Monthly Archives: December 2010

Friday Morning: Hub Bids 2010 Adieu

Published December 31, 2010

It’s Friday, December 31st. Break out the bubbly and the party hats, it’s actor Val Kilmer’s 51st birthday!

What’s news on this last day of 2010?

There were 72 homicides in Boston in 2010 and a huge portion of them remain unsolved. This touching story from the Globe puts a human face on one family’s loss. (Globe)

The outgoing district attorney who brought charges against six students in the Phoebe Prince suicide case says she has no regrets. The case against the students is ongoing. (Herald)

The Celtics’ Kevin Garnett is likely to sit out two weeks thanks to a strained calf muscle. That wasn’t a gust of wind you just felt, it was thousands of C’s fans exhaling loudly. The injury could have been much worse. (

Re-live the year in news with WBUR’s interactive timeline. Scott Brown. Casinos. The Mattapan murders. What do you remember of 2010? What would you like to forget? (WBUR)

Thursday Morning: Communication Breakdowns

Published December 30, 2010

What’s news on this pleasant Thursday?

Middlesex County prosecutors weren’t notified of the 2008 parole hearing that freed the man police say shot and killed a Woburn police officer on Sunday. The D.A.’s office says it would have opposed the man’s release, as it did when it objected to his parole hearing three years earlier. (Globe)

Haiti freed a Massachusetts aid worker it had locked-up on kidnapping charges. The man, who had been living in Nantucket before he moved to Haiti to help with earthquake relief, had been held for 18 days after authorities alleged he kidnapped a Haitian infant from the hospital in which he worked. (AP via WBUR)

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett injured his right leg in the Celtics’ loss at Detroit last night. It’s unclear if Garnett re-injured his creaky knees or if it’s a new leg injury. X-rays were negative for fractures and Garnett will undergo an MRI today to check for ligament damage. (

Dashing Through The Snow From Copley to Park

Published December 29, 2010

As part of WBUR and’s effort to give you the most complete coverage of Sunday’s nor’easter, we sent our brave photographer, Nicholas Dynan, out on Monday to catalog the storm. He brought back some great images of the huge snowfall, and we used them throughout the day.

I asked him what it was like to traipse around Boston in the midst of a fierce storm. Here’s what he said:


Assigned to capture some images of the recent snowstorm, I suited up in snow pants and balaclava to brave the blizzard and take a stroll between Copley and Park Street T stations.

Coming out through the Copley station during what would normally be the morning rush, commuter traffic remained light.

Streets were nearly empty and I decided to walk down to Copley Plaza. It was equally deserted, aside from a few tourists.

I crossed over to Newbury Street to see if post-holiday shopping had lured anyone into the storm. However, the only signs of life were those trying to get a jump on shoveling.

As I reached the Public Gardens, at least George (Washington, not Paul Revere as I’d previously wrote. D’oh!) seemed to still be warm.

Walking through the Public Gardens as the snow let-up, there were more people outside than I had expected. Many local residents walked their dogs.

One brave soul I found:

Some took the opportunity to embrace the weather.

With frozen camera equipment, and done-in by the wind, I headed to Park Street to get out of the cold.

Even in the cold, at least those who were out on the street seemed to fair better than the stranded passengers at Logan I covered later in the day.

Want to see more photos of the huge storm? Check out our photo gallery. Submit your blizzard photos to WBUR’s Flickr group.

Wednesday Morning: Following Weekend Stories

Published December 29, 2010

It’s Wednesday, December 29, 2010. Only two more days to fulfill your 2010 goals!

What’s news on this Hump Day?

The State Parole Board is under fire for its 2009 decision to free the ex-convict that shot and killed a Woburn police officer on Sunday. (Herald)

Bostonians still digging themselves and their cars out from under feet of snow beware! Boston Police are ticketing residents who shovel snow back on to the street while extricating themselves. As Hubbub already reminded you, they’ll also fine if you if you don’t shovel your sidewalk. (Globe)

Stranded travelers are becoming even more frustrated with airlines — if that’s possible — because many airlines’ phone systems can’t handle the volume of calls they are getting. (Globe)

In the hard-hit town of Scituate, residents are struggling to put their town back together after Sunday’s nor’easter. (WBUR)

Baby, You Can Drive My iCar (Hourly Or Daily)

Published December 28, 2010

I came across this story by doing something my mother told me never to do: I accepted a ride from a stranger.

The other night I emerged from the Porter Square Shaw’s, cold, encumbered by groceries and facing a mile-long walk home. A woman with something to sell stopped me and offered a free ride home, no strings attached.

A hand holds an iCar model

(Kelly MacDonald, courtesy of iCar)

I was skeptical.

She explained it was a promotion for iCar, a Zipcar-like startup based in Somerville. The woman — Mimi — was very nice, and everything seemed to be on the up-and-up, so I took the ride (after explaining that, of course, this is something I would never do).

I got home with a big smile on my face. And of course I immediately checked out the website, Not only did I fail to heed my mother’s advice, I gave into a marketing trick. What a sucker.

