TIME Crime

Police Stop Gunmen at Pokemon World Championship

Boston Police Department This photo, provided by the Boston Police Department, shows a 12-gauge Remington shotgun, a DPM5 Model AR-15 rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife, confiscated by the police in Boston on Aug. 21, 2015.

They had made threats on social media

The Boston Police Department arrested two gunmen who threatened “violence” at the city’s Pokemon World Championship, the BPD announced Sunday.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, were both arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a firearm on Friday.

The incident began developing on Thursday, when security officers at the Hynes Convention Center—host of the Pokemon World Championships—contacted the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) about threats made on social media against attendees.

Norton and Stumbo, who had driven in from Iowa, were stopped from entering the event when officers found several firearms in their car. The pair was unable to provide a license to carry; after being held, they were released.

A search of the vehicle on Friday turned up some disturbing arsenal, including shotgun, a rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition, and a hunting knife. Norton and Stumbo were arrested Friday night in what city officials hailed as a “great job in the stop and prevention of a potential tragedy.”

TIME Boston

Boston Bomber’s Lawyers Demand New Trial in Another Location

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston
Attorney's Office in Boston/Reuters Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is pictured in this handout photo presented as evidence by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston on March 23, 2015.

They argued his case faced "unprecedented" levels of publicity

Lawyers for Boston Marathon bomber Dzokhar Tsarnaev want him to have a a new trial outside of Boston because of the “unrelenting publicity” surrounding the case and the “connections” between the city’s jurors and the events surrounding the 2013 bombing.

The appeal was made late Monday in a 39-page filing submitted to the US District Court in Boston. A federal jury sentenced Tsarnaev to death in May.

Tsarnaev is the younger of the two brothers who planted two pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon in April, 2013, killing 3 people and injuring 264 others. His lawyers had previously asked for a change of venue before the trial, in February, but the request was shot down by a federal appeals panel.

In the most recent filing, Tsarnaev’s lawyers argued that “unprecedented” levels of publicity continued “unabated” during the trial. These include the announcement of a new holiday called ‘One Boston Day’ to celebrate the anniversary of the bombings, and coverage of the 2015 marathon in a way that tied it back to 2013. The appeal also alleged that posters for the 2015 marathon honoring the bombing victims were visible from the courtroom doors.

Tsarnaev’s team said that the individual jurors’ social media accounts were saturated with activity that could have compromised the fairness of the trial.

He is currently being held at the United States Penitentiary in Florence, CO., the most secure prison in the country.

MONEY mortgage

This City Has Nation’s Healthiest Housing Market

Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts
Getty Images/iStockphoto Beacon Hill neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts

The healthiest market isn't necessarily the most affordable.

The Red Sox may be in the cellar. But when it comes to its housing market, Boston is first in the nation.

That’s according to a recent report by financial Web site WalletHub, which ranked the relative health of real estate markets in the nation’s 25 largest metro areas. Researchers determined a market’s “health” based on factors like how much equity owners had in their homes and who paid the lowest interest rates.

Oklahoma City ranked second; San Antonio was third. Four Florida cities ranked in the bottom 10 (Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa), while Las Vegas was dead last.

On average home owners in Boston have 43% equity in their homes, meaning their mortgages amounted to only slightly more than half their home’s value. The rate was second in the nation, just behind New York City.

Boston also had the second smallest pool of “underwater” mortgages — the scenario in which the owner owes the bank more than the home is worth. About 6.7% of Boston mortgages were underwater, placing just behind Rochester, N.Y. In Las Vegas, by contrast, 39% of homes are underwater.

Of course, one thing that a “healthy” housing market doesn’t guarantee is that you can afford to live there. Boston’s median home price is nearly $450,000, according to Zillow. That’s up from $326,000 at the height of the housing crisis.

The key to Boston’s success: Attractive housing stock and a strong technology and life sciences industry that have helped draw investment and educated young people, according the hometown paper, the Globe.

