upcoming Wicked Summah – the Massholes version of Jersey Shore. That show, which begins filming next month, was cast by the same agency behind Jersey Shore, and promises to offer a look at what happens when people stop being polite and start acting like some subhuman variation of Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting.
With the city’s bookish image at stake, locals can take solace in the fact that ABC’s first primetime real-life hospital drama, 2008′s Hopkins, claimed a Peabody award and regularly attracted 5 million viewers. Jersey Shore peaked at 4.8 million viewers for its final episode. Which, as they say, is a real bummah.

Nature: Tour of the Roses


The Celtics have the 19th pick in the NBA draft today, their highest selection since they used the fifth slot in 2007 to take Jeff Green, who served as trade bait in a deal that delivered shooting guard Ray Allento the Hub. Given the likelihood that the 34-year-old Allen is going to be left to fend for himself as a free agent after this season, the Celtics may be relying on today’s draft pick to find his replacement.

On the fourth anniversary of their last real contract’s expiration, Boston firefighters get to celebrate with a raise – one of five small bumps that make up their 19 percent pay hike. The jakes may not want to invite their public-sector pals to the party: The raise comes at the beginning of a fiscal year in which Mayor Menino has proposed a plan that includes a whopping 250 municipal layoffs.

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