I called Jennifer Jones, the spokeswoman and first full-time employee, for the pitch.

“ICar is Boston’s latest carsharing service. We offer our members hybrids, sedans and 15-passenger vans that can be reserved and used by the hour, by the day or by the week,” she said. “It is a membership -based service … Our basic membership rates start at $5 an hour or $69 a day.”

Sounds exactly like Zipcar, right? The company is happy to admit that yes, it is a lot like Zipcar, and Zipcar’s familiarity is a marketing advantage for iCar. The startup says it wants to compete with Zipcar on price, customer service and technology. (Hourly rates are a bit cheaper, and you don’t need to log in to a website to check out a car — just swipe and go.)

But can the car-sharing market sustain a new player? Zipcar was founded in Cambridge 10 years ago, flush with cash from angel investors, and has yet to turn a profit. In June, Zipcar announced it would go public (on NASDAQ as “ZIP”) but has yet to do so. Not to mention Zipcar says it has more than 500,000 members and 8,000 vehicles worldwide; iCar has secured parking spaces for 25 cars with 14 in operation. (Parking spaces are a lot harder to get a hold of than cars, but iCar is proud to have acquired two in Brookline.)

RelayRides, another Cambridge startup, offers “neighbor-to-neighbor car sharing,” wherein you borrow someone else’s car for a fee. That company recently moved to San Francisco with backing from Google, though, in another tale of Boston’s brain drain.

Greg Gomer, who blogs for, wrote earlier this month of RelayRides:

San Fran is a much better fit in terms of culture. San Fran is much more environmentally friendly and certainly more open when it comes to sharing of any kinds than Boston.

I wish iCar luck. And if it takes off, I hope they don’t zoom out of town.

Further reading:

Tues. Morning: Digging Through The Blizzard

Published December 28, 2010

Yes, for those of you with a Snow Day yesterday, it’s Tuesday. So, what’s news?

Taxpayers are bracing for the blizzard bill after surviving the fierce storm. The state used thousands of workers to clear roadways, sidewalks, and train tracks. (Herald)

Thousands of stranded travelers may stay marooned for days. The big blizzard snarled travel up and down the East Coast, shuttering airports, train stations and making highway travel difficult. Oh well, what’s a few extra nights with the in-laws? (WBUR)

Turns out, Harvard isn’t that smart. Fraudster Adam Wheeler may have hoodwinked the Harvard admissions board, but maybe it just wasn’t that hard to do. (Globe)

The city of Woburn is mourning a fallen police officer. The man was shot and killed while responding to an armed robbery at a Kohl’s department store. (Globe)

Have you recovered from Blizzard 2010? Check out our blizzard photo gallery, and submit your own Blizzard 2010 pics on Flickr.

Photos: Boston Buckles Under Big Blizzard

Published December 27, 2010

The first big storm of winter wasted no time in make its presence felt.

Up and down the East Coast cities towns struggled under the weight of inches, and feet, of snow.

Gov. Deval Patrick urged businesses to close and keep their employees at home. Do you have a Snow Day? Snap a few pictures of how you’re coping with the Boston Blizzard and send them our way on Twitter @WBUR.

Monday Morning: Grab Your Snow Shovels

Published December 27, 2010

What’s news on this snow-battered Monday morning?

Massachusetts is blanketed in snow after a blizzard wrought havoc along the East Coast from Delaware to Maine. (WBUR)

Gov. Deval Patrick is urging workers to stay home as state authorities work to clear the roads and rails in the wake of the fierce storm. (NECN)

Boston teachers enjoy the benefits of a fund that has paid over $8 million in perks, according to the Boston Globe. In recent years, the fund has paid over $45,000 to cover expenses for teachers that have nothing to do with teaching. (Boston Globe)

A Woburn police officer and a robbery suspect died after a shootout at a department store in the city. (Herald)

Wondering what Boston is saying about the Boston Blizzard? Follow #bostonsnow on Twitter.

#snowloko: Tweeting Boston’s Blizzard

Published December 26, 2010

People are talking about the Boston nor’easter on Twitter. The hash tag that seems to have caught on is #snowloko — a reference to that banned alcoholic beverage. People are also using #BOSnow and #BostonSnow.

Follow the latest here.

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French Toast Alert Level Raised To Severe

Published December 25, 2010

The Blizzard of 1978 dropped an all-time record 27 inches of snow on Boston. Here, residents of Farragut Road in South Boston are digging out their cars from snowdrifts. (AP)

The Blizzard of 1978 dropped an all-time record 27 inches of snow on Boston. Here, residents of Farragut Road in South Boston are digging out their cars from snowdrifts. (AP)

The French Toast Alert System — developed by Universal Hub to tell you when it’s time to buy milk, bread and eggs in advance of a winter storm — has been raised to “Severe,” its highest level.

This is it, people. A nor’easter is coming.

From the National Weather Service, 11:10 p.m.:


Forecasters expect a dumping of 15 to 20 inches and sustained wind gusts of 35 miles per hour. Stay off the roads.

Oh yeah, don’t forget to shovel.