Somerville smacked hard by winds: Light poles, trees, houses under construction come down

As the front came through this afternoon, a gust of wind near Lechmere station took down a street-light pole, which fell on the hood of a car making a turn, after which the light bounced into the street, as Lisa captured.

She reports the driver and somebody in the back seat appeared to get out physically OK.

Bill Dearing surveyed the damage on Main Street in Somerville, where downed trees blocked the route 101 bus:

Downed trees in Somerville

Thomas Fitzpatrick reports this billboard by the side of the I-93 deck was blown into Boston Sand & Gravel yard below:

More Somerville tree damage:

Shaz reports:

My neighborhood was filled with a cacophony of screams and yelps so knew it had to be bad. My ears clicked from air pressure!

Alex Jaffe spotted a house under construction on Cross Street in East Somerville that the wind ripped to shreds:

Downed house in Somerville

A wicked wind that way came between the North End and Charlestown, as well. Kristin MacDougall reports:

I swear to God I thought I was going to blow into the harbor at the Locks. I grabbed a pole and screamed!

Graduation proves troublesome for two Boston night spots

At Bond in the Langham on Franklin Street, a local graduate's celebration ended with him covered in blood after duking it out with the DJ he'd hired. Meanwhile, parents and grandparents overstuffed Venu in the Theater District for parties for their proud BU and Babson graduates.

At a Boston Licensing Board hearing this morning, a police officer testified that a new graduate - he did not specify the school - grew fighty when the DJ he had hired for a private party at Bond on May 7 refused to let him thanks his guests over a microphone when the clock hit midnight and the DJ turned off his equipment.

According to police, the DJ told him he could get in trouble if he turned it back on, because it was now after midnight.

The new grad offered the DJ $100, but when the DJ refused that, the guy threw the money at him, then began turning the equipment back on himself. The DJ moved to stop him, a fight broke out, the grad's friends grabbed the DJ, who still managed to land several punches in the guy's face.

Eventually, hotel security arrived and broke things up. Police found the honored guest outside, sitting on the curb, his face and clothes covered in blood from what turned out to be a large, but superficial gash in his forehead.

On May 20, Venu on Warrenton Street quickly filled up with not just the young'uns who are its stock in trade, but their parents and grandparents, in town to celebrate their graduations from Boston University and Babson College.

Around 12:45 a.m., BPD detectives, BFD officers and ISD inspectors arrived for an unscheduled inspection. The club, which has a licensed capacity of 420 people, had 491 people inside according to a BPD count - and 500 according to a BFD count. The city officials immediately called for a "slow evacuation" to deal with the "dangerous condition," BPD Sgt. Det. William Mulvey said.

Club manager William Robinson acknowledged the problem. In hindsight, he said, he shouldn't have assigned a relatively new employee to the door on one of the area's busiest nights - the worker initially told police there were only 288 people inside. Robinson said most of the tables had already been reserved by BU and Babson families and "we shut the doors pretty early," admitting only parents and grandparents ("you can tell who the parents are," he said) but that the worker had trouble telling who was coming in and going out onto streets crowded with post-college revelers.

The citation for overcrowding is just the latest in a series for the Paga-owned clubs at Warrenton Street, which remain open as the owners appeal suspensions to the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

The licensing board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take about the two incidents.

Live mas, but let the cops in when they come knocking, Boston officials tell Taco Bell

Boston's only free-standing Taco Bell had to explain to the Boston Licensing Board today why its late-night manager left two detectives standing in the rain for five minutes before he let them in for an inspection last month.

Sgt. Det. Robert Mulvey testified this morning that he and his partner, Daniel MacDonald, drove up to the Taco Bell, 1560 VFW Parkway in West Roxbury shortly after midnight on May 14 to conduct an inspection. Because the dining room was closed, they pulled into the drive-thru lane and when they got to the take-out window in their unmarked white Crown Victoria, MacDonald activated the blue lights, showed his BPD badge and announced they were there to conduct an inspection and to let them in.

Mulvey said they then drove around to the front where the manager met them at the door - but refused to let them in, even as they both showed their BPD badges and as they stood in the rain. After about five minutes, and a phone call to his boss, he let them in - where they found the restaurant had an expired food-serving license and ISD inspectional certificate. They then wrote a citation for that and for refusing entry to police after identification.

A Taco Bell "regional coach" told the board late-night Taco Bell crews are told to never let anybody in under any circumstances after closing without first checking with a manager. Outside of New England, he said, the chain has had problems with late-night robberies.

The detectives and board Chairwoman Christine Pulgini acknowledged the concern, but said Taco Bell should really change its policy to require workers to call 911 instead of a Taco Bell manager. Mulvey said he and MacDonald always check in with BPD dispatchers before they do an inspection and that 911 could have confirmed he and his partner were, in fact, cops and not would-be robbers.

State law requires restaurants to let police in. "God forbid something could be going on in your establishment" that requires immediate police attention, Pulgini said.

The regional coach said the failure to renew the license was a simple oversight at the franchise headquarters in Tennessee and won't happen again.

The board decides Thursday what action, if any, to take.

Dumpster fire on wheels delays Providence Line, Amtrak

Photo by Mansfield Police.

A freight car full of construction debris on the Northeast Corridor tracks in Mansfield erupted into flames around 4:30 a.m., Mansfield Police report.

Crews were able to maneuver the flaming car from the area of the Rte. 140 crossing to tracks off County Street, where the thing was still on fire as of 6:30 a.m.

People enjoy mystery fireworks over the harbor

Cheyenne was among the many people who watched the fireworks over Boston Harbor tonight - and who wondered what the reason was. Joe Phalen reports they were set off from a barge off 50 Liberty in the Seaport. Spencer Buell reports he called Boston and State Police and the city (don't worry - he's a reporter; knows not to call 911) and that nobody had an answer.

UPDATE: BFD spokesman Steve MacDonald reports the privately financed show was put on by Atlas Pyro of Jaffrey, NH for an events-production company called Fresh Wata in Las Vegas, NV.

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