 

 

TIME Innovation

Boston’s 2024 Olympics Bid Could Have Been Saved

Signatures of support for Boston 2024 cover a banner on the table at a grassroots campaign in Boston on March 14, 2015.
John Tlumacki—The Boston Globe via Getty Images Signatures of support for Boston 2024 cover a banner on the table at a grassroots campaign in Boston on March 14, 2015.

It needed a bold statement of commitment to the city—not the Olympics

Boston’s pursuit of Olympic gold has been dying a slow death over the past seven months.

The final nail in the coffin came Monday, when Mayor Marty Walsh refused to sign a taxpayer guarantee as requested by the Unites States Olympic Committee (USOC), which would have taken effect in the event of cost overruns and revenue shortfalls.

As the city’s chief public official, Walsh was right to hold the line, to protect taxpayers and safeguard the future fiscal health and economic growth of the city and region.

But before the Walsh rebuff, Boston 2024 had other big hurdles to overcome. From the beginning, the bid played as a struggle between Boston’s business elite and commoners – the powerful versus powerless, the haves versus have-nots.

The Boston 2024 Olympic committee read as a who’s who of Boston corporate giants and sports celebrities. Those opposed included a collection of concerned residents, city councilors, local politicians and academics.

Boston 2024 and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) saw it necessary to alter and access neighborhoods, institutions and roads to accommodate Olympics venues, athletes and media. Those opposed said not so fast – we live and work here, want to know the true costs and would like to be included in the planning.

And tidbits such as assuring exclusive travel lanes on highways for IOC VIPs, athletes and corporate sponsors, and the high salaries and compensation for Boston 2024 staff and consultants, only added fuel to the haves versus have-nots narrative.

In the end, this narrative and, ultimately, the failed Olympic bid is unfortunate. As executive director of Wheelock College’s Aspire Institute, a social and education innovation center, I’ve seen and studied firsthand the many problems that plague Boston, from crumbling schools to endemic homelessness.

While the Boston 2024 bid raised many questions about the priorities of its backers, it also offered a historic opportunity to catalyze new development and transform the city in key ways. Boston 2024 could have been saved with only a bit more vision and a bold statement of commitment to the city – not the Olympics – by backers.

The wrong priorities

The prevailing narrative stems from the perceived sharp contrast between the priorities of the bidding committee and those of Bostonians.

At the same time as Boston 2024 proposed spending billions to construct new venues, the Boston Public Schools (BPS) announced its own 10-year Educational and Facility Master Plan.

While the former involved building an Olympic stadium, aquatics center, velodrome and an US$800 million deck over Widett Circle, the latter aimed to improve the physical condition of BPS’s 133 aging school facilities, expand early childhood programs, support dual language learners and children with special needs and promote STEM learning and technology-enhanced education.

Boston 2024 revealed slick plans for an Athletes’ Village that would be converted, post-Olympics, to 2,700 dorm beds for the University of Massachusetts’ Boston campus and 8,000 housing units nine years from now.

Yet this wouldn’t address the current housing crisis. Boston leads all of the 25 major US cities in the number of residents living in emergency shelters. Massachusetts also has one of the highest rates of family homelessness of any state in the country.

Further, Transportation for Massachusetts (a local coalition of organizations advocating for new transportation policy and initiatives) and TRIP (a national nonpartisan transportation research group) warned of the state’s huge need to invest in its system of roads, highways, bridges and public transportation in order to support economic growth, ensure safety, protect the environment and enhance residents’ quality of life.

Boston 2024 agreed that transportation enhancements were needed and critical to hosting a successful Olympics. Yet they had no plans to contribute funding to these enhancements.

Could Boston 2024 have been saved?

Whether the critiques of Boston 2024 are fair or not, the casualty of Boston’s derailed bid is the loss of a truly historic opportunity for long-term, large-scale economic and community development.

Plans included development of two new neighborhoods in currently underdeveloped, underinvested areas, as well as the creation of new public spaces and commercial areas. Lost too is the $4 billion in private investment, creation of thousands of jobs and intensified scrutiny of and urgency to improve our outdated transportation infrastructure. I concur with Boston 2024 Chairman Steve Pagliuca that this could have been “the biggest economic development opportunity of our lifetimes.”

What would have saved Boston 2024? What could have countered the anti-bid arguments and sentiments?

One bold move: Boston 2024 and the business leaders behind it should have pledged planning, support and private funding for economic community development in the city, regardless of whether Boston won the bid to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.

Such a pledge would have instantly and powerfully communicated the goodwill, commitment and intent of Boston 2024 leaders to all of Boston and Massachusetts. And this pledge could have had important, reasonable caveats.

For example, in the case of a failed bid, the pledge might be downsized to $2 billion in private investment (half of the current goal), a focus on just residential and commercial development projects and the already committed public capital funding.

Tax breaks and other incentives to developers – as proposed in the Olympic plan – would still lure private investors, and the city would still benefit from the projected tax revenue from new residential and commercial areas. Gone would be the billions in projected Olympic revenues. But the important community development would have gone forward.

Would such a pledge have been a long shot? A huge risk for business leaders? Of course, but so was Boston 2024 all along. Perhaps the risk was not having gone this far, in making this “no matter what” pledge.

As Chairman Pagliuca put it: “The riskiest move of all can be watching an opportunity slip away.”

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

MONEY Taxes

Why Boston Refused to Host the 2024 Olympics

180513422
Steve Dunwell—Getty Images

“I will not sign a document that puts one penny of taxpayers’ money on the line for Olympics cost overruns,” Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said.

Boston and the U.S. Olympic Committee jointly announced on Monday the ending of the city’s campaign to host the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Earlier Monday, Boston mayor Marty Walsh said he would not put taxpayers at risk by signing a contract with the United States Olympic Committee and would drop the city’s bid to host the Summer Games in 2024 if required to sign on Monday.

“I will not sign a document that puts one penny of taxpayers’ money on the line for Olympics cost overruns,” Walsh said at a press conference on Monday.

Olympic organizers set a provision that requires the host city to cover any cost overruns in the lead-up to the Olympics. A $4.6 billion plan was released in late June as part of Boston’s revised bid, in which about half of the originally planned venues were changed or relocated.

Walsh also said he would have “no regrets” about Boston’s Olympic bid being pulled and that he had spoken with Massachusetts governor Charlie Baker about the possibility.

“As we reflected on the timing and the status of our bid in this international competition, we have jointly come to the conclusion that the extensive efforts required in Boston at this stage of the bid process would detract from the U.S.’ ability to compete against strong interest from cities like Rome, Paris, Budapest and Hamburg,” Boston 2024 partnership chairman Steve Pagliuca said in a release. “For this reason, we have jointly decided to withdraw Boston’s bid in order to give the Olympic movement in the United States the best chance to bring the Games back to our country in 2024. In doing so, Boston 2024 Partnership will offer our support and the extensive knowledge we have gained in developing our Bid 2.0 to any American city that may choose to participate in the 2024 bidding process going forward.”

The USOC has expressed interest in working closely with city and state leaders in an effort to help the U.S. secure hosting rights for the first time since the 2002 Salt Lake City Games. New York and Chicago failed in their attempts to secure the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, respectively.

Los Angeles, host of the 1932 and 1984 Games, may be ready to take the place of Boston as the USOC’s candidate city. National Olympic committees have until Sept. 15 to submit their candidate city selection to the International Olympic Committee.

“When Boston was selected in January of this year, we were excited about the possibility of partnering with Boston’s great universities in a bid that would take advantage of existing college facilities and spur the development of much-needed sport, transportation and residential infrastructure for the City of Boston,” USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said in a release. “The cornerstone idea behind Boston’s bid was sound. We want to compliment and thank Steve Pagliuca and his team at Boston 2024 for the remarkable work they have done in the last two months to transform a powerful idea into a fiscally responsible reality that would have benefited the City of Boston and America’s athletes for decades to come. Because of the good work of Boston 2024, we know that the Boston Games would have been good for Boston, just like the Olympic Games were good for Lake Placid, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Salt Lake City.

“When we made the decision to bid for the 2024 Olympic Games, one of the guiding principles that we adopted was that we would only submit a bid that we believed could win.”

This article originally appeared on Sports Illustrated.

TIME

Boston Will Be Better Off Without Olympics

The gamble just wasn't worth it

The people got this one right. Boston’s Olympic bid, which came to an abrupt end on Monday, never attracted high enough approval ratings in Beantown. Both the United States Olympic Committee and Boston’s political leaders realized that moving forward in the face of widespread public opposition to the bid would embarrass everyone long-term. Might as well cut bait now. It was a mess, but at least now it’s over.

Boston joins cities such as Oslo, Stockholm, Lviv, Ukraine and Krakow who have all recently reconsidered Olympic bids — and then dropped them. (These international cities all bid for the 2022 Winter Olympics, which will be awarded on July 31 to either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan). Many people, it seems, have wisened up to basic sports economics: the Olympics are just as likely to produce eye-popping cost overruns as they are canoeing medals.

“There’s a lot of evidence that people are Olympics and World Cup weary,” says Andrew Zimbalist, author of Circus Maximus: The Economic Gamble Behind Hosting The Olympics and World Cup. The book includes ample academic research showing the gamble, indeed, is a losing one. “Billions of dollars are spent on a giant party, and the public gets nothing back,” says Zimbalist.

Zimbalist studied the Boston bid, and is convinced that both the city and state of Massachusetts are better off without it. “I don’t think it made a lot of economic sense,” Zimbalist says. Other cities will still compete with one another to convince the International Olympic Committee to award them the 2024 Summer Games: Hamburg, Rome, Paris and Budapest have all announced intentions to bid. Toronto, fresh off hosting the Pan American Games, may jump in.

Will another U.S. city emerge to replace Boston by the Sept. 15 bidding deadline? All eyes are now turning to Los Angeles, a city with a built-in advantage: L.A. has hosted the Olympics twice before, in 1932 and 1984. In ’84 Los Angeles did not have to dazzle the International Olympic Committee with a sparking, and expensive, bid book. Tehran dropped out, so L.A. had enormous leverage since the city was essentially bidding against itself. According to Zimbalist’s book, the ’84 Games produced a $215 million surplus (and not coincidentally, landed the organizer of those Games, Peter Ueberroth, on the cover of TIME as 1984 Man of the Year). The city’s existing Olympic infrastructure could defray some of the cost. “It’s not unthinkable that Los Angeles can do it the right way,” says Zimbalist.

Still, predicting the cost of an event that will place almost a decade from now is a very tricky business. If recent history is any guide, Los Angeles should take a pass too. It’s already got plenty going for it. Why bother with such a gamble? If a city like Paris feels the need to go all in, well…Paris sounds nice enough in summer.

 

 

TIME

Boston Mayor Threatens to Drop Olympics Bid Over Budget

at UMass Campus Center on March 22, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.
Paul Marotta—Getty Images Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh hosts a Municipal Strategies for Financial Empowerment, a public forum at UMass Campus Center on March 22, 2015 in Boston.

“I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away"

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh threatened Monday to drop the city’s bid for the 2024 Olympic Games if the U.S. Olympic Committee demands a guarantee that would require Boston taxpayers to cover budgetary shortfalls.

Walsh said that while he believes the Olympics could benefit the city, he vowed not to sign an agreement without knowing there are taxpayer protections in place, Boston.com reports.

“I refuse to mortgage the future of the city away,” Walsh said at a news conference. “I refuse to put Boston on the hook for overruns, and I refuse to commit to signing a guarantee that uses taxpayers’ dollars to pay for the Olympics.”

The host city contract with the U.S. Olympic Committee would require the city to agree to cover any financial shortfalls in building the massive infrastructure around the 2024 games. Massachusetts’ governor, Charlie Baker has also expressed skepticism of a bid that shifts the burden of paying for Olympics infrastructure too heavily on Boston taxpayers.

The USOC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

[Boston.com]

TIME weather

The Last Snow from Boston’s Nightmare Winter Has Finally Melted

Worker digs a path through the large snow mounds on Beacon Street during a winter blizzard in Boston
Brian Snyder / Reuters A worker digs a path through the large snow mounds on Beacon Street during a winter blizzard in Boston.

The last snowflake from Boston’s record-breaking winter snowfall has officially melted, according to Mayor Marty Walsh.

Walsh tweeted that a contest he had held to guess when the snow pile would melt had been won. The winner, who remains unnamed, is the lucky recipient of a meeting with Walsh.

The stubborn residue of snow was located on Tide Street. As recently as July 7, the pile — which had, at one point, towered 75 feet high — had garnered commentary from The New York Times, which marveled at its resilience: “… What the mound has lost in stature, it has made up for in sheer endurance,” reporter Katharine Q. Seelye wrote on July 6. “Few predicted it would last this long.”

Alas, a series of 90 degree days won against the snow pile.

The final tally on Boston’s brutal snowfall clocked in at 110 inches.

Read next: The Unsung Heroes of Summer: Beach Bulldozers

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TIME Massachusetts

Millions Online Seek Answers in Case of Baby Found in Boston Harbor

Girl Found Dead
Suffolk County District Attorney/AP This flyer released on July 2, 2015, includes a computer-generated composite image depicting the possible likeness of a young girl, whose body was found on the shore of Deer Island in Boston Harbor on June 25, 2015.

The Massachusetts State Police released computer-generated image of what the deceased child may have looked like alive

As authorities work to identify a young girl whose body was found on a Massachusetts beach last month, millions of people are immersed in the mystery on social media.

The girl, whom authorities believe was about 4 years old and refer to as “Baby Doe,” was discovered on June 25 by a woman walking a dog on Deer Island in Boston Harbor, officials said. Her body had been stuffed into a trash bag and was in the early stages of decomposition.

The Massachusetts State Police, with help from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, posted to Facebook a computer-generated image…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME society

Boston Mobster Whitey Bulger Pens Remorseful Letter to Teen Girls

Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.
David L. Ryan—The Boston Globe/Getty Image Apponequet Regional High School students, Mollykate Rodenbush, Brittany Tainsh, and Michaela Arguin (from left), hold the handwritten reply from Whitey Bulger.

"If you want to make crime pay, go to law school"

James “Whitey” Bulger, the Boston crime boss who was convicted of 11 murders, has penned a letter to three 17-year-old girl in which he admitted he “wasted” his life.

The girls wrote to the now 85-year-old, who is serving life at the federal penitentiary in Sumterville, Florida, as part of a National History Day competition on leadership and legacy – but they never thought he would answer. “It wasn’t what we were expecting at all,” said Brittany Tainsh, one of three who wrote Bulger.

In the letter, dated Feb. 24, Bulger offered the three teens advice. “My life was wasted and spent foolishly, brought shame + suffering on my parents and siblings and will end soon,” he wrote in the note, which was excerpted in The Boston Globe Saturday.

“Advice is a cheap commodity some seek it from me about crime – I know only one thing for sure – If you want to make crime pay – ‘Go to Law School,'” he continued.

The letter is the first hint of remorse the defiant crime boss has ever shown since being convicted of involvement in 11 murders in 2013. He was caught after spending 16 years on the run. Even at his trial, Bulger showed no emotion as he was handed two life sentences plus five years.

In the letter, Bulger added that he “took the wrong road,” calling his brother William, a former president of the state Senate and of the University of Massachusetts, “a Better Man than I.”

“Don’t waste your time on such as I – we are society’s lower, best forgotten, not looked to for advice on ‘Leadership,’ ” he concluded.

Bulger is the subject of the upcoming film Black Mass, which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious crime boss.

This article originally appeared on People.com

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